FE&S strives to maintain the highest editorial standards, digging deep to deliver stories that offer not just insights but tangible ideas that readers can put into practice in their own businesses. Our intent is to not just report on the industry but inspire and motivate along the way.

Some of the best motivation comes from looking at the best of the best, those companies that serve as a model of excellence and truly set the bar.

We do that this month with FE&S' annual Best in Class Awards. Companies that make the list exceed the standard. How do we know? We asked. After more than a decade of polling for this annual study, we have learned these survey results stand the test of time. Many of the companies appear predictably year-after-year on the list. And, when the inevitable jostling for position takes place on occasion among top brands, an often understandable reason drives the change.

I am reminded of the year that an unexpected winner was selected by our readership in a previously stable category.
It turned out the winning company proactively spent a good deal of money and energy contacting each of their customers and offering additional free services to overcome the negative impact of an earlier recall.

The Best in Class results offer both buyers and sellers real insight into the perceptions that exist in the field about different brands over a range of seven variables that buyers typically weigh when making a purchasing decision. It can also prove to be a valuable resource for manufacturers; a measuring stick to gauge their own efforts from research and development to marketing.

Thank you to our readers who took the time to participate in this year's study. We truly value your willingness to share your opinions with us. The industry appreciates the care you give to filling out our industry surveys.