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Reassurance in purchasing raw materials

October 19, 2015 | By Dan Davis

Supply Dynamics, Loveland, Ohio, has just announced a secure, anonymous, and reliable way to accurately benchmark the prices you pay or have been quoted for many common ferrous and nonferrous metals.

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Why fabricators need to think about career paths

October 19, 2015 | By Dan Davis

A focus on a career path in fabricating typically might be centered around an individual’s perspective. Fabricating companies, however, are finding that by being up-front about skills development and career progression, they are building more engaged and productive organizations.

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ISO 9001 and ERP: A united approach

October 15, 2015 | By Mike Sweet, Steve Pettyjohn

Attaining ISO 9001 certification and selecting ERP software are not easy tasks. But companies can accomplish their desired objectives and even thrive as a result of ERP and ISO 9001 initiatives, when done thoughtfully and properly.

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Diversification: The true competitive advantage in metal fabrication

October 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

According to recent benchmarking surveys from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, debt ratios remain manageable, EBITDA steady, yet revenue concentration remains high for some. The numbers show areas for opportunity as well as challenges.

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How to build loyalty in manufacturing workers? Go off-script

October 15, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Why do employees leave for a few cents more an hour? It goes back to culture—but what is culture, really? Rutland Walker of Atlanta-based The Academy of Marketing gives a relatively concrete explanation. It’s about connecting with employees with a shared purpose or belief.

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Learning to say “no”

October 15, 2015 | By Jeffrey Dean

The customer is not always right if it means a shop has no chance of earning money--even with a long-term perspective--while trying to meet the customer's expectations. In these cases, it's easier to have a difficult conversation with the customer before venturing down the path of future unprofitability.

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Metal fabrication management: Voices from the shop

October 15, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

Listening to people on the shop floor is one thing, but really hearing what they’re saying is something else entirely.

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Wisconsin metal fabricator thrives on complexity

October 12, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Advanced Laser Machining Inc. launched in 1996, just when laser cutting was becoming a metal fabrication mainstay and software was changing everything. Today managers are hoping to put a structure in place to grow the company even more. In 10 years ALM may be a $75 million enterprise

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Streamlining diverse part flow in metal fabrication

October 7, 2015 | By Tim Heston

The people at Prince Precision Products may be fabricating thin sheet one hour and thick plate the next hour. Managers at PPP call their operation a hybrid—part job shop focusing on small runs, part production operation. Juggling it all requires focus on good communication and minimizing rework.

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Closing the skills gap

September 28, 2015 | By Timm Boettcher

A collaborative approach between industry and education brings purpose to a student’s learning experience, gives them a realistic road map to help them develop future plans, all while helping meet local and regional workforce needs.

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Creating a safe welding environment

September 28, 2015 | By Stephanie Lowney

Implementing safety measures in the welding environment doesn’t need to be a top-down activity. Involving employees and encouraging them to provide insight can go far in establishing a safe welding operation and maintaining it. Choosing dependable safety equipment is also important. More durable products last longer, which reduces costs. Safety products that fit well and are easy to use also reduce downtime and increase worker acceptance.

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An introduction to reliability-centered maintenance

September 10, 2015 | By Bill Frahm

Using reliability-centered maintenance to create an effective maintenance schedule helps to avoid critical stoppages in the production of parts.

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Scheduling by constraint in metal fabrication

September 8, 2015 | By Bob Sproull

As stated in the theory of constraints, the constraint process governs the pace of manufacturing. In job shops, the constraint may change from job to job. Identifying a controlled constraint, or control point, can simplify scheduling even in the complex world of high-mix, lowvolume manufacturing.

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2015: What keeps you up at night?

September 8, 2015 | By Dan Davis

The huge economic rebound that normally follows a recession has never really materialized, but metal fabricators appear to be making the most of the slow and steady climb from the economic doldrums of the late 2000s. The 2015 “What Keeps You up at Night?” survey suggests that fabricators are looking to take the steps necessary to support continued growth in their businesses.

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The metal manufacturer and the employee survey

September 2, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

Employee surveys can either be an important tool for improvement or virtually useless. For surveys to be useful, they need to have a purpose and, most important, spur action.

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