Benchmarking Survey: Time’s Running Out!

You have until Tuesday, February 15 to take part in our Top Shops benchmarking survey. Learn more about how you’ll benefit by participating.


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Time is almost up to participate in our “Top Shops” benchmarking survey. The online survey at MMSTopShops.com ends Tuesday February 15. 

Top Shops is a comprehensive benchmarking program for machining businesses of all types and sizes. It will 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 a small job shop, a die/mold shop or a large, captive operation, become better overall businesses in the global marketplace.

The benchmarking study will enable you to compare shopfloor strategies and business approaches to similar companies so you can make sound decisions to emulate those identified as world-class operations. Not only will it serve as a baseline “report card” of sorts, but the hard data will eliminate the need to rely on gut feelings as a method of identifying and prioritizing improvement efforts.

The success of this benchmarking initiative depends on your support. We ask you to participate by visiting our secure survey website at MMSTopShops.com and completing the questionnaire. The survey was created in conjunction with the MPI Group, parent company of the Manufacturing and Management Performance Institutes. It is designed to solicit sufficient information to support the study without being excessively time-consuming for participants.

We estimate that the detailed survey will take one hour to complete. It prompts for specific business, process and equipment information (some of which may require a bit of calculating to accurately determine) in addition to a few open-ended questions about your approaches. You have the option of printing the survey, filling it out by hand and mailing it to us.

Participants who complete the survey will receive a summary data report of the results (more about that below). All data collected from individual companies will remain confidential—only grouped industry findings will be published. We’ll share the final benchmarking data in our August 2011 issue.

Top Shop Honors Program

The second element of the Top Shops initiative is an Honors Program that highlights a handful of the most successful participating machining businesses, identified by responses to survey questions and detailed follow-up interviews by Modern Machine Shop editors. Those shops will be listed in our August benchmarking issue. In each of the issues that follow, we’ll profile one Top Shop, focusing on a key aspect of the shop’s approach that enables it to be a trusted supplier of machined parts to its customers.

Of course, participants are given the opportunity to opt out of the Honors Program if they choose (simply don’t provide your contact info at the end of the survey). However, if you do want to be considered, we ask that you provide as much detail as possible in the survey to give your shop its best shot at being selected as a Top Shop.

Summary Data Report

The benefit of taking our Top Shops benchmarking survey at MMSTopShops.com is the summary data report we’ll provide. The report will include data for all 39 questions on the survey, but we’ll also separate the 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 employees.

To hire a company to gather and report this type of business intel—culled data related to specific shop practices and performance levels—wouldn’t be cheap. The only investment we require for our benchmarking initiative is a bit of your time and company information. Individual company information will remain confidential.

So once you receive the report, what do you do with it? Well, 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. The data will reveal those areas. For example, you may unexpectedly find that your turnover rate is much higher than comparable shops. That should spur you to find out why and determine if it’s a contributing factor to whatever business pains you’re experiencing. Identify the areas in which the difference between your shop and the top-performing shops are the greatest, and then consider what you might do to close the gap.

We plan to make this benchmarking survey an annual event. By participating each year, you’ll be able to go back and track whether the efforts you’ve taken based on past survey results are contributing to significant change in a given area. Leverage the benchmarking data to bolster your continuous improvement efforts and spur success in the years to come.