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Best Factory Award

Delos Partnership is Headline Sponsor

The Delos Partnership Limited are proud to be associated with Cranfield Management's Best Factory Award, which is designed to celebrate success in the UK's manufacturing industry.


Cranfield University leads the way in education consultancy and transformational research.

  • Top 4 UK for commercial research, consultancy and executive education

  • 90% of our research is internationally recognised

  • 3rd in the UK for Open Programmes, FT Executive Education Survey 2015

Cranfield University Manufacturing brings together design, technology and management expertise linking fundamental materials research with manufacturing to develop novel technologies and improve the science base of manufacturing research.

The Process

Selection of the category Award winners and the Factory of the Year is made by the team of judges 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  where the judges meet with management and the workforce and tour the site.

Once the shortlisted 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

Get more details by going to Cranfield


Our reasons for sponsoring Best Factory of Year award


The Works Management magazine asked us some questions on why we wanted to sponsor this prestigious event. The questions and our answers were:


  • Why are Delos supporting the Best Factory Awards?

We are passionate about helping UK manufacturing to be excellent. In the 1970’s the manufacturing sector accounted for around 30 % of Gross Value Add for the UK economy. Today it is only 10 %. 5.5 million people were employed in manufacturing in 1982; now it is only 2.6 million. Manufacturing is a key activity that adds real value to the UK economy, and the Best Factory Awards encourage UK companies to be become more productive and more competitive.

  • What would you like manufacturers to know about Delos?

The key to being competitive as a manufacturer requires huge cultural change in most companies. That philosophy should be based around a clear vision, one team, working to one version of the truth. The key is to engage people to work as one team in the relentless pursuit of continuous improvement to beat the competition. Education, in its broadest sense, in how to tailor and adapt best practise from many companies to an individual company’s environment, is the best way to become and remain competitive.

  • You work a lot with manufacturing companies, what major trends in UK manufacturing have you seen over the last 5 years?

Large industrial companies have struggled with global competition to remain competitive, and have invested heavily in becoming more lean and efficient to remain competitive. Pharmaceutical companies with patent protection fall prey to generics who take over where the patent leaves off. Innovation gives way to far eastern competition. Everyone struggles with global sourcing, global competition, and long supply chains. Customers are pursued in every corner of the globe. This has put a real strain on most companies, but extremely so on the Small to Medium size companies who are the growth of the future.
• What makes British manufacturing great? Innovation, commitment to quality, flexibility and determination to succeed. Never the cheapest in the world, but always striving to provide leadership in products. The invention of the television came from Scotland. The technical development of mobile phones came from Newcastle. The internet was developed by a UK scientist to name but a few. But peoples’ ability to commit to, understand and tailor best practise to their situation is key to the success of British manufacturing companies.

  • What key bit of advice would you like to pass on to manufacturing business leaders?

Business leaders are often thought to be the bosses of companies who are in charge and do things. The real leaders are those that know how to make themselves redundant – in the sense that they get away from the day to day to provide vision and direction. "You manage things; you lead people." As Grace Murray Hopper said. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” - as said by Rosalynn Carter

  • If you could bestow one gift on UK manufacturing, what would that be?

An ERP system that would always be capable of being implemented right first time every time; it would deliver the right performance measures that would automatically drive the right behaviours, which eliminate “silo mentalities”. Then systems would not be seen as the barrier to progress that many companies find that they are. Instead a good quality system would be invisible as a key foundation stone, enabling educated people to be freed from chains of spreadsheets to create best in class processes, and continuous improvement.

  • Which person or company inspires you and why?

He died in 2008, but Sir John Harvey Jones as chairman of ICI was determined to make manufacturing succeed. In 1986 he said – having a go at those who did not think manufacturing was a vital part of the UK economy - "If we imagine the UK can get by with a bunch of people in smocks showing tourists around medieval castles, we are quite frankly out of our tiny minds."

  • What are the challenges for UK manufacturing in the next year and how should they deal with them?

Brexit is not going to happen in two years’ time. The balance of probability is that we will face a 10 % tax on exports to Europe on many products, and a 30 % tax on many other products. UK Manufacturing productivity significantly lags behind most other major industrial economies. In this scenario the challenge is to make UK manufacturing so excellent that it can compete and maximise profits in spite of barriers to international trade, built on protectionism. All companies should leverage best practise now to become competitive when they need to be.

  • What plant have you visited that has impressed you and why?

It is difficult to select out a single company. But I recently visited a small £ 25 m sales company that supplies optical equipment. Over ten years they have implemented an integrated business planning process [having turned round a disastrous ERP implementation], and combined this with a commitment to a practical implementation of standard continuous improvement tools. Its excellence is now reflected in their continued fantastic bottom line performance. They have made some great innovations which supports their continued growth.


Get more details on entering by clicking here


Manufacturing Management Show - Ricoh Stadium

22nd - 23rd November 2017


Works Management’s Manufacturing Management Show brings everything you need to know about running a successful manufacturing site under one roof.

The show combines exhibition, keynote conference and hands on workshops across all areas of successful factory management.

From 5S and lean strategy deployment to finding the right forklift truck- this show is designed for busy manufacturing mangers who need immediate advice across a range of production issues.

The Manufacturing Management Show will run from 22nd-23rd November 2017 at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.


See last year's  video with our partner - Dave Manning - talking about the show.  Click Here