Leveraging LinkedIn?

Leading shops use LinkedIn more these days. Consider joining our growing LinkedIn community to pose questions and share your thoughts with other Top Shops in North America.

This article describes our 2016 Top Shops benchmarking survey, which is now live and runs through the end of February. Although we slightly modify this annual survey every year (this is our sixth edition), we’ve maintained a core batch of questions we continue to ask so we can identify trends by comparing new survey data to that gathered in previous years.

For example, every Top Shops benchmarking survey has asked about the use of social media as a sales and marketing tool. Each year, results have shown that shops in the benchmarking group are more apt to use social media than the other surveyed shops. In fact, that percentage has risen by nearly four times since our first survey, increasing from 11 percent to more than 40 percent in 2015.

Our magazine has been active in social media, too, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. What we’ve noticed thus far in terms of our efforts is that our Top Shops LinkedIn group has spurred the highest level of interaction among shop principals in terms of social media.

We launched this group in September 2011 to complement our benchmarking survey. The group is exclusive and geared toward decision-makers in North American machining facilities, including shop owners, managers, engineers, programmers and other senior personnel. We’ve limited the group to only these people because we believe this exclusivity is part of what makes this group different and helpful. Although this group doesn’t necessarily serve as a sales or marketing tool for members, it has become its own online community, enabling members to share ideas, pose questions and offer input related to issues that are often unique to the business of machining parts.

Some of the posts have spurred multiple comments and interesting exchanges related to a range of topics. Examples from recent posts include a person weighing the value of minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) who was able to learn about other shops’ experiences with it. In another post, a person asked for suggestions to prevent CNC lathe operators from cutting their hands and arms on chips, tools and workpieces inside machines, which is a common shop safety issue.

Posts also get into business strategy and human resources issues. Recent ones have asked how best to find and recruit trainable new employees, how to set up a manufacturing scholarship fund, and if members thought there might be merit in moving from a five-day/eight-hour schedule to four 10-hour days, as one shop that our magazine has profiled did.

To date, our group has just shy of 1,900 members. If you feel you meet the group’s criteria and would like to join, click here or email me at dkorn@mmsonline.com and I’ll send you an invite. In doing so, you can not only help us push past 2,000 members, but, more importantly, add value to our ever-growing LinkedIn social media community.