The first Factory of the Year (FotY) award to be presented in South Africa, 27 June 2019, honoured Eberspächer South Africa (Pty) Ltd, a leading manufacturer of exhaust systems, for its efficiency and operational excellence, assessed across six criteria.

Factory of the Year Eberspacher SA team S6F2149

The team at Eberspӓcher SA, winner of the inaugural Factory of the Year Award in South Africa.

In the FotY awards programme, performance is evaluated based on following key dimensions:

  • Customer satisfaction: customer feedback and market share growth
  • Quality: quality of products and services, process quality and quality costs
  • Value creation: value creation with respect to capital employed
  • Economics: cost management, personnel productivity, asset productivity and resource efficiency
  • Agility: volume flexibility, customer focus and lead times
  • Innovation: speed and innovation success.

The jury recognised Eberspächer South Africa as a highly efficient manufacturer, with a balanced score across all dimensions assessed and scoring within the top quintile of global benchmarks on the Quality dimension. In addition, Eberspächer South Africa’s advanced use of robotics and automation has brought about efficiency gains for the factory in recent years.

Four further Excellence awards were presented to participants that performed exceptionally well on a particular dimension of the FotY competition. Columbus Stainless (Pty) Ltd was recognised for Excellence in Large Scale Production; Nyamezela Metering (Pty) Ltd for Excellence in Small Scale Production. The Excellence in Digitisation award was presented to Atlantis Foundries (Pty) Ltd and Nampak Ltd (Bevcan Rosslyn) was awarded for Excellence in Resource Efficiency.

Factory of the Year is a global annual benchmarking competition that has been running for over 25 years. It is seen as the toughest benchmarking test for companies in the production arena. The competition has established benchmarks and best practices from over 2000 factories across all industries and over 30 countries. This initiative was launched in South Africa in 2018 by management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Manufacturing Circle and Manufacturing Indaba.

Igor Hulak, Partner at A.T. Kearney, says the current dynamics of the globalising world present a challenge for all manufacturing operations and particularly in the South African manufacturing environment where a strong sector has significant downstream impact.  “More than ever, companies have to find the right balance in their manufacturing footprint and global value chain design. To sustain and grow production successfully, achieving and maintaining world-class excellence requires every manufacturer to pursue efficiency improvements. And today, the 4th industrial revolution is introducing fast-changing technologies to the shop floor at an increasing rate. Although the South African sector in general has a relatively wide performance gap to close, we have been pleased to see that the award winners here can compare directly with world-class performance and standards on the dimensions evaluated.”

Hulak says the idea of identifying and rewarding excellent performance and providing all participants with a confidential evaluation of their competitive position, free of charge, is especially meaningful and beneficial. This is what Factory of the Year aims to do. Since its inception in 1992, hundreds of companies have participated and benefited from the independent, cross-industry feedback that comes with the benchmark. It has enabled them to analyse their strengths and weaknesses and initiate improvements which, from a local perspective, should become an enabler for greater operational excellence.

Ilse Karg, Chief Director of Future Industrial Production Technologies at the DTI, sees a further benefit of the competition in its raising awareness of trends and examples of Industry 4.0 solutions that work. “Small businesses and suppliers should take note of the award-winning companies and market leaders which are demonstrating the opportunities becoming available," says Karg.

Theo Sibiya, Managing Director of A.T. Kearney Africa says, “The Factory of the Year competition provides inspiration to manufacturers to raise their game and return the sector to its previous heights and beyond.”

Martin Sanne, Executive Manager at the CSIR noted that, “All South African manufacturers stand to learn hugely from this competition, as it offers not only a benchmarking of capability against the world, or in South Africa, but also against oneself. It was a pleasure to see the amazing capability of South African manufacturers and I am confident that with this world-class capability, manufacturing has a great future in South Africa.”

Jury members FotY SA 2019

The winners of the competition were selected by an independent jury including:

Ms Ilse Karg, Chief Director of Future Industrial Production Technologies, Department of Trade and Industry

Mr Pieter de Beer, Senior Industry Development Manager of New Industries, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)

Ms Philippa Rodseth, Executive Director, Manufacturing Circle

Mr Martin Sanne, Executive Manager, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Mr Anton Grutter, Executive Director, Lean Institute of Africa


For more information visit: www.safactoryoftheyear.co.za.

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