FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107
Made to order, for emergency - TheFabricator.com

Made to order, for emergency

May 1, 2012

By:

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.

Continue Reading

Steady flow, steady profits - TheFabricator.com

Steady flow, steady profits

May 1, 2012

By:

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.

Continue Reading

How soft skills make a shop successful - TheFabricator.com

How soft skills make a shop successful

May 1, 2012

By:

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.

Continue Reading

Rolling out improvement at ETM Manufacturing

April 19, 2012

By:

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

Producing more versus hiring more

April 17, 2012

By:

A few weeks ago Rob Olney, president of ETM Manufacturing, a contract metal fabricator in Littleton, Mass., told me something that exemplifies what makes people proud of American enterprise. But it also worries people who need a lower unemployment rate to get re-elected. “[Since 2006] we’ve...

Continue Reading

Delivering orders on time, every time - TheFabricator.com

Delivering orders on time, every time

April 16, 2012

By:

Considering the demands from OEMs, stellar on-time delivery now is just as important as quality, and manufacturing cells may help a fabricator attain that stellar on-time delivery.

Continue Reading

A character sketch of the code welder - TheFabricator.com

A character sketch of the code welder

April 16, 2012

By:

A career in code-level welding involves an odd concoction of hands-on work, excellent hand-eye coordination, on-the-job focus, and a dash of lawyerlike thinking. Some can be loud extroverts who get the most attention, but others can be quiet introverts. Many share a dedication to the welding craft, and the best strive to do the job right the first time.

Continue Reading

The nuts and bolts of big returns

April 9, 2012

By:

Consumers and the business press lavish all sorts of attention to high-tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, and other Wall Street darlings. Even their informal moniker “high-tech” exudes a bit of superiority.  Why does everybody pay so much attention? Well, every day, we use our...

Continue Reading

Vessel fabricator bases hiring on attitude, not experience - TheFabricator.com

Vessel fabricator bases hiring on attitude, not experience

April 3, 2012

By:

In a 2010 survey from the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, respondents cited welding as the most sought-after, difficult-to-find technical skill. But at Mitchell's Specialized Fabrication, managers don't look for that experience. They look for someone with a good attitude, eager to learn.

Continue Reading

Cellular fabrication at Metcam

March 29, 2012

By:

Length: 5:00

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Metcam recently transformed its shop floor. The shop now organizes its entire fabrication operation not in process-based departments, but in manufacturing cells. Read the story.

The moral imperative of U.S. manufacturing

March 21, 2012

By:

The mainstream press and pundits now seem to be realizing that globalization isn’t about finding cheap labor. No, it’s now about something that on the surface is a lot drier and more complex: the manufacturing supply chain. New York Times reporter David Barboza--who earlier this year wrote the...

Continue Reading

Shortening the order-to-cash cycle

March 20, 2012

By:

Today I talked with Ricky Loar, plant manager at Grove City, Ohio-based Horton Emergency Vehicles, a made-to-order ambulance manufacturer that has undergone a lean transformation during the past 18 months.  The shop used to resemble a kind of large custom garage--or, more precisely, a collection...

Continue Reading

Fabricate locally, deliver globally

March 13, 2012

By:

When Jim Hawkins told attendees at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit that global infrastructure demand was driving growth at his employer, Caterpillar, his statements weren’t unusual. As the director of Cat’s Machine Design Center in Mossville, Ill., explained, “The growing middle class...

Continue Reading

The subtle landscape of U.S. manufacturing

March 12, 2012

By:

Manufacturing companies aren’t all the same, and neither is worker pay. Reality is subtler than that. Despite all the complexities, though, the massive U.S. contract manufacturing base can’t grow if multinationals continually choose to build plants elsewhere.

Continue Reading

Welding robots at GH Metal Solutions

March 1, 2012

By:

Length:

GH Metal Solutions' welding department makes good use out of its five welding robots — even though all are dedicated to low-volume runs. An innovative approach to fixturing and fixture changeouts makes it all happen.