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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Selling your company?

April 10, 2007 | By George Spilka

If you own a midsized company, one valued at $2 million to $250 million, and you're thinking about selling, you should consider hiring a financial adviser to guide you through the process. This is likely to be the biggest and most important business transaction of your career, so finding an adviser who understands you, your business, and your industry is key in negotiating the best price.

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Hand spinning lathe

A new spin on metal forming

April 10, 2007 | By Eric Lundin

Glenn Metalcraft Inc. started out as a tool and die shop in Minneapolis in 1947. Today it is an $8-million-a-year contract manufacturer that has created a niche in spin-forming circular and conical components up to 0.750 in. thick. Glenn has found a high-volume niche, producing wheels, brakes, and other components, using a process that traditionally was used almost exclusively for prototype and low-volume work.

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Rotary bevel head

Up with energy prices and wind towers

March 13, 2007 | By Sue DiBianca

With the recent increases in gasoline and natural gas prices, more attention than ever is focused on alternative energy sources. One fabricator, Aerisyn LLC, investigated manufacturing towers for use in the wind power industry. To produce towers efficiently enough to compete against imports from Asia, Aerisyn relied on an equipment vendor that had experience in demanding fields such as aerospace, nuclear, and wind power.

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Manufacturing training image

The adult learner: Training your labor force

March 13, 2007 | By Phil Evans

Training programs enhance worker skills, encourage employee/employer loyalty, and help reduce employee turnover. This article defines what is important to an adult learner, describes the different types of adult learners, and details the components of an effective training program. It also discusses trainer requisites.

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An exception to the industry rule

March 13, 2007

IRMCO, a 93-year-old manufacturer of environmentally friendly lubricant technologies for the metal forming industry, is not only surviving but thriving in an industry that's facing tough times with plant closures, downsizing, and fierce foreign competition.

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Metal forming certification

FMA jumps on the certification bandwagon

March 13, 2007 | By Jim Donaldson

Many industries and careers rely on certification programs to train workers. The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl.®, has identified a need to certify precision sheet metal workers and is launching a certification program. This article explains the program's goals, outlines the development process, and describes how industry professionals can participate.

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Whirlpool stove

Appliance demand flat

March 13, 2007 | By Kathleen McLaughlin

2007 U.S. appliance shipments are forecast to grow only 1 percent because of a sluggish housing market. Shifts in channel preferences; successful market penetration by offshore brands; a strong demand for high-priced, innovative white goods; and the Maytag/Whirlpool merger are changing the industry's landscape.

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Tarter Gate logo

Establishing an identity

February 13, 2007 | By Stephanie Vaughan

Tarter Gate, a captive tube mill operation and tube and pipe fabricator, is the largest manufacturer of animal management equipment in the U.S. Learn how the company has used a marketing plan to increase sales and maintain growth in this family-owned and -operated business.

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Detroit Car Bodies

Detroit's reality check

February 13, 2007 | By Kathleen McLaughlin

As the Big Three try to return to profitability, most of their suppliers, many with a negative cash flow, are starting to crack under the pressure. Declining OEM unit volume and mix issues, pricing pressures, and high sustained raw material costs continue to constrain cash flows and limit balance sheet improvements that, in some cases suffered significant deterioration in 2006.

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Hansen steel services

Big shoulders, long strides

February 13, 2007 | By Kate Bachman

Family-owned Hansen Steel Services started six years ago with a 600-ft. long empty building and a combined 144 years of experience and built it into a thriving job shop that shoulders large plate fabrications.

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Metal Manufacturing Leading Concerns

Steel prices remain top concern in 2007

February 12, 2007 | By Vicki Bell

The January 2007 "Fabricating Update" asked subscribers to choose their No. 1 concern from a list of factors affecting metal manufacturing. It also asked whether the Democrat-controlled Congress sworn in Jan. 4 will have a positive, negative, or no effect on their businesses. This article presents the survey findings.

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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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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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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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John Engler

NAM on Fabricators' Top Two Concerns

January 9, 2007 | By Vicki Bell

Following the FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show keynote address, the'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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