11th Annual Top Shops Benchmarking Program Opens with New Features

For 2021, Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops, the annual benchmarking program for CNC machine shops, is open year-round and includes a new sourcing platform.


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For 11 years, Modern Machine Shop has been helping CNC machine shops benchmark their performance against their peers with our Top Shops program. Over the years, the program has evolved, always with the aim of helping U.S. machine shops grow their businesses and become efficient operations. This year, the program has more to offer than ever, including year-round access to the survey and a new sourcing platform. Be sure to take the survey and reap its benefits.

What Is the Top Shops Program?

If the concept of Top Shops is new to you, welcome! At the center of the program is a confidential survey with four main categories: machining technology, shopfloor practices, business strategies and human resources. It includes prompts for key performance indicators, best practices and technology applied in both the front office and shop floor.

Each shop that participates will receive a custom report that compares its data with all others that completed the survey. The report also includes a shop’s overall survey rank and indicates the areas in which the company is particularly strong, on par with others or should target for improvement.

In addition, our company’s Gardner Intelligence group now can cut Top Shops data in a variety of different ways to present the precise information you might need. For example, perhaps you’re only interested in seeing your data compared with shops that serve the aerospace industry, or those that use horizontal machining centers, or those that are located in the same region as you. It’s also possible for shops that don’t participate in the survey to purchase general reports from Gardner Intelligence a la the previous Executive Summary.

Find more information, including past Top Shops honorees, here.

What’s New in Top Shops?

The biggest change is that the online benchmarking survey at the center of Top Shops is now open year round. Shop representatives will need to complete the survey by March 30, 2021, in order to be considered for the 2021 Honors Program. The Top Shops Honors Program still functions the same way — one participating company in each of the survey’s four aforementioned sections is honored. These four shops are identified by responses to select questions and follow-up interviews by Modern Machine Shop and are profiled in the magazine and on our website. In addition, we offer a prize package of Top Shops swag as well as a press release template to make it easy for Honors Program Winners to get the word out to their local media outlets.

“By giving potential buyers a look at what makes a shop unique, businesses can compete on more than price.”


In addition, Modern Machine Shop is rolling out the new Top Shops Sourcing Platform. The service aims to connect buyers with shops that can meet their needs. Every company that completes the survey will receive a free listing. “The new Top Shops Sourcing Platform allows shops to present their people, processes and performance expertise to qualified buyers,” says Dave Necessary, Top Shops Sourcing Director. “By giving potential buyers a look at what makes a shop unique, businesses can compete on more than price.”

More Timely than Ever

The year 2020 was full of unpredictable, unprecedented ups and downs — most notably, the coronavirus pandemic and the cascading effect it had on supply chains, machine shops and manufacturing as a whole. The free, custom report that each shop receives after participation can provide data to guide business practices and improve efficiency in the coming year. Rather than guessing, shops will know where they stand against their competitors. 

“As manufacturing recovers from the disruptions caused by the coronavirus, capitalizing on opportunity is going to be more important than ever,” says Steve Kline, Gardner Business Media’s Chief Data Officer. “By participating in the 2021 Top Shops Survey, these businesses will be able to identify strategies to remain competitive.”