MakingChips | Equipping Manufacturing Leaders

MakingChips is a weekly podcast that will equip leaders in the metalworking manufacturing industry with valuable content to utilize in their career and business.
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MakingChips | Equipping Manufacturing Leaders





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Now displaying: July, 2015
Jul 29, 2015

The nature of things in the manufacturing industry has changed. Gone are the days when a physical filing system will adequately contain all the documents and resources you need to help your company thrive. The technology era is here and the manufacturing leaders of the future will be the ones who are able to stay on top of the ever changing technical world and use it to the advantage of their company and employees. In this episode of Making Chips, Jim and Jason point out 3 tools they use consistently that enable them to stay on top of their workload and lives.


Email is more than it used to be


Most manufacturing leaders have been using email for a long time. But are they using it to its fullest potential? Email platforms have changed dramatically, no longer serving as a digital post office, but also integrating with other applications to provide powerful tools for use in your manufacturing company. In this episode, Jim and Jason talk about how they use Gmail and the integrations it has with the Google product suite.


An organized business is a profitable business


In a day when more and more of the resources we use in our manufacturing businesses are becoming intangible through the avenue of digital media, manufacturing leaders must stay on top of the changes in order to keep their shops ordered and running smoothly. Diagrams, schematics, work orders, quotes and estimates, all of these and a thousand other things are being transmitted and stored digitally and need to be available at a moment’s notice. Do you have systems in place that enable you to manage the digital flood? Listen in to this episode to hear Jason and Jim’s recommendations of applications that can help you do exactly that.


Where is that to-do list?


Isn’t it maddening when you have been so careful to write down your tasks and responsibilities so you won’t forget them, but then you lose the list? It’s happened to all of us, but in today’s digital world we don’t have to fall prey to such things anymore. Now there are software solutions for computers and smart devices that will automatically sync on your phone, computer, and via the internet to the storage cloud. No matter where you are, you can log in and find the information you’ve saved. Platforms like Evernote, OneNote, and Dropbox put your resources at the tip of your fingers. Listen in as Jason and Jim tell you the software they use and how it helps with their business.

Dropbox to the rescue


In this episode of Making Chips, Jim and Jason highlight one of their favorite online tools, Dropbox. If you’re not familiar with Dropbox, it’s an online service that allows you to store documents, spreadsheets, images, audio and video files, and much more “in the cloud” (on the internet) so that it’s available for use anywhere you have access to a computer. But just as important is Dropbox’s ability to sync the files to your device so you can always have your documents and resources available even if you don’t have an internet connection. Listen to hear how Dropbox has helped Jason and Jim organize and run their manufacturing businesses.


Outline of this episode


  • Welcome to this episode of Making Chips - THE Podcast to equip manufacturing professionals!

  • Introduction to the topic: Management Tools for Manufacturing Leaders

  • Tool #1: Email - both Jason and Jim use Google apps for business - and why they prefer it to an in-house server system.

  • Tool #2: Evernote: A great tool for capturing thoughts, to-dos, recording lists, document storage via images, and even task management. Microsoft OneNote is an Evernote alternative that comes native on many new devices.

  • Tool #3: Dropbox: A cloud storage and syncing platform to make files, large or small, available to you wherever you are.

  • The problem of having too many software applications.


Links mentioned on this episode


Google apps for business -


Evernote -


OneNote -


Dropbox -


Or call us at 312-725-0245

Jul 22, 2015

Why are employee annual reviews a bad idea?


It’s not the idea of having a meeting with employees that’s a bad idea, it’s the verbiage we use to describe what is happening. An “annual review” or “evaluation” has a top-down implication that puts the employee in a helpless and often defensive posture. They are going to be evaluated, rather than a much more positive approach that could enlist the employee in their own performance improvement. In this episode of Making Chips Jim and Jason speak again with Karla Dobbeck, a Human Resources specialist who is focused on the manufacturing industry. Karla shares her preferred approach to what she calls “Proactive Discussions” that actually get the employee involved in their own evaluation and improvement to create a winning team across the board.


Do you know what questions to ask during an employee review?


First, did you notice we said, “questions to ask” rather than “things to say?” A successful proactive employee discussion should be couched in terms that encourage employee interaction and show great interest in the employee’s well-being and future. You don’t want to grill your employees or make them leave the conversation feeling scolded or critiqued. You want them to leave feeling helped and motivated toward improvement. That means you’ve got to show interest in them and their approach to the work they are doing by asking questions. That approach has a greater chance of creating a win-win situation for everyone. Find out what kind of questions you need to ask in your annual reviews… oops, proactive discussion - on this episode of Making Chips.


There are two types of conversations employers need to have with employees - and they are not only done annually.


Do you know what they are? Do you know why you should shoot for having them more than annually, like a typical “annual review?” Here they are - performance conversations and behavioral conversations. What’s the difference? Let’s start with the behavioral conversations:


Behavioral - These are talks you have with employees about specific behaviors they are guilty of that need correction or modification. Examples could be use of phones on the shop floor when it’s prohibited, or an apparent refusal to comply with a certain usage technique on a new machine. With behavioral conversations you need to talk about the issue when it arises.


Performance - These conversations are planned conversations where you as the employer are being proactive to address the employee’s performance, positive as well as negative, for the sake of coaching them to greater levels of accomplishment and competence. Performance discussions should be introduced a few weeks ahead of time so the employee can come prepared for the talk, and should be done regularly - perhaps annually, but preferably more often.


Never center your proactive discussions with employees around money


The typical annual review contains a significant amount of discussion of salary, raises, etc. But when you’re making the move to these new style proactive discussions, you want to have conversations about money completely separate from the performance discussion. The point of the proactive discussion is to coach, consider options, and draw the employee into their own career advancement path in a deliberate way. You want them involved in thinking through the ways they can become an even greater asset to the company and how they can build their own skill set to put them in a place where other opportunities can open up to them. Find out why Karla Dobbeck, Human Resources Specialist, recommends you keep money-talk out of the annual review in this episode of Making Chips.


Be careful about giving “bonuses” to your employees


Karla Dobbeck recommends that you find other ways to reward employees besides the typical “bonuses” that are a part of the annual review conversation quite often. Why? Because there are negative legal and tax implications to giving bonuses that you may not be aware of. If you want to motivate better performance as part of your proactive conversations with employees, find other creative ways to do that. Bonuses could bite you in the end. Find out more about the negative consequences of giving bonuses and what Karla recommends as alternatives in this episode.

Outline of this episode


  • Welcome to this episode of Making Chips - THE Podcast to equip manufacturing professionals!

  • Jim’s proactive search for new equipment - what and why.

  • Proprietary materials Jason has discovered from Thyssen Krupp (sponsor).

  • Introduction of Karla Dobbeck, Human Resources Professional and Specialist.

  • The headaches and benefits of acronyms.

  • Why Karla doesn’t like the “grading system” of Employee Evaluations (she doesn’t like to use the words “evaluations” or “review.”

  • How to approach these proactive discussions - 3 to 4 weeks ahead and at the time of the discussion.

  • The types of questions to ask during one of these discussions.

  • How to partner with the employee to create a plan to improve an employee’s performance.

  • Why Jason’s approach is not an “annual review” type discussion - and how Karla responds to his approach.

  • How to start on a better road to employee relationships with you, their employer.

  • The two types of conversations employers should have with their employees: performance and behavior.

  • Why these conversations should NOT be centered around money (salary increases, etc.).

  • Jason gives a real-life type scenario for Karla and Jim’s responses - what to do?

  • How bonuses fit into these discussions and the legal implications of bonuses.

  • How to leave comments on this episode.


Links mentioned on this episode (sponsor for this episode)


Karla Dobek’s website -


Or call us at 312-725-0245


Tweets you can use to tell others about the episode


Nobody should come into the workplace and have their job done to them - Karla Dobbeck


#Employers are responsible to #coach and #equip their #employees in an ongoing manner


Why you should not talk about #money in your #EmployeeReviews


Why #AnnualReviews are not a good idea - on this episode of #MakingChips


The two types of conversations #employers should be having with #employees regularly


Jul 15, 2015

Outsourcing jobs to China and other countries used to be the most affordable option for many manufacturing companies. But changes to the global economy have caused changes that make it not only affordable, but even advantageous for U.S. Manufacturers to bring jobs home. Harry Moser is a veteran of the manufacturing industry and upon retirement he took the initiative to being an organization focused on doing exactly that. Find out more about The Reshoring Initiative and what it’s doing to promote the return of jobs to the U.S., on this episode of Making Chips.


It’s cheaper to send jobs overseas… or is it?


That used to be the wisdom of the day, but the rise in wages in China and other places has caused the advantages of offshoring jobs to diminish year after year until we’re at a place where it’s actually better to keep jobs onshore in the U.S. Harry Moser and the Reshoring Initiative have developed many great studies that show the effects of offshoring VS reshoring and are convinced that the benefits of bringing jobs home to the U.S. far outweigh the once-existing perks of sending jobs offshore. Find out how Harry’s organization is helping educate the manufacturing industry, and how you can use their free tools to determine why it might be time for your company to bring jobs home.


How can you know if it’s smarter to bring your manufacturing jobs back home?


There are so many variables in figuring out your costs for offshoring or keeping jobs in the U.S. it can be very confusing. But Harry Moser and The Reshoring Initiative are working hard to simplify the evaluation. One of the ways they’re doing that is by providing free online tools to estimate what they call “Total Cost of Ownership,” which can help you gauge the overall, true costs of bringing outsourced jobs back to the U.S. It takes into account all the variables you might encounter to provide a great overall picture of both options for comparison. Find out how to access the Total Cost of Ownership Estimator in this episode of Making Chips.


Why are many companies bringing jobs back home to the U.S.?


There are likely as many reasons as there are companies, but one of the main reasons is that companies are learning from their mistakes. Years of outsourcing manufacturing jobs has shown us the true costs of sending jobs overseas, and in many cases the advantages were not as beneficial as we once thought. Smart CEOs and owners are reassessing the choices of the past with an eye toward cutting costs through bringing jobs back to the U.S. Find out if you’ve made some of those same mistakes and how you can move toward cutting costs in your business, on this episode of Making Chips.


Webinars about reshoring manufacturing jobs


The Reshoring Initiative is doing many things to educate manufacturing leaders about the benefits of bringing jobs home, benefits that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. Harry Moser covers many of the programs and offerings the Reshoring Initiative offers in this episode of Making Chips. One of those resources we’d like to highlight are the many webinars they’ve held to make the case for reshoring. You can find those webinars on the Reshoring Initiative website ( ) and find out more about the purpouse and goals of the Reshoring Initiative on this episode of Making Chips.

Outline of this episode


  • Welcome to the podcast - from Jason and Jim.

  • Updates from Jason about his trip to Korea - he visited a manufacturing company there (YG1).

  • Jim’s new marketing plan for Carr Machine and Tool and the revamp of the company web site.

  • Making Chips goes on the road - the grand opening of a new, innovative hardware store in San Diego, California - July 21st, 4 to 6 PM. See the invite below to meet Jim and Jason if you’re in the area.

  • Jim’s introduction of today’s guest: Harry Moser, President of “The Reshoring Initiative.”

  • What sparked Harry starting The Reshoring Initiative - practically and emotionally.

  • How does a manufacturer take advantage of the opportunity to “reshore” their manufacturing?

  • How manufacturers are able to use the Total Cost of Ownership Estimator.

  • Why it’s now possible for U.S. manufacturers to bring jobs back home (what’s happening in China - the main place jobs have been outsourced).

  • Are wages less of a factor in our day, in the U.S. and in China?

  • What is localization, and why does it matter for U.S. manufacturers?

  • How companies have learned from their mistakes when it comes to the decision to outsource manufacturing offshore or to keep it onshore.

  • How do manufacturers identify the most important factors relating to whether they should bring their manufacturing back onshore?

  • How wastes are made worse through offshoring manufacturing jobs.

  • Harry’s conversation with President Obama and what he encouraged the White House to do to bring jobs back to the U.S.

  • How to find out more about the Reshoring Initiative and how you can use their free resources to estimate your costs of reshoring outsourced jobs.


Links mentioned on this episode - The episode that covers the new innovative hardware store. (sponsor for this episode)


The Reshoring Initiative -


Free Online Total Cost of Ownership Estimator -


Contact Harry at


Or call us at 312-725-0245


Making Chips on the road - Tuesday, July 21st, 4 to 6 PM - 10211 Pacific Mesa Blvd, San Diego - come in and say “If you’re not making chips, you’re not making money.” and get a free T-shirt!


Tweets you can use to tell others about the episode


#Reshoring manufacturing jobs is now affordable. Find out how on this episode of #MakingChips


If you’re not #MakingChips, you’re not making money - the Making Chips Podcast


#Manufacturing companies can now spend less by bringing #offshore jobs home. More on this episode


The #ReshoringInitiative to bring jobs back to the U.S. On this episode of #MakingChips

Cut costs in your #manufacturing business by bringing jobs home to the U.S. More on this episode

Jul 8, 2015

Every employer has to deal with the complex issues that are a part of employment law in the modern age. But they also have to run a shop that is well-tuned and efficient. Too often those two responsibilities conflict in ways that they don’t expect. In this episode of Making Chips, Jason and Jim are going to chat with Karla Dobbeck, a Human Resources specialist who has some very practical, insightful advice for manufacturing employers on how to deal with those “bad apples” that show up from time to time in a way that will protect you and your company from a legal standpoint.

Making an example of a troublesome employee


The old adage is true, “One bad apple will spoil the whole bunch.” In a manufacturing company, morale, attitudes, and overall contentment in the workplace can be dramatically impacted by an employee who refuses to comply with company policy or production and safety standards. Karla Dobbeck recommends that you deal with those bad apples in a way that is clearly outlined in your employment policies, and to do so quickly and without apology. Making an example of one employee is powerfully effective in communicating your company values and seriousness about keeping them, to the rest of the work force. Listen to the audio to find out more about how to do this legally and wisely.

Sometimes the answer is not more rules


When issues come up on the shop floor or in the break room the tendency of management can be to make another rule to cover that sort of situation. The problem is that before long the company will have so many rules that nobody can keep track of all of them, much less enforce them fairly and consistently. In this episode of Making Chips Jim inserts his opinion about the need for “rules” and that oftentimes the answer is not to create a new rule but to have a private conversation with individual employees who need correction or guidance. This not only addresses the issue at hand, but does so in a simpler way that builds relationship and company culture at the same time. Learn more about how Jim does this by listening to this episode.

Document, document, document


In our lawsuit-happy culture, it’s a sad but true fact that employers have to be very careful and clear when taking action against an employee for any reason. That’s why it’s important for every disciplinary or corrective action to be documented clearly by the employer so there is a paper trail both of the history of the offenses in question and of the actions that were taken each step along the way. This way, if the time comes when an employee has to be terminated, the employer has a strong case for the cause and need for the termination that will make their case in court, should it be needed. You’ll also be able to document your compliance with OSHA requirements. Karla Dobbeck has a wealth of insight into this subject and you can hear more on this episode of Making Chips.

The most common employment mistakes employers make


Karla Dobbeck has seen it all as a Human Resources consultant and advisor - the good, the bad, and the ugly. In this episode of Making Chips she shares what she considers to be the most common and most serious mistakes that employers make regarding employment law and gives common sense, practical advice on how manufacturing employers can avoid the same pitfalls. It’s worth the price of listening, so grab a cup of coffee, a pen and paper, and get ready to take some great notes that will help you improve your processes and procedures surrounding the employment practices of your company.


Outline of this episode

  • Social media as it relates to brand exposure - Jim’s story.

  • Making Chips is going on the road - to San Diego! Hear the details on this episode.

  • Invitation to be interviewed on Making Chips - give us a call - 312-725-0245

  • Human Resources for the Manufacturing industry with Karla Dobbeck.

  • When to “make an example” of a troublesome employee - cell phone issues, safety issues, etc.

  • When to create “rules” and when to rely on private conversations with individuals.

  • Dealing with employees who are chronically late or missing work.

  • Addressing issues where employees seem to be abusing break time.

  • Special considerations for employees who are pregnant mothers.

  • How to properly document employee problems and firing decisions.

  • Employment and termination mistakes most often made by employers.

  • How to deal with unemployment claims when an employee has been terminated.

  • Can part-time employees file for unemployment? Yes, in these situations.

  • How to avoid the “games” that keep bad apples in your company.


Links mentioned on this episode


Human Resource Techniques - Karla’s company -


Karla on LinkedIn -


Or call us at 312-725-0245


Making Chips on the road - Tuesday, July 21st, 4 to 6 PM - 10211 Pacific Mesa Blvd, San Diego - come in and say “If you’re not making chips, you’re not making money.” and get a free T-shirt!

Jul 6, 2015

Today’s episode of Making Chips features a listener question. You can leave your question for Jim and Jason to answer by going to to leave your question. They just might answer it on an upcoming podcast episode. Today’s question has to do with costing out a job. Is there a standard formula or way to price out jobs in light of workers who are manning more than one machine, etc.? Jim has years of experience in costing out jobs so he’s got a lot to share in this episode.

But first, some thoughts about the Making Chips growth curve

The Podcast has been going gangbusters. Jim and Jason are both amazed that there have been 13,00o downloads of the show that have happened since they first began. They're eager to put that influence to even more work for you as the show continues. So the guys first of all want to "thank you" for supporting the show and their work to inform, educate, and expand the manufacturing industry.

The guys also want to let you in on a materials sourcing company they've been working with. It's 24 hours a day you can go on this amazing website, receive materials quotes, and even order the products you need to fulfill your manufacturing orders. And if you use the promo code CHIPS and receive a 15% discount!

 Job costing

Do you know how to cost out a machining job? Do you understand how to figure in the wear on the machine, the cost of your overhead and operator wages, the type of material you’ll be using for the job, weight of the part you’re producing, and other variables? If you don’t, you need to listen carefully to this episode of Making Chips. Jim explains how he goes about costing out a job, including how he uses an excel spreadsheet to figure out the cost.

When you’re costing out a job, Jim has a powerfully practical tip to help you do the costing properly: take into consideration the size of the part you’re going to be working with on the job. A very large part is going to cost you more in terms of manpower and time. Jim sets a part of similar size on his desk to put the job into perspective. He’ll take it out to the machine and hold it up beside it to see how manageable it’s going to be. Don’t overlook this important consideration as you’re costing out a job in your shop. Listen in to find out more about how Jim goes about costing out jobs.

Costing out a job can also be a bit tricky when it comes to the type of material being used. Manufacturers need to keep in mind that material costs may differ widely when creating parts from various materials. That’s a variable that has to be kept in mind so you don’t under-cost a job and cost yourself the profit margin you should have. Jim shares his tips on how to go about doing that in this episode of Making Chips.

All this and more on this episode of Making Chips!

Here’s the outline this episode

  • The success of the podcast and a new supplier you can use -
  • A listener question about the topic of this episode: How do you cost out a job, are there recommended ways to go about it? What about when the same operator is working multiple machines? The listener also had a second question about a “lights out” machine and how to figure costs using that sort of setup.
  • Making Chips is going to hit the road the third week of July 21, 2015- going to San Diego, CA. If you live nearby, come check it out and meet Jason and Jim. Say, “If you’re not making chips, you’re not making money” to get a free T-shirt.
  • An invitation to anyone who is familiar with "lights out machining." Can you serve as a resource to the guys? If so, contact them at
  • Five things to consider on Job Costing: Quantity - Type of material - Tolerance - Size of the part you’re making - Complexity of the part
  • How often Jim evaluates his shop rates and the things he looks at to do the evaluation well.
  • How Jim trains others in his company to do job costing.
  • Is it possible to create computer software to do job costing?
  • An invitation to you: ask us your question on the making chips website.

Links mentioned on this episode - get your 15% discount by using the code "MAKINGCHIPS"

Or call us at 312-725-0245