Last year, nearly 200 machining facilities took part in Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops benchmarking survey. Top Shops aims to identify optimal shopfloor practices as well as operational and business metrics that define world-class competitiveness in discrete parts manufacturing. Our goal is to help companies like yours, whether it is a small job shop or a large, captive operation, become better overall businesses.
The online survey for the 2012 Top Shops program is now live at survey.mmsonline.com/topshops, and I encourage you to participate. It is designed to solicit sufficient information without being excessively time-consuming. We estimate that the survey will take one hour to complete. It prompts for specific financial, process and equipment information, and also includes a couple open-ended questions.
You have the option of printing the survey and filling it out by hand. In fact, you may find it helpful to complete it by hand and either fax or mail it to us or go back to the survey site to enter your information. This may prove to be useful in case key financial or process data isn’t readily at your fingertips.
All responses will remain confidential. Answers to the survey questions will feed a series of data reports that will be sent just to participating shops. These reports will separate the survey data into categories so you can make apples-to-apples comparisons of like businesses. Data will be categorized by the type of machining business (job shop, contract shop or captive operation), revenue level and number of parts produced.
Down the road, an Executive Summary will compare responses between the Top Shops benchmarking group and the rest of survey participants. This benchmarking group will represent the top 20 percent of machining businesses, determined by totaling the points assigned to select survey questions.
The reports will enable you to compare shopfloor strategies and business approaches to similar companies as well as assist you in making sound decisions to emulate those identified as world-class operations. Not only will these reports serve as a baseline “report card” of sorts, but the hard data you’ll get will eliminate the need to rely on gut feelings as a method of identifying and prioritizing improvement efforts.
Hiring a company to gather and report this type of business intel—data related to specific shop practices and performance levels—wouldn’t be cheap. Your only investment is a bit of your time to fill out the survey.
So once you receive the reports, what do you do with them? In some cases, you either already know or have a good idea about your company’s primary deficiencies. If that’s the case, you can immediately look at the data related to that aspect of the business and compare it to other shops. On the other hand, you might not have a solid notion as to where you lag other shops. However, the data in the reports will reveal those areas.
Don’t Forget the Top Shops Honors Program
The second element of Top Shops is an Honors Program that highlights a handful of the most successful participating companies, identified by responses to survey questions and follow-up interviews by me. Those shops will be listed in July’s special benchmarking issue that will highlight key survey findings. Plus, each subsequent issue will feature a profile of one of the Top Shops, focusing on a key aspect of the approach that enables it to be a valued and trusted supplier.
Survey participants are given the opportunity to opt out of the Honors Program. However, if you do want to be considered, providing as much detail as possible will give your company the best shot at being named one of the Top Shops for 2012.
The survey.mmsonline.com/topshops website will remain open until February 29, and we hope you’ll take part in the survey. If you have any questions about the survey, feel free to send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plus, visit our Top Shops Zone at mmsonline.com/topshops to access the Executive Summary from last year’s survey, read articles about key survey findings and view profiles of the Top Shops for 2011.