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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Structural steel

Structurally, it's a job shop

December 12, 2006

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Structural steel shops book jobs by the shop hour. More jobs lead to more hours and inevitably longer delivery times. In many instances, just-in-time deliveries in the structural business can be measured with calendars, not stopwatches. Suburban Steel Supply Co., Gahanna, Ohio, tries not to fall into that traditional trap when servicing its customers.

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Bauer check fixtures

Think you have a challenging bend? Bring it on

December 12, 2006

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Take a look at Bauer Welding & Metal Fabricators Inc., a company that thrives on difficult bending applications. It stays away from the hypercompetitive portion of the bending industry—4D to 5D bends in medium-wall-thickness tubing, applications that don't require a mandrel—and gravitates toward tight-radius or variable-radius bends in several planes, parts that require several processes such as bending and flaring, and components that needed flattening and welding.

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Crystal Distribution building

Moving in the right direction

December 12, 2006

When Crystal Distribution Inc., a manufacturer of curb adapters and related products, was challenged by the logistics of its facility, President Pat O'Brien had three choices: lease a different building, buy a different building, or build a new facility. Deciding to build a new facility made the most sense and ended up giving the company's manufacturing operations a whole new flow.

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The future of energy: stability or volatility?

November 7, 2006

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Senior Editor Eric Lundin looks at changes in supply and demand for energy, and how they have affected the prices for crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, and electricity. He also digests a few predictions to see what fabricators can expect for future energy prices.

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Business workers

Understanding and motivating the multigenerational work force

November 7, 2006

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Generational conflicts among the work force can drain a company's enterprise energy and diminish productivity. This article, based on the 2006 FABTECH® International & AWS Welding Show Executive Forum conducted by Dr. Bob Rausch, explains the differences between baby boom and Generation X employees and offers suggestions for melding the multigenerational work force into cohesive, productive teams.

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Coping with change in the workplace

November 7, 2006

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Change is constant in the workplace. Different people react to change in different ways. While some embrace change, others resist or stall the process to the detriment of themselves and their company. This article discusses how individuals can adapt to change more easily and minimize change-induced stress.

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Using job shop habits for a custom project

November 7, 2006

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Although custom welding fixtures may be just one of Ed Sauvola's current jobs, it has become one of the main business opportunities he is pursuing while deciding which track is best for his one-man shop.

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Avain Flu Pandemic

Avian flu pandemic update

November 7, 2006

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Although the potential avian flu pandemic no longer is receiving the vast media coverage it did months ago, it still is a high priority in worldwide health organizations and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This article offers an updated look at the threat and the latest information that can help you prepare your business for a possible pandemic.

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Lean Manufacturing Meeting

Why lean manufacturing is no get-rich-quick program: Part II

November 1, 2006

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Unlike get-rich-quick schemes that promise to double your money in days or weeks, lean manufacturing is an ongoing improvement program that will be in place for as long as your company is in business. Learn about common misconceptions of lean in Part II of this two-part series.

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Dollar sign

Why lean manufacturing is no get-rich-quick program: Part I

October 10, 2006

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Unlike get-rich-quick schemes that promise to double your money in days or weeks, lean manufacturing is an ongoing improvement program that will be in place for as long as your company is in business. Learn the basics of lean in Part I of this two-part series.

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automotive brake assembly

Bigger is better

October 10, 2006

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All automotive suppliers, regardless of size, find themselves facing a business environment more challenging than any they have previously experienced. Size with the economies of scale it brings is just one of numerous strategies that can be used to cope with the demanding nature of today's automotive industry.

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Growing, growing ... gone?

October 10, 2006

The fortune of Custom Tool & Mfg. Co. changed last year with a cold call from a representative of MFG.com. After signing on for the Web-based service, the fabricator is finding several fabricating jobs to bid on each week.

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E-85 graphic

To E or not to E

September 12, 2006

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Vehicles running on E85, a fuel that blends traditional gasoline with ethanol, are receiving considerable attention. While proponents claim the benefits of E85 range from environmental friendliness to improved national security, critics argue that the widespread adoption of E85 will be a tremendous challenge.

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Hanging on to your skilled workers

September 12, 2006

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With skilled labor becoming scarcer, employers must strengthen their retention efforts. This article discusses the main reasons workers leave jobs and includes comments from metal fabricators about these reasons. It also includes tips for overcoming the reasons and links to resources that can help you develop your retention strategy.

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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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