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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Wisconsin metal fabricator thrives on complexity

October 12, 2015

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Advanced Laser Machining Inc. launched in 1996, just when laser cutting was becoming a metal fabrication mainstay and software was changing everything. Today managers are hoping to put a structure in place to grow the company even more. In 10 years ALM may be a $75 million enterprise

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Streamlining diverse part flow in metal fabrication

October 7, 2015

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The people at Prince Precision Products may be fabricating thin sheet one hour and thick plate the next hour. Managers at PPP call their operation a hybrid—part job shop focusing on small runs, part production operation. Juggling it all requires focus on good communication and minimizing rework.

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Closing the skills gap

September 28, 2015

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A collaborative approach between industry and education brings purpose to a student’s learning experience, gives them a realistic road map to help them develop future plans, all while helping meet local and regional workforce needs.

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Creating a safe welding environment

September 28, 2015

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Implementing safety measures in the welding environment doesn’t need to be a top-down activity. Involving employees and encouraging them to provide insight can go far in establishing a safe welding operation and maintaining it. Choosing dependable safety equipment is also important. More durable products last longer, which reduces costs. Safety products that fit well and are easy to use also reduce downtime and increase worker acceptance.

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An introduction to reliability-centered maintenance

September 10, 2015

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Using reliability-centered maintenance to create an effective maintenance schedule helps to avoid critical stoppages in the production of parts.

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Scheduling by constraint in metal fabrication

September 8, 2015

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As stated in the theory of constraints, the constraint process governs the pace of manufacturing. In job shops, the constraint may change from job to job. Identifying a controlled constraint, or control point, can simplify scheduling even in the complex world of high-mix, lowvolume manufacturing.

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2015: What keeps you up at night?

September 8, 2015

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The huge economic rebound that normally follows a recession has never really materialized, but metal fabricators appear to be making the most of the slow and steady climb from the economic doldrums of the late 2000s. The 2015 “What Keeps You up at Night?” survey suggests that fabricators are looking to take the steps necessary to support continued growth in their businesses.

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The metal manufacturer and the employee survey

September 2, 2015

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Employee surveys can either be an important tool for improvement or virtually useless. For surveys to be useful, they need to have a purpose and, most important, spur action.

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Are workers really less productive?

September 2, 2015

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According to the Labor Department, American workers aren’t as productive as they once were. But how do we measure productivity? Perhaps most important, do customers value it?

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Metal fabrication basics: 5 insights on the humble hand tool

September 1, 2015

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Career metalworker Tom Lipton shares his insights on something that’s often taken for granted in the fab shop: hand tools.

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Fabricating in the coal mining region undergoes transformation

August 26, 2015

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Coal mining has long been an important industry in some areas of the U.S. As coal mining has fallen out of favor with environmental groups, the EPA, and the administration, these areas have had to adapt to remain viable and provide jobs.

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What to look for in railing and frame welding fixtures

August 17, 2015

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Welding fixtures, an important component of the fabrication process, have come a long way. Today’s fixtures make railing and frame welding easier, safer, more productive, and cost-efficient.

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Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Table-driven design

August 12, 2015

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Columnist Gerald Davis walks the reader through the creation of a hex nut and shows how this exercise can be applied to other threaded creations.

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4 tips on avoiding property tax sticker shock

August 4, 2015

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Planning for your next commercial property tax assessment boils down to having the right information at the right time, and using the right strategy.

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Organizational energy

August 4, 2015

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To attain high organizational energy, a company’s people need to be aware of the environment in which the company operates, and have the fitness and will to improve.

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