Dick Kallage





Dick Kallage was a management consultant to the metal fabricating industry. Kallage was the author of The FABRICATOR's "Improvement Insights" column from May 2012 to March 2016.

Financial benchmarking in metal fabrication

March 16, 2016

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The world is full of surveys these days, and some really don’t have much purpose. Others, however, can be extremely valuable. Industry benchmarking surveys, for instance, can be a vital tool for any company looking to improve. This includes the “Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey” from FMA.

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Process audits in manufacturing: Do as the accountants do

February 10, 2016

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The fab shop is ripe territory for unexpected (and usually bad) things to occur. The best operations prevent them by doing as the accountants do. They audit regularly.

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Lean manufacturing in metal fabrication: How to jumpstart a stalled improvement effort

January 4, 2016

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Continuous improvement initiatives often lack organizational structure and defined responsibilities. Consultant Dick Kallage describes three components needed to correct these problems and prevent continuous improvement from stalling.

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ISO certification in metal fabrication: Yes or no?

December 15, 2015

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Is ISO 9001 certification worth it? It really depends. If key customers or prospects require it, then yes, it’s certainly worth the effort. But if a fabricator does pursue ISO certification, it shouldn’t be a one-time effort but instead a continual improvement. It isn’t just window dressing.

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What makes an effective quality system in manufacturing?

November 4, 2015

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When designing an effective quality system, manufacturers need to consider the cost of quality (COQ), customer and industry quality demands, and their company’s specific set of value propositions.

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Metal fabrication management: Voices from the shop

October 15, 2015

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Listening to people on the shop floor is one thing, but really hearing what they’re saying is something else entirely.

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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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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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Technology: The ultimate moving target

July 14, 2015

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How will technology advancements affect the kind of skilled worker we will need in the future? And how many skilled workers will we need? The answers to these questions are of incredible importance to metalworking and manufacturing in general

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How basic training in lean manufacturing establishes a common view

June 23, 2015

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To ensure every employee has a common view of what’s ideal versus what needs to be improved, a few hours of basic lean training can go a long way.

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A modern take on accountability

May 28, 2015

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The definition of accountability has evolved to mean responsibility with consequences. Ideally, entry-level and other low-level employees should have accountability over the outcomes of their work, but that accountability must be based on objectivity and fairness. Otherwise, an accountability scheme can actually weaken an organization instead of strengthening it.

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Employee retention: The first 30 days

April 29, 2015

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Nothing is more frustrating than spending time and money to train new hires, only to lose them six to 12 months later. Why did they leave? Quite often the reasons go back to their first 30 days on the job.

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The power of why

March 10, 2015

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A great company has a “why” culture, one that encourages employee engagement and people don’t hesitate to ask “Why?” to find the true answer, based not on guesses or rumor, but on factual evidence.

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The hiring question in metal fabrication: Experience or potential?

January 28, 2015

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Should you hire people with experience or rookies with good potential? It depends on the situation, but training and developing the inexperienced has become more important than ever. There just aren’t enough people with experience to go around.

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The capacity dilemma in custom metal fabrication

January 20, 2015

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During this long, slow economic recovery, there’s plenty of churn in the market. Customers are less hesitant to change suppliers to get what they want. In this environment, having insufficient capacity has become very risky.

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