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Shade-product manufacturers are making outdoor spaces more comfortable—and smarter

April 1, 2018

While many manufacturers concentrate on making smart products that give people convenient and luxurious control over functions in their homes and businesses, others are finding ways to make the outdoors equally responsive and comfortable to lifestyles in the Internet of Things age. A robotics company in Pasadena, Calif., is, in fact, throwing all its weight …

Marine tension shade options

January 1, 2018

Marine fabricators help boat owners expand shading options with stretched fabric. It could easily be argued that the pleasures of boating are best appreciated on a deck rather than in a cabin. But protection from sun exposure requires more than that provided by a wide-brimmed hat. With that kind of coverage in mind, boat owners …

Narrow fabrics’ widening reach

December 1, 2017

Corporate administrators tend to base management decisions on the Pareto Principle (80 percent of business comes from 20 percent of the clientele). Textile engineer Connie Huffa argues that can be a shortsighted way of thinking. “Opportunities lie in the 20 percent—the business we all would have turned down 10 to 20 years ago,” says the …

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Fighting pink stain

November 1, 2017

The work “pink” brings to mind a little girl dressed as a princess, cotton candy at the county fair and plastic lawn flamingos. But for those in the marine industry, the word takes on a sinister connotation as a stain caused by streptoverticillium reticulum. It’s a far greater menace than a never-washed red garment laundered …

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From machines to humans: Boost the productivity of your business

September 1, 2017

Improving productivity depends on a combination of efficient employees, equipment and processes. Driving improvement in all these areas involves examining the current practices in place and making adjustments to systems, employee training, technology, equipment and tools. From small tweaks in communication processes to large technology improvements, companies are using many techniques to boost productivity. Tecsew …

Information please: Automated reporting paves the way to productivity

In addition to reviewing in-house monthly profit and loss statements, The Dize Co., an awnings fabricator in Winston Salem, N.C., monitors information gathered by an independent, web-based company. “I can go online and see what we installed the week before and what we have in the pipeline for the next four to six weeks,” president/CEO …

Go with the flow: Relocating a business opens the door to efficient shop layouts

After 85 years in a historical, four-story building, Ohio Awning & Manufacturing Co. moved to a newer, one-story building. The Cleveland-based company took advantage of the relocation to design its new floor layout with workflow in mind. The move also allowed Ohio Awning to invest in a cutting machine, which it didn’t have space for …

Crossover skills give upholsterers business opportunities in many markets

August 1, 2017

The president of the Professional Upholsterers’ Association of Minnesota proudly states that she was the fifth woman to graduate from an upholstery curriculum at Minneapolis Technical College in 1977. “It was considered a man’s field back then,” says Diana Shroyer Guenther, owner of Shroyer Custom Upholstery in Coon Rapids, Minn. She worked one year for …

Know-how now

July 24, 2017

Experienced upholsterers consider the loss of training in their trade, and how to bring in new talent. With 39 years in the upholstery industry, Chip Lueck recalls a vast pool of shops around the country with talented upholsterers. “It’s not there anymore,” says the owner of Recovery Room in Panama City Beach, Fla. “I’ve talked …

An education in upholstery

The owner of The Funky Little Chair sets out to preserve quality and services by offering upholstery classes at her shop. “The Funky Little Chair” could be the title of a children’s book, but Cynthia Bleskachek’s lessons are for adults. “If people want to be a professional upholsterer, they have to dig in and figure …