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Flexible metal fabrication needs flexible people

July 26, 2011 | By Tim Heston

When I interviewed executives at Mayville Engineering Co., a seven-plant, 1,000-employee behemoth of a contract fabricator, I could tell the CEO Bob Kamphuis was proudest of one statistic. The company delivered on time over 99 percent of the time. On time delivery of quality parts lies at the...

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Space for more innovation

July 22, 2011 | By Dan Davis

As the space shuttle Atlantis returned to terra firma this week, it marked the end of the space shuttle era for NASA. What began as a project that was supposed to make space travel more affordable, the space shuttle program didn't achieve that, but it did contribute mightily to the construction of...

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Job losses and the jobless recovery

July 19, 2011 | By Eric Lundin

It seems like everyone is wondering when, or if, the U.S. economy is going to shake off the doldrums. Believe it or not, a headline from the Los Angeles Times, “What recession? It’s boom time again in Silicon Valley,” made it clear that a recovery is well under way in northern California....

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The journey is the destination

July 19, 2011 | By Amanda Carlson

A recent survey released by Mercer LLC states that approximately one-third of U.S. workers currently are considering leaving their jobs. The company surveyed 2,400 people and reported that 32 percent of them are "seriously considering" leaving, while another 21 percent said they don't want to leave...

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Manufacturing for the best minds of tomorrow

July 18, 2011 | By Tim Heston

It was refreshing to see the skilled-labor crisis--an issue near and dear to metal fabrication--grace the front page of the Sunday New York Times last week. It was the first in a weekly series called “Learn to Earn.” That’s such a great title. It hints at a pervasive problem. Recent grads may...

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Skilled at what, exactly?

July 15, 2011 | By Dan Davis

My recent note in the July 2011 edition of the "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter resulted in a nice exchange of e-mails with readers. I wrote about The FABRICATOR's 2011 What Keeps You up at Night? survey and noted that even with the overall concern about the economy, which also was the No. 1...

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Suppressing wages?

July 13, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

The July "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter featured reader comments about wages and whether employers are suppressing them to boost profits. These comments were inspired by a quote in the June issue from a reader reflecting on a potential manufacturing renaissance: "It is great that the companies...

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The skilled worker’s pursuit of happiness

July 5, 2011 | By Tim Heston

This week’s pomp, sparkle, and pyrotechnics celebrated, among other things, Jefferson’s inspirational sentence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty...

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'A small bit of good news'

June 29, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Among the headlines on msnb.com today was one that stood out as some very positive news for manufacturing: 'Manufacturing companies returning to U.S.' The linked article title, “Surging China costs forces some U.S. manufacturing companies back home," had me fist pumping a la Maria Sharapova at...

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Technology, for better or worse

June 28, 2011 | By Eric Lundin

An Indiana man was arrested June 22 for sending lewd messages to a minor via cell phone. Considering all the recent publicity surrounding former Rep. Anthony Weiner and the photo he broadcast via Twitter, it’s not a big surprise that a man used a phone for such a purpose. However, the story about...

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Just what kind of shortage are we experiencing?

June 23, 2011 | By Dan Davis

President Obama visited E.J. Ajax and Sons in Fridley, Minn., last week to tout his job training initiatives. The metal stamper and fabricator works closely with Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minn., to take unskilled students and turn them into skilled employees for manufacturing...

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Vacation or not?

June 22, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

The July issue of "Stamping News Brief" featured an item about a recent study from CareerBuilder, which showed that financial constraints and demanding work schedules have some workers foregoing vacation plans this year.  Twenty-four percent of full-time workers reported they can't afford to take...

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Automation: The key to cost control

June 17, 2011 | By Dan Davis

Metal fabricators got a quick history lesson before technical presentations on automation at Mazak Optonics' open house event in Elgin, Ill., in mid-June. As with any look back, it gave everyone a better idea of what the road ahead may look like. Historical fact: While millions of U.S. citizens...

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'Think globally, act locally'

June 16, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Hexagon 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Held June 6-9, the conference hosted more than 2,500 attendees from 65 countries. Customers, partners, and members of the press were treated to keynotes, informational sessions in Geosystems; Intergraph Process, Power & Marine...

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Job shop managers, the next generation

June 14, 2011 | By Tim Heston

At every gathering of shop managers in this business--at events like FABTECH® and The FABRICATOR®’s Leadership Summit--I always notice how diverse people’s backgrounds are. Most of the metal fabrication that goes on in this country happens in small businesses, firms much like Amtex Precision...

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