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Shop Talk: Key Drivers of Revenue and Profit Margin at Top Shops

Updated: 6 days ago

When you hear the word benchmark, you don’t always think insights, correlations, and in-depth analysis, but in this case, that’s what you’ll get. If you’re not already familiar with Gardner Business Media’s annual Top Shops benchmarking program, you really should be. It is probably the single best no-cost business and operations audit of your business available.


For the past 10 years, Gardner Business Media (GBM), publisher of Modern Machine Shop, has collected data from shops in four categories – machining equipment, shop floor practices, business strategies, and human resources – and then made the results available to enable shops to benchmark themselves in the industry. All shops that complete the survey get a customized report that shows them how they rank in more than 20 categories – including tooling strategies, workholding strategies, improvement methodologies, software, order lead time – and many more. You also get a performance summary that shows your shop’s specific strengths and weaknesses as well as the areas where you are in the middle 50%.


In this IMTS spark Shop Talk segment, Steve Kline Jr., Chief Data Officer at GBM, discusses the results of the 2020 survey and reviews a sample customized report and a sample performance summary in detail. Steve goes beyond just looking at the data. He not only explains what it shows, but points out relationships and correlations that might not be obvious as he takes you through the survey results category by category. The data is also broken down by the mix and volume that a shop produces – high mix-high volume, high mix-low volume, low mix-high volume, and low mix-low volume – making it even more insightful and actionable.


Steve concludes the presentation with an overview of 12 key practices and types of equipment that differentiate all Top Shops from other shops regardless of their mix and volume. There are takeaways for shops, buyers, and sellers. If your shop is not using one of the practices or tools in each category, you should start looking at what it would take to move in that direction. If you are supplying shops with equipment, you can leverage this data and information to make strategic recommendations supported by data. Buyers should look at where their suppliers rank in these categories since they are indicative of high-performing machine shops.

Check out Steve’s presentation to learn more about how the survey works and how your shop can benefit by watching the on-demand presentation Shop Talk: Key Drivers of Revenue and Profit Margin at Top Shops on IMTS spark.


This is one of several Gardner presentations on Top Shops. We will review others in upcoming newsletters.

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