Curiosity is an important component of success in all endeavors but is especially vital to achieving manufacturing competitiveness. Executives and managers at plants across the U.S. and the rest of the world want to know how their performances and practices compare with others in their industry and region. Yet last year's IndustryWeek/Manufacturing Performance Institute Census of Manufacturers revealed that only 35% of plants have formally embraced curiosity -- that is, barely one-third of all plant leaders use benchmarking as a strategic practice.
A management adage says that What gets measured gets done. The 65% of U.S. plants that don't benchmark might want to consider the corollary: What doesn't get measured, doesn't get done.
All of which is a shame, since a free benchmarking opportunity is just a mouse click away.
Click here to complete the largest annual U.S. manufacturing study and receive your own customized benchmark.
Of course, simple benchmarking won't turn around a poorly run plant or keep a world-class facility at the peak of its performance. Achieving a competitive advantage requires careful attention to improvement strategies and tactics, including workforce strategies and investments in production automation and information technology. Determining which strategies will work best for you -- and which targets are most appropriate for your facility -- is what the IW/MPI Census of Manufacturers is all about.
It's never been easier to participate in the Census, the largest annual study of U.S. manufacturing performances and practices, and the benefits of participating have never been greater:
- Go to www.IWMPI2006Census.com.
- Complete the questionnaire and submit it by May 15, 2006.
- Receive online tools that will allow you to create your own customized benchmark.
I frequently have called on government and other organizations to support manufacturers. You also need to do your part to stay competitive. Our research partner MPI is offering a free custom benchmark report to encourage your participation. This report will show how you rate compared with your peers and will offer ideas on how to improve.
Participating in the IW/MPI Census of Manufacturers offers a simple first step to achieving manufacturing competitiveness. What are you waiting for?
Patricia Panchak is IW's editor-in-chief. She is based in Cleveland. Also see The Manufacturer's Agenda: Pat Panchak's new blog about public policy issues.