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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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Changing the hierarchy and file names within CAD assemblies

September 15, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis provides file organization and renaming guidance, so that the CAD operator doesn’t make a needless mistake that can boost frustration and reduce modeling efficiency.

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Winning new business in custom metal fabrication

September 14, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It can take a long time for a prospect to become a major customer, and of course there are no guarantees. This makes building a diverse customer base easier said than done. Through rebranding and restructuring, one custom fabricator in Minnesota aims to change this.

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5S: The foundation for the lean journey

September 14, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

5S is critical for any lean journey. And by getting it right—that is, treating it as an important and measurable process that affects the business—fabricators can use 5S to make their office or shop floor a better place to work.

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Order fulfillment velocity makes the difference

August 30, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Haydon Corp. was an early adopter of business software, and it continues to use its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform comprehensively. The software, along with standard business practices baked into the company’s DNA, has helped the roll former maintain an extremely short order fulfillment cycle.

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Communication in custom metal fabrication: Good ideas, good stories, good community

August 30, 2016 | By Tim Heston

For years Jones Metal, a Mankato, Minn.-based custom fabricator, has published not an occasional employee newsletter, but a weekly digital paper, available at touchscreen kiosks throughout the front office and shop floor. The publication keeps everyone up-to-date on important metrics, spreads improvement ideas and, perhaps most important, builds community.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Product development modeling with fabrication as the end goal

August 16, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis reveals that delivering a straightforward CAD model might make sense for a project that will require alterations down the road.

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Documentation keeps the knowledge in-house

August 11, 2016 | By Shannon Bennett, Simon Spencer

Every noteworthy quality improvement methodology calls for observation, analysis, planning, measuring, and reviewing work processes to get better results than achieved previously. For any of this to be successful, manufacturers need to document work instructions, corrections, and goals.

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Better business processes, smoother days

August 11, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

So many shop managers operate in firefighting mode. They call customers, suppliers, employees, and bosses to explain, apologize, and then shift into high gear to “Git-R-Done.” As columnist Jeff Sipes explains, that really has no place in manufacturing.

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Accounting for time in metal fabrication

August 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Traditional cost accounting treats inventory as an asset and, according to the author of a new book, does not capture the true costs of long lead times. A new accounting method, which complies with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), aims to correct this.

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Metal fabrication for the visually impaired

August 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Beyond Vision, a not-for-profit organization that employs people who are visually impaired and blind, has an eight-person machine shop that recently delved into metal fabrication. The company’s story shows just how much these people can contribute to a job shop operation.

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Augmented reality reaches the manufacturing floor

August 2, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Augmented reality (AR) remains an emerging technology, but it eventually could change how hands-on tasks in manufacturing get done.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Design evolution from invention to manufacturing

July 11, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis considers how designs evolve from invention to manufacturing and how various CAD techniques might best be used.

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Maximize your move

July 8, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Everyone knows that moving is not easy, especially when you are talking about moving a business. Dennis Donovan, a site selection consultant, provides an overview of the main considerations that a metal fabricator should keep in mind as it looks to make a major move.

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Metal fabrication and metrics: Measure what matters

July 8, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

An operation with poor or nonexistent performance metrics is a magnet for lots of confusion and disruption. Poor metrics often have a narrow focus that can negatively affect the whole organization. Conversely, good metrics support the business and its mission.

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5 ways that CAD/CAM nesting software impacts the bottom line

July 1, 2016 | By Alyson Schoenung

Modern CAD/CAM nesting software can assist metal fabricators looking to reduce costs related to raw material spending, production labor, parts programming, and work order creation.

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