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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Building a manufacturing workforce

July 15, 2015 | By Dan Davis

Alexandra Industries, a producer and fabricator of aluminum extrusions in Alexandria, Minn., recognized the need to get involved in the local school district to boost the image of manufacturing in the eyes of students. But it didn't just volunteer to send over speakers. It heavily influenced the curriculum at the new high school and donated new manufacturing technology.

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Software tracks truth on the manufacturing shop floor

July 14, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing execution systems manage schedules based not about assumptions on available capacity, but on data gathered directly from manufacturing equipment.

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Securing your business for the next generation

July 14, 2015 | By Jonathan W. Michael, JD

Fab shop owners may avoid succession planning. They may be too busy, or the decision may be difficult. But nobody lives forever, and not having a solid succession plan in place puts the future of the business at risk.

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Technology: The ultimate moving target

July 14, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

How will technology advancements affect the kind of skilled worker we will need in the future? And how many skilled workers will we need? The answers to these questions are of incredible importance to metalworking and manufacturing in general

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Document management

July 6, 2015 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis offers an overview of using document management tools with a CAD workstation.

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Lean manufacturing in producing square, retangular tubing

June 24, 2015 | By Jurgen Jost

Tube and pipe mills conventionally use a set of tooling for every tube or pipe diameter, and the tools are mounted to opposing stands. Cage forming provides an alternative forming process that uses a single set of tools.

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How basic training in lean manufacturing establishes a common view

June 23, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

To ensure every employee has a common view of what’s ideal versus what needs to be improved, a few hours of basic lean training can go a long way.

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When It Pays to Spend

June 9, 2015 | By John Wold

Specialized press brake tooling increases productivity, reduces operator fatigue, solves problems

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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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