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Toyota's failure to communicate-a lesson for us all

March 31, 2010

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Cousin Roy called last night. We chatted about family, weather, and work — the usual topics of conversation. Roy's two brothers died last year, a few months apart — very sad news. Roy works for a Toyota dealership in Kentucky. More sad news. Or maybe not. Roy said that he's sold 25 cars this...

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Ford sheds another brand, thank goodness

March 29, 2010

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My 3-year-old daughter has never seen the lights on at a house up the street; the building has been empty and on the market longer than she’s been alive. I don’t know the owners or the situation, but I do know the asking price has steadily fallen. The owners probably just want to get that asset...

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Real-life concerns for metal fabricators

March 26, 2010

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"Worry about those things that you can control," my mom used to tell me. It's a great piece of advice, especially as we struggle to deal with the weak economic rebound and the political ruckus that passes for progress in Washington, D.C. So what's a metal fabricator to worry about? I don't run a...

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The inventor-manufacturer relationship

March 24, 2010

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Inventors and manufacturers are entities that truly go hand-in-hand, meaning you really can’t have one without the other, at least not in any substantive manner. Similar to "Love and Marriage", about which the song (written in 1955) says "you can’t have one without the other." (Not too sure...

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Health care and the angry citizen

March 22, 2010

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Talking with various contract metal fabricators over the past few months, I now realize what health care insurance means to them and other small-business owners across the country. Providing health care is a moral imperative. Sure, providing good benefits makes a shop competitive. But at the end...

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Offshoring not what it once was

March 18, 2010

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We live in extraordinary times. You can tell because people are creating their own words, and society adopts them without questions. It's fantabulous. Metal fabricators should embrace this new word with open arms: Re-shoring. Manufacturing jobs that once went overseas because of low-cost labor are...

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The green fields of America

March 17, 2010

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As I write this, it's March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day - - and as a member of the Irish diaspora, I'm wearing green and playing the CD Murphy's Irish Pub as I work. This is the one day of the year that I immerse myself in my ancestry. I’m an American first and foremost, but who I am as an...

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Do not count on those manufacturing backlogs

March 16, 2010

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Not a day goes by that I don’t remember how lucky I am. OK, I’m lying. Most days I don’t give it a second thought, though I know I should. My parents got a second mortgage so that I could leave college without having to worry about paying back student loans. How could they do this? Well,...

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Faith in metal fabricating

March 12, 2010

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I came across the Web site for JRS Custom Fabrication Inc. down in Ocala, Fla., last week. Someone sent me an e-mail so I checked it out. When you visit the site, you'll notice a Bible verse from 1 John 1:3. Make no mistake; this company's guided by the Lord's words. As its mission statement...

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'Our most-used machine is so old ...

March 10, 2010

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... that the hydraulic cylinder doesn’t have a conventional seal, but uses rings of packing to slow the flow of hydraulic fluid.'  This is just one of the comments we received yesterday in response to the March "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter that addressed companies' reluctance to invest in...

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The backbone of America

March 3, 2010

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The phrase "backbone of America" is used to describe various important U.S. entities: the Continental Divide, roads, steel, and small business, to name a few.  Just looking at this list, you can see how interconnected these four examples are. We need roads and steel bridges to cross the...

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Therapy for data overload

March 2, 2010

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This week The Economist put together a special section about how society is overflowing with data. Reading it, I thought it was irony at its best. What better way to cover our data-overload than with a long, drawn-out story bubbling over with … data. The most obvious example of data-overload is...

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Don't get the 'reds' about green

February 26, 2010

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FMA Communications Inc., the parent organization of this Web site and The FABRICATOR magazine, launched Green Manufacturer last month. The magazine covers manufacturing practices that are not only environmentally friendly, but also friendly to a company's overall performance, whether we are talking...

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Jobs don't matter to the dead

February 24, 2010

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Two of the most compelling stories these days have to do with an athlete long-considered the best golfer in the world and an automaker that became the world’s No. 1 in 2008 (and is ranked Japan's No. 1 global brand for 2010): Tiger Woods and Toyota. Once at the top of their games, both entities...

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Investor and consumer versus the citizen

February 23, 2010

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Dennis Rider’s career path changed directions recently, as reported by The Grand Rapids Press. After 27 years as a roll forming and laser cutting machine operator, he was let go in 2007. After spending serious time job hunting, Rider decided to retrain as an auto mechanic. He told the newspaper...

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