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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The adult learner: Training your labor force

March 13, 2007

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Training programs enhance worker skills, encourage employee/employer loyalty, and help reduce employee turnover. This article defines what is important to an adult learner, describes the different types of adult learners, and details the components of an effective training program. It also discusses trainer requisites.

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Rotary bevel head

Up with energy prices and wind towers

March 13, 2007

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With the recent increases in gasoline and natural gas prices, more attention than ever is focused on alternative energy sources. One fabricator, Aerisyn LLC, investigated manufacturing towers for use in the wind power industry. To produce towers efficiently enough to compete against imports from Asia, Aerisyn relied on an equipment vendor that had experience in demanding fields such as aerospace, nuclear, and wind power.

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Hansen steel services

Big shoulders, long strides

February 13, 2007

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Family-owned Hansen Steel Services started six years ago with a 600-ft. long empty building and a combined 144 years of experience and built it into a thriving job shop that shoulders large plate fabrications.

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Detroit Car Bodies

Detroit's reality check

February 13, 2007

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As the Big Three try to return to profitability, most of their suppliers, many with a negative cash flow, are starting to crack under the pressure. Declining OEM unit volume and mix issues, pricing pressures, and high sustained raw material costs continue to constrain cash flows and limit balance sheet improvements that, in some cases suffered significant deterioration in 2006.

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Establishing an identity

February 13, 2007

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Tarter Gate, a captive tube mill operation and tube and pipe fabricator, is the largest manufacturer of animal management equipment in the U.S. Learn how the company has used a marketing plan to increase sales and maintain growth in this family-owned and -operated business.

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Metal Manufacturing Leading Concerns

Steel prices remain top concern in 2007

February 12, 2007

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The January 2007 "Fabricating Update" asked subscribers to choose their No. 1 concern from a list of factors affecting metal manufacturing. It also asked whether the Democrat-controlled Congress sworn in Jan. 4 will have a positive, negative, or no effect on their businesses. This article presents the survey findings.

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R & D tax credit

Get paid to make progress

February 6, 2007

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Many manufacturers don't think that their companies qualify as researchers and developers. But with a little look into your company's everyday activities, you may find that you do conduct R&D - and possibly spend enough on R&D in a year to qualify for a tax credit.

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Toyota patented fan blade

Patented fan blade design helps keep Toyota cool

February 6, 2007

SituationToyota's 900,000-sq.-ft. Hebron, Ky., facility is its largest parts distribution center in the world.Given the size of the facility, the company was forced to overheat during cold months to compensate for the majority of the warm air rising to the ceiling. Monthly utility bills were...

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Is a good attitude all it takes?

January 9, 2007

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This article from reader-favorite author Bob Nichols is a point-of-view piece that questions the popular adage that attitude is all it takes to excel in the business world. Nichols' article, written from a mature manager's perspective, is a good supplement to Understanding and motivating the multigenerational work forcepublished previously on thefabricator.com.

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Spending time with capital equipment

January 9, 2007

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Metal fabricators and formers are expected to spend more than $2.3 billion on capital equipment in 2007. The 2007 FMAC Capital Spending Survey provides more details.

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China's Unusual Tax Move

January 9, 2007

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The Chinese government's control policies are currently focused on controlling exports by increasing export taxes, said Patrick McCormick, World Steel Dynamics (WSD) managing partner. Normally, a value-added tax (VAT) is refunded on exports."Because of the growth of steel, and because they're...

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Carbon steel prices 07

Metals upsets, offsets, and onsets in 2007

January 9, 2007

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Metal fabricators should see price relief on U.S. carbon steel hot-rolled band prices going into the first quarter of 2007, with prices expected to bottom out at $500 to $540 per ton early in the first quarter, depending on the mill source. In February through April, prices should begin to rebound...

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Miller plasma cutter

From Pens to Plasma Cutters

January 9, 2007

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What happens when an editor gets to weld? Let Senior Editor Eric Lundin share his first-hand experience. Visitors could try their hands at a variety of welding and cutting processes at Miller Electric's semitruck parked in Hall B at the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show in Atlanta , Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

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John Engler

NAM on Fabricators' Top Two Concerns

January 9, 2007

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Following the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show keynote address, the fabricator.com's Web Content Manager Vicki Bell sat down to talk with the speaker, former Michigan Governor and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President John Engler.

Citing "Fabricating Update" survey results that steel prices and the skilled labor shortage are metal fabricators' No. 1 and 2 concerns, respectively, Bell asked Engler the following questions.

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Creating a leadership team that speaks, acts with one voice

January 9, 2007

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This article is based on a 2006 FABTECH® Intl. & AWS Welding Show seminar presented by Dr. Bob Rausch, a facilitator and coach for executives, managers, and their teams. It explains the importance of creating and energizing effective leadership teams, describes common team characteristics, and discusses potential defuelers and refuelers.

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