December 18, 2014
The custom fabrication market is changing as more customers—with a single-minded focus on price—stipulate new performance demands for quality, delivery, service, responsiveness, and payment terms. Should custom fabricators rethink how they are structured and how they operate to offset what could be fatal weaknesses?
November 6, 2014
Morality and fear often drive safety investments. People don’t want to see people get hurt, and they don’t want fines from a terrible accident to put them out of business. But there’s another driver that’s sometimes overlooked: efficiency. Safety is an important part of the foundation for efficiency and operational improvement.
October 22, 2014
It’s no secret—this industry has a tough time finding people, and as demand has increased in recent years, the problem has gotten worse. Just how many people does this industry need to compete, what talents do they need to have, and how can a company attract the best? To address these questions requires realistic planning based not on perceptions, but on facts.
August 28, 2014
Many point to scheduling as one of the most challenging aspects of running a custom fabrication business. Why, exactly? Sometimes it’s the software, but quite often, it boils down to the inputs used to create the schedule in the first place.
July 30, 2014
Scheduling remains one of the most complicated, least predictable aspects of contract metal fabrication. But why is this exactly, and what can a shop do to change this? In this first article in a series, Dick Kallage uncovers the answers.
July 24, 2014
There are four principles to understand about differentiation and the buying factors that go beyond price: They always exist; they have economic value; they vary by customer; and they change with time, because yesterday’s differentiators can be tomorrow’s commodity.
February 28, 2014
The 80/20 management method seeks to maximize results—such as sales or profits—by systematically deploying available resources only to the drivers that have the most impact. It sounds straightforward, but columnist Dick Kallage explains why this management approach is sometimes hard to execute.
December 6, 2013
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...
October 9, 2013
There’s nothing wrong with tackling the low-hanging fruit, unless it kills the big improvement initiatives that can really make you better.