November 29, 2016 | By Nick Martin
Job shop business is often cyclical. There are times of feast and famine. Repeat customers and jobs are the lifeblood of most shops. Finding and keeping them is a high priority.
October 26, 2016 | By Nick Martin
We hear a lot about disaster preparedness, but sometimes conditions are such that even the best plan isn’t enough. Hurricane Matthew had a devastating effect on many southeastern communities and businesses.
September 26, 2016 | By Nick Martin
There’s nothing quite as gratifying to a small-shop owner as seeing healthy capacity levels. However, when limited workspace becomes an impediment to growth, it’s time to think about expanding. Wilson, N.C.-based Barnes MetalCrafters has reached this point.
August 26, 2016 | By Nick Martin
Most job shops encounter situations in which the customer provides inadequate drawings and details. You are told, “This is all we have, make it work.” These jobs can be frustrating and costly.
July 26, 2016 | By Nick Martin
A day in a small fabricating shop seldom follows a linear progression. Many things vie for attention, and the ability to multitask comes in handy.
June 30, 2016 | By Nick Martin
How does your shop train new hires and current employees? It takes ingenuity to train while keeping a small shop humming. Here’s how Barnes MetalCrafters does it.
May 25, 2016 | By Nick Martin
Working in a job shop or any small, tightknit organization requires attributes beyond job skills. If you don’t measure up, you might find yourself voted off the island and out the door.
April 27, 2016 | By Nick Martin
Custom fabricating shops bid all kinds of jobs. Sometimes these jobs involve materials and processes beyond those the shop typically encounters. They make for interesting work that can require brushing up on little-used skills. Building a copper chimney cap was just such a job for Barnes MetalCrafters, one that resulted in a beautiful, functional work of art.
March 23, 2016 | By Nick Martin
Think Facebook is the ultimate time-waster? Nick Martin’s Facebook connection to an old classmate and fellow soccer teammate led to an important job preserving history for Barnes MetalCrafters. It also provided a learning opportunity, as many fabricating jobs do.
February 24, 2016 | By Nick Martin
Attracting new customers is an important part of keeping a custom fabricating shop in business. However, be wary of the customer that continually takes advantage of your willingness to produce a small quantity of parts on short notice and sends the larger jobs elsewhere. Remember, you can’t keep calling the same buddy to pull you out of the mud and never invite him to the party.
January 26, 2016 | By Nick Martin
Custom fabricators get some unusual requests, both in terms of the job itself and the timeline for completion. Sometimes they go the extra mile to “do the right thing.”
December 16, 2015 | By Nick Martin
Continuing a theme explored by Josh Welton in a previous post on thefabricator.com, Nick Martin shares his experience exhibiting his shop’s custom products at festivals and farmer’s markets.
December 2, 2015 | By Nick Martin
When a machine goes down in a job shop, work can grind to a halt. Getting that machine in working order becomes priority one, and time is of the essence.
October 28, 2015 | By Nick Martin
What is family? In a job shop, it’s more than your kinfolk and, sometimes, more than human.
September 24, 2015 | By Nick Martin
Underbidding happens in all shops. Here’s a true shop story about an underbid job and lessons learned.