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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Employee retention: The first 30 days

April 29, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

Nothing is more frustrating than spending time and money to train new hires, only to lose them six to 12 months later. Why did they leave? Quite often the reasons go back to their first 30 days on the job.

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Assuring quality in the small to medium-size job shop

April 23, 2015 | By Professor R. Carlisle "Carl" Smith

Quality assurance is a critical aspect of fabricating. It requires input from various departments, careful inspection throughout all facets of the job, and detailed recordkeeping. Here’s a blueprint for optimum QA.

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Quality shines bright at MACO

April 7, 2015 | By Tim Heston

The recession nearly killed MACO Incorporated, a fabricator and machine shop in rural western North Carolina. But it survived thanks to some introspection and a new focus on quality certification.

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Continuous improvement, from the first quote to the final shipment

April 1, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Burlington, Ky.-based Skilcraft LLC has changed a lot in the past decade. It has moved away from the traditional job shop model toward comprehensive contract fabrication. And it got there by scrutinizing every step of the manufacturing process, from quoting to shipping.

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Supporting professional development in sheet metal forming

March 19, 2015 | By Bill Frahm

Today’s sheet metal formers must continually learn new skills to keep up with new materials, product specifications, and forming technologies. How do you attract and train a workforce that is sustainable in these ever-changing times?

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The power of why

March 10, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

A great company has a “why” culture, one that encourages employee engagement and people don’t hesitate to ask “Why?” to find the true answer, based not on guesses or rumor, but on factual evidence.

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How do you define good company culture anyway?

March 10, 2015 | By Tim Heston

How does a fabricator build a culture that adopts, embraces, and sustains lean manufacturing? An environment that encourages idea generation may be a good start.

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The Superior way to implement lean manufacturing

March 5, 2015 | By Eric Lundin

Editor Eric Lundin interviews two individuals who were key in establishing product flow at Superior Tube Co. Inc., tracing the big steps the company took to go from a conventional push system to a lean pull system.

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Metal fabrication meets a seller’s market

February 18, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing is cool again, and fabricators wanting to sell their business are benefiting from a seller’s market. Nevertheless, high revenue concentration, a shallow talent pool, poor cash flow, reliance on sales from a single sector, and other factors still throw up red flags.

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Why buy new tooling for a sheet metal hand brake?

February 17, 2015 | By Steve Benson

When bending with a hand brake, you can use the tooling that came with the machine, but investing in a tool with a radius on the punch nose has its benefits.

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Are you imprisoned by your information technology?

February 17, 2015 | By Lori Payne

With rapid application deployment platforms, software can be tailored to an individual company's needs in a very short time frame.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Table-driven models

February 16, 2015 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis shows why using a design table makes sense for those models in which reasonably limited changes take place.

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Welding technician and welding technologist—what’s the difference?

February 12, 2015 | By Professor R. Carlisle "Carl" Smith

Technician, technologist—just semantics, or is there a marked difference between the two? In welding, there is a definite difference.

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An exit strategy for the metal fabrication job shop owner

February 3, 2015 | By Tim Heston

In their book Cashing Out of Your Business, authors Kathleen Richardson-Mauro and Jane M. Johnson tackle not just the nuts and bolts of selling an enterprise—revenue concentration, profitability, health of the market—but also the personal elements. When an owner sells a business, his or her life changes in a dramatic way.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Metal marking

January 28, 2015 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis walks the CAD operator through the process of creating a drill index.

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