Different, Complementary

Although the featured content in our August issue differs from what we typically deliver, our purpose is the same: to help your shop become better at the business of machining discrete parts.


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Our August issue of Modern Machine Shop is different. None of the feature stories highlight a shop’s efforts in applying machining technologies in a new or creative way. With that said, what we present—analysis of our 2011 Top Shops benchmarking survey—most definitely complements our normal deliverables.

Here’s why: You likely don’t get a chance to visit other shops to see their approach to machining parts, but the other editors and I get to do that. Therein lies the value of our classic application stories. In most cases, these are generated after personal visits to a shop’s facility to gather background, photos and sometimes video. Those stories shed light on a particular change in a shop’s process that has enabled it to become more efficient and effective. The hope is that the articles will spur you to make comparable adjustments to realize similar benefits.

Based on feedback from our Top Shops benchmarking survey, the feature articles we present in our August issue serve much the same purpose. However, in this case, each offers detail and analysis about business-, operations- and technology-related data received from the many shops that took the comprehensive survey early this year. I dare say that the type and amount of information culled from the survey would be challenging, if not impossible, for darn near any shop to gather on its own. Our goal is to provide the type of intel that enables shops to see how they rank against others, determine where their deficiencies seem to be and decide what actions to take to become better overall machining businesses.

In addition to doing something outside the norm in print, we’ve also done something different online. As a complement to the August issue, we’ve developed this custom digital magazine edition that contains Top Shops analysis articles as well as profiles of the ten Top Shops chosen for 2011. The digital edition is found in our Top Shops Zone at mmsonline.com/topshops. Within that Zone you’ll also be able to access our Executive Summary report of the survey data. The Executive Summary is similar to the detailed reports that only survey participants received.

A lot of work went into our inaugural Top Shops benchmarking initiative. I’m thankful to the MPI Group for helping shape the survey and data reports. I’m also thankful to the graphics department here at Modern for the hard work they did to make all the deliverables related to this program look like a million bucks. I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t also thank the principals at the shops who took time out of their busy schedules to complete our thorough benchmarking survey. Their feedback was the driving force behind our reporting efforts.

We plan to make Top Shops an ongoing program, and I hope those who took the survey this year will continue to participate. If you weren’t able to this time around, I hope you’ll consider taking part in upcoming ones.