Manufacturing excellence extends to all regions of the UK.
The die is cast. The judges for the Management Today Best Factory Awards 1995 have now completed their programme of visits, and announced a shortlist of 10 plants (see box) any one of which could officially be named Factory of the Year at the awards ceremony on 2 November. Each of the finalists also stands an excellent chance of carrying off the award of Best Factory within its own industrial sector plus several other prizes - Most Improved Factory, Best Small Company (where appropriate) and the Judges' Special Award. The names of the winners will be made public at the Best Factory Awards lunch which will be held, as in previous years, at The Savoy, London.
The 10 factories listed here are the survivors from a field of over 240 entrants for this year's awards. All entrants have been through a rigorous assessment which began with their completion of a 14-page questionnaire covering aspects of performance such as lead times, inventory control, labour productivity, etc. Computer analysis of their answers provided an initial list of factories to be visited by the judging team which was once again chaired by Professor Colin New of Cranfield School of Management, and included representatives of Management Today, the Confederation of British Industry, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
Although the system of regional awards has been discontinued this year the geographical distribution of factories passing sucessfully through the first stage kept the judges on the move, visiting different parts of the UK from the east coast of Scotland to the west of England to Northern Ireland. It is encouraging that the ambition to be recognised as a world class manufacturer is so widespread. At the same time it should be noted that more than half the finalists are foreign-owned operations.
BEST FACTORY SHORTLIST
Electronics & Electrical
AT&T Global Information Solutions Bonas Machine Company Honeywell
NSK Bearing Europe Toshiba Consumer Products (UK)
Merck Sharpe and Dohme WH Smith & Sons (Tools)
Courtaulds Film Polypropylene Kimberly-Clark Coleshill Mill Shell Lubricants.