Awards entrants can win various industry sector awards such as Best Engineering Plant, as well as special category awards such as the People and Skills Development Award or the Most Improved Plant Award.

The Awards are open to any UK based plant (large or small) and since 1992, more than 3000 manufacturing plants have taken part in this prestigious annual awards scheme.

Another important element of the Best Factory Awards is the free benchmarking report that each entrant will receive. This allows the plant, in complete confidentiality, to benchmark its performance against the highest standards in their industry sector.

Best factory Award Winners
BFA Winners 2015

How to Enter

To enter the awards, an audit questionnaire must be completed, giving information about the characteristics and performance of the plant.

Entry to the awards scheme is free.

The entry unit for the awards is a manufacturing plant in the UK. A plant is defined as a relatively self-contained unit with its own management staff which may be identified either by separate facilities, by separate product types or by a separate management structure.

Award Categories

There are several Best Factory Awards that can be won. They are as follows:

  • Engineering Plant Award
  • Process Plant Award
  • Electronics and Electrical Plant Award
  • Household and General Products Plant Award
  • Best SME
  • Innovation Award
  • Most Improved Plant Award
  • People and Skills Development Award
  • Continuous Improvement Award
  • Energy and Environment Award
  • Supply Chain Award
  • Health and Safety Award

In addition there is the coveted overall award:

  • Factory of the Year 

The winners may display the Best Factory Awards Logo for three years.

Entering

In order to enter, an audit questionnaire must be completed and returned to Cranfield School of Management.  The Awards have closed for this year but if you would like to register your interest for the 2016 Best Factory Awards, please complete the BFA Entry Form or contact Sherry Davison at the following address:

Sherry Davison
Awards Co-ordinator
Cranfield School of Management
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0AL
Email:
sherry.davison@cranfield.ac.uk

T: 01234 754391
On the basis of the information in the questionnaire a short-list of the best factories in each category is chosen by the judges. Each of these factories is visited by a team of assessors. The assessors meet with management and the workforce and tour the plant in order to make an assessment of the plant's competitive position and manufacturing performance.

In September, representatives of the short-listed plants are invited to attend a Gala Dinner at a prestigious venue in the Midlands, at which the winners in each category and the Factory of the Year are announced.

Each participating factory, whether it is short-listed or not, is sent a comprehensive and confidential report comparing its performance with the range of performance of other plants in the same industrial category.

Providing a Benchmark for your plant

All plants that participate in the awards receive a free confidential and detailed individual benchmarking report. Each report contains more than 80 tables of valuable and difficult to obtain information.

For each performance measure the audited plant's performance is compared with the distribution of the performance of all plants in the same industrial sector. Two illustrative tables from the report can be accessed below.

  • Example Table 1
  • Example Table 2

How the winners are selected

The Judges and the Process

Selection of the category award winners and the Factory of the Year is made by a team of assessors led by Prof Marek Szwejczewski (Director of the Best Factory Awards) from Cranfield School of Management.

The selection process consists of two distinct stages. The first stage of the selection process is based on the audit questionnaire completed by each participating organisation. At this stage all of the participating factories are anonymous. The best factories identified by analysis of the questionnaires are short-listed for consideration as prospective category award winners. Only if a factory has been short-listed is its identity revealed to the judges.

The short-listed plants are then invited to participate in the second stage of the competition. This involves a plant visit by the team of assessors. The team of assessors is made up of experienced individuals from the Cranfield School of Management, the IEE and other institutions. During the visit the judges meet with management and the workforce and tour the site.

Once all of the factories have been visited the judges select the award winners in each category. They then select one of the category award winners as Factory of the Year. The winners are announced at an award winner’s lunch in the Autumn to which all of the short-listed participants are invited.

In making their selection the judges take into account several criteria, some of which are:

  • Operating performance measures in comparison with other factories in the same industrial sector. Measures taken into account will include quality consistency, scrap / rework rates, speed of delivery, delivery reliability and productivity
  • Rates of performance improvement
  • The quality and effectiveness of the systems in place to ensure continuous improvement
  • The quality of management leadership and strategic thinking
  • The extent to which the factory meets the criteria for world class manufacturing.

Timetable

Jan - Mar Awards open for entries. Audit questionnaire available from Cranfield School of Management.
Mid April Closing date for submission of completed questionnaires to Cranfield School of Management.
May Assessment of entries and selection of shortlist of finalists.
Jun - Jul Factory visits to finalists.
End Aug Selection of the award winners.
Sep Preparation and distribution of individual benchmarking reports to all entrants.
Announcement of the winners at the Best Factory Awards Gala Dinner.

Previous Award Winners

Listed below are the names of the various main award winners for the period 2015 to 1999

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2015
Company Winner of
Siemens Magnet Technology Toyota Material Handling Factory of the Year 2015
Best Engineering Plant
People & Skills Development Award
3M UK Best Household & General Products Plant
Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems Best Process Plant
Export Award
Siemens Digital Factory Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
Arla Foods Innovation Award
Vaillant Industrial UK Most Improved Plant
Leyland Trucks Supply Chain Award
Diageo
Tharsus
Plastek UK
Health & Safety Award
Best SME
Judges' Special Award

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2014

Company Winner of
City Technology Factory of the Year 2014
Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
Innovation Award
Alcoa Manufacturing GB Best Process Plant
Bosch Thermotechnology Best Engineering Plant
Supply Chain Award
Energy & Environment Award
Coca-Cola Enterprises Best Household & General Products Plant
3M UK Health & Safety Award
LINPAC Packaging Most Improved Plant
MSD People & Skills Development Award
Cummins Power Generation
Interflex Group
Brita Water Filter Systems
Export Award
Best SME
Judges' Special Award

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2013:

Company Winner of
Sony UK Technology Centre Factory of the Year 2013
Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
Innovation Award
Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems Best Process Plant
Bosch Thermotechnology Best Engineering Plant
Health & Safety Award
Milliken European Airbag Products Best Household & General Products Plant
Supply Chain Award
Tharsus Group Best SME
Cummins Power Generation Most Improved Plant
Export Award
Siemens Industry Motion Control People & Skills Development Award
Eaton Production International
Tata Global Beverages
Energy & Environment Award
Judges' Special Award

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2012:

Company Winner of
Aimia Foods Factory of the Year 2012
Best Household & General Products Plant
Best SME
People Management Award (Joint)
Entek International Best Process Plant
People Management Award (Joint)
Energy & Environment Award
Siemens MR Magnet Technology Best Engineering Plant
Supply Chain Award
Innovation Award
Renishaw Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
Benson Box Skills Development Award
Cummins Power Generation Most Improved Plant
Analox Health & Safety Award
Vernacare The Judges' Special Award

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2011:

Company Winner of
Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Factory of the Year 2011
Best Household & General Products Plant
Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems Best Process Plant
Camfil Farr Best Engineering Plant
Carl Zeiss NTS Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
People Management Award
Health & Safety Award
Aimia Foods Best SME
Skills Development Award
Most Improved Plant
CareFusion Supply Chain Award
CooperVision Innovation Award
Barfoots of Botley Energy & Environment Award
H C Starck The Judges' Special Award

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2010:

Company Winner of
Siemens Traffic Solutions Factory of the Year 2010
Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
Bison Manufacturing Best Process Plant
Vaillant Group Best Engineering Plant
Energy & Environment Award
Tamar Foods Best Household and General Products Plant
EMS Radio Fire & Security Systems Best SME
Vitacress Salads People Management & Skills Development Award
Fläkt Woods Supply Chain Award
Siemens Magnet Technology Most Improved Plant
Innovation Award
Thales Missile Electronics Health & Safety Award
Olympus KeyMed The Judges' Special Award

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2009:
Company Winner of
Thorn Lighting Factory of the Year 2009
Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
People Management Award
JohnsonDiversey UK Best Process Plant
Energy & Environment Award
Gripple Best Engineering Plant
Best Small Company
Innovation Award
Twinings Best Household and General Products Plant
Skills Development Award
Barfoots of Botley Supply Chain Award
Olympus Keymed Most Improved Plant
Kidde Products Health & Safety Award
Plexus Corp (UK) The Judges' Special Award

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards in
2008:
Company Winner of
Power Panels Electrical Systems Factory of the Year 2008
Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
Skills Development Award
Best Small Company
Saint-Gobain Glass UK Best Process Plant
Gates Power Transmission Best Engineering Plant
Aimia Foods Best Household and General Products Plant
People Management Award
Skymark Performance Films Innovation Award
InterfaceFLOR Energy & Environment Award
Merck Sharp & Dohme Health & Safety Award
Most Improved Plant
Plexus Corp (UK) Supply Chain Award

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards
2007:
Company Winner of
Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (UK) Factory of the Year 2007
Best Process Plant
People Management
Ultraframe (UK) Best Engineering Plant
Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems Best Electronics and Electrical Plant
Supply Chain
Coca-Cola Enterprises Best Household and General Products Plant
Exception PCB Best Small Company
The Judges' Special Award
Rocket Medical Most Improved Plant
Innovation
Sharp Interpack Health Safety and Environment

The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2006:
Company Winner of
Vitacress Salads Factory of the Year 2006
Best Household and General Products Plant
Best Supply Chain
Best Factory, South & East
UPM-Kymmene (UK) Best Process Plant
Best Factory, Midlands & Wales
AESSEAL Best Engineering Plant
Best factory, North & Scotland
Siemens Automation & Drives Best Electronics and Electrical Plant
Custom Interconnect Best Small Company
Dormer Tools Most Improved Plant
People Management Award
Drinks Dispense Group Innovation Award
Genzyme Health Safety & Environment Award
Sulzer Pumps The Judges' Special Award
The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2005:
Company Winner of
Saint-Gobain Glass UK Factory of the Year 2005
Best Process Plant
Health, Safety & Environment Award
Best Factory, Yorkshire & Humber
GETRAG FORD Transmissions Best Engineering Plant
Campbell's Grocery Products Best Household & General Products Plant
People Management Award
MK Electric Best Electronics and Electrical Plant
Innovation Award - Joint Winner
Best Factory, East of England
Prism Electronics Most Improved Plant
Robinson Paperboard Packaging Innovation Award - Joint Winner
Power Panels Electrical Systems Best Small Company Award
The Judges' Special Award
Best Supply Chain
The Cranfield School of Management Best Factory Awards 2004:
Company Winner of
Unilever Ice Cream & Frozen Food Factory of the Year 2004
Best Household & General Products Plant
Best Factory, East of England
Nissan Motor Manufacturing Best Engineering Plant
Best Factory Award for Supply Chain
Best Factory, North East England
BAE Systems Avionics Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
People Management Award
The Cheese Company Best Process Plant
Siemens Automation & Drives Most Improved Plant
Rocket Medical Best Small Company
Innovation Award Winner
Oxoid The Judges' Special Award
Management Today Awards for Manufacturing in association with Cranfield School of Management and in partnership with the DTI 2003 Company Winner of Stannah Stairlifts Manufacturing Plant of the Year
Best Engineering Plant Ginsters Best Household and General Products Plant
Best Supply Chain Du Pont SA Best Process Plant Baxall Best Electronics and Electrical Plant
Best Innovation/R&D
[Joint Winner] Reckitt Benckiser (Derby) Most Improved Plant
[Joint Winner]
Fujifilm Electronic Imaging Most Improved Plant
[Joint Winner] Gripple Best Small Plant
Best Innovation/R&D
[Joint Winner] Coors Brewers (Alton) Continued Excellence Award
Management Today Awards for Manufacturing in association with Cranfield School of Management and in partnership with the DTI 2002
Company Winner of
Schefenacker Vision Systems UK Manufacturing Plant of the Year
Best Engineering Plant
Joint Best Supply Chain
Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare Manufacturing Best Process Plant
Trend Control Systems Best Electronics & Electrical Plant
Coca-Cola Enterprises Best Household & General Products Plant
Natures Way Foods Joint Best Supply Chain
Anson Packaging Best Small Plant
Best Innovation/R&D
Domino Printing Sciences Most Improved Plant
SC Johnson Continued Excellence Winner
Management Today Best Factory Awards in association with Cranfield School of Management. 2001
Company Winner of
Southco Manufacturing Co Inc Factory of the Year & Best Engineering Factory
3M UK Plc Best Household & General Products Factory - Joint Winner
Alenia Marconi Systems Best Electronics & Electrical Factory
Cash Bases GB Ltd Best Small Factory, Most Improved Factory
Linpac Corrugated Cases Best Household & General Products Factory - Joint Winner
Nestle UK Limited Best Process Factory
Northrop Grumman Interconnect Technologies The Judges' Special Award

Management Today Best Factory Awards in association with Cranfield School of Management. 2000
Company Winner of
Elida Faberge Factory of the Year &
Household & General Products Best Factory
Leyland Trucks Best Engineering Factory
Krone (UK) Technique Limited Best Electronics & Electrical Factory
Wrafton Laboratories Limited Best Process Factory
Guinness Packaging Most Improved Factory
Hamilton Acorn Limited Best Small Factory
Castrol The Judges' Special Award
Management Today Best Factory Awards in association with Cranfield School of Management. 1999
Company Winner of
Britax Wingard Limited Factory of the Year &
Best Engineering Factory
Nichols Foods Best Household Factory
Reckitt & Colman Best Process Factory
Alenia Marconi Systems (Operations Division) Most Improved Factory
genetix gx Limited Best Small Factory
Bespak Europe Limited Judges Special Award

Testimonials - Why enter?

Winners’ Testimonials

"The Best Factory process has been a fantastic experience from start to finish."
"The focus that the Best Factory Award process gave our Company as a whole has lead to genuine improvements within the business."
"You should not miss the opportunity to see how you measure against the best in the UK, we are so glad we did!"

Chris Mulvihill, Manufacturing Director
EMS Radio Fire and Security Systems Ltd

"This was our first involvement in the Best Factory Awards. It was a huge boost as a business to be shortlisted in 5 categories and to win the Best Factory Award for Health & Safety. I was impressed by the interest shown by our employees and will use their enthusiasm and the benchmarking report to help shape our operational improvement targets for next year. I also look forward to sharing the news of our success with our customers."
Dr Phil Jones, Managing Director
Thales

"Excellence can be found in an enormous variety of manufacturing companies, ranging from small private companies to huge multinationals and manufacturing anything from meat pies to missiles - the Best Factory Awards has them all and the delegates share a common goal - to be the best. If you run a factory, the Best Factory Awards Ceremony and Conference is an unrivalled opportunity to learn, benchmark, network, inspire you team and have fun!"
Steve Brown, Director of Manufacturing Business
Olympus KeyMed

"It is clear that these highly sought after and prestigious awards are considered to be the Oscars of the manufacturing industry. We were absolutely delighted and proud therefore to receive awards in the categories SME and People Management and Skills Development following what was a most rigorous and thorough assessment process."
Susan Jeffery, Operations Director
Controlled Therapeutics (Scotland)

"We knew that progress was being made but the audit and subsequent benchmark report has enabled us to put that progress in to an industry context and prioritise further improvement actions"
Stephen Forbes, General Manager
Bison Manufacturing

"As a team we found the day very well managed and insightful as to the standard of business we should be working towards - we hope to be back next year and have made sufficient improvement to merit a full category recognition."
Michael Peoples, General Manager
Clyde Bergemann Limited

"It was a lovely, thoroughly enjoyable day and everybody from the Flakt Woods party had a great sociable time! We are still enjoying our success here in Colchester and our award sits polished, proud and displayed on the reception desk!"
Kevin Ranson, Environmental Health & Safety Manager
Fläkt Woods

Case Studies

The six case studies presented below provide examples of the approach manufacturers have adopted in order to improve performance and become more competitive.

Bowers & Wilkins Loudspeakers
Five years ago the premier manufacturer Bowers and Wilkins faced increased demand for its products. The introduction of lean manufacturing helped me to meet this challenge and also drove continuous improvement through the business.

Coors Brewery Ltd, Alton Brewery
Fifteen years ago Coors? Alton Brewery was among the poorest performers in its group. By setting out clear objectives, and allowing the workforce a big say in how those objectives were reached, the brewery has renewed itself.

Ginsters Ltd
The Cornish Savoury food maker has used a combination of people development and automation to double production and increase margins.

Reckitt Benckiser
In 2000 Reckitt Benckiser?s Derby household-products factory looked likely to close. Today it holds its own in one of manufacturing?s most furiously competitive markets

Sabanci UK Ltd
Five years ago Sabanci?s Teeside chemicals plants were under-performing. Now, after some capital expenditure and improvement in procedures, systems and working practices, these world-class plants export to China.

Stannah Stairlifts Ltd
When Stannah Stairlifts saw signs of declining profits it acted decisively. Now its quality, cost and delivery are world beating. And return on sales, once in free fall, is climbing.

All six case studies were researched and written by Dr Marek Szwejczewski and John Dwyer. The photographs of the factories were taken by John Dwyer, except for the one in the Sabanci case study.

The authors would like to thank the Department of Trade and Industry for their support.