About the IndustryWeek Best Plants Program

The IndustryWeek Best Plants Awards program annually recognizes North American manufacturing plants that are on the leading edge of efforts to increase competitiveness, enhance customer satisfaction, and create stimulating and rewarding work environments.

Established in 1990, the IndustryWeek Best Plants Awards program annually recognizes plants, located in North America, that are on the leading edge of efforts to increase competitiveness, enhance customer satisfaction, and create stimulating and rewarding work environments. Its further goal is to encourage other manufacturing managers and work teams to emulate the honorees by adopting world-class practices, technologies, and improvement strategies.

See Also: Meet the 2023 IW Best Plants winners.

Click here for: 2024 IW Best Plants Application available

Why Participate? 

All entrants receive:

  • IndustryWeek spotlights the winners and their strategies for success in a signature feature package. Gain national recognition and give your employees a public pat on the back for their hard work.
  • All applicants also receive customized benchmarking reports that show how their metrics compare with all other applicants (in the aggregate). In addition, all participants receive an IW Statistical Profile that provides benchmarking data from five years of Best Plants winners and finalists.

See Also: Start your online 2024 IW Best Plants application

See Also: IW's Best Plants Awards Competition: A Guide


Candidate facilities are judged by a panel of IndustryWeek editors, who may solicit independent evaluations from manufacturing experts and other knowledgeable persons. The panel looks for evidence of:

  • A comprehensive effort to achieve world-class manufacturing capability.
  • Management practices geared to motivating achievement of breakthroughs in operating performance and customer satisfaction, as well as cultivating continuous improvement.
  • Strong quality systems and results, including evidence of low defect rates and good process-control capability.
  • Extensive employee involvement and empowerment programs, especially efforts to create and provide training for high-performance work teams.
  • Effective supplier-partnership programs, including efforts to solicit supplier evaluations of plant practices.
  • Appropriate use of technology, as required by changing business needs.
  • Flexible and/or agile production systems capable of responding quickly to customer needs and shifts in the marketplace. The flexibility may be the result of intelligent automation and information technology, just-in-time/continuous-flow production systems, use of quick-changeover methods, a multiskilled workforce, small-lot production, focused-factory plant design, or other lean initiatives.
  • Improvements in manufacturing operations, including shortening of manufacturing cycle times, improvements in productivity, and reduction of inventories.
  • Proactive environmental and safety practices.


Candidates for IndustryWeek's 2024 North American Best Plants competition must:

  • Be a single manufacturing plant or a combination of related facilities within a specific geographic location (not to exceed a 25-mile distance from plant to plant) and under the direction of a single management team. To qualify as a manufacturing facility, the plant's output should be a physical product representing value-added.
  • Have completed at least three years of operation as of January 1, 2024. Plant startup on or before January 1, 2021.
  • Be located within the United States or its territories, Mexico, or Canada. Eligibility is not limited to plants owned by U.S.-based parent companies.
  • Not have been honored as an IW Best Plants in the previous two years.

Selection Process  

Completed applications are reviewed by a judging panel of IW editors and trusted advisors. Using a weighted scoring system, the composite ratings of the judges determine the Best Plants finalists. The finalists receive a second questionnaire seeking documentation of achievements and presenting plant-specific follow-up questions.

After a subsequent review of the information submitted in the follow-up questionnaire, along with additional supporting materials, the IW judging panel tentatively selects North American winners, pending validation. The confirmed winners are publicly recognized.

2024 IW Best Plants Application  

Click here to start your 2024 IW Best Plants application.

Timeline for 2024 IW Best Plants Competition

January 2024 2024 Applications available
March 4, 2024 Early bird deadline for return of completed entry forms 
March 18, 2024 Deadline for return of completed entry forms with supporting statements.
April 2024 Selection of finalists. Round 2 questionnaires 
April-May 2024 Follow-up with finalists
July-August 2024 Winners announced
Fall 2024 IW Best Plants winners articles published


Application Fee

A fee of $495 for small companies; $995 for medium companies; and $1,495 for large companies must be submitted along with the application. Early Bird Discount: Return your completed application on or before March 4, and take 20% off the application fee.

Fee is based on total company-wide employment, not the number of employees at the specific manufacturing location entering the competition. Small companies are defined as independent corporations with fewer than 250 full-time and equivalent hourly and salaried employees. Medium companies are defined as corporations with 250-999 full-time and equivalent hourly and salaried employees. Large companies are defined as corporations with 1000 or more full-time and equivalent hourly and salaried employees. 

There are no additional fees for the validation site visits. Companies that enter three or more plants in the competition receive a $300 discount off of the application fee for each facility. (The three-plant discount is not applicable to small companies with fewer than 250 employees.)

Completed applications are due on or before March 18, 2024.    

For further information, contact Jill Jusko at 518-323-9117 or [email protected].