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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The hiring question in metal fabrication: Experience or potential?

January 28, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

Should you hire people with experience or rookies with good potential? It depends on the situation, but training and developing the inexperienced has become more important than ever. There just aren’t enough people with experience to go around.

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Metal fabricators spend big to build capacity

January 22, 2015 | By Tim Heston

Overall projected capital spending growth has slowed from the dramatic rebound seen postrecession, but the growth continues, especially in capacity-building equipment.

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The capacity dilemma in custom metal fabrication

January 20, 2015 | By Dick Kallage

During this long, slow economic recovery, there’s plenty of churn in the market. Customers are less hesitant to change suppliers to get what they want. In this environment, having insufficient capacity has become very risky.

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Rethinking the production meeting

January 12, 2015 | By Dan Davis

Metal fabricators are better at manufacturing than holding meetings, but some sort of regularly occurring production meeting is needed to get everyone on the same page. Several fabricators offer their opinions as to what works best for them in their production powwow.

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Improving quality through good change: Metcam tackles kaizen

January 9, 2015 | By Bruce Hagenau

All manufacturers seek to improve processes and ROI. Alpharetta, Ga.-based Metcam, a fabricator of sheet metal components and assemblies, has seen significant improvement since beginning its kaizen initiative in late 2013. What follows is the company’s blueprint for kaizen success.

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Flying high at FABTECH

January 8, 2015 | By Tim Heston

More than 30,000 visited the FABTECH 2014, a show that had several dominant themes: skilled labor, intuitive manufacturing technology, and supply chain collaboration.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Surface modeling techniques

December 18, 2014 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis guides the reader through some of the CAD tricks necessary to create a 3-D model of a series of drill bits.

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New squeezes on the small metal fabricator

December 18, 2014 | By Dick Kallage

The custom fabrication market is changing as more customers—with a single-minded focus on price—stipulate new performance demands for quality, delivery, service, responsiveness, and payment terms. Should custom fabricators rethink how they are structured and how they operate to offset what could be fatal weaknesses?

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Which code or standard applies to your shop?

December 16, 2014 | By Professor R. Carlisle "Carl" Smith

Codes and standards are important and necessary. Which apply to the work your shop does? That depends on the nature of the work.

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2015 metal fabrication forecast: Steady as she grows

December 8, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Fabricators expect steady growth for 2015. At the same time, they’re gearing up to handle increasing customer demand by investing in capacity-building equipment.

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Global manufacturing economy pushes forward

December 8, 2014 | By Dan Davis

New bending, welding, and laser technology on display at the world’s largest metal fabricating and forming tradeshow helps manufacturers in their pursuit of achieving higher levels of production efficiency.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Cap-offs, springs, and threads

December 3, 2014 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis shows CAD operators how to use two separate design functions to create the same cap-off treatment.

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Vessels for coal mines

Upsizing in a downsizing economy

November 25, 2014 | By Professor R. Carlisle "Carl" Smith

Different shops have different ways of coping with and surviving business downturns. Some downsize, while others take advantage of opportunities and invest in people and equipment. Upsizing paid off for Wilson Works, Morgantown, W.V.

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Does outsourcing HR make sense?

November 10, 2014 | By Dan Davis

Outsourcing helps to keep shop floors busy all over the world, but the philosophy also might be feasible for some front-office activities, too, such as human resources. In fact, given the constant changes associated with employment law and the challenges of hiring workers, companies need good HR input, and outsourcing is a quick way to achieve that.

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Piecing together the continuous improvement puzzle

November 10, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Various improvement initiatives related to 5S, part flow, communication, management structure, and planning led to a stark change at Miller Welding & Machine Co., a contract fabricator in western Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, everything just clicked.

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