May 8, 2012
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...
May 3, 2012
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.
May 1, 2012
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...
May 1, 2012
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.
May 1, 2012
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.
April 17, 2012
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...
April 16, 2012
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.
April 9, 2012
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...
April 3, 2012
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.
March 21, 2012
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...