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CNC Machine Shop Owners and Personnel Continue to Create the New Normal, Amid Pandemic


Startup Fortune, August 20, 2020: Successful leaders address change head on. They assess new situations, regroup and refit their enterprises for ever evolving conditions. CNC Machine Shop owners and managers are no strangers to change, thanks to constant demand for the creation of new types of products. 

Innovative ways of doing business replace established ones over time too, but never more quickly than in this “new normal” pandemic based economy. 

Many CNC shop owners have shared stories of roller coaster operations over the past six months, as production was shuttered due to lack of materials and COVID-19 restrictions, then revved up again when they received the call to produce face masks and other much-needed equipment for medical workers and patients. 

“Since the pandemic hit, businesses who were forced to shut down were also given the time to assess their weaknesses and strengths. Many companies sold off CNC machines they didn’t need anymore and purchased machines where they saw an opportunity to grow,” says Tom Kohm, President & CEO of Premier Equipment. Premier Equipment is the largest online seller of used CNC machines. 

These innovative CNC machine shops are leading the charge to create the new normal within the industry.

Supply chain is one aspect of manufacturing which is showing signs of a potential revolution. Manufacturers without diversified sources for raw materials suffered most when the pandemic hit the countries many of the suppliers to U.S. companies call home. 

Diversification of supply sources may increase costs, but the pandemic experience drove home the lesson that a balance must be struck between profit margins and resiliency; the ability to keep production rolling no matter what happens.

Necessity opens minds to many ways of operating which hadn’t previously seemed necessary. Technology skeptics among CNC professionals are quickly upgrading their digital technologies across various aspects of the business. What worked a decade ago may not be feasible today, even when the threat of COVID-19 ends.

Employees not directly involved in production may continue to work from home in the future, for improved quality of life and reduced company costs. That practice is necessitating upgraded security and other changes to a company’s communications technology.

Technology is bringing efficiency to the shop floor too, with the adoption of Industry 4.0 practices: the merging of data gathering and processing equipment with machine operations.

Although monitoring and troubleshooting are becoming increasingly automated, talented IT people and veteran workers who receive specialized training are actually being recognized by CNC business leaders as the most important of company resources. Data based systems are only as efficient as the people who understand them. Employees are partners in every company’s success. Hiring and retaining the best is a sound investment. 

The magic word in these times, the key to survival and success in the new normal of the CNC business, as in any industry, is flexibility. Spotting and responding to current needs and innovative trends in market sectors and manufacturing processes will keep CNC operations thriving in these unprecedented times. 


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