Training a new generation

January 1, 2020

Kathryn Maisto mastered her marine canvas skills over a lifetime and across oceans, and now she’s training a new generation. By Jill C. Lafferty I’m always looking for ways to enhance our product line,” says Kathryn Maisto, owner of Fairwinds Canvas LLC, Racine, Wis. “In what we do and what we offer, we have truly …

Managing Time and Space

Follow these four steps to increase shop efficiency and boost your bottom line. By Sigrid Tournquist The secret to an efficient shop boils down to understanding chargeable time versus non-chargeable time—and then doing whatever possible to decrease non-chargeable time. How the workspace is arranged, whether or not workers can easily find and access what they’re …

2020 MFA Time Standards Manual

The Time Standards Manual was developed in 1996 by the Marine Fabricators Association (MFA), a division of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, to serve as a benchmark that shop owners can use to set fabrication times, with which they can generate competitive labor costs. The manual is an ongoing project that will grow and change …

Long-term growth: the right equipment, the right software, the right employees

December 6, 2019

At each step along the supply chain, customers demand quality, efficiency, flexibility and speed.  The right kind of equipment, with the right kind of software and the right kind of operator, can lead to long-term growth.  by Maura Keller Today’s consumer expects faster turnaround times and custom quality at low prices, which means that manufacturers …

Gain and retain: creating a rewarding culture for employees

Today’s tight labor market can turn employees fickle, posing challenges for companies that need to maintain a strong and skilled workforce. But with the right approach—and good benefits and wages—employers can keep ‘em coming back. by Pamela Mills-Senn After spending 18 years as an employee, Chris Ritsema, owner of Holland, Mich., Canvas Innovations LLC, knew …

Additional services enrich relationships and bottom line

Adding services to core offerings can provide a way to cement customers to your business, meeting more of their needs and strengthening your appeal—and bottom line—in the process. Once a company has a firm grip on its core business, attention often turns to broadening the services already offered or adding entirely new ones that build …

Finders, keepers: long-term customer loyalty

Attracting customers in the market for shade products is one thing; retaining them for future business is another. Managing both objectives requires establishing connections that are meaningful and lasting.  by Pamela Mills-Senn A quick Google search on “connecting with customers” reveals all sorts of advice, usually in the form of the “seven best ways,” or the …

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Finders, keepers: long-term customer loyalty

November 1, 2019

Attracting customers in the market for shade products is one thing; retaining them for future business is another. Managing both objectives requires establishing connections that are meaningful and lasting.  by Pamela Mills-Senn A quick Google search on “connecting with customers” reveals all sorts of advice, usually in the form of the “seven best ways,” or the …

MFA Awards entry now open

September 10, 2019

The deadline for submissions to the 2020 MFA Fabrication Excellence Awards is November 15, 2019. From design excellence to quality workmanship, the awards showcase projects that represent the breadth of the industry—from tops and covers to interior and exterior upholstery. Awards will be announced at the 2020 MFA Conference. To enter or for more information, …

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Prepare now for a future disaster

September 1, 2019

When the worst happens to your business, it’s already too late. The time to prepare for a disaster is now. By Jeff Moravec Although extreme events such as fires, floods, hurricanes and other disasters were once considered rarities, they are becoming more common. Business owners need to ask themselves how they would survive such an …