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: Sheet metal modeling

December 7, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis shows seven different ways to deliver the same 3-D model.

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The need for estate planning: A sign ‘o the times

December 6, 2016 | By Jonathan W. Michael, JD

When Prince died, dealing with his estate wasn’t simple. Believe it or not, owners of metal fabrication and manufacturing businesses could learn a lot about how to preserve the value of their companies and other assets by studying the rock icon’s death.

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Metal fabrication in a small shop: The hidden blessing of having no space

December 5, 2016 | By Tim Heston

As shop metrics go, sales per square foot is elegantly simple. One New England fab shop has a sales-per-sq.-ft. metric that’s twice the industry average. Its success shows how having so little space can be a blessing in disguise.

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Metal fabrication improvement: Manage the gray area between operations

December 5, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

If you analyze the entire quote-to-cash cycle for an order, you’ll find that it spends most of its time in a gray area, sitting between operations—both on the shop floor and in the front office. So if a shop really wants to improve, it should tackle this gray area.

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A foundation for company expansion

December 5, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Anchor Investments has manufacturing companies located in two states, with the original being Anchor Fabrication in Fort Worth, Texas. It has had success bringing these acquisitions into the family because it has an ERP system that is flexible enough to match the operational style of the individual divisions, while also being able to deliver the necessary information for company management to make the correct strategic corporate decisions.

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2017 metal fabrication forecast: Voyage into the unknown

November 29, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Before the election, industry watchers predicted more of the same slow growth the economy has seen for years. After the election, stock markets unexpectedly soared on the backs of companies that may benefit from a Trump presidency. One thing is for sure: The American political sphere heads into the unknown.

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Industry innovations at EuroBLECH 2016 reflect the need for speed

November 29, 2016 | By Robert Colman

At EuroBLECH 2016 the world’s machine tool makers and software developers showcased innovations aimed at reducing the time between part conceptualization and final delivery to the customer.

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Structural fabrication, the next generation

November 28, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Structural fabrication is on the cusp of some big changes, and the entry-level employee of today will grow in a field that’s becoming increasingly digitized.

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Job shop estimating: A historical perspective Step 2

November 28, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis continues a series of columns that address one of the most important activities related to shop profitability: job estimating. In this second installment, he describes how an estimator can use the shop’s manufacturing history to refine the predictions of future expense.

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When family matters

November 17, 2016 | By Amanda Carlson

Huffman Welding & Machine Inc., a family-owned and -operated job shop in southeastern Iowa, has always had big goals to grow and thrive in a competitive economic climate. So far they have been able to strike the right balance between pursuing those goals while maintaining the emphasis on people and their community – their family.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Modeling a ribbon cable

November 8, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis considers techniques for adding ribbon cable connections to 3-D models

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Making sense of manufacturing acronyms

November 8, 2016 | By Stu Johnson

The enterprise software space has hundreds of three-letter acronyms—from MRP and ERP to MOM and MES—that represent technologies that help make managing business processes easier.

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Job security in manufacturing: Why all the negativity?

November 7, 2016 | By Tim Heston

The labor market is tight. Wages are going up. In metal fabrication, small companies are paying just as well if not better than bigger firms, according to a recent survey from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International®. Considering all this, why all the negativity? High uncertainty about the future may have something to do with it.

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Share the lean manufacturing knowledge

November 7, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

As you pursue your lean journey, you create knowledge. What you do with that knowledge can predict how successful your lean efforts will be. If you tell the workforce only the bare minimum, then you are probably leaving lots of improvement potential on the table.

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Structural fabricator has trial-by-fire leadership succession

November 3, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Bass Mechanical, a mechanical contractor and structural fabricator in southeast Pennsylvania, has transformed during the past two years. The company founder died unexpectedly, and his 27-year-old son, who at one point did not plan to enter the family business, is setting the stage for long-term growth.

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