FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
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Being big, acting small - TheFabricator.com

Being big, acting small

June 13, 2012

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Minnesota fabricator rebrands itself, standardizes operations, and remains nimble, even after years of aggressive growth. Managers expect the firm to grow another 18 percent this year. That’s not small potatoes for one of the country’s largest contract metal fabricators.

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The pruned metal fabrication supply base

June 12, 2012

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Natural disasters turn people’s thoughts toward risk. Last year, between floods and tornados and other Weather Channel fodder, I visited several fabricators told me about their customers’ concerns about mitigating supply chain risk. For years, large OEMs have pruned their supply chains to the...

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Fabricate, install, maintain - TheFabricator.com

Fabricate, install, maintain

June 8, 2012

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The Roberts Co. isn’t a heavy industrial metal fabricator. It’s not a erector, general contractor, maintenance services provider, or engineering firm. It’s all of the above.

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A metal fabricator and a Vega

June 7, 2012

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For years he spent time on the floor working the fabrication equipment of the day, punching sheet metal using a traditional duplicator stylus. He climbed the ladder to night shift supervisor, and then moved on to other manufacturers, working in sales and shop management; some jobs were great,...

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Safety trumps all at E.J. Ajax

May 31, 2012

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Length: 6:05

At this Minneapolis metal fabricator and stamper, safety isn't a race or competition. It just is, sewn into the fabric of the workday. Safety trumps all because family trumps all. But it wasn't always that way, as E.J. Ajax company President Erick Ajax explains. Read more about this company.

Fabricating the American Dream

May 29, 2012

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Many are rethinking the American Dream these days, especially over Memorial Day. The dream, however idealistic, is worth fighting for. But what is that dream, exactly? National Public Radio’s Ari Shapiro put it this way: “Though the phrase has different meanings to different people, it suggests...

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The model of a modern major fabricator

May 15, 2012

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Steve Wiseman is honest. “We’ve forecast about a 15 percent growth this year, but mind you that 2011 was terrible for us.” The vice president of operations at Nu-Way Industries--part of our Fab 40 list of top U.S. fabricators, to be featured next month--knew that when the AT&T and...

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The great asset of a graying manufacturing work force

May 8, 2012

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Earlier this week I spoke with Frederick Hartman at Needham, Mass.-based Vita Needle, a company unique in several respects. The metal fabricator allowed Caitrin Lynch, associate professor of anthropology at the Olin College of Engineering, also in Needham, to spend five years at the stainless steel...

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How CRM can help— and not hinder—the sales rep - TheFabricator.com

How CRM can help— and not hinder—the sales rep

May 3, 2012

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Customer relationship management, or CRM, software has a bad reputation. Many consider CRM to be simply a burden on salespeople. Nex Solutions’ CRM doesn’t fit the software implementation stereotype. The platform isn’t all-encompassing; for example, it doesn’t link sales reports to quoting systems, accounting, scheduling, or other modules that might go into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or manufacturing execution system (MES). Instead, it simply helps salespeople be more responsive and build relationships with existing and potential customers.

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Private equity and the fabricator

May 1, 2012

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The Roberts Co., a major industrial fabricator in the Southeast and one of this year's FAB 40 companies (to be published in our June issue), probably wouldn't be the company it is today without Private Equity. Since Main Street Resources purchased the company in 2008, just months before the...

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The importance of coming home - TheFabricator.com

The importance of coming home

May 1, 2012

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Minnesota-based E.J. Ajax has been recognized as one of the safest metal stamping plants in North America. It has received this recognition in part by developing good safety practices, requiring PPE, and installing machine safeguards. But most important, both managers and employees have fostered a sustainable safety culture.

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Made to order, for emergency - TheFabricator.com

Made to order, for emergency

May 1, 2012

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No one would argue that at least some elements of lean manufacturing apply to most operations, but Horton Emergency Vehicles is a made-to-order vehicle manufacturer. Certainly, Horton’s highly custom approach didn’t fit a assembly-line model--right? As it turned out, the people at Horton didn't follow the conventional wisdom--and that decision paid off.

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Steady flow, steady profits - TheFabricator.com

Steady flow, steady profits

May 1, 2012

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ETM Manufacturing invests in continuous improvement training. Since initiating these efforts in 2007, the company has less than doubled its headcount, but tripled annual sales.

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How soft skills make a shop successful - TheFabricator.com

How soft skills make a shop successful

May 1, 2012

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When hiring, Jay Manufacturing Oshkosh managers don't look for technical skills first. Instead, they concentrate on elements that are difficult to teach--that is, the soft skills.

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Rolling out improvement at ETM Manufacturing

April 19, 2012

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Length: 6:22

Rob Olney, president of Littleton, Mass.-based ETM Manufacturing, explains how the high-mix, low-volume fabricator began its continuous improvement program