FAQs: What Are the Leadtime Leader Awards?

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about MoldMaking Technology's annual Leadtime Leader Awards competition.
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Leadtime Leader Awards: Honoring Excellence in Mold Manufacturing

Each year, the moldmaking industry recognizes outstanding performance and innovation with Moldmaking Technology’s, Leadtime Leader Award.

Leadtime is the culmination of the entire mold manufacturing process. A quality mold delivered on-time, is the result of a team of professionals working together from sales, design and manufacturing to validation, delivery and support. Whether your company is an industry leader, or aspires to be one, this competition was created to share best practices and recognize companies that are excelling in customer satisfaction, workforce development, industry involvement, continual improvement, business growth, technology employed, competitive advantage, and more.


It’s not just about being the shop with the shortest delivery times. It’s about what you do with what you have.


What is a Leadtime Leader?  A company that performs beyond the status quo using any and all resources available to it, whether that means teamwork between skilled employees and well-managed scheduling or having the latest machinery and equipment, automation, etc. – or both. It’s all about what you do with what you have. It’s optimizing what you have to build the best molds for customers while keeping costs fair and meeting deliveries. It’s not about being the biggest, most fancy shop. It’s about working smarter and with a passion for what you do.

What are the benefits of participating? There are many! The Leadtime Leader Award (LLA) can help your shop gain industry recognition and credibility, attract new customers and add value to your overall services and products. It can boost morale in the shop, distinguish your shop as an industry leader and it can help promote your shop’s capabilities and services during sales calls by building confidence with new and existing customers, increasing awareness and reinforcing your brand. Depending on how you make your honors work for your company, you could realize business growth as you continue to enhance and develop your mold build processes.

How long has the Leadtime Leader Awards competition been around?  The LLA was established in 2003 as a way to shine a brighter light on what is an extremely important manufacturing sector. LLA honors moldmaker innovation and industry involvement. The award carries with it not only prestige, but it transforms what many call “a day’s work” into something that is more a role model for others who seek to learn new and different ways to operate their own companies.

Why is it called Leadtime Leader? Mold manufacturing boils down to leadtimes. If you can’t make or exceed delivery expectations for a customer, that customer probably will not be back. Leadtime Leaders use all resources available, including skills and experience, to continually improve how they perform their work. They are always striving to provide customers with exceptional service, solutions and support. This award recognizes and honors North American mold manufacturers that strive to reduce leadtimes and improve delivery performance by streamlining operations, improving productivity, and increasing output and revenue while engaging employees and impacting industry.

Is it only for big shops? It is important to note that the LLA honors the many faces of moldmaking. It is open to every North American mold manufacturer, regardless of size, capabilities, equipment, and so on. We’ve honored shops of all sizes, with different specialties, and all manner of equipment and employees. One thing is for sure, you can’t win if you don’t get in!

What is the criteria for entering? Any shop performing moldmaking operations is eligible.  Every shop does a lot of the same things, but it’s what your shop does differently—or perhaps better—that helps set it apart as a Leadtime Leader. It can be almost anything. Just think about what it is that your customers most appreciate about your company and that could be the game changer.

How do I apply? Click here to enter. It’s easy, it’s online and only takes a few minutes to get the process started. After the initial entry form is reviewed, you will be notified via email if you move on to the next phase of the competition. This includes the submission of additional company data and information via a questionnaire, which must be completed as thoroughly as possible. It’s essential that MMT receive a full account about a company’s history, capabilities, leadtime history, markets served and more in order to have enough data to then compare against other shops that have entered the competition. For sample questionnaire, click here and here for explanations of several of our data-driven questions.

How do you win? The shops we’ve honored have gone that extra mile, completing the main entry form fully and with detail, plus a step beyond that. They have included PowerPoint presentations, photographs, employee input and videos with the form. They have also expressed very clearly their passion for their work and a desire to WIN!

How are shops assessed? The metrics used include performance in leadtime and deliveries, current and projected sales growth, investment in technology, innovation in business strategy, manufacturing efficiency, commitment to workforce training and development, industry involvement, customer satisfaction and presentation and completeness of information (answers, videos, photos, customer references) in the questionnaire.

Do you have to divulge financial information? The most we ask for is annual sales, but it is not a deal-breaker if it isn’t divulged.

How is the information submitted? Initially online, but the detailed information is most often submitted via email to Editorial Director Christina Fuges.

Who are the judges? Judges are carefully selected from a list of companies that could be your customers. They include representatives from mid- to large-size OEMs and molding companies within the automotive, medical, packaging, consumer goods, and appliances and electronics industries. Judges may also include industry consultants in plastics and workforce development. We will never ask another mold manufacturer to judge entries. All judging is conducted with anonymity.

How long does the process take? The time depends on the amount of effort put forth by the entrant company and the depth of details provided.

What is the deadline to enter? We encourage shops to enter online before the end of the year.

What do you win? The cover of MoldMaking Technology’s June issue, a full feature story in the June issue and online, a video feature filmed at your shop to accompany the article (which appears online and is shown at the Amerimold Expo Leadtime Leader booth) and a guest spot on the MMT/Manufacturing Alliance Podcast.

LLA winners also enjoy an awards presentation ceremony and celebration at Amerimold; a complimentary 10 x 10 booth and two complimentary full registrations for Amerimold; a targeted advertising program in Plastics Technology magazine to market your company to more than 37,250 molding subscribers; and a free expanded showroom on www.PTonline.com and www.moldmakingtechnology.com.

In addition to all of that, there’s so much more and it’s different for each shop. It all depends on how you optimize your recognition! Several moldmakers, after winning, continue to exhibit at Amerimold because they have been very successful with meeting new and potential customers there. Needless to say, current customers often see them featured in MMT and send accolades, but more than that, other potential customers also often call. Many shops have told us that just by working on the entry form, they have learned so much more about their companies and it has motivated them to put new processes into place that help to further improve how they operate. It’s a win-win.

Can you win more than once?  Absolutely! A couple of shops already have! Some have won “honorable mention” status and returned later to capture top Leadtime Leader honors, but there are one or two companies that have been twice named the top Leadtime Leaders.

Any recommendations to better the chances of winning? Be creative and descriptive with your entries. Take the time to really express your shop’s culture, processes and skills, not to mention your innovative use of these and the equipment you have. Knock the judges’ socks off!