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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How to save U.S. manufacturing

August 18, 2014

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The majority of U.S. citizens agree that manufacturing is vital to the economy and national security. So what can be done to save manufacturing? In his new book, Dr. William Killingsworth outlines a five-step program the government must implement to make it happen.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Creating the documentation essential to fabrication

August 14, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis describes how a detailed 3-D CAD model can be a great help to those in procurement, fabrication, and assembly.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Tools for proofreading

August 12, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis explains why proofreading is not just the domain of copy editors and how a CAD software function can help with the proofing job.

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How to build a little of everything, every day

August 6, 2014

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Legrand’s West Hartford facility has been on the lean journey for several decades, and the journey hasn’t stopped. The focus continues to be on clear communication and documentation, good metrics, ergonomics and safety, staff incentives—and producing a little of everything every day.

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Automobiles and artwork

August 4, 2014

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For Monty Kollath, a degree in commercial art and a career in automotive repair work provided a nice living and positioned him well for a little moonlighting as a metal artist. However, Kollath had one more factor in his favor—his job in the auto repair field provides an endless supply of cast-off items suitable for metal sculpture.

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A fabricator and community college partnership

July 31, 2014

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When metal fabricator Shickel Corp. sought to boost the overall skill level of its employee base in the face of a more competitive business environment, it went back to school. More specifically, it sought the local community college to help craft a curriculum and implement a class structure to deliver the improved math and shop skills it desired.

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Scheduling high-mix, low-volume operations

July 30, 2014

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Scheduling remains one of the most complicated, least predictable aspects of contract metal fabrication. But why is this exactly, and what can a shop do to change this? In this first article in a series, Dick Kallage uncovers the answers.

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A matter of asking the right questions

July 28, 2014

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Some purchasers may view a fabricated metal product as a commodity, and if it’s a simple enclosure or flat piece-part, it may well be. But they’re not buying products, really. They’re buying expertise, both in fabrication and in capacity management.

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A second-chance career

July 28, 2014

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A maritime welding program, jointly created by Vigor Industrial and South Seattle College, is part of a greater initiative in Washington state-to return idled workers to gainful employment. The class doesn’t just help the underemployed, it also helps feed the resurging shipbuilding industry in the greater Seattle area.

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Differentiating in a commoditized market

July 24, 2014

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There are four principles to understand about differentiation and the buying factors that go beyond price: They always exist; they have economic value; they vary by customer; and they change with time, because yesterday’s differentiators can be tomorrow’s commodity.

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Downsizing can be a killer

July 8, 2014

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All businesses of all sizes want to save money and be as lean as possible. However, if taken too far, some cost-cutting measures can have unwelcome consequences and cause a shop to go under.

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Coating extends tool life x 3

July 7, 2014

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Like so many automotive suppliers, the GT Technologies stamping team encountered tooling challenges when it shifted its work material from cold-rolled steel to a tougher steel for certain components. Its tooling started wearing out in a third of the time, creating downtime havoc and production disruption. Switching to a different tool coating helped the manufacturer resolve its tool and die wear problems.

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FAB 40: Springs Fabrication and the ice house

June 27, 2014

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Springs Fabrication has humble beginnings, stereotypical of many successful American businesses. As it turns out, there's a reason that's a stereotype.

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FAB 40: Thinking as owners at D&S Manufacturing

June 27, 2014

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At D&S Manufacturing, the books are open, employees know how to read them, and they use this information when dreaming up new ways to improve.

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Fab 40: Impulse Manufacturing tackles downtime with data

June 27, 2014

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You can't improve something you don't measure. Impulse Manufacturing wants to cut down the time between jobs—specifically, between the last good part of the previous job to the first good part of the next job.

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