03 July 2017

The Champions League

Do you want to join the pantheon of greats that have graced the stage at WM’s Manufacturing Champions Awards? Then now is your chance, as Chris Beck explains

If you are passionate about proving that UK manufacturing still leads the way in innovation, quality and all-round excellence, then the Works Management (WM) Manufacturing Champions Awards are for you.

The 2017 awards, due to be held at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on 7 December, are now open for entrants. With a record eleven categories to enter, finding a place to showcase the talent and commitment of a team or individual on your site has never been easier.

We need your stories of manufacturing excellence – from inspirational managers who have transformed staff morale, to operators who have gone above and beyond to find innovative solutions to existing problems, taking in the teams who have worked together to develop a health and safety strategy that the whole site has bought into.

Each category is judged by a panel of experts, made up of industry leaders, previous winners and organisations. To catch their attention, your entry must stand out amongst dozens of others, so make sure it shines bright. Give them facts, figures, stats and tables to back up your case, but throw in a touch of personality – photos, testimonials and sketches have proved to be hugely successful in the past.

However you choose to fill out our entry form, remember that the judges will be looking for the entrant’s ability to demonstrate outstanding performance, innovation, leadership, teamwork and added value to customers. These represent the core attributes of a Manufacturing Champion, and will underpin the industry’s continued renaissance in the UK.

Of the eleven categories for 2017, the SME Innovators Award is brand new for this year. The award, which is limited to companies with 250 employees or fewer, is designed to celebrate the team that demonstrates that size doesn’t matter when it comes to showcasing the best of manufacturing talent.

On top of this, the remaining categories, which are open to all, cover everything from maintenance to skills, and from health and safety to leadership. You can enter multiple employees or teams for multiple categories – wherever you feel someone has gone above and beyond, we recommend you put them forward for recognition.

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 22 September 2017. All entries will be scrutinised by WM’s editorial team, who will pass all qualifying entries over to the panel of judges, who will meet at a judging day to decide on a final shortlist, and the overall winners.

The 2017 shortlist will be announced in November ahead of the winners being revealed at the final event in December.

Last year’s event included interviews with some of the class of 2016, and industry tips and stories from television broadcaster, and host for the awards, Steph McGovern.

Many will undoubtedly say ‘we have no chance of winning’ or ‘we don’t do awards’, but the benefits of being shortlisted, let alone winning, can be huge. Not applying would be missing out on the chance to pitch yourself against your peers from all areas of manufacturing, and, you never, know, you might just walk away with the trophy.

A sentiment echoed by Paul Gemmell, operations capability development manager at BAE Systems Naval Ships, who won the Skills Champion Award in 2016. "We need to collaborate and share best practice across our sector and also challenge ourselves by entering the great work that we do into nationally recognised events such as the Manufacturing Champions Awards – how else are we going to find out how we compare to our peers,” he says.

UK manufacturing has long been seen as drab, dreary and on the decline. The Manufacturing Champions Awards are your way of dispelling that myth and positioning yourself at the vanguard of the industry.

In the words of Chris Hawes, test technician at Siemens Magnet Technology and winner of theEmployee-Led Innovation Award in 2016: “The UK manufacturing work force has a real talent for turning ideas and dreams into reality, and these awards acknowledge and celebrate this.”

For more details, and to enter into the Manufacturing Champions Awards 2017, visit www.manufacturing-champions.co.uk

Chris Beck

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