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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Closing the skills gaps through apprenticeships

October 13, 2016 | By Dan Davis

As manufacturers look for the manufacturing engineers and machine operators to replace retiring baby boomers, they are finding that traditional recruitment efforts are lacking. Many find that it’s easier to groom their own workers rather than hoping that they turn up on the doorstep.

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Metal fabrication investment strategy: Keep buggering on

October 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

This year’s “Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey” from the FMA shows an industry that’s facing tight competition, but also one that is pushing on, investing, and making efficient use of resources.

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Customer communication and the metal fabricator

October 13, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

Poor communication can lead to serious waste and missed opportunities. That’s why the communications process really should be seen as an extension of continuous improvement.

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The smart factory of the future

October 10, 2016 | By Will Healy III

Metal fabricators hoping to survive a global economy and shrinking workforce can look at the trends and “what-ifs” in the next industrial age of connected machines.

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Poor inventory management: The hidden profitability killer in manufacturing

October 10, 2016

Perfectly accurate inventory records will help you improve turns, which frees up cash; improve customer service, because you know what you have when a customer calls; increase shop productivity, because material will be available when needed; and increase profitability, because you won’t be writing off inventory that isn’t there.

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Flow and the metal fabricator: Making it visual

October 10, 2016 | By Chad Vincent

When communication is visual, we see together, know together, and therefore act together.

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Marketing for metal fabricators: Don’t pitch, educate

October 10, 2016 | By Bruce McDuffee

A fabricator’s marketing function shouldn’t be about tradeshow booths, brochures, and websites. It’s not there simply to serve the sales function. Instead, marketing reinforces a fabricator’s value proposition and, ultimately, helps drive the direction of the business.

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7 tips for optimizing your fabricating operation

October 5, 2016 | By Shane Strowski

There’s always room for improvement in any operation. Following these seven steps can help you identify areas that need improving and put your shop on the path to optimal efficiency, increased productivity, and less waste.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Changing the hierarchy and file names within CAD assemblies

September 15, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis provides file organization and renaming guidance, so that the CAD operator doesn’t make a needless mistake that can boost frustration and reduce modeling efficiency.

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Winning new business in custom metal fabrication

September 14, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It can take a long time for a prospect to become a major customer, and of course there are no guarantees. This makes building a diverse customer base easier said than done. Through rebranding and restructuring, one custom fabricator in Minnesota aims to change this.

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5S: The foundation for the lean journey

September 14, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

5S is critical for any lean journey. And by getting it right—that is, treating it as an important and measurable process that affects the business—fabricators can use 5S to make their office or shop floor a better place to work.

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Order fulfillment velocity makes the difference

August 30, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Haydon Corp. was an early adopter of business software, and it continues to use its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform comprehensively. The software, along with standard business practices baked into the company’s DNA, has helped the roll former maintain an extremely short order fulfillment cycle.

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Communication in custom metal fabrication: Good ideas, good stories, good community

August 30, 2016 | By Tim Heston

For years Jones Metal, a Mankato, Minn.-based custom fabricator, has published not an occasional employee newsletter, but a weekly digital paper, available at touchscreen kiosks throughout the front office and shop floor. The publication keeps everyone up-to-date on important metrics, spreads improvement ideas and, perhaps most important, builds community.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Product development modeling with fabrication as the end goal

August 16, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis reveals that delivering a straightforward CAD model might make sense for a project that will require alterations down the road.

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Documentation keeps the knowledge in-house

August 11, 2016 | By Shannon Bennett, Simon Spencer

Every noteworthy quality improvement methodology calls for observation, analysis, planning, measuring, and reviewing work processes to get better results than achieved previously. For any of this to be successful, manufacturers need to document work instructions, corrections, and goals.

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