When you have an awards ceremony coming up, you want to have all the plaques or trophies ready — or at least far enough along so that the engravers don't have much more to do when you hand them the list of names to add to the plaques.
While engraving a plaque doesn't take long when done with lasers, the laser engraving company still needs some lead time so they're not rushed. Many laser-engraving companies have their own supplies of plaque blanks that they use when you want to have an award created and engraved, or you can order blanks from a supply company and find an engraver who will allow you to provide the blanks yourself. In either case, one option is to have a supply of award plaques that have been pre-engraved with everything but the names, years, and award names.
How Consistent Do You Want the Plaques to Be From Year to Year?
Plaques given out during award ceremonies should look consistent with other plaques given out at the same ceremony in the same year. They don't have to look the same as the plaques given out in previous years. However, if you can make them look the same, that's a nice touch that looks a bit more well-planned and neater when all plaques are lined up, such as when someone who has won awards in multiple years puts the plaques up on their wall. If you want the engraving to be consistent from year to year, ordering blanks that you then have engraved with general, non-changing information is a good idea. When the winners are chosen, you can send the plaque back to the engraving company to add the name of the winner and the year.
Do You Have Appropriate Storage Space for the Extras?
You'll need to store the blanks carefully to ensure they don't break, bend, rot, or otherwise become impossible to use. If you have the storage room, great. If not, ordering in bulk may not be a good idea. Check with the laser engravers to see what their plans are for keeping the same type of plaque in stock for future years.
How Is the Award Template Stored or Backed Up?
How have you stored the award plaque template, and has it been so customized to your current laser-engraving company's computer system that you'd have trouble transferring it to another company if needed? If yes, then you may want to get some pre-engraved plaques that you can use should you have to have the final laser engraving done at another company.
Do You Know for Sure That the Awards Will Continue for That Long?
This might not seem like the nicest question, but it is one that you have to consider, especially in light of how many businesses and events were closed in 2020. How confident are you that the event for which you need these awards will continue? If things are looking shaky, hold off on bulk orders. Wait until you know when the next ceremony will definitely be held, and go year by year.