What Machining Facility Should MMS Write About Next? Maybe Yours
The articles we develop often start with a manufacturing leader letting us know about the special way their shop is advancing or succeeding.
The editors of Modern Machine Shop have started to develop ideas and plans for the stories we will pursue and the articles we will publish in 2020. In fact, publishing lead times are long enough that we are already well underway with this, but most articles for 2020 are still unknown and unwritten. They involve ideas, successes and stories we haven’t even heard about yet. So let me take this occasion to ask: What are you interested in reading? And more specifically, what shops should we visit and write about? Perhaps your shop is succeeding in an interesting way. Please tell us about it.
Going to shops is what we’re about. The articles we most like to pursue — the ones we consider the staple and signature of the magazine — involve the chance to spend time in a machining facility so we can understand and profile the way that shop is improving its effectiveness or efficiency. The reason the shop is advancing could involve the addition of new capability, the implementation of a new idea, an increased commitment to automation or acting on data, or the validation of an existing practice that has become more important because of the way the shop’s market is changing.
When we publish an article like this, an article based on time spent learning about a shop, the detail that is unseen — the detail we ourselves might forget — is just how small that article’s beginning was. It might have begun with a chat with the shop owner at an industry event, or it might have begun with an email: “Dear MMS, I don’t know if you’d ever like to write about machining hogouts [or five-axis machining, or machining composites, or what have you], but one of the ways we are getting more effective in this area is by….” We love getting emails like this.
Two obstacles stand in the way. One is humility. Machine shops and their leaders are makers, not promoters. They assume there is nothing noteworthy about what they are learning or achieving. My response: Assume again! Just as you would be interested in the experience and advances of another shop, MMS’s readers (makers of parts plus their buyers) would be interested in yours.
The other obstacle is secrecy — the concern that a competitive advantage or customer’s propriety information will be revealed. That concern is more common than you think, and generally need not be an obstacle. We are writers, and we value the continued trust of shops we cover. Crafting the story to avoid revealing one or more secrets is a feature of many articles we publish.
Is there a story to tell in your shop? Drop us a line. In several sentences, simply describe the special area of success at your shop that might interest other readers. I hope to hear from you.
The up-and-coming technologies hinted at during previous shows have now arrived, and they are being accepted as part of the now-standard means of making parts.
Many factors explain the potential 10X variation in different shops’ bids for the same machining work.
The current crisis is a reckoning. Right now, the challenge is saving livings. But once we are free to look ahead, let’s learn the lessons and prepare ourselves better for the next crisis that comes.