GE Aviation Wales snatched the Manufacturer of the Year prize in front of a crowd of 800 at The Manufacturer magazine’s annual awards last night in Birmingham.
The GE site in Nantgarw, south Wales is responsible for a wide range of maintenance, overhaul and repair activities for civil and military aircraft.
GE Aviation Wales employs 1,200 people and last night it was awarded the prestigious title of Manufacturer of the Year – the top prize at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards.
Managing Director, Mike Patton, GE Aviation Wales said: “I’m excited. It’s a testament to my team. It takes great people to get the ‘people and skills’ award and I’ve got that. Hard work, dedication, they know what we need to do, they know what skills we need in order to be successful and I’m just proud of the accomplishment and of what they’ve done.”
The award is attributed by judges to a category winner which the panel believes to be the best all-round ambassador for competitive manufacturing in the UK and a role model for peers in the industry.
The runner up for the overall Manufacturer of the Year Award was advanced textile manufacturer Milliken which makes the specially surfaced material for car airbags at its factory in Bury.
The Awards ceremony was hosted at the ICC in Birmingham and attracted 800 guests from manufacturing companies and supporting organisations, a record crowd for the event which has been running for 15 years.
Category winners for the awards were:
Leadership and Strategy – Sheffield Forgemasters
Sustainable Manufacturer of the Year – Crown Paints
People and Skills – GE Aviation Wales
Innovation and Design – Kinnerton Confectionery
Manufacturing in Action – Xaar (highly commended), Jaguar Land Rover (winner)
World Class Manufacturing – Milliken
Through Life Service Engineering – Monarch Aircraft Engineering
Supply Chain Excellence – Herman Miller
ICT – Hayward Tyler
SME of the Year – Preformed Lined Products GB (Sub 125 employees), EnviroVent (over 125 employees) The Authentic Food Company (highly commended in the over 125 employee category)
Young Manufacturer of the Year – Ross Meikle, Hayward Tyler
Apprentice of the Year – Anna Schlautmann, MBDA
Keith Herring, Head of IT at HaywardTyler who won the ICT Award said: “It was a team effort. It’s fantastic for the rest of the company. Everybody put in one hundred per cent of what they had, all their contributions were essential for the company. The support from the highest levels, starting from the CEO right through the entire company helped us achieve the award.”
The awards ceremony included a speech from the inspirational Richard Noble, head of the Bloodhound SSC programme to build a supersonic car which will attempt to reach 1,000 miles per hour in 2016.
The programme includes 260 UK suppliers, all of whom offer their products, services and expertise voluntarily to support the project which hopes to inspire a new generation of skilled engineers.
Mr Noble was followed at the podium by Nikki Hesford, founder of the lingerie company Made in Preston.
She gave a provocative and challenging speech to sum-up the value of UK manufacturing and the challenges of competitive production in the UK. She particularly focused on her experience of reshoring production from China.
A former glamour model and single mum, Ms Hesford also gave some thought provoking yet lighthearted insight into the profile of the manufacturing industry for women.
More detail on the awards ceremony and comments for guests and winner will be available soon.
TM extends its thanks to the sponsors of The Manufacturer of the Year Awards for making the event possible. In particular, our thanks goes to the event’s corporate sponsor for six years running, Royal Bank of Scotland.