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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2015 updates for ISO 9001, 14001 align with other standards

January 26, 2016

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In September 2015, the widely recognized global standards body International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released its 9001:2015 standards for quality management systems (QMS) and 14001:2015 environmental management systems (EMS). Key changes to both the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards are that they are structured to align with other standards bodies; are less prescriptive; require greater upper management involvement; and require less documentation but more emphasis on defining processes, risk and opportunities planning, and context.

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The tipping point: A new way to manage value streams in high-mix manufacturing

January 19, 2016

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Lean consultant Gary Conner describes a way to adapt value stream mapping—with its roots in low-mix, high-volume production—to the high-mix, low-volume job shop.

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A “digital thread” runs through FABTECH, North America’s largest metal fabrication show

January 6, 2016

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FABTECH broke records again in 2015, drawing more attendees and exhibitors than ever. One theme this year seemed to pervade the event. It relates to what keynote speaker Karen Kerr, director of advanced manufacturing at GE Ventures, called a “digital thread” through the manufacturing supply chain.

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Lean manufacturing in metal fabrication: How to jumpstart a stalled improvement effort

January 4, 2016

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Continuous improvement initiatives often lack organizational structure and defined responsibilities. Consultant Dick Kallage describes three components needed to correct these problems and prevent continuous improvement from stalling.

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One metal fabrication shop takes on B2C

January 4, 2016

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Launched in 2015, Florida-based MetalsCut4U offers low-volume metal cutting and bending to the consumer market. To make it happen, the company simplifies ordering and automates quoting.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Using images and live demos to explain a product’s function

January 4, 2016

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Columnist Gerald Davis explores the use of “mates” as he reveals how to make a hand drill operate the same way in the 3-D model as it does in the real world.

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Not just for analyzing metals anymore

December 17, 2015

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Used for many years to analyze metals, XRF analyzers have been improving over the years. The latest models can detect elements at less than 10 parts per million and are equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, and built-in digital cameras, providing many additional capabilities compared to the analyzers of years ago.

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Workforce challenges: Can’t we all just get along?

December 15, 2015

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Talk to managers in metal fabrication and they’ll probably tell you they have trouble finding “good” people. In fact, they usually don’t say “skilled” people. So what’s the difference?

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Making your welding operation safer with source-extraction systems

December 10, 2015

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Ventilation systems help make the air safer in welding operations. Source extraction offers optimal benefits for welders.

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A job shop reborn

December 3, 2015

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Co-Lin Metals Fabricating, Rockford, Ill., was an old-school shop. Estimates were done by hand, and important documents were transferred by fax. Stephen Hedlund, who had once worked summers at the shop where his dad, Michael, worked, wants to change all of that. He and his dad are the new owners, and they want to take the shop into the 21st century.

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Metal fabrication in 2016: Diversification proves its worth

December 2, 2015

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2015 has been a tale of two markets—commodities and everything else. Demand for food, fuel, and materials is suffering and prices are dropping. But low prices in these areas are spurring growth elsewhere. Many predict this tale to continue into 2016.

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2016 capital spending forecast in metal fabrication: The growth continues

November 30, 2015

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According to the “2016 Capital Spending Forecast” from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, total capital spending will edge up a little more than 2 percent next year. Still, certain equipment categories, including welding and bending, may experience dramatic gains.

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Friction stir welding expands its scope

November 30, 2015

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Friction stir welding, which is used in projects such as the new NASA heavy-lift rocket, is now being used in more typical metal fabricating applications.

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Women in manufacturing: One company’s 50-50 workforce

November 11, 2015

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PPI, a diverse manufacturer based in the Southeast, defies national trends. While women make up only 27 percent of the U.S. manufacturing workforce, they make up nearly half of PPI’s workforce. What drew these women to manufacturing, and what makes them stay?

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Making CAD magnets

November 11, 2015

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Does your shop have special punching tooling that it would like to use more? Columnist Gerald Davis demonstrates how to prepare a CAD model of the punching tooling that a customer can download into its own CAD tooling library and possibly incorporate into future jobs that may end up with the job shop.

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