24 March 2012
The rewards of awards
From winning new orders to earning yourself a promotion, Max Gosney reveals why entering an award could be the smartest business move you ever make
1 A shopfloor motivator (and it's free)
If you really want your workforce to walk through walls for you, put away the cheque book. At heart we're motivated by a higher power than the pound, according to celebrated psychologist Frederick Herzberg.
Recognition, achievement, the work itself, responsibility, promotion and growth – these are the real reasons why we get out of bed, says Herzberg.
Think of awards as the motivational equivalent of a multi-vitamin, offering a dose of several of the above in one handy hit. "The pride among the workforce is enormous," reflects Gary Burgess, lead facilitator of lean development at FujiFilm Speciality Ink Systems of Broadstairs, winner of the Best Process Plant at last year's Best Factory Awards (BFAs). "Everyone wanted a piece of the award, so we ended up sending it on a tour around the site. Each department had a team photo with the trophy."
2 Win business
An award win is an ace up your sleeve when it comes to winning orders. "In the past six months, it's been the difference," says Jamie Kay of Best Engineering Plant winner Camfil Farr of Haslingden, Lancashire. "It's opened up opportunities with the type of customer we want to sell filters to. The fact we've been recognised with this award gives us an enormous credibility."
The ripples of success travel far, with media coverage in the trade and local press reaching prospective buyers far and wide. But be warned: not all awards are equal. Winning the intra company five-a-side tournament doesn't carry the same clout as a BFA. Kay adds: "From my point of view, the BFA is the one that matters. It gives us added credibility because it's a third party award and not an internal benchmark."
3 Impress your boss
Awards like the BFAs are all about celebrating the efforts of the factory team. However, as team captain you can expect some serious gratitude from your superiors for spearheading the success.
"It was the talking point of the business," reveals David Coatsworth, operational manager at Parker Hannifin, Birtley, Factory of the Year in 2011. That's a lot of airspace when you consider Parker Hannifin is listed on the New York stock exchange and operates in 55 countries. "The attention went right the way up to group level and I received a message of congratulations from the CEO."
All the attention can fast-track your own career or, if your superiors are slow off the mark, can make you hot property among headhunters. Past winners report being inundated with job offers within days of landing their BFA gongs.
4 More PR power than Max Clifford
The trophy will galvanise your marketing potential. From press coverage to a visit by your local MP, winning an award will put your factory on a different PR playing field. The trick, say former winners, is to be a shameless self-publicist.
From sending out press releases to taking the trophy on an open-top bus parade, you can't go too far when it comes to publicising your win. Kay explains: "We've put banners up around the factory promoting what we've won and it always sparks lots of comments when customers come to visit."
5 Drive improvement
Even if you don't make this year's BFA shortlist, all entrants receive a free benchmarking report which can be used to spur improvement activities, says Wayne Simcox, associate director operations Deeside at ConvaTec, which was highly commended at the 2011 BFAs. "The feedback this provides is invaluable. But also the process of pulling the entry form together means I've found out a lot of useful information about the business."
Those that do make it to the shortlist can expect the full force of the crack Cranfield judging team to arrive on site. "They ask the tough questions," says Coatsworth. "Sometimes that's not pleasant, but if you use the feedback in the right way, it's an enormous opportunity to improve." And the judges won't be the last manufacturing gurus to come calling, with WM organising best practice site tours to previous winners. This provides a great sounding board for new ideas and processes, adds Coatsworth.
So don't sit out on the sidelines another year, concludes Fujifilm's Burgess. If you're serious about being the best in the business, it's time to start sizing up your entry, he says. "For any company that wants to be considered world class, it's an absolute must to enter... You may say 'we're as good as them' but unless you take the plunge and enter, you'll never know."
Don't delay: there's still time to enter the 2012 Best Factory Awards. Call Maggie Bridge at Cranfield on 01234 754498 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems Ltd
Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd
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