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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, 2018
Jul 27, 2018

This week on MakingChips, Peter Claus talks about the whirlwind of leadership he experiences in his manufacturing job. Peter is the CNC supervisor at HFW Industries in Buffalo, New York where he has worked for over 20 years. He is also one of this year’s IMTS Rock Stars. Peter shares his passion for manufacturing, how he has grown in his company and how he deals with the challenges of being a leader.

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Finding and following your passion

Peter Claus seemed destined to work in the manufacturing field. While on a track to pursue an engineering degree in college, Peter had the opportunity to operate a lathe. It was a pivotal moment that led him to change directions and pursue a manufacturing career. He started at HFW in 1994 running a lathe machine. HFW specializes in hardfacing and thermal spray coatings. Listen as Peter talks about how his passion for manufacturing and how it has led to his success during this interview.

Are you hungry enough to grow?

As HFW expanded and grew, more opportunities for leadership were presented to Peter. One contributing factor to Peter’s success is his constant hunger to learn and grow. He found a passion in manufacturing and he pursued it, increasing in education and company responsibility. He has always been interested in learning the different facets of manufacturing which has led to a breadth of experience. His hunger ultimately led him to where he is now as the CNC supervisor at HFW and one of this year’s IMTS Rock Stars.

2 Keys to Surviving the Whirlwind of Leadership

With increased responsibility comes the inevitable whirlwind of leadership. Every leader will experience the effects of the whirlwind while juggling the daily demands of the job. Even the best plans and intentions can be derailed when unforeseen issues arise. Peter talks about the challenges of his supervisory role. Leading well requires prioritizing daily objectives while remaining flexible to handle issues as they arise. He gives 2 keys to surviving the whirlwind of leadership that he applies at HFW. Peter’s insight is encouraging and practical for any manufacturing leader.

Taking advantage of all the IMTS has to offer

What can a manufacturing leader do to escape the whirlwind of leadership? One great way to recharge is by attending IMTS. During this conversation, Peter shares how he plans to take advantage of IMTS this year. In addition to doing research on specific machines and spending time in the cutting pavilion, he plans to leverage the week as a vacation, bringing his wife and enjoying some of the great Chicago food. Peter encourages manufacturing leaders to experience IMTS and dream about the potential of taking your company to the next level.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Emotional intelligence prevents you from overreacting or escalating issues that arise in business
  • Manufacturing News: Being a conscious capitalist, caring for your employees and being fair
  • Introduction of Peter Clause, CNC supervisor at HFW Industries and one of this years IMTS Rock Stars
  • HFW does thermal coatings and hard face welding
  • As a supervisor, Peter is required to deal with both machine and people issues
  • How HFW is trying to overcome the workforce problem
  • What Peter is excited about at IMTS this year and what he plans to research while he’s there
  • The key to Peter’s success in the manufacturing industry
  • Make your plans to be at the IMTS Grand Concourse stage each day at noon to see Jim and Jason

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Jul 20, 2018

This week on MakingChips, Jason asks Jim whether or not you really need a 5-axis machine. Every manufacturing company owner has to determine the right time to add a new piece of machinery to his or her shop. That decision isn’t always easy. More often than not, there are multiple good options that leave the leader with the daunting task of determining the best choice. Jim explains to Jason his rationale for a recent purchase making decision for Carr Tool and Machine and gives advice for making a big purchasing. Hear all that and more on this episode of MakingChips.

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2 main factors that can help you make decisions about machinery

When considering a big purchase of machinery for your shop, the decision largely depends on two factors. The first factor is what you currently make. Know your current customer demand and your ability to meet that demand. If you are having trouble with turn-around or customers are continually leaving your business because you can’t meet their demand, it might be time to upgrade to a new piece of machinery. The second factor is how will your company grow in the future. Considering what technology you need to integrate into your company to allow for growth and expansion will help you make a wise purchase.

Buying a 5-axis machine should be a need-based purchase

After originally planning to buy a 5-axis machine last summer, Jim recently purchased a 4-axis Mazak 500mm twin table horizontal machining center with full fourth axis machining capability. He explains that while he was unable to complete the deal on the 5-axis machine the 4-axis machine has served him well. He has been able to meet customer needs with the 4-axis horizontal machine. Jim also expressed that he hasn’t had the need for a 5-axis machine. When considering a machine tool purchase, Jim advises letting need be a key determining factor. Buying a piece of equipment that you already have a need for ensures that you get an immediate return on your investment.

How to make a good purchasing decision

It is difficult to balance the tendency to resist change with moving forward too quickly. The danger is that you purchase a piece of machinery that won’t give you a quick return on investment. It is wise to introduce technology incrementally. Jim encourages leaders to utilize the wisdom and experience of your team to help make educated decisions for your company. He also suggests reaching out to your customers to see if they need the kind of work that would justify purchasing a 5-axis machine.

Will a 5-axis machine make or break your company?

Not having a 5-axis machine will not keep Carr Machine and Tool from being competitive in the long run. While Jim chose not to buy the 5-axis machine yet, he will definitely be looking to purchase one in the near future. Knowing the plan for future growth and expansion gives Jim a head start in finding the skilled labor or training current employees so that they can run the machine effectively. Jim and Jason would love to hear from you. Have you purchased a 5-axis machine? If so why?

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • It is better to have a well placed fan than having an oscillating fan
  • Buying new technology requires you to balance risk and reward
  • JIm shares his excitement about a new relationship with an aerospace customer
  • Manufacturing News: Machine Metrics shares shocking machine utilization numbers
  • Jim shares his reasons for deciding not to buy a 5-axis machine
  • Though it wasn’t a 5-axis Carr Machine and Tool did add a new piece of equipment in the shop
  • Buying a machine should be based on the production needs you currently have
  • Jim shares the impact of 5-axis machines could have for his company
  • Jason and Jim ask for your feedback about 5-axis machines

Tools & Takeaways

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Jul 13, 2018

The growth and impact of manufacturing tomorrow depends on the next-generation leaders you are investing in today. During this episode of MakingChips, Greg Jones, Vice President of Smartforce Development at AMT, discusses how he is trying to help reduce the skills gap that exists in manufacturing. He also gives some practical ways that manufacturing leaders can join in the cause of raising up next generation leaders.

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What is the cause of the skills gap?

While previous generations grew up in manufacturing and joined the family business, the future of the manufacturing workforce will not come about in the same way. Many high school graduates only consider traditional college as a post-secondary option. There are approximately 400,000 manufacturing jobs that are currently unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers. In order to reduce this gap, an educational shift must happen. Greg Jones shares how apprenticeships can help create this shift while helping students secure a solid career in manufacturing.

Bridging the skills gap by investing in education

The Smartforce Student Summit started at IMTS in 1988 with the goal of giving students an in-depth look at the opportunities the manufacturing industry offers. It also helped to educate teachers and administrators about the importance of investing in this workforce. 30 years later, the Smartforce Student Summit is continuing to build that legacy. Greg Jones is leading Smartforce Development at AMT to help meet this significant need by exposing alternative opportunities to these students. During this episode, he shares how he is investing in education in order to help build tomorrows manufacturing workforce.

Unlocking the potential of next-generation leaders

While there is change happening on a national level thanks to new legislation and an increased focus on manufacturing, real change occurs on the local level. Greg Jones shares several ways that manufacturing leaders can make an impact. He encourages advocating for STEM programs. He also suggests partnering with local school systems and volunteering in technology programs. This face-to-face interaction can help change the trajectory of a child’s life and could unlock the potential of a next generation leader in manufacturing. Greg also encourages manufacturers to bring a student to IMTS to enjoy the Smartforce student summit.

How to share the opportunities that exist in manufacturing

There have been many news stories suggesting that new technology and robots could reduce the number of job opportunities in the manufacturing industry. Greg Jones says instead that automation is actually creating jobs. IMTS and the Smartforce Student Summit are designed to share those opportunities with next-generation leaders. Students from over 40 states will be exposed to apprentice competitions where high school and college students will show in a tangible way what a career in manufacturing could look like. Listen to MakingChips to hear the entire conversation with Greg Jones.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Jim gives an update on what is new at Carr Machine and Tool
  • Good employees will gravitate to companies with compelling mission and vision
  • Manufacturing News: Inmates in at a prison received manufacturing certificates
  • Introduction of Greg Jones, Vice President of Smartforce Development at AMT
  • Smartforce is seeking to bridge the skills gap through education and workforce development
  • Greg advocates for high school and college students to consider an apprenticeship program instead of traditional college
  • The importance of the relationship between local manufacturing companies and schools
  • How the future of manufacturing might be impacted by the current skills gap
  • What to expect from the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS this year
  • Local manufacturing leaders can make an impact in their community by getting involved in local schools

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Jul 6, 2018

If you are a manufacturing leader, then it is imperative that you learn all you can about MTConnect and the digitization of the manufacturing industry. As the internet of things continues to grow, companies should be prepared to integrate technology into their company. During this episode of MakingChips, Jim and Jason talk with Russ Waddell, Managing Director of MTConnect. With over 200 employees under his supervision, Russ is leading MTConnect to be the standard among manufacturers. Listen and be equipped with information and inspired to grow your company.

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How information is changing the manufacturing industry

Over the last 20 years, the internet has changed not only the daily lives of people around the world, but also the way companies do business. Manufacturers are not exempt from the advances of the internet. Increasingly, the internet of things is becoming a common reality in businesses. The internet of things refers to how different connected devices communicate and share information with each other utilizing wireless connection. MTConnect is an important component for manufacturers considering the digitization and internet of things in their companies.

The importance of standards

Just as it is important to have cultural standards within your company that helps to guide business practices and employee behavior, it is equally important to have technological standards. As the digitization of the manufacturing industry continues to grow, efficiency is a necessity. How can you best use technology to your advantage without over-complicating processes and procedures? Russ Waddell says, “The IT world is getting closer and closer to the factory world, having a basic understanding of how to pick a standard or a set of standards that is going to work is essential.” Hear all about that and more on this episode of MakingChips.

What is MTConnect and how can it help manufacturers

MTConnect is an open-source standard that allows the manufacturing equipment in your shop to capture, store and share important data. It can help streamline communication among machines by providing a consistent vocabulary for your equipment. Being able to access the data that MTConnect collects can help in a multitude of ways and the open-source nature of the software also allows its functions and capabilities to continually be improved. During this interview, Russ explains what MTConnect is, how it is applied, and the benefits your company can experience from using it.

How to adapt your company for digitization

Preparing to adapt your company for digitization first requires a plan. Before using a software like MTConnect, you have to know what questions within your company you need answers to. What data do you need to be able to access and analyze? Russ Waddell points out the importance of knowing spindle time. Your plan must also consider how you will organize and analyze data collected. Manufacturing leaders should also consider how to upgrade legacy equipment so that they can also be connected. Digitization takes planning. For more information on what you should consider and how to plan, listen to this episode of MakingChips.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • The access of information and how it is changing the sales model at Zenger’s
  • Manufacturing News: The Wall Street Journal’s manufacturing beat job opening
  • Introduction of guest Russ Waddell, Managing Director of MTConnect Institute
  • What MTConnect is and how it is used in manufacturing
  • How can a manufacturing leader utilize the capabilities of MTConnect
  • What data should manufacturers be collecting and analyzing
  • The open source nature of MTConnect and the advantages it provides to the market
  • The importance of assessing and implementing a set of standards for your business
  • IMTS will give you an opportunity to get a close-up look at MTConnect

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest

Connect With MakingChips

Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify

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