Train, recruit and keep employees

July 1, 2017

Competition, especially from overseas manufacturing; increasing costs for equipment, materials and labor; the need to keep up with fast-paced technology; and the general state of the economy, which directly affects the consumer pool, rank as challenging issues for most businesses. Yet the owner of a marine fabrication shop in Portland, Ore., has a more pressing …

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Why millennials don’t want manufacturing jobs

In 2014, Deloitte, in conjunction with The Manufacturing Institute, surveyed more than 450 manufacturing executives for a report titled “The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing 2015 and beyond.” “And beyond” strikes at the heart of the matter, in large part because of the “retirement exodus” of baby boomers leaving 2.7 million jobs by the year …

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Shop organization tips and techniques

For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” That sage advice from American founding father Benjamin Franklin holds true for any marine fabrication business, because an organized shop can improve employee efficiency and affect the bottom line all while keeping customers coming back for more. Streamlined Processes Marine fabricators are always looking for ways …

Interior design trends 2017

Today’s interior designs of marine vessels represent a curious amalgam of styles and trends. This is a function of boat owners wanting to experiment with new looks as well as a willingness on the part of marine fabricators to take the lead in educating their clients about the broad range of options available. This balancing …

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Well-defended exterior upholstery

May 1, 2017

Fabrics and components that result in long-lasting cushions Exterior boat cushions get punished. They withstand the sun, wind, rain, saltwater, temperature changes and passenger activity. Despite these factors, these cushions are expected to look good while exposed to climate conditions. Fortunately, marine fabricators know how to merge form and function in outdoor seating. “We must …

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Part 1: State of the Industry 2017

Despite some slowing of global GDP in 2016, growth of the U.S. and Canadian specialty fabrics industry is slow but steady, and markets like fabric structures, tent rental and manufacturing, fabric graphics and marine fabrication are outpacing national averages. The pace is expected to continue, but can also be somewhat constrained by changes in unemployment …

Leading a company by building a strong culture for employee success

Chris Ritsema leads his company, Canvas Innovations, by building a strong culture for employee success. My vision has always been to grow a company that empowers its employees,” says Chris Ritsema, owner of Canvas Innovations in Holland, Mich. “I want to give people a reason to stay here and build their careers—and to do that …

Beyond process improvement

March 1, 2017

Marine fabricator amps up teamwork and quality results There is a common thread with custom manufacturing—it’s very labor-intensive, very expensive and typically done by artisans and skilled trades people,” says Ed Skrzynski, owner of Marco Canvas, Marco Island, Fla. “When I took over the company from my father, I asked myself if I could successfully …

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High-Performance Sewing Machines

Every trade has its tools, and marine fabrication is no exception. A critically important tool of marine fabrication is the sewing machine. Regardless of the brand, a sewing machine has to be durable, reliable and easily maintained, because it is, after all, the workhorse of a productive shop. Purchasing a professional-grade sewing machine, however, is …

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The third dimension of marine fabrication

January 1, 2017

John Bland revolutionizes marine fabrication by applying 3D CAD principles to the design process.  Moving a business forward can mean advancing the use of technology. “Look at the motor industry—you wouldn’t be happy driving a car that was spec’d 20 years ago,” says John Bland, managing director of Tecsew Ltd., Gosport, Hampshire, U.K. “It’s the …