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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Better ideas, better growth at Texas metal fabricator

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Special Products & Mfg. Inc., a custom fabricator in Rockwall, Texas, has transformed its culture. A decade ago it was a command-and-control environment. Today, ideas from front-line workers drive improvement.

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Upskilling – What it means and where it stands

June 3, 2015 | By Vicki Bell

Much attention has been given to the skills gap, a critical issue affecting manufacturing. The Upskill Summit held in April provided an opportunity for manufacturers and other entities to explore concrete measures to alleviate the gap by upskilling workers. Summit participant Traci Tapani, co-president, Wyoming Machine, discusses the initiative.

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Going vertical: Distributor expands into stamping, metal fabrication, and assembly

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Millenia Products Group launched as a distributor in 2001, but from the very start it had plans for vertical integration down the supply chain. Today it offers distribution, stamping, roll forming, fabrication, and full assembly services—all in one organization.

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The 2015 FAB 40: The largest custom metal fabricators grow even bigger

June 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

The 2015 FAB 40 shows a growing industry, with some of the largest shops posting the biggest revenue gains over last year. Will such growth lead to more industry consolidation? For some industrial sectors, probably, but for other areas of metal fabrication, probably not.

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A modern take on accountability

May 28, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

The definition of accountability has evolved to mean responsibility with consequences. Ideally, entry-level and other low-level employees should have accountability over the outcomes of their work, but that accountability must be based on objectivity and fairness. Otherwise, an accountability scheme can actually weaken an organization instead of strengthening it.

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Driving change, not fork trucks

May 28, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Quality Industries has changed a lot in two years, and in another two years it will change even more. A new management team is putting a new emphasis on engineering and continuous improvement.

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Rob Key Designs: Fabricator in the national spotlight

May 27, 2015 | By Vicki Bell

Tulsa, Okla.-based Rob Key Designs is among 100 businesses featured in the Small Business Revolution project, an initiative showcasing successful small businesses in the U.S. How did this fabricator become successful? Owner Rob Key shares some insight.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Design for function

May 27, 2015 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis offers an overview of using CAD to develop a better design.

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Different people, different perspectives on lean

May 27, 2015 | By Charlie Hopewell, Dave Davidson, Gary Conner

Employees and managers experience a lean transformation in vastly different ways. Understanding these viewpoints can help change a company culture to one that embraces continuous improvement.

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FMA $500,000 grant supports Harper College manufacturing education

May 26, 2015 | By Sue Roberts

The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Intl. (FMA) partnered with Harper College, Palatine, Ill., with a $500,000 sponsored gift to support Harper College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology program and the Harper College Promise Scholarship program.

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Decision-making in metal forming

May 21, 2015 | By Bill Frahm

We live in the Information Age. But for many in manufacturing faced with costly decisions in design and manufacturing, it can seem like the Way Too Much Information Age. Large volumes of data and information are available from myriad sources. But publishing accessibility is widespread and easy,...

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Cheese, metal fabrication, and the future skilled worker

May 21, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Over the past two decades, Millerbernd Systems has evolved into a complex entity--part fabricator, part automation systems provider. It also launched a local education initiative to ensure talent remains in the pipeline.

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Talking about the next generation of fabricators

May 15, 2015 | By Dan Davis

While many people turned their back on manufacturing careers, Kyle Layman couldn't wait to get started. Now he's the impetus for growth at Layman Fabrication, North Vernon, Ind., while dad gets to focus on the fabrication activity that he's always loved.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Design for manufacturing

May 12, 2015 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis provides an overview of using CAD to develop a better design, which leads it to being more manufacturable.

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Trust, respect, and the skilled trades

May 11, 2015 | By Tim Heston

In 7 Success Skills for Apprentices and Skilled Trades Persons, James Sidney Harvey describes aspects of the skilled trades that you usually don’t learn in a classroom

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