MMS Blog

When you are working inside your company and not on your company, you do not necessarily look at some of the metrics that are perhaps more important than you are led to believe, says Dave Tilstone, president of the National Tooling & Machining Association. He says it is critically important for NTMA members to know exactly what metrics are driving their business, how they compare to others and where they need improvement.

One way to do this is by attending next week’s Top Shops Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 5-7. According to Mr. Tilstone, the seminars are worthwhile because they will teach attendees how to become a Top Shop—a designation that carries a lot of weight in the supply chain. He says being a more competitive Top Shop helps bring in business because it enables OEMs and Tier One and Tier Two manufacturers get a better understanding of shops’ qualifications and capabilities. Conference attendees will learn what the critical elements are of a Top Shop, how they are measured and more. “They will come away knowing what aspects the industry views as critical to become a Top Shop,” he says. In that respect, they can better identify areas of their machining business where improvements are needed. Register for the conference here.

It is becoming increasingly difficult—and inadequate—to evaluate developments in CNC technology outside of a larger scenario. This is a scenario in which smart, connected devices and machines share data and interact in order to speed production and improve quality. Terms such as Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and fourth industrial revolution are often used to point to this concept of factory digitalization and integration. In this context, the CNC has a key role beyond driving machine tool axes to execute a part program prepared by CAM software. The CNC is a hub around which and from which vital data streams are flowing.

How the CNC fits into the comprehensive sweep of “digitalized” manufacturing can be seen in the Siemens booth at EMO 2017 this October in Hannover, Germany. At this show, Siemens will demonstrate how machine tool users and machine tool builders can benefit from digitalization within the scope of the company's overarching "Digital Enterprise" concept. Highlights of the innovations to be introduced at EMO include enhancements to the company’s Sinumerik CNC software, as well as the introduction of MindSphere, Siemens’ cloud-based platform for hosting applications that enable manufacturing companies to more fully digitalize their operations.

Gardner Business Media, publisher of Modern Machine Shop, and VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association, will co-host a seminar at EMO in Hannover, Germany, titled, “Metalworking Growth Seminar: Overview of the Trends in Metalworking in the USA and Mexico.” Gardner’s Steven Kline, Claude Mas and Peter Zelinski will speak. The event will start at 9:30 a.m., September 21 at the Convention Center on the EMO grounds.

Steven Kline, director of market intelligence for Gardner, will present “Trends in the International Machine Tool Market, with a Particular Focus on the USA and Mexico.”

By: Anthony Staub 26. August 2017

Simple Organization

I have a personal toolbox. It’s a Kennedy-brand metal box with a lower mobile cabinet finished in brown paint with a crinkled texture. As I began thinking about writing this article, I opened the top drawer and looked at the red plastic organizing trays I had purchased years ago. Some of the compartments are still labeled with embossed Dyno plastic tape, circa 1980. I realized that is how the organizing initiative at our shop began. Around that time, I had a nice little business with five employees. I worked in the shop and turned out parts like everyone else. It was in those early days that I saw the profound impact organization can have on a job, an individual and eventually a company.

Those embossed plastic labels stemmed from a day when I needed to use the shop’s 6-inch crescent wrench but couldn’t find it. After a few minutes of searching on my own, I asked one of the other employees if he had seen it. Within a few minutes, all of us were looking for that 6-inch wrench. After 10 more minutes, we finally found it. It had been left outside its usual place. Lying in bed that night, I reviewed this experience. Although I wanted to account for every minute of labor spent on the job for which that wrench was needed, I could not in good conscience charge the customer for the time it took all of us to find that tool. And if I did so, we would be at a distinct pricing disadvantage against other shops who always knew where their wrenches were. 

2017 marks the seventh edition of our Top Shops benchmarking program. Read survey results in our Executive Summary, and consider attending our first benchmarking event this September.

It’s hard to believe we’re on our seventh edition of our Top Shops benchmarking survey.  The results of that survey are available in the 2017 Executive Summary, which compares the top-tier benchmarking group’s data to the other shops that participated. Here are two interesting tidbits I gleaned about types of equipment used by a majority of the shops in this year’s benchmarking group:

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