Help in our quest for excellence

The Engineer seeks to celebrate success with this year’s Manufacturing Industry Achievement Awards

The search has begun for the best in manufacturing. The Engineer is launching the 1997 Manufacturing Industry Achievement Awards which recognise the most innovative developments across the manufacturing sector, from chemicals and food production through to machine tools and automotive components.

Help us to find the best examples of British engineering excellence. There are 19 categories to enter in the MIAAs, covering industrial innovations, management excellence and product development.

Last year the top award, Manufacturer of the Year, went to Jaguar Cars for impressive improvements in its production methods and manufacturing standards.

The company’s new Jaguar XK8 was launched just after the MIAAs in October last year, marking the culmination of more than five years’ effort to bring the manufacturing operation to best-in-class status. Chairman Nick Scheele was able to claim that the company’s Browns Lane factory near Coventry had taken over as the best quality plant in the worldwide network of Jaguar’s parent company, Ford.

The XK8, spiritual successor to the E-Type, is driven by a new A-V8 engine. The car was designed from scratch at Jaguar’s Whitley engineering centre in Coventry at an estimated cost of £200m.

The first significant new car development by the company for 21 years, it is the first of a number of products from a new concept in shopfloor management.

Following its acquisition by Ford, Jaguar had to bring its production systems and reporting processes into line with the rest of the company. This meant meeting the Ford Q1 quality standard and ISO9001 in 1994 as a springboard for best-in-class productivity and efficiency levels.

The underlying principle of Ford’s total productivity maintenance system is a zero concept – zero accidents, zero equipment downtime, zero rejects, and zero waste.

Jaguar had reached the second point of a four-checkpoint system operated by Ford when it entered last year’s awards; it was the first body and assembly plant in Europe and the first large rear-wheel-drive vehicle operation in the world to do so. It planned to reach Checkpoint C by the end of 1996 and the final stage Checkpoint D this year.

In contrast to Jaguar as Manufacturer of the Year, last year’s Engineer of the Year award went to a small company, Celsis International. The Celsis team of engineers had successfully exploited established bioluminescence technology to develop a portable, instant, hygiene monitor. The technology for its product already existed, and the challenge was to turn a laboratory instrument into a portable detector that could be used on the shopfloor.

Research for the project cost £500,000, and saw Celsis, which was formed in 1988, join forces with Lever Industrial to bring the product to market.

This year The Engineer is sponsoring three main awards which continue from 1996: Manufacturer of the Year, Engineering Team of the Year and Exporter of the Year; and two new awards – Environmentalist of the Year, and the Industrial Award for Management Excellence.

As well as these awards, the MIAAs recognise engineering innovations across five key industrial sectors: mechanical engineering; automotive and aerospace; chemicals; food and drink; and electronics. These industrial innovations are designed to find the most innovative use of a new technology or engineering product in a particular sector. The MIAAs also recognise the best new engineering products with eight individual awards.

The MIAAs are sponsored by Omron, NSK-RHP, Oliver Wight, and Mobil and supported by the DTI, the Design Council and the Engineering Council.