Shop Management Articles

Shop management encompasses everything from strategic planning to the nuts and bolts of statistical process control. Whether you're an executive, manager, or supervisor, you'll find articles about overcoming challenges and struggles just like yours.

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80/20 homework

April 16, 2014

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Before a company looks to increase its inventory buffer as a step to improve on-time delivery, a shop should exhaust less expensive options first. These homework assignments may help fabricators explore those options.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Product visualization

April 16, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis walks the reader through a hypothetical production development design exercise to show just how different product development CAD work is from production-ready CAD assignments.

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A growing pie for the next generation

April 15, 2014

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How can fabricators attract the best and brightest? According to speakers at The FABRICATOR's Leadership Summit, held earlier this year in Austin, Texas, it's about growing the business through progressive management and open communication.

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A foundation for 5S

April 7, 2014

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Macksteel Warehouse, a service center and job shop serving area OEMs, has undergone significant transformations in recent years, including the way employees sweep the floor.

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Apprenticeship, North Carolina-style

March 31, 2014

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Max Daetwyler Corp., a Huntersville, N.C.-based contract manufacturer, has evolved significantly to serve the changing business needs in the custom machinery arena. Its approach to employee skill development has evolved as well, with a growing regional partnership founded on the concepts behind European-style apprenticeships.

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A new business model, a new structure—a new business

March 26, 2014

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It’s easy for metal fab shop owners and managers to fall into the habit of complaining about the lack of skilled talent in the marketplace. Executives at of General Sheet Metal Works, South Bend, Ind., recognized that their employees had plenty of knowledge and skill. The fabricator just didn’t have a strong structure to channel that knowledge and build a better company.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Techniques for modeling bent and welded tubing

March 24, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis shows that when you are 3-D modeling a tubular structure, it helps to be comfortable with 3-D sketching.

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An industrial facility’s journey to LEED certification

March 20, 2014

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More and more businesses are seeking LEED certification. Among them is Hypertherm, a provider of cutting systems for the metal fabricating industry. The company met challenges along the way and exceeded its expectations in achieving LEED Gold.

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80/20: What can possibly go wrong?

March 18, 2014

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The necessary conditions must be in place to implement the 80/20 method of management successfully.

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How to strengthen brand awareness and grow your business through advertising

March 17, 2014

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Should you advertise your fabricating business? The answer depends on whether or not you want your business to grow.

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Maximizing service, minimizing risk

March 14, 2014

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O’Neal Steel, founded in 1921 in Birmingham, Ala., originally was a fabrication shop, and the founder later added metal distribution to the company’s repertoire. Over the decades the business model changed, fabrication disappearing altogether at one point. Eventually the company resurrected its fabrication arm, but one thing has been a constant: The company’s small-town, close-knit, neighborly culture.

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Why the stigma attached to factory work?

March 14, 2014

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People should spend less time pushing every student toward college and spend more time realizing what people are actually doing on a shop floor of progressive fabricating shops. They aren’t “laborers,” but skilled machine operators and technicians—typically without a traditional four-year degree. Any stigma that exists about today’s factory worker is no longer relevant.

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Sustainable growth in the sunny Southwest

March 13, 2014

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You might have noticed the employees of CAID Industries Inc., Tucson, Ariz., walking around FABTECH 2013 with bright yellow shirts indicating that the fabricator was hiring. The company is looking for the right talent to help turn the $40-million-a-year business into something much larger.

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Rolling induction

Rolling induction preheating for roll-welded pipe

March 10, 2014

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Preheating pipe before welding can be a cumbersome, tedious task. A new technology, rolling induction heating, addresses some of the concerns associated with other heating methods.

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Preventing weld defects through proper consumables care

March 10, 2014

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SMAW electrodes are magnets for moisture if they aren’t properly stored, maintained, or handled. Moisture—hydrogen—can ultimately lead to cracks when deposited into the weld puddle. You can minimize moisture pickup with proper electrode storage and handling procedures to ensure that consumables operate at optimal levels.

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