FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107

The great asset of a graying manufacturing work force

May 8, 2012

By:

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...

Continue Reading

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

By:

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.

Continue Reading

Private equity and the fabricator

May 1, 2012

By:

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...

Continue Reading

The importance of coming home - TheFabricator.com

The importance of coming home

May 1, 2012

By:

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.

Continue Reading

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