Elekta, the world-leading manufacturer of treatment solutions for cancer and brain disorders, has been awarded the prestigious World Class Manufacturing award by The Manufacturer magazine. The award was given in recognition of the quality work produced each year by Elekta manufacturing staff.

Elekta’s U.K. office began implementing Lean processes for manufacturing and product development in 2007, focusing on increasing efficiency, decreasing waste and adopting a culture of continuous improvement. Since then, it has reached significant productivity gains and reduced quality concerns, while at the same time manufacturing a superior product line. The company dramatically improved its delivery/lead times and quality efficiencies as well.

Despite working within the demands of a highly regulated industry, Elekta sought to develop an environment in which employees felt empowered to bring new ideas to the table and try new ways of doing things to help improve the manufacturing process.

"Showing key performance indicators (KPI) to staff through the whole company at Elekta U.K. was really working," says Will Stirling, editor, The Manufacturer. "The charts around the factory showing productivity and lost days showed big efficiency gains, which the staff wanted to improve further. I met 15 people in one visit, from the factory floor to board level. It was clear they all understood the KPIs and the corporate targets so there was a unity of purpose. There was full buy-in to the Lean program at board level, and a healthy order book is further evidence that the Crawley site is getting plenty of things right. Elekta U.K. fully deserves this award."

Professor Peter Hines, Chairman and Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff University (Wales, U.K.), agrees. He says, “Elekta has clearly done some good things. I think the greatest strength was the culture of change, enthusiasm and improvement, and Elekta is taking that out into the wider business, not just the shop floor.”

With more than 400 people in attendance, the award was presented by motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart at the Tower Hotel in London. Sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Process Excellence Academy, the award is much sought after by competitors across the U.K. Previous winners of this category were Bowers & Wilkins Speakers and garden equipment company Hozelock.

“Elekta Crawley manufacturing is very honored and delighted to receive this award for World Class Manufacturer of the Year 2009,” says Brian Edwards, Senior Manufacturing Manager, Elekta U.K. “It’s a key message to our staff at all levels. It’s a motivator in driving us to continue our transformational activities in delivering improved performance and, more importantly, improved quality.”