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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Winning with Lean

September 14, 2004

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Larry Martin hates the term lean manufacturing."When someone mentions lean manufacturing, it usually conjures up visions of layoffs and a stark, militarylike plant," said Larry Martin, vice president of Utah-based Martin Door Manufacturing Inc.He blames lean manufacturing's bad reputation on...

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Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 9

September 14, 2004

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Editor's Note: This is the ninth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about business network tiers, and the guru has asked Gerald to identify which tier his job shop is in.I sucked in my gums and tried to ape his sagacious...

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The case for open-book management

September 14, 2004

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.Some companies' financial information is not exclusively in the realm of accountants and top management. Everyone from...

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Six Sigma methodology to improve ship and boat welding

August 10, 2004

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Nowhere in manufacturing is the axiom "Do the job right the first time" more true than in a shipyard's welding operation. The welding process must be optimized for high productivity, yet maintain quality levels required by stringent welding standards. Even using the most fine-tuned process, a...

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Lean on it

August 10, 2004

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Mike Wriglesworth of W.W. Metal Fab, Milwaukie, Ore., is a convert. Lean manufacturing is his new religion.At least, that's what he and the 85 employees practice at work. With the encouragement and financial backing of one of its largest customers, truckmaker Freightliner LLC, and the Oregon...

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Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 8

August 10, 2004

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Editor's Note: This is the eighth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about communication among operator, machine, and management—the "work unit."I started to answer his question about how a piece of equipment...

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Job Burnout—Part 3

August 10, 2004

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This is the last in a series of articles about job burnout. Part Idiscussed the causes. Part IIcovered symptoms and solutions from an individual standpoint. It also included a test to help you determine where you are in terms of burnout.Job burnout is a complicated condition caused most often by...

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Four Canadian automotive fabricators and what drives their success

August 10, 2004

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Editor's Note: In an effort to offer a glimpse into some of the successful fabricating and manufacturing operations in the world, The FABRICATOR® offers this quick look at four Canadian companies.On a busy workday the machine shop at F&P Mfg. Inc., in the village of Tottenham, northwest of...

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Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 7

July 13, 2004

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Editor's Note: This is the seventh episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about sales training."Why does it matter whether the sales staff understands this concept of buying a contract? If they are getting orders and the...

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Job Burnout—Part 2

July 13, 2004

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If the amount of feedback Part I of this series generated is a good barometer, job burnout is a huge problem potentially affecting many workers at all levels. This article will help you determine if you're at risk or suffering from the condition. It also offers suggestions for actions you can...

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Where the welders are

July 13, 2004

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Making sense of the skilled labor shortage in the welding industry is like having conversations with five different people simultaneously while trying to walk a tightrope with a vase on your head and juggle at the same time.Several perspectives play prominent roles in this issue, from the welders...

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The value of empowerment

July 13, 2004

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.Like many automotive stampers, Dowding Industries, an Eaton Rapids, Mich., partsmaker for the heavy truck and automotive...

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Pushing plate processing productivity

July 13, 2004

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Productivity increases when manufacturing processes are executed as quickly as possible. Maximizing productivity also means minimizing the nonproductive segments of the manufacturing cycle. When all the time associated with manufacturing—the fabricating process itself, non-process in-cycle time, out of cycle waiting time, downtime, and secondary operations—is minimized that productivity is maximized.

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Job Burnout—Part 1

June 8, 2004

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If you are employed, you're lucky to have a job. Perhaps you've heard this, thought it, or both. And it's true. With so many people out of work, it seems almost like biting the hand that feeds you to complain about your work conditions and expect your employer to care.If you're suffering from job...

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Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 6

June 8, 2004

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Editor's Note: This is the sixth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They had been talking about the contract period when doubts were raised about what his sales force was really selling.At just that moment, a line of hikers passed by on their...

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