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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Hobart Welding Certificate

Welding education - the good, bad, and ugly

February 17, 2014

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Welding education has come a long way from cast-iron repair and forge welding taught by blacksmiths. Today’s welding students have training options that can lead to different career paths.

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mission-critical

Mission-critical metal fabrication

February 17, 2014

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No matter how eye-popping the technology, the means of getting a job done is secondary; the result is primary. This is where General Tool Co.'s "team of experts" appraoch comes into play.

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Roy Mackey

Art for art's sake

February 10, 2014

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Metal sculptor Roy Mackey took a long, circuitous route to become an artist, and occupies an unusual niche. With no specific art classes or vocational education in his background, he learned metalworking bit by bit, and spends quite a bit of his time making sculptures that are realistic, but too unusual to represent real objects.

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stamping

How stamping and fabrication work together

February 4, 2014

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At Fisher-Barton South Carolina, historically a stamping operation, now gets half of its revenue from products that use metal fabrication. But there's not a stamping and fabricating "side" to the business. In fact, the part flow shows just how complementary fabrication and stamping can be.

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small diameter tubing

Taking big strides with small-diameter tubing

February 3, 2014

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After 60 years in business, Superior Tube Co. Inc. found itself at a crossroads. The recession of the early 2000s had taken a toll on U.S. manufacturing, and many companies feared the growing threat from newly industrializing, low-wage countries. The company’s management came up with a strategy to update its manufacturing practices, upgrade its equipment, and prepare its workforce for the challenges associated with global competition. The result, compressing about 15 years’ worth of changes into just two years, has propelled the company forward and earned it the 2014 TPJ Industry Award.

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precision sheet metal

Professionalism in precision sheet metal manufacturing

February 3, 2014

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How does a small western Michigan fabricating shop evolve into a key metal parts supplier to some of the most demanding OEM customers in the world? It is committed to lean manufacturing principles and has made strategic investments in new fabricating technology, but most of all, it has engaged employees that are comfortable with changes that come with continuous improvement efforts.

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Days in the lives

January 30, 2014

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To find time to dedicate to continuous improvement activities, a metal fabricator should have a good idea what employees do every day before assigning additional tasks.

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How to get rich—slowly

January 30, 2014

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The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s 2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey suggests that people can find fulfilling careers—especially monetarily—if they are willing to learn the trade and acquire additional skills during their careers.

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Charles Caristan

Sustaining metal fabricating success

January 30, 2014

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Metal fabricators can’t find the right manufacturing talent. Customers are more demanding. The current workforce is overworked. How can fabricating companies keep up? The FABRICATOR’s Editorial Advisory Board has some suggestions.

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step file

Your friend, the STEP file

January 30, 2014

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Columnist Gerald Davis reviews the STEP file and how it can be used to interact with customers in a more complete way.

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FABTECH 2013

FABTECH breaks records—again

January 28, 2014

The manufacturing sector appears strong for the near term. New technologies are emerging to help make fabricating a more productive exercise. Fabricators have positioned themselves to grow. All appears right in the metal fabricating world.

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truck bodies

Controlling its own fabricating future

January 27, 2014

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Altec, a manufacturer of truck bodies and related products, tried the outsourcing route me to stay on top of expanding fabricating jobs, but the headaches were too great to maintain such an arrangement. The company decided to take metal fabricating back in-house by setting up a new facility in Burnsville, N.C., and with the addition of some key equipment, it hasn't looked back.

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Job shop estimating: Efficiency matters - TheFabricator.com

Job shop estimating: Efficiency matters

December 6, 2013

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Columnist Gerald Davis explains how the process of estimating can be evaluated in terms of what the business needs.

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Want to make your own products?

December 6, 2013

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This column is a bit of a change of pace, but like all the previous ones it is targeted to the real issues I see with contract manufacturers and fabricators. This column focuses on products, specifically, the products you may want to build and market under your company’s auspices versus someone...

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Hinging Success—on Hinges - TheFabricator.com

Hinging Success—on Hinges

December 2, 2013

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Midlake grew from a small garage shop to a precision sheet metal manufacturer with an unusual focus--on hinges.

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