Manufacturing companies have a range of strategies they can choose from in order to compete in their marketplaces – from Lowest Cost Provider, to Niche Service Provider and Product Differentiation, each brings its own challenges. However, for individual manufacturers, competitiveness is more likely to be connected to their local operating environment and the challenges this brings.

Assessing a company’s competitiveness allows the business to understand what is important to them, and what they should focus on at each point of their growth journey. Understanding their performance and capability enables manufacturers of all shapes and sizes to grow in an appropriate way. Measuring and improving a company’s competitive performance is at the core of the NMCL framework.

The NMCL assessment measures a company’s performance against 6 criteria:

  • Quality
  • Cost
  • Delivery
  • Flexibility
  • Product & Technology
  • Customer experience

The company may choose to compete on one or more of these themes. The NMCL assessment will reflect each company’s view of itself (Company Competitiveness pre-review), and compare that with the view of the customer (Customer Competitiveness view) and the outputs of the NMCL assessor-led Company Capability Assessment. The result is a 360 degree view of the company’s position within its business environment, and crucially, this generates a strategic plan and business case to improve its competitiveness over a 2-4 year period.

The assessment model covers 4 company capability areas:

  1. Competitive Strategy & Management Systems
  2. New Product Introduction & Lifecycle Management
  3. Manufacturing Operations
  4. Supply Chain Management

Delving deeper into Manufacturing Operations – “the use of labour, machines, tools, processing, or formulation to add value to material and produce a good for use or sale”, it encompasses:

  • The layout of people, material and equipment
  • The evaluation and development of the capabilities of people and equipment
  • Asset and workforce utilisation planning and management

The Manufacturing Operations section of the NMCL Assessment has the following subsections:

  • Plant & Equipment
  • Operational Processes
  • Working Environment
  • Quality Management
  • People Capabilities & Organisational Structure
  • Energy, resource and material disposition

The purpose is to identify areas of current performance that are a priority for improvement – either by mitigating ‘order losing’ performance, or by generating competitive advantage by shifting toward ‘order winning’ performance. For example, by implementing robust Problem Solving Techniques in order to meet customer expectations on delivered quality and eliminating repeat concerns, or by re-designing the information and material flows to provide faster response to customer demand through Mapping and Improving the Value Stream.

A full list of the types of Manufacturing Operations Work Package support available through NMCL is listed below:

Manufacturing Operations Plant & Equipment TPM Principles and Approach
Loss Analysis & Improvement
Training and Education Pillar Principles
Operator Level Maintenance Principles
Planned Maintenance Principles
New Equipment Management Pillar Principles
Lean Operational Processes & Working Environment Identifying the Improvement Activities Required
5S Workplace Organisation
Managing Standard Work Across the Business
7 Wastes
Visual Management
Mapping and Improving the Value Stream
Quick Changeover – SMED
Quality Management Principles of Manufacturing Quality Management
Measuring and Managing the Cost of Quality
Problem Solving Techniques
Documented Problem Solving Process
Understanding High Level Processes (SIPOC)
Error Prevention Systems (Poka Yoke)
Six Sigma Variation Reduction Toolset and Managing Variation
Measurement Managing Measurement Systems and Calibration
Measurement First Principles
Metrology Skills
Measurement Process and Standardisation
Good Practice in Measurement Techniques
Overhead Cost Management Cost Benefit from Recycling and Energy


For further information, visit the NMCL website.

Industry Forum is a NMCL Approved Improvement Provider to the NMCL Programme and is approved to provide improvement solutions across all four capability areas. To find out more about how we can support you on your NMCL journey, please email