There is a well-recognized process for business improvement, and it's surprisingly simple:
- Measure key performance indicators so you know what's what.
- Compare your measurements to others benchmarking so you know what to work on.
- Plan for improvement, so you can focus on what it is that you're going to make better.
- Measure again, so you can see how well you did and how it paid off.
This process sets the groundwork for being globally competitive. If you want to compete, you need to know your starting point. That's how you figure out where to go next, and it's how you know when you've arrived.
AMERICAN MACHINIST is launching a detailed study this month to create tools that metalworking shops need to undertake an organized improvement process. We already know that the process for improvement isn't evenly applied in our industry typically the smaller you are the more seat-of-the-pants your operations are. And even the most sophisticated operations have trouble choosing the right approach to improving efficiency.
The issue is getting started. You can't think about taking Step 1 (measure) if you don't know what to measure. By taking the 2006 AMERICAN MACHINIST Benchmarking Survey, you'll provide important information to create a set of key performance indicators to use in measuring your improvement.
And how can you take Step 3 (compare) if nobody else has measured the same things and shared the information?
That also is the point of our survey. We need all of you to take the survey to build a significant database of best practices and performance measures.
You may need to calculate some things that you don't have at your fingertips. But, by taking the survey and understanding how you're doing, you'll be taking the first step to improve your processes and to become more competitive.
And, don't worry — no one will be able to compare directly against you and your information. Only grouped industry findings will be published or available. Your information remains anonymous and confidential. You don't even have to give us your name.
If you don't fill out the entire survey — if you can't or simply won't please fill out what you can and we will still make good use of it.
What's the incentive for you to spend time doing this? If you fill it out, we'll send you a copy of the results. You'll be the first to receive a standard set of key performance indicators for measuring your operation, and you'll be able to compare yourself to others.
At the end of the survey, there is an option to provide your contact information, which will be used for a related program: AMERICAN MACHINIST'S Seal of Excellence. It will be applied to the best performers in our study group; they'll be able to use the Seal of Excellence designation to demonstrate to customers and prospects that they measure carefully, pay attention to process and have systems in place to deliver on their promises.
If you give us your name for consideration, you just might measure up among the best. Rest assured, even when providing your name, your information remains confidential. Please take the survey.
You can find it at www.AMBsurvey.com. You can take and submit the survey there, on line, or you have the option to print it and send it back by mail or fax. We need surveys returned to us by the deadline of March 13, 2006.
If you have any questions, give me a call. However you decide to do it, taking the time to fill out our survey is going to land you a new tool that you will be able to use again and again.