Electronics companies have tended to show the way forward to the rest of British manufacturing industry. New computer systems, quality initiatives, just-in-time methods - over the years the electronics companies, with their growing markets, have been able to find the time and money to invest in these things ahead of many others. Yet the results have been patchy. On the whole, the judges were disappointed by this year's entrants in the Electronics category. The general criticism does not apply to GPT, however, which leavens the latest technologies with commercial good sense.
GPT, which is jointly owned by GEC and Siemens, has transformed the old Plessey factory in Edge Lane, Liverpool. Dating back to 1903, this was once one of the largest plants in the North West, employing several thousand people in the manufacture of telephones and exchanges. Modern high-tech exchanges use microprocessors in place of electro-mechanical devices, and GPT has had to adapt with the technology.