The winners of The Manufacturer Awards 2008 were announced on Wednesday night at a ceremony at the ExCel Centre, London, with Willerby Holiday Homes taking home the coveted Manufacturer of the Year award.
The event was attended by over 400 senior figures from across all sectors of the UK manufacturing industry and was opened with a keynote speech from Alex Burns, Chief Operating Officer of the Williams Formula One team.
Nick Hussey, CEO of SayOne Media which publishes The Manufacturer magazine, said: “Given the current climate it was fantastic to have so many manufacturers attend this year’s awards. I’m delighted for Willerby Holiday Homes and all the winners and short listed companies. We all realise we are in for a tough couple of years but the quality and quantity of the entries demonstrated the strength of the UK’s manufacturing sector.”
Colin Jeffrey, Production Director of Willerby Holiday Homes, said for the company to be recognised by industry experts for its efforts was an accolade that made him very proud. He said: “This achievement is down to everyone who works for the company and is testament to the effort they put in. It’s about a clear message that everyone understands. Everyone knows where we’re going; everyone’s on board and everyone’s on message.
“We recognise we’re in a very difficult time but that just means we had to do things even better when we we’re already doing them well.”
Willerby also won the Manufacturing Operations award and were nominated in Leadership and Strategy and Design and Innovation categories.
Pentagon Speciality and Fine Chemicals took the inaugural SME of the Year award. Allan Laing, chief executive, said the company had recovered from a very difficult position in recent years which meant it the award was all the more poignant for him and his team. “We’ve had improvement plans across the board which have led us from big losses to a very profitable performance in the last year,” he said. “It’s all been down to our employees and their total engagement in continuous improvement. It’s a big deal for us to be able to share this with our staff and see them rewarded for their efforts.”
Nicholas Lindop, Pentagon’s general manager of fine chemicals, said the company’s profitability from where it had come from was the main measure of its success. “We’ll be back next year to win Manufacturer of the Year!” he added.
The IT in Manufacturing award this year was given to Contour Premium Aircraft Seating with planning manager Leyton Hancock also citing the main instigator of the company’s success as the efforts and mindset of its people. “We encountered no resistance to the IT implementations and none of the resistance to change that some companies find,” said Hancock.
“The software we chose was also a big factor in our success and we’re glad that we did thorough research into picking the most effective one.”
The company were also nominated in the Manufacturing Operations category.
The Leadership and Strategy award went to Drallim Industries. Dave Mooney, managing director, said the accolade was a great reward for the company’s hard work and that his team were delighted to win. “Everyone’s contributed to this and now, (with the country) going into recession, we actually see ourselves growing,” he said. “We really believe in British engineering and manufacturing and want to see it back to full strength here in the UK. It’s down to everyone being part of the same successful culture inside companies and this award proves we’ve done that already.”
Alan Goodall, CEO of Inspirepac said he and his team were thrilled to be named the winners of the Design and Innovation award. “We’ve been working very hard on our environmental standing and innovative packaging designs taking weight and cost out,” he said.
“This means so much to us, we’re delighted,” he added, “I’ll take this award and stand before everyone at the company and show them that this kind of industry recognition is the proof of the good work we’re doing day in, day out. We are so, so proud of this award.”
C-Mac MicroTechnology prevailed in Skills and Productivity. Indro Mukerjee, CEO, said C-MAC’s business – designing and manufacturing complex microelectronics for harsh environments – requires a diverse skill set from its employees and places a unique set of demands on driving productivity. “On behalf of everyone at C-MAC, I’m delighted to receive this award and with it the independent recognition of The Manufacturer,” he said. “In making the award the judges have acknowledged the importance our innovative approaches to both staff communication and skill development have played in improving our productivity and contributing to our recent growth.”
In the remaining categories, Converteam UK was awarded the World Class Manufacturing prize and the Sustainable Manufacturing award went to Boss Design Ltd.
The awards were sponsored by Royal Banks of Scotland, SAP, Microsoft, The Process Excellence Academy, KPMG, Design Council, The Consultancy Company and Technology Strategy Board.