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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Fabricators in search of skilled workers

September 12, 2006

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A recent survey of metal fabricators shows that the vast majority of fabricating companies desperately need skilled labor. These companies are employing various methods to find qualified workers and to compensate for the shortage. Despite the difficulty finding skilled labor, some fabricators would not encourage young people to pursue careers in manufacturing.

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Why settle for good enough?

August 20, 2006

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A survey reviewed the operations of 24 steel pipe and tube manufacturers. Only a minority of these showed signs of having well-run, efficient operations, as measured by on-time shipments, minimal inventory and work-in-progress, employee turnover, internal rework rates, and most importantly, profitability. In fact, a good number of steel pipe and tube producers in this sample barely reach the average. Interviews with presidents of some companies found that inertia was a common characteristic among the low margin companies. Good enough was good enough.

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The ups and downs of employee communication

August 20, 2006

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Author's Note: This article is a supplement to "Why settle for good enough?" which appeared in the December 2002 issue of TPJ-The Tube & Pipe Journal, page 42. "Why settle for good enough" was based on a study of 24 Midwestern tube and pipe fabricators and reviewed why some where highly profitable...

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Tailoring incentives to employees' needs

August 20, 2006

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An appeal to business owners to look past bonuses to a new way of structuring incentives for their employees

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Small but great

August 8, 2006

Small and midsize companies demonstrate that business can be successful without compromising quality or responding to demands of a grow-or-die mentality.

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The U.S. sedan — an endangered species?

August 8, 2006

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Soaring fuel prices caused by Hurricane Katrina and turmoil in the Middle East have turned U.S. tastes toward passenger cars. Rather than trying to catch up with the competition, the Big Three are using global partners to speed their response to international automakers' passenger car success.

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Culture matters: Employee-driven problem-solving

July 11, 2006

Editor's Note: This column was prepared by the staff of Winning Workplaces, a not-for-profit organization that helps small and midsized businesses create better work environments.Ford Motor Co.'s and General Motors' supply chains have had an extremely difficult past couple of years. As a result,...

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Lean implementation failures

July 11, 2006

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The most important parts of lean implementation are preparation—especially an objective assessment and development of the business and technical cases for lean—leadership that can get things done, appropriate training, resolution of people issues, and well-designed deployment methods.

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The Midwest automotive exodus—fact or myth?

July 11, 2006

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While the Midwest has not lagged as far behind in international investment as many believe, the financial struggles of the Big Three have been a substantial economic burden for the region over the last three decades.

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10 steps to winning a government contract - Step 10

June 13, 2006

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Although the last step in the bidding process is to submit your bid, your final step in working with the government is never to give up and to apply what you learned throughout the process to every government job opportunity.

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SUVs: A profit center in flux

June 13, 2006

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As oil hovers around $60 per barrel, SUVs aren't that cool anymore. Many view them as dinosaurs, remnants of '90s excess that have no place in a thriftier, more environmentally conscious century.

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What associations really do

June 13, 2006

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Ever wonder why associations exist—what purposes they serve and why people join them? This article explains just what an association is, traces the history of associations, and describes how these organizations benefit members and the general public.

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10 steps to winning a government contract - Step 7

June 13, 2006

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Once you're ready to write your proposal, you must know all about the three basic types of solicitations and how to write your proposal based on what type of solicitation you're working with.

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Right on schedule

June 12, 2006

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QC Metal Fabricators of Elkhart, Ind., witnessed improved scheduling and shipping with the implementation of new job shop management software.

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Productivity—The human factor

May 9, 2006

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Productivity, an economic bellwether, is predicted to slip from its recent highs in the coming months, largely because of job growth. Companies burned by the recent downturn need to continue to focus on achieving maximum productivity. This article addresses the labor component of productivity and how best to motivate employees to work at high levels.

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