Why the Best Machine Shops Excel

Why the Best Machine Shops Excel

Bruce VernyiWe have, in this issue, profiles of American Machinist’s “10 Best Machine Shops” for 2007, and those shops are extraordinary.

This year’s honorees include shops that serve a wide range of manufacturing sectors – from the auto industry to aerospace and communications – and are drawn from across the United States.

They are defined – in fact, they’re self-defined – as shops that have developed detailed plans that lead to success; that passionately follow those plans; and that confirm their progress by measuring where they were, where they are and where they intend to be.

These shops also are defined by the way they treat their people.

In every instance, the American Machinist editors who visited these shops heard this phrase: “Our people are our most important asset.” These shops have that cliche real by creating programs that focus on benefits, training, advancement or some combination of the three. By doing so, they ensure that employees know how valuable they really are. That effort seems to be appreciated and returned by the employees themselves.

In this month’s cover story on the 10 Best Machine Shops, you can read about several shops that have employees with as much as 40 years of tenure; and shops that are on their second or third generation of machinists from the same family.

But treating employees with high regard and respect is only one of many things that our 10 Best Machine Shops do well. You can read the individual profiles for each of these shops to learn what sets them apart.

Continuing evolution for American Machinist
You may notice some changes in the way this issue is constructed. It’s part of our continuing effort to present information that is significant to you, as a machine shop manager or owner; to present it in a way that is interesting and readable; and to provide a total package that is unlike anything else receive from any other source.

We have arranged the information we publish into a series of new departments so it’s more accessible – more clearly focused on the kind of information, ideas and technology that you might be seeking. And we’ve presented it in a manner that is more concise and to-thepoint, which you have told us would be appreciated.

The departments are:

  • Tooling & Fixturing
  • Machine Tools
  • Software
  • Automation
  • Shop Operations

These departments were developed through ongoing dialogue and research among our readers. Each department will run every month with a variety of content – from longer articles to smaller bits and pieces – but all organized by their relevance to the general department heading. We’ve done this to keep related articles together and to make it easier for you to find whatever it is you’re looking for – and perhaps some things you didn’t know you were looking for.

Redesigning a magazine like this is a bit like turning on a new machine for the first time. While the issue you’re holding represents months of planning by our entire team, it requires a kind of break-in period while all of us learn how to push it to its fullest capabilities. I hope you’ll enjoy being part of that process through your readership and feedback.

We’ll continue to run feature articles in addition to the departments. These, as before, will focus on in-depth reports on industries, specialties, and technologies and techniques that contribute to a more competitive machine shop.

In general, we’ll provide at least three features a month. But this month is a little different; the single feature focuses on profiles of our 2nd annual “10 Best Machine Shops” winners.

The changes we’re introducing this month reflect and continue the moves we have been making for the past two years to assure that American Machinist is relevant, interesting and important in the current manufacturing environment. We aren’t writing articles that are necessarily longer, but I think you’ll find the new format provides a wider range of useful items – and more referrals to places (mostly online) where you can find fuller detail about the specific items that interest you.

This new structure means some new responsibilities for our editors. Each editor now is assigned to care for a specific department of the magazine. If you need – or want to pass on – information about a specific area, I invite you to use the email address we publish along with our editors’ names, and start a conversation with us.

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