FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

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

Flow, quality, and operational excellence in manufacturing

May 7, 2015

By:

A fabricator can’t achieve operational excellence without good flow, and good flow isn’t possible without good quality. Kevin Duggan, founder of the Institute for Operational Excellence, describes how quality assurance intertwines with every process in a business.

Continue Reading

You can’t commoditize human connections

April 30, 2015

By:

Ken Schmidt helped turn Harley-Davidson around, not by improving product quality, but by connecting to the people who bought motorcycles. That same connection can form the backbone of a fabricator’s success.

Continue Reading

Getting to the root of pipe welding automation

April 29, 2015

By:

Automating the root pass in pipe spool fabrication has always been a challenge, and making weld preparations more consistent just hasn’t been economically practical. In this market, advanced vision systems and adaptive welding have helped overcome these challenges.

Continue Reading

Truth on the shop floor

April 13, 2015

By:

If truth comes from the shop floor, everyone should hear it.

Continue Reading

Quality shines bright at MACO

April 7, 2015

By:

The recession nearly killed MACO Incorporated, a fabricator and machine shop in rural western North Carolina. But it survived thanks to some introspection and a new focus on quality certification.

Continue Reading

Continuous improvement, from the first quote to the final shipment

April 1, 2015

By:

Burlington, Ky.-based Skilcraft LLC has changed a lot in the past decade. It has moved away from the traditional job shop model toward comprehensive contract fabrication. And it got there by scrutinizing every step of the manufacturing process, from quoting to shipping.

Continue Reading

Boring manufacturing data acts up a bit

March 31, 2015

By:

Economic indicators have been boring. This may change. The data slipped a bit this month, though it's too soon to say if it's a trend. Regardless, business owners are happy with boring.

Continue Reading

Gauging welding’s success

March 25, 2015

By:

In recent years Ashcroft’s Connecticut plant has changed significantly. It’s an operation transitioning from batch-style production to lean part flow, and a new, flexible welding cell has helped the manufacturer prepare for future improvements.

Continue Reading

People make the difference at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit

March 24, 2015

By:

Technology is the engine of metal fabrication, but people are behind the wheel. And how they drive really matters.

Continue Reading

How do you define good company culture anyway?

March 10, 2015

By:

How does a fabricator build a culture that adopts, embraces, and sustains lean manufacturing? An environment that encourages idea generation may be a good start.

Continue Reading

Automation, health, safety, and longshoremen

February 24, 2015

By:

The labor disupute at the West Coast ports is an odd, complex, ironic cog in the global supply chain.

Continue Reading

Odessa, oil, and the welding arc

February 19, 2015

By:

Investors worry about how the drop in oil prices will affect the energy boom. The people on the front lines—including the fabricators and pipe welders—don’t seem to be terribly worried. Some even welcome a slight slowdown, because it will give everyone time to catch up.

Continue Reading

Metal fabrication meets a seller’s market

February 18, 2015

By:

Manufacturing is cool again, and fabricators wanting to sell their business are benefiting from a seller’s market. Nevertheless, high revenue concentration, a shallow talent pool, poor cash flow, reliance on sales from a single sector, and other factors still throw up red flags.

Continue Reading

Teaching: A metal fabricator’s secret sauce

February 17, 2015

By:

Bob Moehlman has welded pipe for more than 50 years, including 30 years at Superior Pipe Fabricators, a Los Angeles-based shop he helped launch in 1984. The shop’s success hasn’t come by using the latest and greatest pipe welding technology, but instead through teaching—showing the inexperienced employees the ropes, developing their talent, and giving them a career.

Continue Reading

People: A fabricator’s greatest competitive advantage

February 4, 2015

By:

Competing fabricators can invest in the same technology and software, but they can't employ the same people.

Continue Reading