Stecker Machine Blog

How are CNC Machine Shops Adapting to Changes in the Labor Market?

09/22/2022 | Tom Sprang

Let’s start this blog with some numbers on U.S. labor. Today …

  • … there are 50% more job openings than at any time before the pandemic1
  • … there are 755,000 fewer people employed than pre-pandemic1
  • … there has been a 3% decline in workers ages 20 to 24 since the pandemic started1
  • … the unemployment rate is near a half-century low1

So, what does that mean? An unprecedented U.S. labor shortage.

While every industry is being forced to adjust, how are CNC machine shops specifically handling the challenge? Let’s dig in and find out!

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Stecker Machine Company Honored as “2022 Top Shop” by Modern Machine Shop

09/12/2022 | Matt Oswald

MANITOWOC, WI, September 2022 – Stecker Machine Company, a family-owned CNC machine shop with 250+ employees, was recently honored as a 2022 Top Shop for “shopfloor practices & performance” by the editors of Modern Machine Shop.

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CNC Engineering Services That Drive Part Manufacturability

08/24/2022 | Jason Schuh

Designing a new part is one thing. Manufacturing it is a different story.

Talk with any customer of a CNC machine shop, and you’ll no-doubt hear an example of their part design being altered, refined, and/or improved thanks to a CNC manufacturing engineer. Of all the CNC engineering services provided by a machine shop, having an influence on the design itself may not be what you think of first.

Yet, without that insight, there’s no way to determine a part’s design for manufacturability (DFM). And, when you consider all the reasons why a part needs to be more manufacturable — to handle high volume production, to maintain high quality, to make the process easy and, the big one: to keep costs low — it’s clear that a CNC engineer’s modification of a part design is critical.

Let’s explore how that’s done and why it’s so valuable.

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2022 Stecker Youth Employment Spotlight

08/17/2022 | Matt Oswald

Investing in youth employees provides a footing for success. Solid business is built on partnerships, and successful companies develop long-term relationships with employees, customers, and suppliers. Offering youth job experiences is key investment in developing partnership at an early stage.

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CNC Machining Supplier Selection: 6 Top Tips (Spoiler…“Focus on Quality” is #1)

08/15/2022 | Ken Jones

Precision CNC machining is a mainstay of modern American manufacturing. Its extreme accuracy, automation, and cost-effectiveness far surpass traditional machining technology when producing complex parts.

Although completed parts are the main goal, finding the right CNC machining service supplier to meet your specific requirements involves many factors.

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OEM Purchasing Managers Know: In CNC Parts Manufacturing, a Partner Relationship is Key

07/27/2022 | Scott Waak

OEM Purchasing Managers call the shots.

Rarely are those shots based solely on price, even though the responsibilities of a Purchasing Manager surely include exploring cost savings. The services provided by suppliers — including CNC parts manufacturing — are judged by their overall value.

Think about it: A low price is quickly forgotten if part quality is poor or if the delivery is botched. And nearly instantly, confidence is shot, trust is lost, and the future is uncertain … a place no one wants to be.

Let’s explore the real value of a trusted relationship when it comes to CNC parts manufacturing, and uncover what customers really need from a CNC machine shop to be successful.

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In CNC Machining, You Get What You Pay For (which is exactly as it should be)

07/20/2022 | Ken Jones

As consumers, we each have a certain product that we’re happy to pay for. For me, I’m a stickler for a lush yard and garden, and I use a local landscaper here in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

They’re not cheap, yet I know that I’m paying for high-quality work and great ideas for the areas around my home. The same thinking can be applied to CNC machine shops, although the dynamics are a bit different.

The name of the game in high-quality CNC machining is precision and repeatability. When those come together simultaneously, quality and performance can be achieved. But, at what cost? And, how do you know you’re getting what you’re paying for if you don’t have in-depth technical knowledge of CNC machining?

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CNC Machining Center — The Key to Production Efficiency Provides 5 Huge Advantages

06/22/2022 | Matt Oswald

In production manufacturing, efficiency is king. Any opportunity to reduce production time gets immediate attention.

CNC machines are an important tool for automating the production of mechanical parts to increase throughput while maintaining consistent quality. CNC machine centers play a critical role in a machine shop’s efficiency.

This article explains five big advantages of CNC machine centers and shares some experienced insights from a leader in CNC machining.

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What CNC Engineering Services Help Drive Manufacturing Success?

06/15/2022 | Greg Herr

When you think of CNC machining, you may think about precision machining. Complex parts. Repeatability. Speed.

However, do you think of engineering expertise?

You should! An incredible value in partnering with the right CNC machine shop is engineering that drives the entire manufacturing process. From design through packaging, you should be receiving full CNC engineering services and benefitting from them.

A strong engineering team on the machine shop side ensures that CNC machining projects are done rightthe first time and every time. Of course, thorough engineering impresses customers. More importantly, though, it leads to parts that consistently meet or exceed specifications.

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How CNC Value Analysis and Value Engineering Makes Life Easier for Purchasing Managers

06/02/2022 | Ken Jones

The manufacturing world can be tricky. An experienced CNC machine shop may plan a project that seems flawless on paper, taking into account all the subtleties that streamline a process. Yet, when the plan becomes reality, and the process starts flowing, it may fall short of the projected production or profitability targets. 

How can value engineering and/or value analysis solve a challenge like this?

Here’s a real-world example from Stecker Machine. A high-end part that required extreme precision — and also speciality tooling — was not hitting cycle time goals. One step in the process involved pressure testing the part after machining; so, taking the part to the assembly and pressure area (and back again after testing).

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