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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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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Better business processes, smoother days

August 11, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

So many shop managers operate in firefighting mode. They call customers, suppliers, employees, and bosses to explain, apologize, and then shift into high gear to “Git-R-Done.” As columnist Jeff Sipes explains, that really has no place in manufacturing.

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Accounting for time in metal fabrication

August 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Traditional cost accounting treats inventory as an asset and, according to the author of a new book, does not capture the true costs of long lead times. A new accounting method, which complies with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), aims to correct this.

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Metal fabrication for the visually impaired

August 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Beyond Vision, a not-for-profit organization that employs people who are visually impaired and blind, has an eight-person machine shop that recently delved into metal fabrication. The company’s story shows just how much these people can contribute to a job shop operation.

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Augmented reality reaches the manufacturing floor

August 2, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Augmented reality (AR) remains an emerging technology, but it eventually could change how hands-on tasks in manufacturing get done.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Design evolution from invention to manufacturing

July 11, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis considers how designs evolve from invention to manufacturing and how various CAD techniques might best be used.

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Maximize your move

July 8, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Everyone knows that moving is not easy, especially when you are talking about moving a business. Dennis Donovan, a site selection consultant, provides an overview of the main considerations that a metal fabricator should keep in mind as it looks to make a major move.

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Metal fabrication and metrics: Measure what matters

July 8, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

An operation with poor or nonexistent performance metrics is a magnet for lots of confusion and disruption. Poor metrics often have a narrow focus that can negatively affect the whole organization. Conversely, good metrics support the business and its mission.

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5 ways that CAD/CAM nesting software impacts the bottom line

July 1, 2016 | By Alyson Schoenung

Modern CAD/CAM nesting software can assist metal fabricators looking to reduce costs related to raw material spending, production labor, parts programming, and work order creation.

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All you need to know about the heat-affected zone

June 28, 2016 | By Andrea Bustreo

Any thermal cutting or welding process changes the material makeup of the workpiece. This heat-affected zone can make downstream processing of the metal a bit more unpredictable.

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The 2016 FAB 40: Planning their next move

June 22, 2016 | By Tim Heston

It’s been quite a run. Over the past four years many FAB 40 companies have reported big revenue gains. In 2015, not so much, at least on average. Sales at some big companies either held steady or declined somewhat, mainly thanks to weak markets that by now every fabricator knows about: oil and...

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Modeling with surfaces, patterns, and configurations

June 20, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis reviews the use of equations, configurations, design tables, and specific modeling tools for creating 3-D models of paper and cake.

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Metal fabrication and the buying experience

June 17, 2016 | By Tim Heston

SixAxis, a fabricator of safety platforms, portable stairs, and other industrial products, developed its own software with quoting, customer relationship management, and product configuration features. According to sources, software changed the customer buying experience, which in turn helped the company quintuple in size over six years.

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A metal fabricator you can’t pigeonhole

June 15, 2016 | By Tim Heston

IMS Engineered Products’ revenue has increased by 45 percent during the past five years. How? The fabricator is part of a larger organization, IMS Companies, with diverse revenue streams coming from gear manufacturing, stamping, electrical harness assembly, and more. But IMS’s story of growth really boils down to a straightforward strategy: quick response.

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