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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R & D tax credit

Get paid to make progress

February 6, 2007 | By Scott Schmidt

Many manufacturers don't think that their companies qualify as researchers and developers. But with a little look into your company's everyday activities, you may find that you do conduct R&D - and possibly spend enough on R&D in a year to qualify for a tax credit.

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Toyota patented fan blade

Patented fan blade design helps keep Toyota cool

February 6, 2007

SituationToyota's 900,000-sq.-ft. Hebron, Ky., facility is its largest parts distribution center in the world.Given the size of the facility, the company was forced to overheat during cold months to compensate for the majority of the warm air rising to the ceiling. Monthly utility bills were...

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Is a good attitude all it takes?

January 9, 2007 | By Bob Nichols

This article from reader-favorite author Bob Nichols is a point-of-view piece that questions the popular adage that attitude is all it takes to excel in the business world. Nichols' article, written from a mature manager's perspective, is a good supplement to Understanding and motivating the multigenerational work forcepublished previously on thefabricator.com.

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Dollar bill image

Spending time with capital equipment

January 9, 2007 | By Dan Davis

Metal fabricators and formers are expected to spend more than $2.3 billion on capital equipment in 2007. The 2007 FMAC Capital Spending Survey provides more details.

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China's Unusual Tax Move

January 9, 2007 | By Kate Bachman

The Chinese government's control policies are currently focused on controlling exports by increasing export taxes, said Patrick McCormick, World Steel Dynamics (WSD) managing partner. Normally, a value-added tax (VAT) is refunded on exports."Because of the growth of steel, and because they're...

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Carbon steel prices 07

Metals upsets, offsets, and onsets in 2007

January 9, 2007 | By Kate Bachman

Metal fabricators should see price relief on U.S. carbon steel hot-rolled band prices going into the first quarter of 2007, with prices expected to bottom out at $500 to $540 per ton early in the first quarter, depending on the mill source. In February through April, prices should begin to rebound...

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Miller plasma cutter

From Pens to Plasma Cutters

January 9, 2007 | By Eric Lundin

What happens when an editor gets to weld? Let Senior Editor Eric Lundin share his first-hand experience. Visitors could try their hands at a variety of welding and cutting processes at Miller Electric's semitruck parked in Hall B at the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show in Atlanta , Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

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John Engler

NAM on Fabricators' Top Two Concerns

January 9, 2007 | By Vicki Bell

Following the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show keynote address, the fabricator.com's Web Content Manager Vicki Bell sat down to talk with the speaker, former Michigan Governor and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President John Engler.Citing "Fabricating Update" survey results that steel prices and the skilled labor shortage are metal fabricators' No. 1 and 2 concerns, respectively, Bell asked Engler the following questions.

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Team members image

Creating a leadership team that speaks, acts with one voice

January 9, 2007 | By Bob Rausch, Ph.D.

This article is based on a 2006 FABTECH® Intl. & AWS Welding Show seminar presented by Dr. Bob Rausch, a facilitator and coach for executives, managers, and their teams. It explains the importance of creating and energizing effective leadership teams, describes common team characteristics, and discusses potential defuelers and refuelers.

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Machine software integration

Taking software integration to new heights

December 12, 2006 | By Dan Deanovic

For a job shop or contract manufacturer to take as much labor out of the manufacturing process as possible, automation is necessary. This can be helped with the integration of front-office and shop floor software.

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Northern Tool and Engineering

Live or die making tools

December 12, 2006 | By Stephanie Vaughan

A tool- and die-maker for 50 years, Leo Niemela started out successfully enough in the tool and die business. But as the industry started to decline, he and his family had to decide which direction to take: stay with tool and die or reposition the company.

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Structural steel

Structurally, it's a job shop

December 12, 2006 | By Dan Davis

Structural steel shops book jobs by the shop hour. More jobs lead to more hours and inevitably longer delivery times. In many instances, just-in-time deliveries in the structural business can be measured with calendars, not stopwatches. Suburban Steel Supply Co., Gahanna, Ohio, tries not to fall into that traditional trap when servicing its customers.

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Bauer check fixtures

Think you have a challenging bend? Bring it on

December 12, 2006 | By Eric Lundin

Take a look at Bauer Welding & Metal Fabricators Inc., a company that thrives on difficult bending applications. It stays away from the hypercompetitive portion of the bending industry—4D to 5D bends in medium-wall-thickness tubing, applications that don't require a mandrel—and gravitates toward tight-radius or variable-radius bends in several planes, parts that require several processes such as bending and flaring, and components that needed flattening and welding.

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Crystal Distribution building

Moving in the right direction

December 12, 2006

When Crystal Distribution Inc., a manufacturer of curb adapters and related products, was challenged by the logistics of its facility, President Pat O'Brien had three choices: lease a different building, buy a different building, or build a new facility. Deciding to build a new facility made the most sense and ended up giving the company's manufacturing operations a whole new flow.

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The future of energy: stability or volatility?

November 7, 2006 | By Eric Lundin

Senior Editor Eric Lundin looks at changes in supply and demand for energy, and how they have affected the prices for crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, and electricity. He also digests a few predictions to see what fabricators can expect for future energy prices.

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