Awards key to business success

After scooping overall winner of one of the region’s most prestigious awards, manufacturing success story Nifco UK has urged other companies to benchmark their performance wherever possible.

The Eaglescliffe-based car parts manufacturer has been named Company of the Year at the North East Business Awards, after showing excellence in all areas, making the business stand out above the other worthy finalists.

The company is now urging other businesses to test their performance against their peers – something Nifco managing director and European operations officer Mike Matthews MBE believes has helped the company achieve more.

Mr Matthews, who is also NECC President and deputy chair of the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), said: “Awards are not just about winning. The process of evaluating your company’s performance is something that helps you critically review your company, understand its strengths and perhaps more importantly, to understand how your business stacks up against others. Benchmarking really is the key word right now – whether using awards, meeting with other businesses, membership organisation resources and even intercompany comparisons.

“For us, entering awards has been a way of really understanding what we are doing well and what we are doing not so well. Winning is a huge bonus, and something that provides an incredible morale boost for the team. Business at Nifco has not all been plain sailing in recent months, and we have discussed the challenges we have faced, but it’s all about how we get through these challenges, and to come out of last year positively, and now with an award under our belt is fantastic.

“It’s great to be recognised by these awards, but we won’t become complacent – there is always opportunity to improve in order to be the best business we can. As said by Olympic Skeleton Champion, Amy Williams, during last night’s ceremony, success is about finding all of the smallest areas that can improve, maybe just by one or two per cent each, but collectively, can mean great improvements.”

The company, which serves clients including Ford, Honda, Jaguar Land-Rover, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Vauxhall Opel has seen turnover grow year on year, and now has a team of more than 550. It is held up on a national stage, as an example of best practice in its field.

Erika Marshall, marketing and communications manager, said: “Not only does the awards process facilitate a review of business activity against that of your peers, it also builds your profile and gives you a platform on which to showcase everything that is great about your business – something businesses in the North East, and more specifically Teesside, really need right now. This is the fourth trophy we’ve brought home in the last six months and it’s fair to say the trophy cabinet is definitely starting to get a bit cramped.”

Mr Matthews added: “We salute all of the strong finalists and winners that made this competition so exciting and very difficult to predict this year – a true testament to North East business prowess!”

To find out more about Nifco, visit www.nifcoeu.com