Get 'Actionable' Data on Manufacturing to Help You Make Better Decisions

Data is being generated every day to help users in their decision-making. Now you can tab into a source of data and intelligence that lives and breathes manufacturing.
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If you are a regular reader of this magazine or visitor to its website, you may have noticed that we run two columns in the Your Business section authored by Michael Guckes of Gardner Intelligence. In this issue, the Plastics Processing Business Index is on p. 65, and Market Watch, which alternates between six major markets for plastics products, is on p. 66. These monthly reports result from proprietary research conducted by Gardner Intelligence, with forecasts provided by Guckes, Gardner’s chief economist.

Gardner Intelligence is a division of Gardner Business Media (GBM), the family-owned, Cincinnati-based publisher of eight leading business-to-business publications focused on manufacturing—including this one. GBM was founded in 1928 as Gardner Publications Inc. Research has been long a staple of the services provided by GBM. For decades it has provided the metalworking, plastics and other markets it services with its annual Capital Spending reports, which forecasts the kinds of technology investments its audience will be making in machinery, tooling and much more in the coming year.

Several years ago, GBM decided to establish Gardner Intelligence as a separate operating entity headed up by Steven Kline Jr., part of the company’s fourth-generation ownership group. Steven, who serves as Gardner Intelligence’s chief data officer, hired a team of data analysts and researchers, who have developed a range of products that offer, as Steve puts it, “deep, rich, actionable insights about durable goods manufacturing.” If you are an injection molder and participated in our recent Top Shops benchmarking survey, you are familiar with some of these research efforts. (The results of that study, by the way, will be published in our October issue.

But there’s more. I encourage you to point your browser to gardnerintelligence.com to get the low-down. Let me give you a quick summary of some of the things you might find useful:


  • The Gardner Business Index: This is a diffusion index measuring month-to-month changes in activity at durable goods and discrete parts manufacturing facilities. This methodology is used in each issue of this publication to calculate the Plastics Processing Business Index.
  • Top Shops: Long-established in GBM’s Modern Machine Shop magazine, this annual survey has been extended to the company’s publications in plastics (as already noted), parts finishing, and composites. Top Shops is a benchmarking and recognition program designed to help shops build their business. Data is collected across categories such as operations, technology, business strategy, and human resources. Selected measures are scored and then summed up for total scores that serve as the basis for honoring certain shops as “Top Shops.”
  • Custom Research: Gardner Intelligence can collaborate directly with you to develop programs that reveal insights and provide forecasts on technology developments, business practices/operations, and competition.
  • Newsletters: This Economic Update newsletter provides a look at what's really going on in the manufacturing industry from an economic perspective. Another newsletter, The Manufacturing Marketer, contains business marketing best practices along with manufacturing market forecasts.
  • Blogs: Several times a week you’ll get access to Gardner Intelligence’s insights on major economic trends and developments that you can use to help forecast your business.


From the gardnerintelligence.com website, you can even book a speaker. The Gardner Intelligence team gives talks all over the U.S. and internationally every year to thousands of governmental and business decision makers and manufacturing experts. Presentations are customized to each client's specific needs with applicable insights to drive their strategic decision making.

Nowadays, data is being used by businesses every minute of every day to help drive their decision making. And not just in industry. My goodness, if you’re a sports fan you’ve probably noticed the array advanced metrics that are being used to evaluate players and influence decisions. They are mind-boggling to me, but they are being deployed every day. Scope out gardnerintelligence.com and see what might be helpful to you and your business.