Cranfield Management Research Institute - Cranfield School of Management

Cranfield School of Management

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The Operations Management Research Centre

The work of the Operations Management Research Centre covers manufacturing operations and the operational management of service providing businesses.

Best Factory Awards measure manufacturing performance

In partnership with Works Management, the Operations Management Research Centre manages the UK Best Factory Awards. The current data base contains detailed descriptions and performance data relating to over 600 UK manufacturing plants across a wide spectrum of industries. Using the data base together with follow-up visits and analysis, research projects are currently underway concerning the determinants of 'Best' Manufacturing Performance, the relationship of complexity to performance and the establishment of generic benchmarking standards.

A recently completed study of the engineering industry concerned the relationship between generic manufacturing strategies, the practices adopted for such strategies and the resulting quality of customer service achieved. This study is to be replicated across further industrial sectors in the future. A second project has provided the first ever empirical investigation of the concept of manufacturing focus.

Benchmarking practice and performance

'Best Practice' benchmarking procedure and the practical problems of benchmarking implementation are currently under investigation. Researchers are involved at a practical level as facilitators with a number of benchmarking projects with common interest groups which are either industry based or generic process based. The UK Best Factory Awards data base is being developed to provide a 'quick response' quantitative audit benchmark comparison which will hopefully be available to small businesses through the Business Links in the near future.

The practical management of innovation programmes

Organisations frequently manage innovation and development activities not only as single projects but also as a cohesive set of related projects. Research is currently underway in a number of organisations to compare the different methods used for managing project sets. The aim is to identify 'best practice' methods and to examine the link between the strategic aims of the organisation and the formulation of the goals and objectives of the programmes.

Visit the Best Factory Awards web pages.

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