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.

Filter Content

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...

Continue Reading

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...

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Avain Flu Pandemic

Avian flu pandemic update

November 7, 2006 | By Vicki Bell

Although the potential avian flu pandemic no longer is receiving the vast media coverage it did months ago, it still is a high priority in worldwide health organizations and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This article offers an updated look at the threat and the latest information that can help you prepare your business for a possible pandemic.

Continue Reading

Using job shop habits for a custom project

November 7, 2006 | By Stephanie Vaughan

Although custom welding fixtures may be just one of Ed Sauvola's current jobs, it has become one of the main business opportunities he is pursuing while deciding which track is best for his one-man shop.

Continue Reading

Coping with change in the workplace

November 7, 2006 | By Vicki Bell

Change is constant in the workplace. Different people react to change in different ways. While some embrace change, others resist or stall the process to the detriment of themselves and their company. This article discusses how individuals can adapt to change more easily and minimize change-induced stress.

Continue Reading

Business workers

Understanding and motivating the multigenerational work force

November 7, 2006 | By Vicki Bell

Generational conflicts among the work force can drain a company's enterprise energy and diminish productivity. This article, based on the 2006 FABTECH® International & AWS Welding Show Executive Forum conducted by Dr. Bob Rausch, explains the differences between baby boom and Generation X employees and offers suggestions for melding the multigenerational work force into cohesive, productive teams.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Lean Manufacturing Meeting

Why lean manufacturing is no get-rich-quick program: Part II

November 1, 2006 | By Chris Hoff

Unlike get-rich-quick schemes that promise to double your money in days or weeks, lean manufacturing is an ongoing improvement program that will be in place for as long as your company is in business. Learn about common misconceptions of lean in Part II of this two-part series.

Continue Reading