Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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Page 24 of 220

ONE-OFF MMS SEPTEMBER 2018 22 Derek Korn EXECUTIVE EDITOR @mms_derek Your Point of Focus Determines What You Do Recent discussions with representatives from four successful shops revealed that their purchasing and strategic business decisions are largely shaped by the needs of their customers and employees. If you are familiar with our annual Top Shops benchmarking program, you know we have an Honors Program in which we select shops in the top-20-percent benchmarking group that are par- ticularly notable in one of the four main survey sections: machining technology, shopf loor prac- tices, business strategies and human resources. This year's winning shops in those categories are Baker Industries, Hirsh Precision Products, Ripley Machine and Hastreiter Industries, respectively. We did something different this year to honor those companies. We invited a represen- tative from each company to visit our office in Cincinnati, Ohio, to discuss the benchmarking survey, their operations and the industry in gen- eral. (You can read their responses in the article starting on page 80.) We also took them to nearby valve manufacturer and past Honors Program winner Richards Industries to snap the photo used on this month's cover. Although our discussions addressed a range of topics, one overarching theme emerged: Focusing on customers' and employees' needs has ultimately shaped their busi- ness decisions. Sometimes, your customers might not know what method may be best for producing their parts. It is possible that, compared to conven- tional manufacturing methods, new, perhaps atypical technology could result in better-per- forming products. Offering thoughtful design for manufacturability (DFM) advice may do the same while reducing their overall manufacturing costs and/or speeding time to market for their new product designs. To meet or even exceed customers' expec- tations in such ways, your employees must be given all the tools and training necessary to perform their duties as efficiently as possible, and they must be afforded the opportunity to suggest improvements to processes and proce- dures. The key is to be open to suggestions and provide timely feedback so they know their ideas are, indeed, being considered. The first time a person's suggestion is ignored is likely to be the last sug- gestion you will get from him or her. The key in all this is prompt and transparent communication. Regular meetings with your employees help ensure that the entire operation is up to speed with respect to customer projects, and it helps reinforce the company's focus on customer satisfaction. In addition, reg- ular talks with customers offers the opportunity to educate them about any new capabilities you have added. This is valuable in persuading them to consider your alternate, albeit advanced, man- ufacturing technologies to possibly win new work. Consider your customers and employees as you discover new machining equipment, processes and strategies in our magazine or at trade shows such as this month's International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). Think about how to apply new technologies to make customers deeply satisfied and employees deeply engaged. Employee Education Workforce development is a topic for a panel discussion at the Top Shop workshop. Learn more at . Focusing on customers' and employees' needs should shape your business decisions.

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