Roberts Swiss, a 60 year old manufacturer of Precision Swiss Machined Parts. Fernando gives
actionable advise to others who are not born into privilege and do not have a lot of resources,
but desire to seek advancement starting from the ground floor.
Fernando attributes his career success to:
• Taking advantage of learning from every possible resource - including the people who stood
in his way
• Tackling large projects
• Questioning the WHY behind business processes
• Working hard and doing the right thing
• Being the conduit of change
• Realizing challenges as opportunities for growth
• Bringing a culture of excellence
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss an article that stated US Stocks started the
year mixed because manufacturing growth stalled in December, which proves that manufacturing
makes a huge difference to the US economy.
When should the owners of a business start succession planning? NOW!
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss an article stating that slow manufacturing
growth doesn’t matter to the economy.
Should you implement Robotics into your company? In this episode we interview Brian Panek
from Panek Precision about robotics. We discuss the basics of robotics, how it has changed his
manufacturing and the culture of his company.
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss that MakingChips has been featured on iTunes
New & Noteworthy, which is a huge accomplishment. We would like to thank our listeners for
their feedback and support.
Who is in your network? In this episode we discuss the power of networking and how to properly
cultivate relationships in your industry.
Join MakingChips at the 3rd Annual Crain’s Midwest Manufacturers Summit.
Crain’s Manufacturing Summit
1. Networking is a long term process
2. Should you stalk them on LinkedIn?
3. When you think that it is time for the hard sell…wait.
4. Ask for an introduction.
5. Stay within a particular circle.
6. Don't forget follow up, but don’t hard sell.
7. Offer free advise.
8. Look for commonality.
9. Collect business cards.
10. Connect on LinkedIn.
11. Give before you expect to receive.
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss Forbes 30 under 30 in Manufacturing.
In our Metalworking Tools segment, we discuss Lenox Circtech Precision Circular Saw Blades.
More manufacturing companies are replacing band saw applications with with machines that
use cermet tipped circular saw blades.
What is the right method for getting paid for your work? This is a subject that both Jim and I
were reluctant to talk about; however, our goal is to bring the Metalworking Nation together
as a community to talk about topics that people are afraid to bring up.
What are your typical terms?
Do you offer payment via credit card?
Should you require a credit card for initial orders?
Do you have a defined credit terms policy?
If you are agreeing to an OEM contract that stipulates 90-120 day terms, are you considering
the financing rate and including that in the price that you charge for the product or service?
“Somebody has to pay it!”
What is our approach to collecting?
When do “put on the heat”?
Do you use collection agencies?
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss Workshops for Warriors, a non-profit that
transitions veterans into civilian jobs with a focus on manufacturing training.
In our Metalworking Tools segment, we discuss Z-Cut, a line of USA Made standard and highperformance
end mills, drills and taps.
Years ago, most businesses did not have a vision or a mission for their companies. It was simply
a matter of “blocking and tackling” your team through wins as the company grew (you buy
more machines as the customers come). Now, most businesses are caught up in the Wall
Street mindset that if you are not growing, you are dying.
Should every manufacturing company have this mindset or can we do better?
Do you have at least a loose vision or mission for your company?
Where do you see the company in 5 years or in 10 years?
How do you define staying where you are? - # of machines, sales, profit, employees, customers?
for JZ, a couple metrics: sales, profit, # of vending integration systems that we are serving,
Do prospective customers look at your business in terms of size and gage whether they want
to do business with you?
The wrong ways to grow
1. Using supplier credit to grow and not having a financing plan for growth
• Instead: Have a financing plan for growth, talk to your bank, and learn about the proper
way to borrow money in order to achieve your goals.
2. Taking on low margin business to build your business or to just get in the door
• What happens?
• Can’t make money on the job
• Late on the job
• Quality is subpar
• Can’t do the job efficiently
End-users have become smarter about this and many are now working with their existing suppliers
to find out where they can partner and be strategic to remove costs out of the manufacturing
processes (another good subject for the future).
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss women in manufacturing (again). There is a
push in the Milwaukee market for welders. A 24 year old single mother with no intention to
get into manufacturing is pitched to pursue a manufacturing career. ”This is so cool, I am actually
creating my own art.” She is enjoying what she is creating, making good money and
able to support her family.
In our Metalworking Tools segment, we discuss the Widia Victory versus Value lines and why a
company would utilize this model.
The image is that manufacturing is a dirty, physical, turning-cranks, labor intensive job, but the facts is that the machining industry is one of the most technological forward and innovative industries. In this seventh episode, Jim and I discuss how the industry has changed along with machine and software technology. Jim tells an interesting stories about when his dad
ran the shop and one of his machinist screwed up a part, which you can’t do nowadays and I throw out how old I was when Jim started in the industry.
More high schools are teaching manufacturing skills.
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss how Wheeling High School (Wheeling, IL) has been turning out hire-ready manufacturing students for the last six years. Part of Germany’s education model is that a 15 year old will enter into an internship whereby manufacturing is one of the top choices.
In our Metalworking Tools segment, we discuss the advantages of thread milling: control the size, breakage, tool life.
Are international standards important for your company or your partners? In this
sixth episode, Jim and I discuss standards and the impact of ISO on his company. We discuss
the specific standards of ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management)
& OHSAS 18001 (Health & Safety).
Fun Facts: ISO, the International Organization of Standards, has 3 official languages (English,
French & Russian). ISO is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. The International Organization
for Standards is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and is associated with the
Should you hire an outside consultant to outline a plan and help you along the process?
What can ISO do for your business culture?
Every company is going to be different, but Jim discusses his annual cost of ISO renewal and
the amount of time that his staff spends on ISO per week.
How does the ISO champion interact with other employees?
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss the Multi Jet Fusion Printer, a 3D printer
In our Metalworking Tools segment, we discuss straight flute reamers versus spiral flute
reamers and left hand versus right hand spiral flute reamers.
Is there a plan in place at your company if a top employee, such as the president or owner
dies? Episode five is the first in a new interview format on MakingChips. In this fifth episode,
we talk to Stacey Bales about her story of taking over as President of Bales Mold Service (recently
rebranded as Bales Metal Surface Solutions).
The first reaction from the bank is “How are we going to liquidate?”
Who takes over when multiple family members are involved and no succession plan has been
setup? Major issues arise, such as trust among family members - when there is no succession
plan, family members will fight out their new roles instead of moving into the proper roles
right away. The family needs to establish that they are all on the same team and not out for
“Be very transparent with the person that you believe is coming up.” The owner of every
manufacturing company should be transparent about how they want to handle the succession
of their company and have a vision about where they want the company to go.
Stacey Bales is the 2nd generation owner and President of Bales Metal Surface Solutions. Bales
provides engineered coating and finishes to mold makers and OEMs. They have locations in
Illinois and Texas. In addition, Stacey is on the Board of Directors of the TMA (Technology and
Manufacturing Association) and President of AESF (American Electro & Surface Finishers).
In our Manufacturing News segment, we discuss a news article about the City of Atlanta. They
are short on manufacturing skilled labor resulting in six figure incomes for certain positions.
In our Metalworking Tools segment, we discuss Southwestern Industries (CNC Technology for
Small Lot Machining). Southwestern machines are intended to produce small lots of parts, so
you can go from programming to producing parts much quicker than traditional CNC lathes
and mills with easy to use ProtoTRAK programming.
Do you go to the bar or do you take action? Jason and Jim will step you through 11 points to consider WHEN the recession hits the Metalworking Nation. Yes, this subject is a bummer, but MakingChips is going to Equip Manufacturing Leaders no matter the subject.
Women in manufacturing
Yoda says “No! Try not. Do or Do Not. There is no try”
1. Pay attention to your cash flow – like a hawk – know the numbers.
2. Talk to your staff and be honest about what is going on.
3. Be honest with your partners.
4. Know your core competency and stick to your business model.
5. Minimize purchasing and reduce expenses – can you insource any of your services?
6. Lower your overhead.
7. Minimize your labor costs (OT) – make strategic decisions sooner rather than later.
8. Realize your capacity level.
9. Negotiate with banks.
10. Negotiate with your landlord.
11. Capitalize on opportunities.
This episode is about tactics for manufacturing companies WHEN the recession hits. That’s right, I said WHEN, not IF. If there is one thing that nobody understands, it’s our economy. There is little evidence of a recession proof economy, so we need to spend some time discussing how to better prepare.
Are you ready for a recession?
1. Do you have a diversified customer base?
2. Maintain proper overhead (building ego).
3. Review your debt – did those decisions result in a return?
4. Strategic purchase of capital equipment
a. Measure your ROI
b. Invest in technology to stay productive and ahead of the competition
c. Don’t spend money just for a write off…have a strategic reason
d. Should you pay cash or get a loan?
5. Does your company provide a critical part or service that is recession proof?
6. Is your customer base recession proof or vulnerable?
7. Is your product or process difficult to replicate or will your customers be looking to lower their costs?
IMTS started as The First National Machine Tool Builders Exposition in Cleveland in 1927.
Post WWII, the show moved to Chicago in 1955.
What is the IMTS hangover?
What did you learn at IMTS that you can take back to your business?
What is the best way to prepare for a show, such as IMTS?
Do social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others matter to the manufacturing industry? We will discuss WHY you should be on social media, WHAT platforms to consider, and HOW to get started.
Influencing a New Generation
Social Media Platforms
What is the process?
What should you do first?
Social Media PPC
Jim’s eBook “Social Media in Manufacturing”