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: A review of animation tools to improve the work flow for moviemaking

April 18, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis reviews methods for creating animations. The use of dedicated software is discussed.

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Saying “yes” to complex projects has benefits

April 14, 2016 | By Bryan Elmore, Edward Dunn Jr.

Fabricating operations interested in taking on more complex projects now have additional motivation: The R&D Tax Credit is permanent and could pay off for those companies involved in solving manufacturing problems.

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Big-league metal fabrication

April 13, 2016 | By Tim Heston

In September 2015 contract fabricator BTD expanded to the Southeast with its purchase of Impulse Manufacturing. The deal hints at just how scalable custom metal fabrication may be.

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FMA Annual Meeting: Navigating into metal fabricating’s future

April 13, 2016 | By Dan Davis, Tim Heston

This year’s FMA Annual Meeting, held in San Diego in February, celebrated the technology companies need to compete and the worker skill shops need to sustain that success through the generations.

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Demand variation: Challenge or opportunity in custom metal fabrication

April 4, 2016 | By Jeff Sipes

For custom fabricators, demand variation is a fact of life, but this doesn’t mean that a shop can’t mitigate its effect. Lean consultant Jeff Sipes describes several options that can help make life easier, even for shops that deal with extreme shifts in demand.

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What brings youth to the sheet metal business?

March 31, 2016 | By Tim Heston

How can a fab shop bring talented youth into the fold? Two members of FMA’s Young Professionals’ Council tell what sparked their interest--and it isn’t what you might expect.

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Fabricating a mobile lounge

March 30, 2016 | By Dan Davis

Gorilla Fabrication in South Carolina has made a name for itself in fabricating food trucks. A request for a mobile bar, however, forced it to expand its building skills.

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The industry shifts gears

March 29, 2016 | By Eric Lundin

The staff at Messe Düsseldorf provides an overview of the steel tube and pipe market. The recent drop in the crude oil price has taken much of the attention off of the energy industry, and automotive has pulled ahead. The article contains quite a bit of information on the latest research into alloys for the automotive industry, specifically from three Tube® Düsseldorf exhibitors.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Using animation tools in design review

March 28, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis shares some best practices when it comes to creating animations and movies for design review purposes.

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New ideas spur success at Minnesota metal fabricator

March 21, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Bermo, a stamper and fabricator in Minnesota, takes idea generation seriously. Some of the company’s latest initiatives, including rapid prototyping and automated quoting, have come from employees starting a sentence with, “Wouldn’t it be great if …”

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So you want to buy a metal fabricator

March 21, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Buying a company isn’t just about getting a certain multiple. A buyer needs to define a buying strategy, analyze a seller’s business model, and uncover what the seller’s company truly is worth.

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Can industrial fans and welding mix?

March 17, 2016 | By Scott Moody

How do large industrial fans affect shielding gas coverage in welding environments? The truth is it is tricky but not impossible. With the right testing and support, overhead HVLS fans can work in most welding facilities, while variable-speed column fans can take care of the rest.

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Ready, set, interview

March 17, 2016 | By Dan Turner

Yuba College welding instructor and Practical Welding Today Editorial Advisory Committee member Dan Turner has been on both sides of the interview process. In this first installment of Viewpoint, Turner shares advice for job-searching welders on the art of the job interview.

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Financial benchmarking in metal fabrication

March 16, 2016 | By Dick Kallage

The world is full of surveys these days, and some really don’t have much purpose. Others, however, can be extremely valuable. Industry benchmarking surveys, for instance, can be a vital tool for any company looking to improve. This includes the “Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey” from FMA.

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Getting standard work instructions right for fabricating

March 16, 2016 | By Dave Lechleitner

The goal of any fabricating operation is to discover the safest and most efficient method to produce quality parts. That goal can be achieved only with clear work directions for shop floor employees. Fabricators that follow some basic guidelines, or implement the right software, can make sure they are putting together work instructions that anyone can follow.

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