POSTED ON 12/16/2021 – No one knows the trials and tribulations of the manufacturing industry better than those who own or manage job shops within that sector. During our DISCOVER 2021 event, we hosted the Job Shop/Profit Shop panel discussion to address some of the current challenges that today’s small to medium-sized shops face and gain insight into how these enduring shops ensure their continued success.
Our panel included three shop leaders who run representative high-mix, low-volume production job shops: Peter Phillips, president of D.P. Tool in Avon, NY; AJ Schaeper, president of Tomak Precision Machining in Lebanon, OH; and Courtney Silver, president of Ketchie Inc. in Concord, NC. During the discussion, these knowledgeable people addressed everything from how to navigate current disruptions in today’s business landscape and diversify core competencies to the best ways to deal with supply chain disruptions, workforce development and the incorporation of new, alternative technologies.
Over the years, shops have worked their ways through a long list of industry cycles and disruptions – most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic – that alter the business landscape. With that said, the panelists were asked how they see business changing as the country hopes to emerge from the pandemic. All three agreed that the business environment will require shops to continue substituting capital for labor and doing more with less, which calls for an increase in Multi-Tasking equipment and automation.
Additionally, all three observed that shops must take a hard, critical look at the jobs they quote, who their customers are and what their current capabilities enable them to do. A shop may be attached to long-established customer relationships and want to quote every possible job. But in reality, every shop must be smart and position itself for growth without overtaxing its current capacity.