The 'Best' and the rest

More questions are occasioned by our annual selection of the worlds 100 Best-Managed Companies than by any other issue of IndustryWeek. Some answers to the most frequently asked:

How does IW select the 100? With a big dart board (just kidding). For the full explanation, turn to page 34, wherein Associate Editor Glenn Hasek, leader of the 100 Best-Managed Companies selection team, details the process we operate each year to ensure a valid list. For the less technically minded, Ill describe it briefly: nine months of old-fashioned reporting augmented by mind-numbing quantitative analysis. Total IW staffers involved: 26. Total personnel including outside experts and partners: 108.

Deserving of special mention are the executives at our data partners, Dun & Bradstreet and Moodys Investors Service, without whose involvement the project might seem more impossible than it already does.

From Dun & Bradstreet: Michael J. Azzi, manager, public relations; William F. Doescher, senior vice president and chief communications officer for Dun & Bradstreet Corp.; David Monfried, vice president, public relations; and Thomas J. Shaw, assistant vice president, U.S. marketing.

From Moodys Investors Service: Carol Surdoval, assistant vice president; Erik Fine, associate director.

A note of thanks, too, to the sponsors of this years 100 Best-Managed Companies Awards Program and Executive Summit, The Thomas Group, an Irving, Tex.-based management-consulting firm.

Why dont you rank the 100 Best-Managed Companies? Usually asked by winning companies that hope to outrank industry rivals. But the wide range of industries and strategies represented by the Best-Managed Companies makes any attempt at ranking them within the 100 meaningless.

Why didnt company X make the list? Asked annually by the 900 companies of the IndustryWeek 1000 (the worlds largest publicly held manufacturing firms) that dont get named to the 100 Best-Managed Companies list. Also asked by firms not among the IW 1000 who believe their management qualifies them as world leaders.

To non-IndustryWeek 1000 companies: Managing the modern manufacturing firm is harder than managing a service company. Why? Because manufacturing firms have to do everything a service firm does and design and manufacture a physical product. That management challenge increases in complexity with the size and reach of the manufacturing firm. IndustryWeek 1000 firms are the largest manufacturing firms in the world and face the most complex management challenges of any corporations on the planet. Its only fitting that they qualify for selection to managements most exclusive club.

To the 900: Not making the list doesnt necessarily mean a firm isnt well-managed; there are firms among the IndustryWeek 1000 whose financials might seem to place them ahead of some of our 100. But the 100 Awards emphasize management over the long-term and positioning for the future over short-term results. In our judgment, the 100 companies weve selected have done that better than their peers.

Let us know if you agree.

Send e-mail messages to John Brandt at [email protected]

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