Top Shops Conference Concludes on Themes of Communication and Connectivity

Strengthening employee relationships and data-driven manufacturing were highlights of the event.


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Michael Guckes at Top Shops

The technical program was based on Modern Machine Shop’s annual Top Shops benchmarking program from Gardner Intelligence. Here, Michael Guckes, chief economist and director of analytics for Gardner Intelligence, talks with an attendee.

The third annual Top Shops Conference presented by Modern Machine Shop concluded in Cincinnati on September 11, 2019. The three-day event connected North American leaders in CNC machining including shop owners, presidents and managers. More than 100 companies came to share information, network and gain actionable insights to take back to their businesses.

The technical program, which was presented in partnership with IMTS 2020, was based on Modern Machine Shop’s annual Top Shops benchmarking program and highlighted presentations from several past and present Top Shops honorees. A range of topics were covered in two program tracks: technology insights and human resources best practices.

Hillary Coombs speaks at Top Shops

Hillary Coombs, vice president of Westminster Tool shared best practices for transitioning from a group of highly skilled craftsmen to an inexperienced, cross-functional team during the Next Generation session.

“The turnout for Top Shops demonstrates that manufacturers are hungry for ideas about how to grow their businesses and make them more efficient operations,” noted Derek Korn, the conference’s technical director. “Beyond the benchmarking report they received at the conference, they want to know more. Whether it’s new machining strategies, application of automation, personnel training or learning about different opportunities they have in their local communities, these shops want to discover ways to improve.”

The 2019 Top Shops Awards were also presented during the event. This year’s honorees were Straton Industries, AceCo Precision Manufacturing, SDP/SI and MetalQuest.

Event organizers announced that in 2020 the Top Shops Conference will take place alongside IMTS at Chicago’s McCormick Place.