Here's a New Tool For Your Shop

June 6, 2006

You are holding in your hand the tool we promised in February that we would deliver to you—and we couldn't have done it without your help. In this issue, we present our first report on American Machinist's Machining Benchmarks. The report is detailed and lengthy; however, the information we received from the shops that completed our survey is too extensive to present at one time, so we will have additional reports in our July and August issues.

The data is compelling. There are indisputable leaders in machine shops, and what they are doing such as keeping setup times to a minimum, keeping their manufacturing costs down, and keeping shop revenue per-man hour high, are proving right.

Their business practices are not ones applied to manufacturing appliances or to steel production or to any other industry. Nor are they general business management practices.

These are specific methods that affect machining and machine shops, that machine shop managers do every day. This comprehensive information explains aspects of this business in ways that have not been done before.

The information that we have assembled—we have more than 200 individual data points on this industry —is what happens in a shop, and how the jobs get done. You can read the details beginning on Page 22.

As we promised, we are going to share that information with you, with the hope that you will use it to make your operations thrive.

As you read the data we are presenting, keep in mind the new tagline we have adopted: Empowering metalworking managers. That is now on our cover, and it's a responsibility we are going to live up to.

It goes along with a new mission statement that we put on our contents page. The mission statement is a target that we are holding up for ourselves to hit and, more importantly, it's our promise to our readers.

We are presenting the basics in this issue: 12 items that you can measure in your own shop and compare with others.

We are also going to use this data later this year to rate some of the shops that participated in the survey. While the majority of the survey's information came to us anonymously, a handful of shops were willing to provide us their complete information and identified themselves, saying they wanted to participate in the awards program that we talked about when we introduced the survey.

We'll use the numbers those shops gave us to determine the best of the best, with the winners announced about the same time as this year's IMTS.

Who filled out the survey:

  • 249 shops across the United States
  • 96 job shops, with an average of 25 shop floor employees
  • 40 contract shops, with an average of 77 shop floor employees
  • 66 captive shops, with an average of 106 shop floor employees
  • 47 shops who didn't answer the self-description question

Bruce Vernyi