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The benefits of off-site training

March 20, 2014

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When it comes to training events, many metal fabricators don’t think about seating assignments for trainees, but they might want to think about it. My brother works in the manufacturing industry. I won’t say exactly what he does to spare him a little embarrassment—if that’s even... Continue Reading

From the Web 3.18.14

March 18, 2014

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Among today’s Fab Top 5 items published on the Web in the previous week are stories about manufacturing production rebounding in February; how the much ballyhooed manufacturing hubs will struggle to create jobs (big surprise); grants by the state of Minnesota and ABB aimed at training workers in... Continue Reading

The odd industrial barometer of capacity utilization

March 17, 2014

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Today the Federal Reserve released its capacity utilization stats for February. The number stands at 76.4 percent—up a few tenths from February 2013, way up from a low of 64.0 in 2009, but not quite as high as experienced during the best years of the 1990s, when utilization hovered in the... Continue Reading

Mexico: Riding the waves of manufacturing fortune

March 14, 2014

Automotive manufacturing in Mexico accelerated in February 2014, which eventually will help the country become the No. 1 exporter of vehicles to the U.S. by the end of 2015. Honda opened a new manufacturing plant in Guanajuato at the end of February, where it will produce more than 200,000... Continue Reading

The 'right way'

March 13, 2014

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I’m a big proponent of doing things the “right way.” I know that seems like an obvious statement, but I think too many people equate the right way of doing a thing with the only way of doing a thing (which is usually their way of doing a thing). I’ve worked with plenty of “my way or... Continue Reading

Paying a heavy price for purchasing only on price

March 13, 2014

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You don’t have to remind me just how difficult the metal fabricating business can be. I get reminded almost on a daily basis. On this particular day, I received an e-mail from a reader who works in the purchasing area for a large OEM. He was looking for a reference that would give him an idea... Continue Reading

From the Web 3.11.14

March 11, 2014

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Among today’s Fab Top 5 items of interest to fabricators published on the Web in the previous week are stories about Boeing’s Dreamliner, which continues to experience problems; what today’s manufacturing job looks like; how an NHRA-licensed young woman helped build her dragster; and... Continue Reading

Business lessons from Matthew McConaughey

March 5, 2014

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Matthew McConaughey is on my radar these days, and if yesterday’s Forbes article about rebranding is any indication, I’m not alone in following him. I’ve been keeping up because I’ve gained newfound respect for him as an actor (see “Dallas Buyers Club” and “True Detective”), and I... Continue Reading

From the Web 3.4.14

March 4, 2014

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Among today’s Fab Top 5 items of interest to fabricators published on the Web in the previous week are stories about a ’36 Chevy truck rebuild, a fabricator vying for governor of Massachusetts, and an Italian gunmaker bringing a factory and jobs to the U.S. Also featured is an article that says... Continue Reading

About growing the economic pie

March 3, 2014

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Much of modern political debate has centered on who gets the biggest piece of the pie—the money pie, that is. Liberals say the rich have gotten too much of that pie, and perhaps some pieces should be redistributed to the rest of us. Conservatives argue that wealth redistribution runs counter to... Continue Reading

Obamacare and the workforce

February 26, 2014

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Among the top stories on cnn.com today is that of Karen Willmus, a 51-year-old 9th grade English teacher from Colorado who plans to quit teaching at the end of the school year and start her own business with her teenage daughter. The catalyst? Obamacare. Willmus is among those individuals we hear... Continue Reading

From the Web 2.25.14

February 25, 2014

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Beginning today, thefabricator.com offers its Fab Top 5—links to items of interest to fabricators published on the Web in the previous week. Among today’s Top 5 are stories about women filling welding jobs in Louisiana, manufacturing hubs in Detroit and Chicago, and a change in the way... Continue Reading

As unionization shrinks, so does the pipeline for talent

February 21, 2014

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Last week autoworkers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., voted down a proposal to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. Fifty-three percent said “no” to the idea, even though Volkswagen did not actively oppose or support the vote. While the automaker may have tried... Continue Reading

Location, location, location?

February 19, 2014

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“Location, location, location” long has been a catchphrase for describing just how important it is for a business to set up shop in the right place, or a homebuyer to make a good investment. It also describes an important criteria for finding a welding job. Some parts of the country are begging... Continue Reading

The few, the proud, the small-shop employee

February 19, 2014

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Small businesses drive this economy, and a large portion of metal fabricators fit proudly into this group. They’re the real engine behind innovation and prosperity, and when it comes to job creation, nothing comes close. Right? Well, maybe not so much, at least when it comes to job creation.... Continue Reading