It Starts Here

Videos and websites are helpful, but nothing beats a well-stocked print magazine for introducing new ways that shops can become more successful.

Columns From: 8/31/2012 Modern Machine Shop

Editor's Commentary

I'm glad you found my column, "One-Off" and our website, but it doesn't start here. It starts with our magazine, where this content originally ran.

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Derek Korn - Senior Editor

Pete Zelinski’s column conveys how video is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for presenting new machining concepts. That’s true, but our magazine, with its monthly batch of original articles, remains the best medium for introducing fresh ideas for shop owners and managers to consider. In short, the magazine is a mechanism for discovery that helps you refine subsequent online research. Besides, you can’t Google for something you don’t know exists.
 
Our continued focus on developing a good deal of (what we hope is) compelling content for the magazine and delivering it to you each month is reflected in the fact that this issue contains five feature articles profiling 13 shops. Plus, the timely topics we address this month examine key issues facing many of today’s shops as well as emerging technologies that can make shops more effective and efficient. Here’s why I feel they’re valuable:
 
• “Does This School Have the Formula for Manufacturing Education?”—A shortage in skilled labor (as well as training facilities) makes it challenging for shops to grow their businesses. Pete’s cover story explains an interesting approach to training: A high school that runs its vocational program as a for-profit shop. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes a model for other schools to adopt.
 
• “Profiles in Connectivity”—Mark Albert has been on top of the MTConnect data standard from the very beginning. He continues to track its application as evidenced in his article this month. The two Indiana shops he profiles are early adopters of MTConnect, but are already discovering ways they can implement the standard beyond machine monitoring.
 
• “Lean from the Beginning”—We’ve covered lean applied in small shops and large operations. Pete’s article about the planning of a Rolls-Royce Crosspointe machining facility reinforces the notion that lean and continuous improvement must ingrained in a company’s culture.
 
• “Growing Up Swiss”—The Swiss-type lathe was originally used by screw machine shops looking for more flexibility than their cam-actuated automatics offered. However, more “traditional” machine shops are looking at this technology to produce small, precise parts complete. This article from Matt Danford explains how a shop that primarily uses that versatile equipment has evolved over the years along with the capabilities today’s Swiss-types now offer.
 
• “The Successful Seven”—In our final feature, I include vignettes about the seven shops that were named to the Honors Program from our 2012 Top Shops benchmarking survey. Each vignette highlights one or more aspects of their businesses that have contributed greatly to their overall success.
 

Our efforts in developing articles such as these feed our various electronic channels—there isn’t a Modern website, video collection, e-newsletter or blog without the work that goes into this magazine. Our various communication channels complement each other, but it all starts with the magazine. 

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