FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107
Traci and Lori Tapani

Accounting for growth in lean manufacturing

June 17, 2008

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Lean manufacturing has a negative, often unexpected, impact on the balance sheet--but those negative effects are short-term.

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Traci"s story: A good reason to get lean

May 20, 2008

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By 1994, Traci Tapani knew things had to change. As co-president of a Stacy, Minn.-based job shop, she just had a baby and was about to go on maternity leavethat is until a certain customer, who provided more than half of the company"s revenue, found out. They had a fit, she said. They...

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Welding wisdom

May 19, 2008

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I just finished up with a four-day crash course in welding technologies at the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio. Assistant Editor Michael Bishop, Associate Editor Amanda Carlson, and I decided it would be better to get our feet wet in the world of welding at an educational...

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Panel bending workcell

Streamlined scheduling suits fabricator

May 13, 2008

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Indianapolis-based Estes Design and Manufacturing has made significant strides in adopting manufacturing-friendly information technology, marrying enterprise resource planning (ERP) and scheduling software to ensure work flows efficiently through the shop.

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Vertical drilling machine

Diversity a blessing for Blessing

May 13, 2008

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Diverse customer base—from heavy equipment to medical—key to Blessing Industries' success

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Exports: The economy's saving grace?

May 12, 2008

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez made a case for free trade in today"s Wall Street Journaland they used recent export numbers to buttress their argument. Even at a time when our economy has slowed, U.S. exports are booming. In 2007, we...

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Safety first

May 8, 2008

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Two co-workers and I are heading off for some welding training next week, which will allow us to beef up our welding knowledge and generally embarrass ourselves in front of skilled professionals. So as I was having an e-mail conversation earlier this week with Gerald Davis, the author of The...

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Brokaw gives perspective

May 5, 2008

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It"s not often a reporter for the metal fabrication industry gets to quote a speech by Tom Brokaw, but this week isn"t usual. I"m down in Orlando, Fla., attending SAPPHIRE, an information technology conference hosted by German software giant SAP, short for Systems Applications and Protocols in Data...

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Unfamiliar surroundings

April 28, 2008

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When you make a fast-food cashier roll her eyes, you know it"s been a long day.Unfamiliar surroundings can make me about as smooth as when I accidentally stabbed my date with the corsage pin before junior prom (yes, that did happen). I"m on the road this week, and today I drove a certain rental car...

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Don"t let service go down the drain

April 22, 2008

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I don"t know much, but I do know this: If metal fabricators had my plumber"s customer service record, they wouldn"t be in business for long.Forgive my venting, but I"m sure many can relate. We had an oh-so-delightful problem with our plumbing1946 vintage. The trouble really began when we bought...

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Lorain college weld program

Educating beyond the arc

April 15, 2008

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A new grant program promotes education for the welding technician. The program focuses more on welding theory behind the various processes--and less on hands-on training.

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Automotive industrial

Automotive and industrial: A tale of two businesses

April 15, 2008

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Embracing technology has given Microflex a firm foothold in the turbulent automotive marketplace.The Tier 2 supplier has garnered a reputation for advanced sheet metal forming, developing parts for exhaust, steering, and fuel system components. It has ISO 9001 and other quality certifications and has invested in software that will add traceability and cohesion throughout the automotive operation.

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Cheap labor never stays cheap

April 14, 2008

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Labor costs continue to rise. Companies feel the pinch of surging raw material prices. Margins are declining. Companies can"t find the labor they need, and manufacturers strive to cut costs and keep work on their shores. This sounds like the problems manufacturers face stateside, but it"s not.It"s...

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METALFORM report: Stampers add value, not labor

April 8, 2008

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My brother-in-law and fellow blogger, Chris Walker, is having trouble with his Internet provider, something not too unusual until you consider his locale and his problem. He"s spending a year in Mumbai, India, as part of a fellowship program that helps for-profit humanitarian enterprises find...

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Listen for the key to conflict resolution

April 4, 2008

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I was going to write about the economy, but something I was watching on TV last night really stuck with me. My wife grabbed the remote control from me and sat down to watch Larry King's interview with Jenny McCarthy, who is the mother of an autistic son and has just written a book about the...

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