Make Your Mark in Plastics Technology’s 'Top Shops' Survey
Benchmark your injection molding operation by being a part of our annual survey. Learn more about “best-in-class” practices that separate the tops shops from the rest.
#topshops #editorial #bestpractices
If you’re an injection molder, you’re going to be hearing a lot from us in the coming weeks about our annual Top Shops survey. You’ll receive gentle nudges in our e-newsletters and blog postings—and through social media—about the study. You’ll also be receiving reminders from us in the mail. Remember the mail?
We published the results of our Top Shops 2019 survey in our October issue, in an article written by Senior Editor Tony Deligio, who heads up this project. In the months since that article was published, I have received numerous emails and phone calls from molders who wished they had participated in that study, but somehow missed it. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
In one respect, I was disappointed to hear from molders who wanted “in” on the survey after it was closed. But on the other hand, I found it gratifying because it was a clear signal to us that this kind of research is vital.
Sure, most molders nowadays have metrics they use to measure their operation’s efficiency. But these metrics are held within the four walls of their operation. You may think you have a best-in-class operation, but do you really know unless you have some sense as to what “the other guys” are doing? You may have a “best practices” standard against which you measure yourself, but what if it falls short against your competition?
That’s what Top Shops is all about. Plastics Technology is endeavoring to help you answer that question—how you stack up against your competition—with its Top Shops Program, which has evolved from the former World Class Processors benchmarking study. Unlike its predecessor, Top Shops focuses specifically on injection molding. It’s a comprehensive online survey that, when completed, will let you see just how you stack up across multiple metrics versus other injection molding facilities. All survey data are kept 100% confidential.
So how does this all work? The first part is easy. Go to survey.ptonline.com/topshops to start. We’ll be asking you to provide demographic data, as well as information on some key performance metrics such as sales growth, sales per machine and employee, scrap rate, and setup time, among others. Scoring on 10 of these metrics is used as a means to separate Top Shops from the rest of the respondents. Depending on what your job is at your company, you may need assistance from some of your colleagues to answer some of the questions, but I’m confident you will find it worth the effort.
This October, Tony will once again have a story reporting on the results of the study. But if you participate, you will also get a customized report showing you how the key metrics you track—machine utilization, on-time delivery, scrap rate, mold-change time and more—compare with the molders you compete against for business. I think there is a lot of value in knowing how your facility stacks up against others, apples-to-apples. Is your competition doing more training than you? Are they offering more in the way of value-added services? Have they figured out innovative ways to automate? Do they treat their employees differently? Do they provide additive manufacturing services beyond prototyping? Have they expanded their toolroom to include mold building in addition to repair? Do they invest in technology even when business is less than robust?
Let’s say you do participate in this study and wind up being acknowledged as a Top Shop (as 27 molders in 2019 were designated). What then? My answer: Brag about it. Or, to put it in more positive terms: market it. If I were ranked a Top Shop molder, I’d ask the folks at Plastics Technology Magazine for the logo to post on my website along with a link to the article. I’d put that logo on my stationary, the forms I use for RFQs, my sales collateral. I would make sure all of my salespeople included that logo in any PowerPoint presentation they gave. While Top Shops is a relatively new benchmarking study for Plastics Technology, for years it has been a research staple of our sister Gardner publications such as Modern Machine Shop and Products Finishing. A Products Finishing honoree once went through the trouble of putting the logo on all of its trucks.
Kind of clever, I think. Maybe you can do better.
Over the past decade, soft-touch overmolding has radically changed the look, feel, and function of a broad range of consumer products.
Many plastics processors are just starting to become familiar with the terms “additive manufacturing” or “additive fabrication,” which refer to a group of processes that build up parts by successively adding material, often in layers.
In the injection molding process, tool temperature is an important factor in achieving high-quality parts.