FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123

Blog Posts

Fabricating the American Dream

May 29, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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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Blog Posts

The model of a modern major fabricator

May 15, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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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Blog Posts

The great asset of a graying manufacturing work force

May 8, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

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

May 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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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Blog Posts

Private equity and the fabricator

May 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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

Safety | Articles | The FABRICATOR

The importance of coming home

May 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Made to order, for emergency

May 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Steady flow, steady profits

May 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How soft skills make a shop successful

May 1, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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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Blog Posts

Producing more versus hiring more

April 17, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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...

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Delivering orders on time, every time - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Delivering orders on time, every time

April 16, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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.

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A character sketch of the code welder - TheFabricator.com

Arc Welding | Articles | The FABRICATOR

A character sketch of the code welder

April 16, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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.

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Blog Posts

The nuts and bolts of big returns

April 9, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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...

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

Arc Welding | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Vessel fabricator bases hiring on attitude, not experience

April 3, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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.

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Blog Posts

The moral imperative of U.S. manufacturing

March 21, 2012 | By Tim Heston

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...

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