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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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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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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