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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Editorial Advisory Board Roundtable

March 7, 2006

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The FABRICATOR invited the members of its Editorial Advisory Board together to discuss the state of skilled labor in North America and what the future looks like for tomorrow's fabricating and forming employees and employers.

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Are you preparing for the worker skills gap?

March 7, 2006

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The skilled labor shortage many manufacturers already are experiencing is being joined by a skills gap as the aging work force retires and fewer young people pursue technical training. Manufacturers need to act now to cultivate and grow the future work force and bridge the gap.

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The big squeeze

February 7, 2006

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Three companies dominating the market is a distant memory as Japanese and European automakers' market shares steadily increase. The Big Three has evolved into the New 6 that includes Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler. Suppliers tied to the Big Three will have to make a negative adjustment to remain profitable.

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Are you still settling for good enough?

February 7, 2006

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A study of executives at several tube and pipe fab shops revealed that the executives and managers are ensnared by four potential traps: talking instead of doing, failing to see the big picture, avoiding listening, and failing to communicate.

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10 steps to winning a government contract - Step 6

February 7, 2006

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When you price out your bid, you get to be the expert - but that also means a lot of responsibility. Learn what you need to know to price out your bid to the federal government.

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Making your way as a job shop today

February 7, 2006

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No matter how you start up your own job shop, it takes a delicate balance to become - and remain - successful. Profitability certainly helps, but so do flexibility and diversification.

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Finding direction for the welding industry

January 10, 2006

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The welding industry may be the only one forecast to show any growth between now and 2012, but growth in the U.S. is threatened by a number of factors: skilled worker shortages, welding rod litigation; and what some consider the need for greed among business executives.

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Is your business prepared for a pandemic?

January 10, 2006

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A recent CFO survey found that only 7 percent of businesses are preparing for a potential avian flu pandemic. Preparation is important for this and other events that can disrupt business and endanger employees. Guidelines include training and preparing an ancillary work force. Cross-training current employees and documenting processes can help.

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Bulletproof processes

December 13, 2005

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While some stampers are filing for bankruptcy, Alpha's lean manufacturing initiatives have propelled the Detroit-based stamper to a $50 million-dollar company and growing

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Characteristics of electron beam welding

December 13, 2005

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Electron beam welding is useful for many applications -- steel, aluminum, and exotic metals; thick, structural sections or thin, delicate components; and harsh conditions such as alternating loads and low temperatures. A programmable controller allows engineers to tailor the electron beam's power distribution, thereby creating a unique weld for each application. EBW often is used in applications that have stringent joint tightness and strength requirements and, in some cases, it is used for welds that cannot be done with any other joining method.

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Measuring up: Benchmarking your workplace practices

November 8, 2005

Manufacturers that track and address the effectiveness of their workplace practices make recruiting and retaining talent a key part of their strategy—a huge competitive advantage.

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Reverse engineering

November 8, 2005

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Typically, the idea for a fabricated product evolves into a manufacturing project from a complete set of engineering documents that define the product's scope, function, and limits and express its requirements. However, occasionally the necessary supporting documentation is unavailable and must be reconstructed.

For example, you might want to study an old sunken Roman or Viking vessel to gather information on ancient materials and technology and to understand a past civilization.

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Reality TV: Frame-making in the U.S.

November 8, 2005

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Sumitomo Metal Mining USA (SMMU) Inc. has supplied cathode ray tube frams to some of the largest, high-end television manufacturers in the world from its Oceanside, Calif., facility. Despite the trend in moving manufacturing overseas to take advantage of cheaper labor pools, SMMU believes it is poised to remain competitive while maintaining its U.S. base of operations.

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Removing the obstacles to success

October 11, 2005

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Owners of mid-sized businesses (those that sell for $2 million to $250 million) should know that the environment for selling such a business has grown increasingly harsh over the past 25 years or so. Many of the competitive forces at work in the global arena that have made manufacturing overseas attractive have made overseas manufacturing companies attractive investments, to the detriment of U.S. business owners. However, knowledge and planning can help an owner of a mid-sized manufacturing firm get a premium price for his business.

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10 steps to winning a government contract - Step 5

October 11, 2005

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When you want to bid on a government contract, getting the technical data you need, including specifications and drawings, is critical.

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