UK: AWARDS - BEST FACTORIES ARE BETTER STILL ...

UK: AWARDS - BEST FACTORIES ARE BETTER STILL ... - Entrants and awards have risen in the quest to find and reward Britain's 1993 Best Factories.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Entrants and awards have risen in the quest to find and reward Britain's 1993 Best Factories.

The annual quest by Management Today in association with Cranfield School of Management to find and reward the UK's best factories has aroused increased enthusiasm among British manufacturers. Entries for the 1993 Best Factory Awards have increased by 39% with 262 factories (188 in 1992) responding to the competition's challenge 'How good is your factory?'

After factory visits were completed in August, assessors from Management Today and the manufacturing group at Cranfield, led by Professor Colin New, whittled down entrants to a short list of 21. These finalists now compete for the seven national and eight regional category awards which will be announced at the Best Factory Awards lunch at The Savoy, London on 3 November. Howard Davies, director general of the CBI, is the guest speaker.

Following the success of last year's competition, more awards will be presented in 1993. This year's finalists compete for eight new regional awards with sponsorship from Northern Electric, Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland, Peritas, Commission for New Towns, ASK Group Ltd and Development Board for Rural Wales. In addition there is a new award, sponsored by KPMG, for the Most Improved Factory (restricted to entrants from last year's competition).

The engineering and household products industry categories attracted most entrants, the split of plants being 39% engineering, 35% household products, 14% process and 12% electronics. From the winners of the national categories, one will be nominated Factory of the Year 1993 - the accolade awarded last year to the Kodak factory at Annesley near Nottingham.

Several lessons have emerged from site visits to this year's short-listed factories, says Awards judge, Malcolm Wheatley. 'Plants don't have to be industrial show-pieces to be best factories but the best all had vigorous management, vision, an involved workforce, a commitment to quality, attention to detail and were continuously striving to improve.' Judges also discovered that difficult customers make for better suppliers. 'If you want to improve as a factory then make yourself supplier to someone like Ford, Marks and Spencer or Tesco,' says Wheatley, 'the sort of customers who have the potential to make their suppliers sweat.' The 1993 Best Factory Awards attracted a spread of entries from throughout the UK. London and the South East was best represented with 30% of entries, the Midlands provided 17% and the North West 16%. Other entrants were spread fairly evenly through the other regions with the exception of Northern Ireland whose entry was a shade thin. Other vital entrants' statistics show that 164 (62%) plants were UK-owned, 14% had a Continental parent and 13% were US-owned. Only one per cent of entering plants was Japanese-owned. Fewer than one fifth of entrants were the sole plant of the parent company and 55% of entrants had a parent company controlling more than 20 plants worldwide. More than half of the plants entering employed 200 or fewer full-time members of staff.

Last year 70% of entrants were accredited with the BS5750 or its equivalent. This year that figure rose to 76%. Other statistics show that 61% of plants have a TQM programme in place; 82% of the plants have team briefings for production employees and 70% of plants provide all employees with at least three days training a year. In keeping with the aim of the Best Factories Awards to promote continuous improvement, 62% of plants have reduced their inventory over the past two years. Of those, 31% have slashed inventory by more than a quarter. 'Two or three factories were truly inspirational,' says Professor New. 'They showed what can be done.'

Meet the finalists at London's Savoy Hotel on 3 November 1993. Contact William Pecover on 071-413 4267.

AWARDS 1993 SHORT LIST

ENGINEERING INDUSTRY - sponsored by British Nuclear Fuels.

Allevard Springs Ltd (Wales)

Dalau Ltd (South East)

Dorman Smith Switchgear Ltd (North West)

Keystone Valve UK Ltd (Scotland)

Premier Exhaust Systems Ltd (Midlands)

Rover Group Ltd (Midlands)

SIV UK Ltd (Midlands)

PROCESS INDUSTRY - sponsored by AT and T ISTEL

Alcan Rolled Products UK (Scotland)

Kimberly-Clark Ltd (Wales)

Redland Rooftiles Ltd (South West)

Zeneca FCMO (North East)

HOUSEHOLD INDUSTRY - sponsored by Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd

Karrimor Int Ltd (North West)

Moy Park Ltd (Northern Ireland)

Philips PDO Discs Ltd (North West)

Plysu Containers Ltd (South East)

Thorn Lighting Ltd (North East)

Vencil Resil Ltd (South West)

ELECTRONICS INDUSTRY - sponsored by The European

GPT Ltd (North West)

IBM Havant (South East)

IBM UK Ltd (Scotland)

Northern Telecom (Northern Ireland)

BEST SMALL COMPANY - sponsored by the Development Board for Rural Wales

Dalau Ltd (South East)

Karrimor Int Ltd (North West)

MOST IMPROVED FACTORY - sponsored by KPMG Peat Marwick

Keystone Valve UK Ltd (Scotland)

Northern Telecom (Northern Ireland)

Rover Group Ltd (Midlands)

Thorn Lighting (North East).

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