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Three Batesville Casket Company Production Facilities Honored for Manufacturing Expertise by National Organizations

Batesville, Manchester and Vicksburg Plants Recognized as Premier Facilities by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and IndustryWeek


BATESVILLE, Ind., Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Batesville Casket Company, the funeral service operating unit of Hillenbrand Industries (HB), announced that its two metal manufacturing facilities and its lumber processing plant have been selected as winners in two prestigious manufacturing competitions. The rough lumber processing facility in Vicksburg, Mississippi, was named a finalist in the Best Plant competition conducted by IndustryWeek magazine. Batesville's Manchester, Tennessee, manufacturing plant and its hometown manufacturing facility in Batesville, Indiana, were named two of eight regional winners in the Manufacturing Excellence Award competition by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.

"We are very gratified that the achievements of the Batesville, Manchester and Vicksburg teams have been recognized, especially given the caliber of the other facilities in the competition," Ken Camp, president and CEO of Batesville Casket Company, said. "But this recognition is only the by- product. The real mission of every Batesville operation has always been to take extraordinary care of our customers, be better today than we were yesterday, and to be a place where the best and brightest seek to spend a career."

"This award serves as recognition of the dedicated work ethic of our associates, our strong commitment to total customer satisfaction, and a never- ending quest for continuous improvement of our processes through lean manufacturing techniques," said Doug Kunkel, vice president of global supply chain management. "These awards provide evidence that our company is taking the necessary steps to deliver superior value to our customers and is realizing our goal of remaining the preferred supplier of high quality caskets to funeral homes throughout North America."

IndustryWeek magazine invites manufacturing companies across North America to compete in its annual IW Best Plants competition. Facilities are evaluated against a wide variety of criteria including quality performance, on-time delivery and productivity improvements. The annual list of 25 finalists has just been released. From this group of finalists, the Top 10 IW Best Plants will be selected.

"IndustryWeek's Best Plants competition for 2007 attracted a strong slate of candidates, as it always does. Choosing the finalists was no easy feat for our judges, who applaud the accomplishments of this select group of manufacturing plants," IndustryWeek's Best Plants Coordinator Jill Jusko said. "Batesville Casket Company's operation in Vicksburg, Mississippi, showed strong performance metrics in many areas, as well as a dedication to continual improvement."

Each year, Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) selects eight regional winners for Manufacturing Excellence Awards after evaluating each facility against a wide variety of criteria including quality performance, on- time delivery and productivity improvements.

"Batesville Casket Company has done a terrific job implementing their lean transformation," Ralph Keller, president of AME, said. "This award being presented to both their Manchester, Tennessee, and Batesville, Indiana, operations recognizes the success of their efforts. Transforming both the business processes and the culture of a facility is the result of hard work conducted over an extended period of time and Batesville has demonstrated the tenacity and fortitude necessary to make these changes happen. We congratulate Batesville on receiving the AME Manufacturing Excellence Award and we are confident that their customers are also rewarding them as a result of their lean transformation."

The Batesville and Manchester teams will receive their awards at the AME Annual Conference in Chicago in October, where they will be asked to share their success stories with all those who attend the conference.


Hillenbrand Industries is organized into two operating companies serving the funeral service and health care industries.

Batesville Casket Company is a leader in the North American death care industry through the sale of funeral services products, including burial caskets, cremation caskets, containers and urns, selection room display fixturing and other personalization and memorialization products.

Batesville Casket Company ... helping families honor the lives of those they love.

Hill-Rom is a leading worldwide manufacturer and provider of medical technologies and related services for the health care industry, including patient support systems, non-invasive therapeutic products for a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions, medical equipment rentals, and healthcare information technology solutions. Hill-Rom's comprehensive product and service offerings are used by health care providers across the care continuum in hospitals, extended care facilities and home care settings to enhance the safety and quality of patient care.

Hill-Rom ... enhancing outcomes for patients and their caregivers.

SOURCE Batesville Casket Company
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