Factory of the Year competition makes its return as the economy bounces back

Following a challenging two years within the manufacturing sector, Kearney, a leading management consulting firm is excited to announce the return of the Factory of the Year competition with entries now open for 2023.

“Even pre-covid the South African manufacturing sector faced several headwinds with the increasing cost of labour and electricity reducing the competitiveness of local manufacturers,” says Frances Phillips, Factory of the Year lead at Kearney.

As the global and local economy starts to find its feet and adapt to a new normal the opportunities for the manufacturing sector are strong. Phillips says companies are revisiting their supply chains, and the climate crisis has stimulated strong growth in manufacturing for green energy technologies and countries have had to reduce their reliance on global sourcing.

The latest figures show that the local economy has bounced back to 20% larger than it was in Q2 2020[i] with manufacturing continuing to play a critical role accounting for ~13% of GDP and driving wide socio-economic impact.

The time is ideal for local manufacturers to learn from each other and best-in-class international manufacturers to ensure their readiness to harness the opportunity the market presents.  Making this sector increasingly competitive through optimization and building resilience to achieve world-class excellence must be a priority for every manufacturing firm. 

What makes this competition unique is all entries receive a detailed survey which allows for an in-depth benchmarking exercise across critical operational performance metrics, providing participants deep insight on how they compare to leading manufacturers as well as proposals on how they can improve in underperforming dimensions.

“The holistic nature of the assessment gave us meaningful insight into how we measure up against international benchmarks in all the categories. Our result is a testament to the dedication and commitment of all our employees,” says Kieron Jordaan Managing Director at Purem by Eberspaecher, the 2019 overall Factory of the Year winner.

The competition is the world’s longest-running benchmarking contest for the international manufacturing sector and was first initiated by Kearney in Germany in 1992. 

It was launched in South Africa in 2018 in partnership with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Manufacturing Circle, and Manufacturing Indaba with the objective of awarding manufacturing excellence and driving resilience in the South African landscape.

“The Factory of the Year competition provides an ideal starting point for manufacturers to identify opportunities for improving competitiveness, “ says Phillips.

For more information, please visit the Kearney Factory of the Year stand at this year’s Manufacturing Indaba, or visit the website, www.kearney.com/web/factory-of-the-year-south-africa to download the questionnaire.

Entries close on 30 November 2022.


[i] Stats SA (2022): “The South African economy records a positive fourth quarter” (link)