Magazine article Management Today

Enter the Best Factory Awards

Magazine article Management Today

Enter the Best Factory Awards

Article excerpt

Entries are once again invited for the Management Today Best Factory Awards, which will be organised, as in the preceding five years, in association with the School of Management at Cranfield University. The aim of these unique awards is to encourage manufacturing excellence throughout British industry by recognising those plants which have already made substantial headway towards achieving world-class manufacturing standards.

The competition rules remain the same. Entry is open and free of charge to any manufacturing plant in the UK, regardless of sector, ownership, size or manufacturing technology; here a plant is defined as a self-contained business unit making tangible products in its own facilities. It is recognised that several plants may occupy the same site, and therefore some facilities may be shared.

Plant managements wishing to enter should be preparing to carry out an internal audit of their factory's performance and should waste no time in applying for an audit form from the Best Factory Awards Co-ordinator at Cranfield (see box). The form is a document containing around 130 questions designed to reveal a plant's performance in areas such as inventory control, machine changeover times and labour productivity. The deadline for the return of the completed document to Cranfield is 16 April 1997.

The form is, of course, confidential. Upon its receipt by Cranfield each entry is given a number to conceal the sender's identity - at this stage not even the judges are privy to this information. Names will be disclosed only if management wishes to proceed further, and then only with the company's consent. Each plant submitting an entry will receive a free-and substantially revamped - 37-page report giving a full benchmarking analysis of its performance compared to the average of its (anonymous) peers. Many award-winners cite this free assessment service as their primary reason for entering in the first place.

On the basis of their forms entrants are assigned to one of four categories: engineering, electrical and electronics, household and general products or process industry. A further category - small company - is reserved for independent factories employing 500 people or less, regardless of sector. Those which shine in the benchmarking exercise are invited to proceed to the next stage which involves a day-long visit to each of the shortlisted plants by a panel of judges led by Colin New, professor of manufacturing strategy at Cranfield School of Management. …

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