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How lean manufacturing makes labor more valuable

October 29, 2013

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Last week I flew to Chicago to attend LeanFab Workshop & Tours, a continuous improvement event devoted to the metal fabrication business, organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International. Dick Kallage of Barrington, Ill.-based KDC & Associates (and monthly...

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Barely 18, Part II

October 23, 2013

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Joe, Joe, Joe. It’s now been three weeks since I e-mailed you in response to the comment you left for a blog post about how welders began their welding careers. You wrote about your desire to begin yours and how no one would give you a chance. I wanted to find out and report on your experiences...

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New source of expertise emerges for fabricators

October 18, 2013

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The local welding supply house is an important resource for any metal fabricator, but it isn’t normally the first call made when a fab shop has a production problem. A major independent supplier of gases and equipment is hoping to change that, however. With headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., and...

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A new perspective on the debt

October 17, 2013

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The good news is that Congress finally drafted a spending bill that a majority agreed to (but not too enthusiastically); the bad news is twofold. First, some in government seem even more out-of-touch than ever. To quote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev: "This is not a time for...

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Sausage-making at its best and worst

October 15, 2013

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When it comes to government, I don’t particularly want to know about the sausage-making—the bargaining, arguing, and deals made (and now almost always required) to get anything accomplished. I know reading about it would just infuriate me, because inside the beltway, at least, it seems that...

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Manufacturing by the numbers

October 10, 2013

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If you didn’t know the significance of Oct. 4 this year, your company missed out on an exciting day. More than 800 organizations welcomed the public into their manufacturing facilities to show the world what modern manufacturing is like, all in hopes of dispelling the dank and dark images of...

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Celebrating Manufacturing Day

October 9, 2013

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The many John Q. Publics who think that manufacturing in the U.S. is dying—or worse, who think it’s already dead—got a chance to see what they’ve been missing on Oct. 4, when more than 800 manufacturers throughout the U.S. opened their doors for tours. The main goal of Manufacturing Day is...

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The virtues of paying your debts

October 8, 2013

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Whenever I think of the debt ceiling, I think of Vivek Gupta, managing director of Texas ProFab in Carrollton, Texas. In 2008—back when we were all debating whether we were really heading into a full blown recession (how quaint)—he told me that he not only pays the fabricator’s bills on...

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Barely 18, Part I

October 1, 2013

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Posts on The Fabricator Blog typically don’t generate much feedback, and that doesn’t surprise me. I read blogs and many thought-provoking articles every day, and most have comment capability. How many times have I commented? Not once. I get why people don't comment. There are far more of us...

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Nero fiddled, Congress quibbles

September 30, 2013

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On a July evening in 64 A.D., a fire erupted in Rome and is said to have burned for days, eventually destroying three districts and severely damaging seven more (out of a total of 14 districts). Legend has it that the reigning emperor, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, played the fiddle...

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Continuous improvement is forever

September 26, 2013

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When it comes to a lot of things about the economy, I’m a glass half-empty kind of guy. Will the government shut down soon because of the mess inside the beltway? Yeah, probably. The jobless rates are down this week! Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts. Five years after the financial crisis and...

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Leading the way to a prosperous future?

September 20, 2013

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My son’s high school had its annual Parent Night on Wednesday. Parents actually get to experience the student’s schedule, albeit in a much abbreviated time frame. (Classes lasted only eight minutes.) It’s a great way to meet the teachers and get the real scoop on what may be happening in the...

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Statistically insignificant?

September 19, 2013

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced its income, poverty, and health insurance coverage statistics for 2012. According to the numbers, the median household income in the U.S. last year was $51,017, not statistically different in real terms from the 2011 median of $51,100. This...

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Five Septembers ago: Metal fabrication and the financial crisis

September 17, 2013

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In hindsight, it’s ironic. It was early September 2008, and FABTECH was set to open in Las Vegas in a few weeks. Up until that point a hot bed of growth, especially in real estate. But then Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. Still, even a few weeks into the crisis, the metal fabrication...

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Reflections on 9-11

September 11, 2013

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As I sat down to write today’s post, I thought about all the topics I could cover—jobs, the economy, manufacturing, world events, Miley Cyrus’s record-breaking video (apparently that’s big news today)—the list is endless. However, none of these outweighs the events that transpired on this...

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