Yorkville, Ill. – Aurora Specialty Textiles Group has won yet another award for outstanding business practices. This one is for Operational Excellence and is from the Valley Industrial Association (VIA), which represents the manufacturing industry in the Fox Valley region of Illinois, a large industrial area near Chicago and one of the larger manufacturing regions in the US Midwest.
The VIA’s Excellence in Operations Award recognizes leadership in operational strategic planning and implementation.
The announcement that Aurora won this award was made March 11 at the annual VIA Spark Award Benchmarking for Excellence dinner. Awards were given out for Culture, Innovation, Operational Excellence, Safety, Social Responsibility and Workforce Development.
Aurora was a finalist for two of the Spark Award categories – Social Responsibility and Operational Excellence. The awards process included a detailed submission and a lengthy interview that emphasized Aurora’s continuous operational improvements. This includes utilization of Kaizen Events and Green Belt projects, two of the key performance indicators used to measure operations effectiveness, as well as cross-training, on-board training for operators and benchmarking with other plants.
“It was an honor to be nominated as a finalist in two categories from the VIA Spark Award committee, which recognized us for Social Responsibility and Operational Excellence,” said Marcia Ayala, president of Aurora. “And to have won for Operational Excellence means so much.
“In 2015, we moved our operations from a 132 year-old plant in Aurora, Illinois, to our new facility in Yorkville and it was a challenge,” she added. “Many improvements and adjustments had to be made in all aspects of our operations and moving took extensive cooperation, patience and know-how from our employees and management to make it successful. I’m always proud to give a tour of our new plant in Yorkville and show the facility to customers and partners. I’m equally proud to have our team and organization recognized for Operational Excellence.”
In 2019 Aurora was recognized by the Sign Graphics Industry Association (SGIA) with their Sustainable Business Recognition award for excellence in implementing sustainability practices throughout their Yorkville plant. In 2019, Aurora was also recognized for its sustainability programs by the Yorkville Chamber of Commerce, which designated Aurora as a Green Connect business. In February of this year (2020), Aurora was the recipient of the Yorkville Chamber of Commerce annual Green Business of the Year award. The recent award from the VIA is the third for Aurora in less than a year.
Kathy Gilmore, president of the VIA, explained why Aurora was selected for the Spark Award for Operational Excellence.
“This year the interviewers were looking for companies that have a systems approach to the best practices in the categories of the Spark Awards,” said Gilmore. “The thinking is that having the right operation systems and disciplines in place is what helps take a company from good to great. And even though Aurora Specialty Textiles isn’t a large company with resources to easily implement these systems, they have made it a priority and invested the time and resources into this. They are an impressive group.”