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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Implementing open-book management

March 11, 2004

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Today global competitors are literally willing to work for food. U.S. workers want a car, a home, and a college education for their kids in addition to their meals. Reducing pay and eliminating benefits is not an answer for anything but a lower standard of living. The challenge is not reducing compensation but rather dramatically improving productivity. Making owners out of employees is the ticket to that productivity. Open Book Management is a philosophy—a value system.

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Offshore outsourcing—an economic and political issue

March 11, 2004

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Listening to the current economic rhetoric, much of which contains formulaic doublespeak and political posturing, has led me to a couple of clichd observations. In terms of talk—which is not quite as cheap in an election year, when the stakes are higher—you ain't seen nothing yet. Political candidates and pundits will state, interpret, attack, defend, and regurgitate past actions and campaign promises ad nauseam from now until the November election.

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Goin' Global

March 11, 2004

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The U.S. is considered to be the best consumer market in the world. However, competition for this market has increased as more and more countries have cast their rods in the U.S consumer pool.

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Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 3

March 11, 2004

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Editor's Note: This is the third episode in a mountaintop dialog that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about cash flow and the time line of money.I continued watching the beavers as they worked on their good dam. I realized the poetic similarity between...

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US. DOC Offers Export Assistance

March 11, 2004

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Editor's Note: This article—a companion piece to Goin' Global, which appeared in the March 2004 issue of The FABRICATOR® magazine and is reprinted on thefabricator.com—lists some of the export assistance available from the U.S. Department of Commerce.Market ResearchCountry...

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Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 2

February 26, 2004

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Editor's Note: This is the second episode of a mountaintop dialog between Gerald and a wise business guru. Gerald has just been told that he has not been adept at the three critical management responsibilities – cash flow, policy, and enforcement.I glared at my adviser. He glared back without...

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A 'bout' with the champion

February 26, 2004

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Rep. Don Manzullo speaks about taxes, steel tariffs, health care, and manufacturing's future.

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Do you see the light?

February 26, 2004

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In this article, The FABRICATOR® attempts to shine the light on opportunities for improvement in both the front office and on the shop floor. In this case, the light is on the lights—as well as the heating and ventilating system and other energy-sapping devices.

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Employee training

February 12, 2004

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During the economic downturn, many companies cut employee training to help control expenses. At the same time, technical and vocational programs were and continue to be cut for a variety of reasons, including providers' budget concerns and low enrollment.

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Taxing situation

January 29, 2004

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Most fabricators aren't knowledgeable about tax laws and don't have time to immerse themselves in tax updates. They're too busy on the shop floor.

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Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 1

January 13, 2004

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Prevailing economic conditions have put me in a funk. It seems that the last time I really knew what I was doing as a business manager was in 1995. At that time my job shop was reporting profits, our machinery was in excellent condition, and our major customers were forecasting solid growth. I...

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Made in the U.S.A.

January 13, 2004

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For many years I lived in Belvidere, Ill., home of what was then known simply as the Chrysler plant. The local United Auto Workers union prominently displayed a sign in the parking lot that said, "Foreign cars will be towed." Now that the plant, which builds the Dodge Neon®, bears the name DaimlerChrysler, I'm wondering—is the sign still there? Probably not.

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New Year's Resolutions

January 13, 2004

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What are your resolutions for 2004? "I'm going to lose that extra 15 pounds." "I plan to exercise more this year." "I'm going to be more complimentary to my staff." "I'm going to be more patient." Or, did you remember the resolutions you didn't keep last year and ask yourself, "Why make resolutions? I won't keep them once I get back to the daily grind."

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Beating 'world' pricing

January 13, 2004

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During the depths of the manufacturing slowdown that has cost the fabricated metal products sector nearly 300,000 jobs since 2000, Steven Southwell, president of Des Plaines, Ill.-based Nu-Way Industries Inc., faced a depressing challenge from one of his multinational OEM customers??either meet the ??total cost of acquisition? achieved in China or purchase the part from the Chinese supplier, inventory it, and incorporate it into the family of parts supplied by Nu-Way.

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Family business going strong after 100 years

December 11, 2003

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The average lifespan of a family-owned business is 24 years, and 60 percent of family-owned businesses do not have a clear succession plan. Tell that to the Peddinghaus Corporation and you might be in for a big "Oh really?" In business for 100 years and with a Peddinghaus still at the helm, the family-owned manufacturer of steel construction industry equipment clearly is a statistical exception.

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