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This is the Business English Certificate Higher 3, Listening Test 2. Part One. Questions 1 to 12. You will bear the opening of the Factories of the Year awards ceremony. As you listen, for questions 1 to 12, complete the notes, using up to three words or a number. After you bare listened once, replay the recording. You now have forty-five seconds to read through the notes. [pause] Now listen, and complete the notes. [pause] Man: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and "welcome to the Factories of the Year award. My name is Jonathan Hargreaves, and I’m Chief Executive of the Institute of Production Research, which organised these awards, in association with Barrington Business School. I’m delighted to introduce to you the school’s professor of manufacturing science, Jacqueline Allen, who again chaired the panel of judges. Jacqueline. Woman: Thank you, Jonathan, and good morning, everyone. This year’s search for the Factories of the Year has produced a bumper crop of outstanding winners, which is very welcome proof that the old economy isn’t dead, but is emerging revitalised from its recent problems. As ever, we initiated our search for the best by sending each participating factory a questionnaire. This consisted of fourteen pages and probably more questions than the recipients would have liked. From their answers, each factory was assessed on a basket of performance criteria. Some of these were immediately measurable, like handover times, which of course can have a big impact on productivity and which are showing a healthy tendency towards being shortened. Another was delivery reliability, a high score in which is essential for any customer-led organisation. Other criteria which we considered were less tangible, but no less important for that. We took staff morale very seriously, because if it’s poor it can have measurable results such as high staff turnover and a high accident rate. And if a business can’t easily handle change, it may well create more problems than it solves, and its future is unlikely to be secure. The next step was for the panel of judges to assess the results and devise a shortlist. We then visited these factories. I must say, I found it fascinating to see so many factories in action. As a result of these visits, we came up with the three winners in each category. The factories that emerged from this process shared some familiar characteristics. Impressive people-management practices, for a start. A determination among the factory’s management team not to be second best, for another. And acting on the realisation that clever initiatives don’t count if they don’t further a factory’s mission. No successful factory can, for a moment, forget its customers, whether they’re internal to the company or external. As ever, new trends emerged: an outstanding level of competence in supply-chain management, as well as in manufacturing, is increasingly important. The links between a factory, its suppliers and its customers can make or break an operation. This year’s winners also demonstrate the importance of optimising the movement of goods and people around the factory. Confused, muddled-looking factories underperform, while successful ones use signs to help staff and visitors find the best route to their destination. And allowing goods or materials to get lost in some dusty corner of the warehouse is unacceptable: the problem of tracking components as they move through production has led to a number of developments, of which electronic tagging is one of the most exciting.
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