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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Stories of Success Modern Machine Shop 81 Top Shops Winners Talk Technology, Tactics Successful machining businesses implement effective processes and strategies both on the shop floor and in the front office. Recent chats with representatives from this year's award-winning Top Shops shed light on some approaches they have leveraged to their advantage. As far as I'm concerned, it's a win-win. The machine shops that participate in our Top Shops benchmarking survey come away with a free, custom report ranking their responses to quantitative questions against those of other participants. This gives shops a sense as to where they are succeeding in specific areas of their business and where they may want to target improvement efforts. Conversely, the survey enables the Modern Machine Shop staff to better identify the technologies and strategies—applied both on the shop floor and in the front office—that leading U.S. machine shops are adopting. The latter provided the fodder for this article, which highlights some of the tactics from which the four winning shops of the 2018 Honors Program are benefiting. These shops are part of the 90 that comprise the top-20-percent bench- marking group established in our annual survey. They were identified by me as being particularly notable in one of the following four main survey sections: machining technology, shopf loor prac- tices, business strategies and human resources. In fact, we recently invited representatives from those four shops to visit our Cincinnati, Ohio, offices to shoot this month's cover photo and to chat with them about their operations and the benchmarking reports. While all the shops in the benchmarking group excel in many aspects of their machining businesses, here we're concen- trating on the processes and practices the Honors Program winners are applying with respect to their award categories. MACHINING TECHNOLOGY: Investing Somewhat on the Edge The winner in this year's machining technology category is Baker Industries, located in Macomb, Michigan ( bakerindustriesinc.com ). When brothers Scott and Kevin Baker co-founded the company as Baker Duplicating in 1992, it was a three-person operation with 2,100 square feet of space. Today, Baker Industries has 285 employees across four facilities and 220,000 square feet of space. The tooling supplier also is now heavily focused on the automotive, aerospace and defense industries. Capabilities include design, engineering, fabrication, welding, machining, assembly, CNC machining, 3D printing, inspec- tion and validation. Twenty-five-year industry veteran Jerry Kablak is the company's program engineer and additive manufacturing champion. He says that from the beginning, the shop has focused on integrating DEREK KORN | EXECUTIVE EDITOR

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