What top CNC shops do differently to keep their market-leading position

September 11, 2017

Top CNC shops do have secrets to their success. But, they’re not necessarily anything proprietary that you can’t also do.

CNC shops which stay at the forefront of their market, whether they’re large or small, implement certain strategies to keep their position. You should work hard, but you have to do so in the smartest way to stay at the top.

If you’re in the middle of the pack and want to leap forward, keep these strategies in mind:

Only Accept Projects that Fit Within Your Company’s Purpose

Most CNC shops don’t have a formally defined purpose. That leads to taking on jobs which fall way outside of your specialty. When you do those jobs, they take longer and more mistakes happen. Your efficiency takes a dip.

It’s frightening to narrow your company to a single defined purpose and only accept projects that fit within it. Your fear is that you’ll limit yourself too much and won’t get enough work.

But, doing this actually has the opposite effect: you get more efficient at doing specific kinds of projects. In turn, that makes you more valuable to customers. So, they have a reason to keep coming back to you.

Top Shops Are Usually Independents, But They Don’t Have to Be

Modern Machine Shop’s Top Shops Survey found market leaders make an average of 2,097 different parts each year. Compare this to 5,874 for the typical shop.

At the same time, independents may spend more resources customizing their tools and processes to meet niche needs. Any CNC machine shop can do this. It just gets a little more challenging if you’re larger and have more employees and machinery to manage.

Use 5-Axis Machining and the Latest Technology

Modern Machine Shop’s survey also found top shops routinely use 5-axis machining. Not every shop does, but the majority do. 5-axis machining is simply the most efficient way to manufacture complex parts, while also taking the least number of steps to do so.

Most top shops also include advanced techniques like high-speed machining and hard turning to sustain their market advantage.

Top Shops Treat Their Employees Better

According to the Modern Machine Shop survey, top shops and average shops pay their employees nearly the same, with top shops paying about a dollar more per hour to CNC operators.

However, they separate from the pack by offering other benefits. They’re more likely to provide profit-sharing, in-house training, and paid medical benefits.

Top CNC shops know what to do differently and follow through on it. If you’ve found yourself struggling to retain the best employees and compete, now you have a clearer understanding of what you can do to become a market leader.

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