The 2009 NIMS Apprentice Competition is underway

Feb. 12, 2009
Bruce Vernyi Editor-in-Chief [email protected] The 2009 National Apprentice Competition presented by the National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills ...
Bruce Vernyi
[email protected]

The 2009 National Apprentice Competition presented by the National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) is underway, and the contest finals will be hosted by the National Tooling & Machining Association Indianapolis Chapter at Ivy Tech State College on April 15 to April 18.

And, once again GF AgieCharmilles is continuing its vital sponsorship of the contest.

GF AgieCharmilles is to be congratulated and thanked for its role in the contest, even in the face of the slowing economic conditions that everyone is facing this year.

In a press release that talked about the event, Glynn Fletcher, president of GF AgieCharmilles, said the following:

“Despite the current recession, maintaining a skilled workforce is one of the most vital challenges facing American manufacturing today.”

“Technology has increased the amount of output that can be generated by a single worker, but it has also raised the levels of expertise required for many manufacturing jobs. By getting today’s youth involved in manufacturing, we are securing a more prosperous future for America,” Fletcher added.

All that is so, and AgieCharmilles is showing great commitment and grace in continuing its support for the event.

This year marks the 37th annual NTMA/NIMS National Apprentice Competition and it will be the 18th consecutive year that GF AgieCharmilles has provided the event’s grand prize.

2009 American Machinist Machine Shop Benchmark Survey American Machinist’s 2009 Machine Shop Benchmark Survey will be available Feb. 9 at

As in the past, the survey will be done electronically — all over the Internet — and the survey will be anonymous. All of the information in the survey will go to our partner, MPI Group, which will collect and collate the numbers and provide a report to the editors of American Machinist magazine, so that no one could connect any reported numbers with a specific shop.

We intend to have the survey available for approximately eight weeks, and we will report on the results in our July issue.

Filling out our survey is the first step in the American Machinist “Best Machine Shops” program. Any shop that wants to participate in that program can nominate itself by checking off the appropriate box at the bottom of the survey.

After the numbers are crunched, our partner in the survey also provides the American Machinist editors with the list of potential “Best Shops,” and we editors visit those contenders and confirm the 10 Best for the year.

The survey and the “Best Shops” program has been a part of our effort to create a database of operating benchmarks for machine shops. We started doing this three years ago, and all you need to do to get involved is fill out the survey. That will take 45 to 60 minutes of your time.

We ask for detailed information, and it’s free of charge. It will only cost you the time it takes to fill out the survey and check the box at the end.

That’s when our work begins.

Ultimately, American Machinist launched this Best Machine Shops program to provide examples of metalcutting businesses that are run efficiently and competitively; and to demonstrate that business which follow a specific improvement process will outperform those that run by the seat of the pants.

Each time we’ve done this, it’s been hard to limit our list of finalists to just 10 shops.

We are aware that there are plenty of aggressive, well-run shops across the United States, and I would like to get the chance to write about every one of them.

The the only way we have been able to confidently find world-class performers is through our survey. And I know we can’t pretend to deliver the 10 Best Machine Shops if you sit on the sidelines. So sharpen up your pens and, on Feb. 9 I urge you to fill it the survey and get your shop into the running.