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Article

April 1, 2010
Putting 3-D CAD on the grill - Part IV
As promised last month in Part III (Precision Matters, March 2010, p. 28), we're going to continue modeling the Shashlik Grill components, such as the wheels, axles, and retaining caps. Our goal is to maximize our efficiency in modeling the... Read more...

Article

December 1, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 12
Editor's Note: This is the twelfth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about establishing a continuous improvement program. "Continuous improvement," I grumbled.... Read more...

Article

November 1, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 11
Editor's Note: This is the eleventh episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." He has been advised to develop a feedback system and to become a master of metrology. My guru missed my joking attempt... Read more...

Article

October 12, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 10
Editor's Note: This is the tenth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about understanding that your niche is only part of the strategic planning job. "Remind me of what... Read more...

Article

September 14, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 9
Editor's Note: This is the ninth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about business network tiers, and the guru has asked Gerald to identify which tier his job shop is... Read more...

Article

August 10, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 8
Editor's Note: This is the eighth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about communication among operator, machine, and management—the "work unit." I started to... Read more...

Article

July 13, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 7
Editor's Note: This is the seventh episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about sales training. "Why does it matter whether the sales staff understands this concept of... Read more...

Article

June 8, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 6
Editor's Note: This is the sixth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They had been talking about the contract period when doubts were raised about what his sales force was really selling. At... Read more...

Article

May 4, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 5
Editor's Note: This is the fifth episode in a mountaintop dialogue that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about throughput and the time line of money. "Now that you know the main events in the time line... Read more...

Article

April 6, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 4
"In the ideal time line of money, my best customer would prepay. In that situation, the shop's throughput would not matter because the customer's cash would be doing all of the work," I proclaimed. My little guru opened one eye to peer at me.... Read more...

Article

March 11, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 3
Editor's Note: This is the third episode in a mountaintop dialog that Gerald has been having with a "wise business guru." They have been talking about cash flow and the time line of money. I continued watching the beavers as they worked on their... Read more...

Article

February 26, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 2
Editor's Note: This is the second episode of a mountaintop dialog between Gerald and a wise business guru. Gerald has just been told that he has not been adept at the three critical management responsibilities – cash flow, policy, and... Read more...

Article

January 13, 2004
Wise words from the mountaintop—Part 1
Prevailing economic conditions have put me in a funk. It seems that the last time I really knew what I was doing as a business manager was in 1995. At that time my job shop was reporting profits, our machinery was in excellent condition, and our... Read more...

Article

April 10, 2003
Mixed Metals Reactions
Why, you may ask, would anyone want to start an uncontrolled chemical reaction that is really hard to stop? Well, our shop did not want to, but we did anyway, and I hope you learn from my lesson. Actually, they are lessons (plural) because we... Read more...

Article

September 26, 2002
Production economics
I'd be willing to bet that if I sent you a request for quote (RFQ) that specified various quantities, your quoted unit price would decrease as the batch size increased. However, you eventually reach a point at which increasing the batch size does... Read more...

Article

August 29, 2002
Keeping peace and harmony with yourself, with your staff
Happy people create successful companies. "Everything in moderation" the adage goes. Do you maintain balance in your life? Running a business means running your mind full-time. Obsession with work is a natural consequence of the fear of failure.... Read more...

Article

July 25, 2002
Some 'near-jig' ideas
I'd like to have a conversation with you about my quality control philosophy. Given the constraints of this media, how about if I type and you read? Not much of a dialogue, but at least half of us are communicating. In the job shop, a critical... Read more...

Article

June 13, 2002
Anatomy of an abrasive cutting machine
Several types of cutting machines are available for production cutting of tube and bar, such as cold saws, band saws, lasers, shears, waterjets, and abrasive cutting machines. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, abrasive cutting... Read more...

Article

March 28, 2002
Organizational planning
Have you ever played volleyball at a company picnic? It can be a lot of fun, and the rules are easy enough so that everyone can be invited to play. One of the important concepts is not to let the ball hit the ground on your side of the net. I'd... Read more...

Article

February 28, 2002
Emotional thrills
Job shops experience many ups and downs. The key is to try to avoid the downs. I've studied job shops for years, my own in particular. In general, job shops are exceptionally skilled in one or two areas. One or two customers drive the business,... Read more...

Article

February 14, 2002
An industry perspective
On the positive side, job shops continue to be innovative and improve productivity; materials and software are improving; entry-level positions normally can be filled. On the down side, the author feels that supply chain management is partly... Read more...

Article

December 13, 2001
Punching tips
I used to listen to an eight-track tape of Buffalo Springfield while I ran a kick punch. If you've never seen a kick punch, it basically is a lever-operated C-frame press. You cause the punch tip to lower by pushing a pedal forward with your... Read more...

Article

October 25, 2001
Design tips for sheet metal: Bend relief, small holes, hole distortion near bends, and minimum flange widths
My experience, and therefore this article, is limited to sheet metal for applications such as power supplies, dispensing mechanisms, and electronic enclosures. I run a job shop. We need maximum tooling and machining versatility, so tooling... Read more...