We are presenting in this issue the first class of the 10 Best Machine Shops in the United States. Beginning on Page 26, we provide a brief profile on each of the 10 shops whose results prove they are working more successfully and more capably than other machine shops.
We have searched out and profiled these shops because their experience can lend confidence to others who are in this business that there are ways to find success in machining in the U.S. These shops prove that a systematic, metrics-based approach to business pays off.
Their operations and their results prove they deserve recognition for the culture of measurement that they have established and that they use daily to register success.
These shops were among the candidates that arose in the American Machinist U.S. Machine Shop Benchmarking survey that we conducted several months ago. The benchmarking firm that we worked with on this project gave us the list of candidates for this list, and we investigated them further and visited each to get the details on how they are run. They have proved—in every instance—that they deserve this recognition.
Geographically, these shops are spread out from Massachusetts to California, from the State of Washington to Georgia, and two of the 10 best shops are based in one of the most expensive states in which to do business—California—yet they compete very well.
From a business perspective, the 10 Best compete in every industry and for customers around the world.
These shops deserve credit for their accomplishments because their managers and owners decided that the effective way to do business is based on methodical organization and careful measurement of the factors that lead to success.
The owners and managers of these shops started to benchmark themselves --well before we at American Machinist decided to do our survey—and they work hard to make their operations better on a regular basis.
They all put a high value on the people who work for them and with them, and they provide solid rewards for their shop employees. They have active efforts to make their operations as efficient as possible, from reducing set-up and machining cycle time, to reducing shop inventories, and increasing quality. They make the best use of the tools they have, whether it is advanced, multi-axis and CNC technology, manual tools or the cutting tools they buy. And, they constantly keep their customers' needs directly in front of everyone who touches a part for a customer.
The primary tool that each of these shops use to ensure their success is communications. Extra efforts to ensure widespread communications were visible at each of these shops.
There are no secrets to these success stories. Secrets are dissolved in direct communications between shop floor and office personnel, and the extensive communications between shop floor personnel.
The managers and owners of each of these shops are extraordinarily open about what they do, and about what they intend to do in the future. With each of them— whether you're working on their shop floor or asking about their competitive success—if you want to know how they address a specific problem, all you have to do is ask: They'll be happy to tell you. That's what they are best at.