Processor of the Year & PN Excellence Awards FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who can be nominated?
What types of companies are eligible?
Who can submit a nomination for the award?
Who are the judges?
What are the criteria?
PN Excellence Awards - special honors for 3 criteria
What happens after a company gets nominated?
How many companies pursue the award?
How many recipients will be selected?
Why should I try for the award?
For the Financial Performance category, of information do you need?
What other tips or advice can you offer?
Who can I contact for more information?

Who can be nominated? The award competition is open to all private and public companies or corporate operating divisions engaged in North American plastics processing for at least the past five years.

What types of companies are eligible? The name of the award says it all: Processor of the Year. Under our definition, a processor is a manufacturer that forms finished plastic parts, like a detergent bottle or car bumper fascia. Firms such as compounders, recyclers and resin manufacturers are not eligible.

Who can submit a nomination for the award? We encourage self-nominations. Also, we typically receive nominations from third parties associated with successful processors. Typically, that has included machinery and material suppliers, but we've also had had processors nominated by banks and local economic development officials. (We always recommend contacting the company before you send in the nomination). We ask that you briefly explain why the company deserves the award. Nominators must identify themselves to us, but if that person wishes to remain anonymous, we can honor that and not identify the supplier in any published article. Simply make that clear to us.

Who are the judges? All judging is done internally by reporters and editors of Plastics News. We do get help analyzing the financial performance criteria from Deloitte Corporate Finance. But the editorial staff does the research and makes the decisions.
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What are the criteria? There are seven, and they cover nearly every major aspect of running a business:
* Financial performance
* Quality
* Customer relations
* Employee relations
* Environmental performance
* Industry/public service
* Technological innovation
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What happens after a company gets nominated? Akron-based senior reporter Bill Bregar, who is the award project coordinator, will contact each nominee. The next step involves some work by the candidate: We ask you to prepare a report, making your best case on each of the seven criteria. We often get asked if there's a checklist or form we send out. The answer is no. It's more like a college term paper - write enough to cover thoroughly the topic.
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How many companies pursue the award? Normally we get 15 to 20 entries per contest.
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How many recipients will be selected? There is only one Processor of the Year Award winner. We pick the winner from several finalists-usually there are from two to four finalist companies. All the finalists get significant exposure, however.
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What are Plastics News Excellence Awards? Three Plastics News Excellence Awards will be selected in the categories of: Customer Relations, Employee Relations and Industry/Public Service. The judges will pick finalists and winners for outstanding performance on each of those criteria. Candidates for these sub-category awards will come from the pool of nominees for Processor of the Year, so they need to meet the same qualification rules as that award.
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Sounds like a lot of work. Why should I try for the award? Plastics News runs a front-page profile on the winning company. When the finalists are announced, we run a story outlining each firm strengths. So that's obvious. Winning a major industry award gives you publicity and independent recognition. Past winners and finalists say it pumps up employees and sends a strong message to existing and potential customers. Some have even said they won new business as a result.

Even if your company doesn't reach the finalist stage, the award process is a worthwhile experience. Every year, we hear feedback from company officials saying they enjoyed it because compiling the documentation and making their best case encouraged them to analyze the big picture of their company - something that can be hard to do as you run a business day to day.

And now, there's even more reason to try, with a chance to win a Plastics News Excellence Award for the three categories.
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We're a privately held company. For the financial performance category, what kind of information do you need? This is the most common question we hear. Normally, we ask for the last five years of sales, plus a net income figure for the most recent full fiscal year. We understand that many companies are very cautious about releasing financial data, especially about profitability. We would hope most companies, trying for an award with a business newspaper, would be willing to release their sales, or at least a range.

Why do we want the net income number? We end up comparing firms from a wide range of sizes and end markets, and net income allows us to calculate the profit margin - so we can compare apples to oranges with some sort of common denominator.

Still have second thoughts? Remember that financial performance is just one of the seven criteria, albeit an important one. Well-rounded companies have the most success.

And you can send more than the minimum financial data. For purposes of the award judging, our editors and reporters are just that - judges - and so detailed financial information is used only for the purposes of judging the award. We do not use the information for any other editorial purpose and we guard the confidentiality of it as closely as you would.
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What other tips or advice can you offer? Think "quantification" whenever possible. For example, on the criteria of quality, companies often send us charts showing their defective parts per million, over a period of time. That can show improvement, which is a good thing!

These days, the hardest decision is sorting through all the company data to find the key numbers, then illustrating them clearly for the judges.

Be sure to point out your firm's involvement in environmental, community, workforce and industry programs, whether it is sponsoring a visit to your plant by a member of Congress, supporting a local charity, instituting in-house recycling, or offering innovative daycare to workers. Here's one more tip. Customer relations is an important area. We ask that you supply us with contact names and telephone numbers of three to five customers. Our judges will then call them - as such sources lend important independent voices to verify your company's accomplishments.
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Who can I contact for more information? Contact Bill any time, via e-mail at wbregar@crain.com or telephone at 330-865-6158. We've found that leaving the process somewhat open-ended helps - that "term paper" approach again - because each company can demonstrate its own initiative. So go for it! Make your best case and you may be the next Processor of the Year! Previous winners will tell you it's well worth the effort.

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