Entries are invited for the 1995 Management Today/Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards. As in previous years, entrants will have the chance to participate in the free and confidential bench-marking exercise provided by Cranfield y Cranfield.
Entries to the Management Today Best Factory Awards have increased by over 50% since their launch with Cranfield School of Management in 1992. Entrants and winners stress that the most important reason for entering is participating in the comprehensive bench-marking exercise. This free and confidential service is open to every entrant in every category, who each receives a report from Cranfield which positions each factory in relation to others in the same section and, where appropriate, provides an objective view of year-on-year progress.
For 1995 there is one important change to the structure of the Awards: they will now not include Regional Awards. Regional Awards were introduced in 1993 to try to encourage more plants to take advantage of the benchmarking service, and sponsors such as the Development Board for Rural Wales, the Commission for the New Towns, and the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland, have been instrumental in attracting more participants to the scheme. The Awards, however, were originally structured to enable the closest possible comparison between plants in their peer group. In the past two years the judges, in choosing for the Regional Awards, have found themselves in the invidious position of deciding between factories in completely different circumstances. 'The Management Today Best Factory Awards have become the most coveted awards in British manufacturing,' says Cranfield's Professor Colin New, 'and we feel it is essential that the structure enables us to select only the very best.' Apart from this change, the rules, timetable and procedure remain largely unchanged and include, as before, a special award for the Most Improved Factory from those who have entered in previous years. Entry is free and open to any manufacturing plant in the UK, a 'plant' being defined as any self-contained unit that has its own personnel, facilities, products and management structure. It is also recognised that more than one plant may occupy a single location and that plants may share certain facilities. At every stage of the selection process, allowance will be made for differences in manufacturing technology.
On the basis of the initial audit, each entrant will be assigned by the judges to the most appropriate of the five industrial categories - engineering, electronics, household products, process and best small company. The last category is open to factories with a workforce of less than 500, from any industry. At the first stage, all entrants complete a confidential 14-page audit report designed to assess a company in the key areas of lead times, changeover performance, inventory control, labour productivity and delivery reliability. The form is then returned to Cranfield, where it is given a code number to conceal the identity of the entrant. Even if the entry is selected as one of the finalists, no identifying details are released unless the company has given prior authorisation.
The best factories identified by the audit reports will be invited to move on to the second stage. The selected plants - assuming that they still wish to participate - will be visited by a panel of judges representing Management Today, Cranfield School of Management and the CBI, and led by Cranfield's Professor New. The panel will spend a day meeting management and workforce on site to make an assessment of the plant's competitive position, paying particular attention to the quality of the senior management team and the degree of employee involvement.
After all short-listed entrants have been seen, the panel will spend two months distilling the results of the audit reports and the findings of the site visits to arrive at a list of finalists. The winners in each category will be announced in November 1995 at the Best Factory Awards lunch in London. All the finalists will be featured extensively in a special report in that month's issue of Management Today.
To enter, apply for an audit form from the Best Factory Awards Co-ordinator at Cranfield School of Management by telephone on 0234 751122 or fax 0234 751806. Forms must be returned no later than 15 April 1995. Further details can be obtained from William Pecover at Management Today on 071-413 4267 or fax 071-413 4503.
TIMETABLE AND PROCEDURE
Participating plants carry out a self audit. Contact the Best Factory Awards Co-ordinator at Cranfield School of Management for an audit form by telephone (0234 751122) or fax (0234 751806). The closing date for return of the audit form is 15 April 1995
Preparation of bench-marking reports and selection of finalists
Bench-marking reports distributed to all participants.
Selection of winners
Best Factory Awards lunch in London with announcement of winners in each category
Best Engineering Industry Factory
Best Electronics Industry Factory
Best Household Products Factory
Best Small Company
Best Process Factory
Most Improved Factory of 1995
Factory of the Year.