For a firm or plant, competitiveness is the ability to produce the right goods and services of the right quality, at the right price, at the right time. It means meeting customers needs more efficiently and more effectively than their competitors. In order to achieve these goals, companies need to implement performance improvement programme. The work presented in this paper provides some information on the competitiveness initiatives which have been undertaken in different countries. A methodology on manufacturing assessment has been developed and applied top manufacturing plants in order to establish their present performance compared to the world class benchmarks .The work presented here also provides some guidelines how companies can adopt this methodolgy in order to develop a performance improvement programme.