Awards key to business success

Erika Marshall     27th April 2016

After scooping overall winner of one of the region’s most prestigious awards, MANUFACTURING success story Nifco 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, winning because of excellence in all areas which made 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 Association (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 is important to remember, Nifco has been recognised for outstanding performance, but we can’t afford to become complacent and there is always opportunity to improve in order to be the best business we can. That is the beauty of these competitions – you see your strong and weak areas and can tailor your plans accordingly, and as said by Olympic Skeleton Champion, Amy Williams during last night’s ceremony, success is about finding all those changes that make just 1 or 2% difference each”

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.

Marketing and Communications Manager, Erika Marshall, added: “Not only does the awards process facilitate a review of your 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 business in the North East, and more specifically Teesside, needs right now. Drafting submissions for a business as successful as Nifco is certainly not a difficult task – 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 said: “We salute all of the other very 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!”