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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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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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Growing, growing ... gone?

October 10, 2006

The fortune of Custom Tool & Mfg. Co. changed last year with a cold call from a representative of After signing on for the Web-based service, the fabricator is finding several fabricating jobs to bid on each week.

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automotive brake assembly

Bigger is better

October 10, 2006 | By Bernard Swiecki

All automotive suppliers, regardless of size, find themselves facing a business environment more challenging than any they have previously experienced. Size with the economies of scale it brings is just one of numerous strategies that can be used to cope with the demanding nature of today's automotive industry.

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Dollar sign

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

October 10, 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 the basics of lean in Part I of this two-part series.

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Fabricators in search of skilled workers

September 12, 2006 | By Vicki Bell

A recent survey of metal fabricators shows that the vast majority of fabricating companies desperately need skilled labor. These companies are employing various methods to find qualified workers and to compensate for the shortage. Despite the difficulty finding skilled labor, some fabricators would not encourage young people to pursue careers in manufacturing.

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Hanging on to your skilled workers

September 12, 2006 | By Vicki Bell

With skilled labor becoming scarcer, employers must strengthen their retention efforts. This article discusses the main reasons workers leave jobs and includes comments from metal fabricators about these reasons. It also includes tips for overcoming the reasons and links to resources that can help you develop your retention strategy.

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E-85 graphic

To E or not to E

September 12, 2006 | By Bernard Swiecki

Vehicles running on E85, a fuel that blends traditional gasoline with ethanol, are receiving considerable attention. While proponents claim the benefits of E85 range from environmental friendliness to improved national security, critics argue that the widespread adoption of E85 will be a tremendous challenge.

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