It’s time to celebrate: Winners’ comments from The Manufacturer Awards

Posted on 22 Nov 2012

The winners and runners-up in The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2012 explain what winning means to them.

Manufacturing is a tough, competitive, tenacious sector of the UK economy, jam packed with smart people and processes that add value in a huge range of ways to make some of the world’s best products.

The winners and runners-up in The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2012 explain what winning means to them:

Colin Larkin, Plant Manger of New Holland Agriculture UK – on winning The Manufacturer of the Year Award 2012:
“Over a number of years, the hard work that I personally have put in and the team have put in has come to fruition and this award says that we are recognised as doing really good things in manufacturing. And good things in the UK. Four or five years ago people didn’t know who we were. They didn’t know that our factory in Basildon was producing 25,000 tractors a year.

Colin Larkin, on winning the World Class Manufacturing Award
“We are obviously delighted to get this award for the second year running.

We took what we had achieved last year a further 10% further this year. Inside our company we have an audit system, and this year we received the [CNH WCM] Bronze Award because we have taken our manufacturing level up another couple of steps. We didn’t rest on our laurels after last year and this year have put lots more lean manufacturing improvements into our production system.

“In the next 12-months we know what losses we want to attack and we want to make savings in the region of £2 million next year by implementing more lean projects in our plant. We currently have 100 open projects and we are currently closing about 2000 projects per year. We are continually committed to these improvements as an everyday part of the business and it is really growing throughout the whole organisation.”

Dean Stephenson, Material Handling Manager, New Holland Agriculture – on winning The Manufacturer of the Year Award:
“What we’ve seen in the last two years is the change in attitude of the workforce in looking for the improvements and the engagement of the entire workforce to drive us forward to excellence.”

Richard Lloyd, Global Manufacturing Director, Accolade Wines on winning the Leadership and Strategy Award:
Winning the Leadership and Strategy award is awesome for Accolade Wines. A huge amount of work goes into this area of our business and to be recognised by the industry to say that we are being successful and strategic in what we are doing in this area is phenomenal.

Roman Manthey, Group Operations Director, Coca-Cola Enterprises on winning the Sustainable Manufacturing Award:
“It is very clear that working in an environmentally sustainable manner is the thing for our economy and the environment. It is beneficial to attract the right people into the jobs as it engages the people and gives us the leverage on the financials which we need to sustain the business. Clearly this is an ongoing focus for our company. Our 2020 vision is to reduce the carbon footprint of our 500ml bottle by a third which means we are focused on further reducing packaging, increasing recycling content in the bottles, and engaging the person on the street to recycle more.”

Michael Rudniak, Operations Director at Apex Linvar, winners of the Manufacturing in Action Award:

“What a great showcase for UK manufacturing at its best. The whole team at APEX Linvar is proud and absolutely delighted to win the award. We have made great strides to improve in all areas of the business so this award is testament to the hard work of everyone at the company.

“But it doesn’t mean that we can be complacent. Manufacturing is an evolving industry and in order to stay at the forefront of what we do we need to continuously evaluate what we do, and how, and develop our people and processes accordingly.

“There’s a lot of work to do… Sometimes, the whole culture of a business has to change and this can take time. With the right people, like the people we have, it can be done – and this award proves just that.”

Graeme Fraser-Bell, Vice-President International Sales and Marketing, Entek International on winning the Innovation and Design Award:
“Winning this award is recognition of the fact that we saw the movement of the curb coming before it hit us in terms of start-stop technology. We were able to change our product to suit what we thought was going to be happening in terms of the automotive start-stop technologies so that it could be used immediately in those applications.

“What I believe impressed the judges about Entek was that, at a time when the automotive industry was going through a recessionary period from 2008 to 2010, we went in the opposite direction in terms of the rate of increase of sales and the profitability.”

Derek Wilson, CIO of Origin Enterprises on winning the ICT Award:
“We are an agri-services and fertiliser blending business in the UK and Ireland. I think we were recognised for this award due to our ability to demonstrate a good return on our investment in ICT in the manufacturing industry, particularly our investment in Microsoft Dynamics AX and our huge focus on working capital.”

Simon Collins, Future Talent Development Manager, Caterpillar on winning the People and Skills Award:
“The award reflects the fact that we are recognised as one of the country’s leading manufacturing organisations and that we have a role to play in encouraging more young people to pursue STEM-related careers. We’ve got a great story to tell and we’re happy to do that as a way of championing manufacturing as an industrial sector.”

“I also think that this award reflects the fantastic relationship we have with the trade union. Without that relationship, the factory would have closed in 2009 and it is a great example of how working in partnership with the unions can pay rich dividends.”

“The best advocates of this industry are the people who work in it. My advice for other companies is to use your people to go out into the community, schools, colleges and universities. Also allow young people to come into your facilities to actually have a look at modern manufacturing facilities because there is a pre-conceived myths out there that stop young people entering into manufacturing.

Sean Gallagher, BAE Systems, Winner of the Young Manufacturer of the Year Award:
“I think it is of the utmost importance to recognise young people in the business…It is the people that breed the ideas in a business, not the hierarchy, and people at all levels can breed a lot of life into a business.”

Andrew Harrison, Associate Fellow in Life-cycle Engineering, Rolls-Royce on winning the Through Life Engineering Award:
“Our through-life engineering service is a 10-year commitment, so we’ve been working long and hard to make sure the way we approach the design on the product makes it fit for purpose.

“For companies considering utilising the through life engineering model, think about what it actually costs to own your product in service. In our case the cost of maintaining the product can be many times the cost of manufacturing it. If you are in that kind of situation, you really need to think about how you design it to be maintainable and what can you do to reduce that long-term ownership cost.”

On winning SME Manufacturer of the Year in the over 150 employees category, Mike Hutchinson, Manufacturing Director at engineering group Tharsus commented:

“Winning the SME Manufacturer of the Year Award was absolutely fantastic. It is going to raise our profile and hopefully open us up to new markets and customers.

“Although we are a large SME, Tharsus is a relatively small company in comparison to some, so this accolade gives us further credibility when talking to new customers. We won against some very good competition and this will help to cement positivity around the site. It’s a reward for the journey that we are on and external recognition for the guys on the shop floor.”


The Manufacturer would like to congratulate all the winners and runners-up, and many thanks to all the companies who entered the 2012 awards. We trust you will continue your hard work and hope that youwill come back to enter next year. Thanks also to all the sponsors of the MDC conference and Awards, without which these events would not be possible.”