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Top 3 Questions about the Top Shops Benchmarking Program

Posted by: 18. January 2019
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This year marks the ninth edition of Modern Machine Shop’s annual Top Shops benchmarking program. Here are the top three questions I am asked about the program:

1. What is it?

Top Shops starts with a survey. The survey, which is now live at survey.mmsonline.com/topshops through the end of February, enables shops of all types and sizes to see how they compare against leading U.S. machining businesses in terms of machining technology, shopfloor practices, business strategies and human resources/workforce development.

The survey prompts for equipment, process and financial information, and includes a few open-ended questions. It does not ask for specific financial figures, such as gross sales or net income. Instead, it asks you to supply financial measures as percentages, including net income per gross sales, annual sales growth rate and capital equipment expenditure per gross sales. Our thought is that this will encourage greater participation from shops that are not inclined (or allowed) to provide financial data. Nonetheless, all survey responses will remain confidential.

2. What is a “Top Shop?”

Once we receive the survey responses and scrub the data to remove outlier responses, we establish a Top Shops benchmarking group. That group represents the top 20 percent of shops based on points assigned to select survey questions in each of the four survey categories (i.e. they are the “Top Shops”). That way, you can compare your key performance indicators with the nation’s most successful shops and see what equipment and strategies they are leveraging to their advantage on the shop floor and in the front office.

3. Why should I participate?

You will benefit in various ways. For example, you will receive a free custom report comparing your responses to quantitative questions to all other survey participants. A data plot for each question provides a general performance summary for your company. The report also includes your shop’s overall survey rank among the surveys received and lists key metrics for which your company is particularly strong, is on par with others, or perhaps should be targeted for improvement.

Top Shops includes an Honors Program, too. The Honors Program highlights successful participating companies in each of the survey’s four aforementioned sections, identified by responses to select questions and follow-up interviews by me. Those shops are profiled in Modern Machine Shop and on MMS Online. In addition, we offer a prize package that includes a large Top Shops banner that can be displayed in your shop, T-shirts, hats, toolbox magnets and so on. We also provide winners with a press release template that can be modified and sent to various press outlets to get the word out about winning the award.

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This article was adapted from a piece first appearing on MMS Online.

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