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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Preventing weld defects through proper consumables care

March 10, 2014

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SMAW electrodes are magnets for moisture if they aren’t properly stored, maintained, or handled. Moisture—hydrogen—can ultimately lead to cracks when deposited into the weld puddle. You can minimize moisture pickup with proper electrode storage and handling procedures to ensure that consumables operate at optimal levels.

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TUBE expo exhibitors agree that signs bode well for the coming year

March 3, 2014

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It’s no secret that Düsseldorf’s biennial tube and pipe expo, TUBE®, is a good way to gauge the industry’s health. The expo is 3 percent larger in 2014 than it was in 2012, and the exhibitors interviewed for this article expect good things from the industry in the coming year. These in-depth perspectives also revealed that upheaval in the U.S. energy industry is leading to changes that will have repercussions for decades.

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An 80/20 primer

February 28, 2014

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The 80/20 management method seeks to maximize results—such as sales or profits—by systematically deploying available resources only to the drivers that have the most impact. It sounds straightforward, but columnist Dick Kallage explains why this management approach is sometimes hard to execute.

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millennials

How millennials will make a difference

February 28, 2014

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Millenials have gotten a bad reputation. But the best of them may find a metal fabrication career extremely rewarding.

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Barnes Metalcrafters

The Fabricator Spotlight update-Part I

February 24, 2014

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From 2010 through early 2013, thefabricator.com profiled various metal fabricating shops in “The Fabricator Spotlight.” How have these businesses fared since their profiles were published? Here’s a look at two profiled at the beginning of 2010: Barnes Metalcrafters and Brown Dog Welding.

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Lean manufacturing

Where lean manufacturing meets quality control

February 24, 2014

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Lean manufacturing may have once been little more than a buzzword, but it is way of life for many in the metal fabrication industry. Meanwhile, the pursuit of quality is as critical as ever. Conference facilitators and participants discussed how these can go hand-in-hand at the 2013 EDTR roundtable event, Lean Manufacturing and the Quality Imperative, Sept. 15-17, Silverton, Ore. The outcome was a series of stories and tips that any fabricator could use to run leaner and maintain a quality product.

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Hobart Welding Certificate

Welding education - the good, bad, and ugly

February 17, 2014

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Welding education has come a long way from cast-iron repair and forge welding taught by blacksmiths. Today’s welding students have training options that can lead to different career paths.

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mission-critical

Mission-critical metal fabrication

February 17, 2014

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No matter how eye-popping the technology, the means of getting a job done is secondary; the result is primary. This is where General Tool Co.'s "team of experts" appraoch comes into play.

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Roy Mackey

Art for art's sake

February 10, 2014

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Metal sculptor Roy Mackey took a long, circuitous route to become an artist, and occupies an unusual niche. With no specific art classes or vocational education in his background, he learned metalworking bit by bit, and spends quite a bit of his time making sculptures that are realistic, but too unusual to represent real objects.

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stamping

How stamping and fabrication work together

February 4, 2014

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At Fisher-Barton South Carolina, historically a stamping operation, now gets half of its revenue from products that use metal fabrication. But there's not a stamping and fabricating "side" to the business. In fact, the part flow shows just how complementary fabrication and stamping can be.

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small diameter tubing

Taking big strides with small-diameter tubing

February 3, 2014

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After 60 years in business, Superior Tube Co. Inc. found itself at a crossroads. The recession of the early 2000s had taken a toll on U.S. manufacturing, and many companies feared the growing threat from newly industrializing, low-wage countries. The company’s management came up with a strategy to update its manufacturing practices, upgrade its equipment, and prepare its workforce for the challenges associated with global competition. The result, compressing about 15 years’ worth of changes into just two years, has propelled the company forward and earned it the 2014 TPJ Industry Award.

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precision sheet metal

Professionalism in precision sheet metal manufacturing

February 3, 2014

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How does a small western Michigan fabricating shop evolve into a key metal parts supplier to some of the most demanding OEM customers in the world? It is committed to lean manufacturing principles and has made strategic investments in new fabricating technology, but most of all, it has engaged employees that are comfortable with changes that come with continuous improvement efforts.

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Days in the lives

January 30, 2014

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To find time to dedicate to continuous improvement activities, a metal fabricator should have a good idea what employees do every day before assigning additional tasks.

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How to get rich—slowly

January 30, 2014

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The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s 2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey suggests that people can find fulfilling careers—especially monetarily—if they are willing to learn the trade and acquire additional skills during their careers.

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Charles Caristan

Sustaining metal fabricating success

January 30, 2014

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Metal fabricators can’t find the right manufacturing talent. Customers are more demanding. The current workforce is overworked. How can fabricating companies keep up? The FABRICATOR’s Editorial Advisory Board has some suggestions.

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