The MAKING CHIPS Podcast for Manufacturing Leaders with Jason Zenger & Jim Carr

Welcome to MakingChips - We believe that manufacturing is challenging, but if you are connected to a community of leaders, you can elevate your skills, solve your problems and grow your business. Making Chips is a weekly podcast that will EQUIP and INSPIRE MANUFACTURING LEADERS to succeed in the challenging world of manufacturing. Our mission is for the METALWORKING NATION to Think Differently About Manufacturing In Order to Elevate their Game. Your hosts, Jason Zenger & Jim Carr, own manufacturing businesses and interview other leaders in the metalworking, machining, fabrication, tooling and machine tool industries. We have interviewed successful manufacturing CEOs you may have not heard of and also the biggest names in manufacturing like Titan Gilroy from Titans of CNC, John Saunders from NYC CNC, Mark Terryberry from Haas Automation and others from MakerCast, Sandvik Coromant, Autocrib and more. Think of us as your virtual community of manufacturing peers to help solve your toughest problems and grow your business. "Making Chips has provided a transparent approach to sharing within the manufacturing community and a modern platform to do so. Thank you both for taking the lead on moving our industry segment forward!" Patricia Miller - CEO & Visionary (Matrix IV) I really think what you guys are doing is a great, great thing for manufacturing. I have learned so much already from many of your episodes, and am so thrilled to have met people that get as revved up about manufacturing as I do! Cassandra Haupers – Vice President of Operations (Swiss Precision Machining) I love being able to experience what manufacturers are doing to promote culture and engage their team members and community. All of us are smarter than one of us. That is why I am part of the Making Chips tribe. Barry E. Walter, Jr. – Chief Operating Officer (Barry E. Walter, Sr. Co.) Finally, relevant manufacturing media that is actually entertaining! Dietmar Goellner – Chief Executive Officer (Advanced Machine & Engineering / Hennig) The more manufacturing companies we can get to think this way, the stronger our industry will be. Thank you for sharing! Jess Giudici – Manager, Talent and Culture I’m thankful to you for creating MakingChips for the Metalworking Nation so that Owners / Employees can strengthen their companies. Phil Sponsler – President (ORBITFORM) I love the podcast! It really serves to fill a void in the manufacturing world. I will admit I always feel a little more inspired. Jason Falk – Senior Application Engineer, CMTSE (HURCO) Thanks to all the great info on your podcasts and the website. Dave Lechleitner – Director of Solutions and Product Marketing (KEYEDIN) I really love what you guys are doing to advance the mfg industry in a way that really reaches the right audiences. Jeff Rizzie – Senior Manager-Business Development (Sandvik Coromant)
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The MAKING CHIPS Podcast for Manufacturing Leaders with Jason Zenger & Jim Carr







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May 27, 2020

When it comes to your cutting tools, how do you know when it's time to resharpen or recycle? This week on the MakingChips podcast, hosts Jim Carr, Jason Zenger, and Nick Goellner discuss when and why you should consider resharpening your cutting tools as well as the cost to resharpen versus cost of buying brand new.

May 12, 2020

It’s tempting, in rapid response, to abandon procedures or suspend protocols in order to solve immediate crisis situations. This week’s guest, Noah Goellner, lean manufacturing expert and COO of Hennig Inc., provides practical methods for incorporating your company’s core values and internal processes to produce successful solutions, no matter the timeline or challenge.

Apr 30, 2020

MakingChips guest Jim Griffith, an employment attorney for HR Source, answers timely questions about individual state and federal marijuana laws, and provides manufacturing leaders with three action steps to help address management and human resources issues related to the use of legalized cannabis.

Apr 24, 2020

Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), talks with MC hosts Jim Carr, Nick Goellner, and Jason Zenger to provide insight into the current economic conditions for manufacturers during COVID-19 and offer an economic forecast for the future of our industry.

Apr 13, 2020

In a timely interview, Jim Carr, Nick Goellner, and Jason Zenger sit down with Cook County IL Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle, who oversees one of the nation’s largest public health and hospital systems as well as one of the nation’s largest criminal justice systems, to discuss details of the COVID-19 management and response, the CARES Act, and how to utilize current and future available resources to meet the demands of the crisis. 

Mar 31, 2020

Are there any positives in this pandemic? With social distancing, working from home, schools and businesses closing, and travel being restricted, the physical and psychological impact of COVID-19 is hitting us all. The MakingChips podcast has always focused on equipping and inspiring leaders in the manufacturing industry and we are not changing course now. In this episode, Jim Carr and Nick Goellner talk with guest Karl Koenigsberger, Business Development Manager at IRIS Factory Automation, about finding opportunities to improve services, products, and management during this unprecedented time of change and challenge.

Mar 24, 2020

In this week's MakingChips podcast, hosts Jason Zenger, Jim Carr, and Nick Goellner discuss the impact of today’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and consider its effect on the manufacturing industry, future investors, travel and much more.

Mar 10, 2020

When the family members running the family business comprise everyone from seasoned octogenarians to fresh-faced millennials, challenges arise that are not necessarily talked about in other industries. In this week’s MakingChips podcast, hosts Jim Carr, Jason Zenger and Nick Goellner (representing three separate generations) delve into some complex, and often emotional, leadership issues experienced in their own multigenerational family businesses, and provide guidance on how to navigate these delicate situations.

Mar 3, 2020

As business leaders, the way we respond to unforeseen issues and crises can put a spotlight on both strengths and vulnerabilities within our corporate practices, culture, and personal character. 



In this week’s MakingChips podcast, Jason Zenger challenges Jim Carr, Nick Goellner and the metalworking nation to examine the impact of today’s Coronavirus (CoV) pandemic, and consider its effect on the manufacturing industry as well as what can be learned from the way leaders around the world are reacting to this threat.  The guys discuss 4 points that every manufacturing leader can learn from this crisis as well as Xi Jinping, the paramount leader of the PRC, and the reaction from the Communist Party of China.

Feb 18, 2020

You are motivated, inspired and positive - your employee… not so much.
How can you turn around an employee who does not match the positive energy in your workplace?

In today’s episode of MakingChips, Jason Zenger, and Jim Carr, discuss a listener’s question and come up with 3 ways you can inspire your employees even if you’re new to your leadership role. Learn how to bring the energy, develop or redefine your core values, and find out what really drives your employees in this week’s new episode of MakingChips.


Feedback? Go to

Feb 11, 2020

Has anyone ever called you a control freak? Do you have trouble sharing responsibility? Is your inability to delegate holding back your potential?

Divide and conquer is the name of the game on today’s episode of MakingChips. Jason Zenger, Jim Carr and Nick Goellner take a look at how to become the best version of yourself by taking
simple steps such as learning to delegate and be more self-aware.

Learn how to identify workaholic traits in yourself and how to combat them with the MakingChips team.

Feb 4, 2020

What exactly is the multiplier effect? How does manufacturing positively impact the economy and our communities? What makes manufacturing and other “creation industries” different from service industries? 


In today’s episode of MakingChips, Jason Zenger tackles these questions and more as the MakingChips team dives into a listener question.  Do Jim Carr and Nick Goellner agree with the analysis?  Listen and let us know what you think!

Jan 25, 2020

This week’s guest on MakingChips, Federico Sciammarella, CTO at MxD, gives us an insider's glimpse of the “future factory” and offers practical ways to introduce digital to any size shop. Located in Chicago, MxD is one of 14 institutes that make up Manufacturing USA, a public-private funded partnership working to secure American manufacturing's future through innovation, education, and collaboration.

Jan 21, 2020

Sustainable growth for today’s manufacturing leader has as much to do with company values as it does with the value of your company. As industry leaders, setting meaningful personal and professional goals assure strong culture, inspire innovation and, ultimately, increase shareholder value. In this week’s MakingChips podcast, Jim Carr, Jason Zenger, and Nick Goellner each share the vision behind their own personal and professional goals for 2020 and provide inspiration on how to tackle the new year with meaning, purpose, and direction.

Listen to the "guys that get dirty on the factory floor" on all major audio platforms and channels.

Jan 14, 2020

What’s the one question to ask before making any investment decision?
As leaders in the industry we are dedicated to growth, yet with quality manufacturing relying so heavily on process, it often seems safer to keep doing things the way we always have. In today’s episode of MakingChips, Jason Zenger talks mergers, acquisitions, and good ways to grow with Mike Payne, President of Hill Manufacturing and Fabrication, who spent the first half of his career buying, managing, and selling dozens of companies across multiple industries before successfully acquiring a machine shop of his own.


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Jan 7, 2020

A team of leaders who are not united will never reach their potential.  On today’s episode of MakingChips, the guys discuss the importance of team health after Jason Zenger shares an exercise he does with his leadership team at ZENGERS.  This exercise brings healthy conflict to the forefront of their end-of-year planning meetings. The process improves company culture and brings teams closer together by affirming what each member admires about each other and what they would like to see improved.  

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Dec 31, 2019

Quality management in the manufacturing industry should be high on your list of priorities. Carr Machine & Tool is going through the auditing process with ProShop ERP to prepare for the AS9100 certification they’d like to obtain. In this episode of MakingChips, the guys will talk with Paul Van Metre and Michael Collins about ProShop ERP, AS9100, and everything you need to know to prepare for getting your shop certified. 

Paul is the president of ProShop USA, and founder of Adion Systems, which develops ProShop, a web-based and paperless ERP, MES, QMS system specifically designed for elite companies in the metalworking industry. They partner with shops that seek to be elite and deliver cutting edge quality.

Michael is an implementation specialist at ProShop USA, who trains clients on how to effectively use and implement ProShop in their shops. In addition, Michael provides QMS consulting in the areas of compliance, documentation, auditing and achieving management system certification such as AS 9100. Michael is also an ASQ certified quality auditor. 

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ProShop takes quality management to a whole new level

ProShop describes itself as a Digital Manufacturing Ecosystem (DME) that combines quality management system (QMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), Computerized Maintenance Management System, and manufacturing execution system (MES) all in one

Not only is ProShop ERP an all-encompassing system you need for your manufacturing business, but they are also completely paperless. The system takes you into the 21st century and helps you manage everything in one system. 

This episode IS a shameless plug for ProShop because we 100% believe everyone needs to integrate it into their business—and we aren’t afraid to say it. 

What you need to do to get AS9100 certified

AS9100 is the international Quality Management System standard for the Aviation, Space and Defense (AS&D) industry (Rev D (2016) is the most recent version). If you want to work with the AS&D you must get your shop certified

So what does the AS9100 certification process look like? According to Michael, you simply start with a gap assessment. He’ll come in and ask questions, look at records and evaluate where your business is currently at as far as conforming to the AS9100 requirements. 

The gap assessment will help you narrow down where you need to focus and implement changes to become compliant with your quality management. According to Michael: “The whole idea of quality is continuous improvement”. 

It won’t be achieved in a day, but you can take ongoing steps. There is always something to be improved upon. Be sure to listen as Michael goes into detail. 

How does ProShop ERP simplify the auditing process? 

All of the records that Michael needs to audit can be found within ProShop. There is no navigating through different programs or—heaven forbid—paper files. He can follow the audit trail from one thing to the next in one seamless platform. 

ProShop cuts down the time it takes to do an audit to a third

Jim points out that as a business owner, this is a weight off your shoulders. There are so many other areas where your time is better spent and if you’re decreasing the time spent on an audit bt 66% it decreases anxiety. It also allows you to get back to what you need to do much faster.

Doing things paperless will become the new standard. An auditor can’t tell you that you have to use binders. Even if they aren’t familiar with ProShop, you can walk them through where to find any and all of the info they need. 

ProShop raises the bar when it comes to excellence in quality

ProShop integrated quality management into their system to benefit you. Here are just a few of the functionalities and updates they make that raise the bar: 

  • They help you integrate updates into your system as revisions are made to the standard. They are always updating their ‘Flying Start’ package to reflect regulation updates.
  • The integrate a vendor rating system so you can track the quality of the vendors that you work with. It always you to rank vendors on quality, communication, on-time delivery, and more. 
  • ProShop offers different options to help make sure your system is secure and follows ITAR regulations (on-site server or AWS GovCloud). 

We rely on ProShop ERP to automate our systems and help us go above and beyond expectations with the quality we deliver. 

Listen to the whole episode for valuable information on quality management, ProShop ERP, ASQ9100 certification and much more. 

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • What’s new at Carr Machine & Tool and Zenger’s & Black
  • Manufacturing News: Automated Metrology by Quality Magazine
  • Michael Collins and Paul Van Metre join Jason and Jim
  • How Michael got started in the manufacturing industry
  • What you need to do to get AS 9100 certified
  • Having ProShop ERP cuts audits down to ⅓ of the time
  • People Recognize that ProShop ERP is an efficient QMS system
  • A conversation about the ProShop vendor rating system
  • Is ProShop ERP a secure system?

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guests

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Dec 17, 2019

Is it possible to recession-proof a business? With all the chatter in the economic world about the potential of a recession, how do you mitigate your losses? Are their things that you can do up-front that would help you survive a recession? Jim and Jason discuss the ‘dirty word’ in the industry and some steps you can consider implementing before—or when—a recession hits. 

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Why are so many NOT worried about a recession? 

Many young people in the industry who dove into the workforce after 2008 don’t understand what it means to be in a recession. They haven’t lived through one. Those who remember what it felt like hate to talk or think about it. Jim points out that despite the emotion surrounding the word, it needs to be brought back into the vocabulary. Just because you avoid something doesn’t mean it won’t still happen. Jason and Jim emphasize that if you are educated and prepared a recession won’t impact you as much as it could. So what do you do?

If a recession IS coming, what do you do?

Jim notes that every recession he’s lived through “looks and feels a little bit different than the one before.'' The unfortunate reality is that we don’t know when a recession will come, how bad it will be, or how long it will last. When Jason’s Dad, Steve, led his business through a recession—he stopped taking a paycheck for a chunk of time.

If you’re a business owner, you will have to take some hits. It’s inevitable.

Jason’s dad knew he had to protect his business and employees, so he stopped paying himself to get them through the economic downturn. One way to mitigate the harshness of this reality in your own life is to build up a nest-egg. Create a savings account in case of a recession that can see you, your family, and your business through to the other side. 

Labor is the #1 biggest cost in the manufacturing industry

If cutting your pay isn’t enough to mitigate the financial losses, you have to address the elephant in the room: you might have to let someone go. It’s not easy to do, but sometimes it has to be done. It comes with the territory of being a business owner. It may come down to, “Who can we afford to lose?”. 

Sometimes, there is a clear path. Steve Zenger had to ‘trim the fat’ in the last recession and fire a few people who were under-performing or unwilling to help them make it through the recession. If you’re not at the point where you need to make some layoffs, a tip to save some money is to reduce overtime. If you can’t afford to pay your team, you certainly can’t afford to pay time-and-a-half. 

Reduce your overhead costs and develop sales skills

Jason currently pays rent on three different locations for his business. He questions if a recession hits, could he consolidate locations to reduce overhead? Another option the guys point out is relocating the business somewhere with lower rent. 

During the last recession, Jason’s Dad took him out for lunch, and point-blank asked: “What are you going to do about this?”. Jason wasn’t going to sit back and cry. Instead, he developed a passion for sales. If business wasn’t finding him, he was going to do everything possible to bring it in. 

A recession is difficult to talk about, but Jim and Jason agree it’s stuff you need to know. A business owner must do everything they can to prepare. To hear the rest of their suggestions regarding surviving a recession, listen to the whole episode of MakingChips!

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Recession is a dirty word in the industry
  • The potential of the electric vehicle
  • Text CHIPS to 38470 to subscribe to the Boring Bar Newsletter!
  • America’s largest truck engine manufacturer is laying off 2,000 people
  • Mitigating the risks that come with a recession
  • When it comes down to reducing your labor force
  • Jim and Jason discuss ways to lower your overhead costs
  • Don’t get used to a lifestyle of expensive living
  • Consider outsourcing work that isn’t profitable

Tools & Takeaways

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Dec 10, 2019

Today’s guest on the MakingChips podcast is passionate about job creation in the manufacturing industry. Today’s youth are being pushed towards college degree—while racking up debt—which has led to $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the country. It is staggering. Unfortunately, many students spend the majority of their working life paying off that debt. 

Jon Klinepeter left a career as a Pastor to start Forrest Bradshaw Industries and the Better Good Group. His goal is to offer underprivileged youth a shot in an industry that is screaming for more labor. To hear more about his heart and mission in manufacturing, listen to the whole episode of MakingChips now!

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Jon’s journey from Ministry to Machining

Jon Klinepeter spent 22 years as a Pastor in Chicago (and Minneapolis, MN). He had a passion and love for the people he worked with. He was an advocate in his community. His faith has always been very important to him—but he didn’t love the church organizational structure. So he completed an MBA in Strategy and Innovation.

Then, he bought a 38-year-old CNC Machining company from a Polish Immigrant. 

But why machining? Jon’s grandfather was his hero growing up, and had spent his life as a machinist. According to Jon, what drew him in was “The intellect being expressed through your hands rather than through an education system that rewards a certain type of thinking”. He wanted to build a business with that thought in mind.

A passion for job creation

Jon’s passion is job creation, and he knows the manufacturing industry is constantly growing. Not only is it growing, but being a CNC machinist is the highest paying career you can have without a college degree. Jon wanted to take that knowledge and start creating generational opportunities for underprivileged youth.

Nothing brings him greater joy than seeing the look of hope on someone’s face when they’ve been offered a job they never thought remotely possible. The purpose of Forrest Bradshaw is to inspire hope for a better future through living wage job opportunities in precision metal manufacturing.

100,000 jobs for at-risk youth is possible

With his purpose and vision for Forrest Bradshaw, he launched an initiative to create 100,000 jobs for at-risk youth across the country. He wanted to inspire hope for a better future through living wage job opportunities in precision metal manufacturing. He’s watched thousands of kids walking into job fairs scared and hopeless, but leaving full of hope. 

What is being offered is more than just a job, but a future

Many kids don’t have the right guidance or mentors available to them. Those of us fortunate enough to have parents that were available had a safety net. Parents are ongoing mentors throughout our lives—but many underprivileged youths don’t get that. Providing jobs gives them hope for the next generation. 

A business owner must lead with Integrity

With his core vision in mind, Jon knew he had to build a business with his values at the center of everything he did. The foundational value he chose to build Forrest Bradshaw on was integrity. At times, practicing integrity can seem counter-cultural. Jon reminisced about getting some machinery fixed:

The company giving him a quote for the job (that the insurance was going to cover) asked him what cut that he wanted from the quote. 

With his team waiting to see what his response would be, he responded “Just whatever it costs, bill us for that”. Your integrity will cost you something. That would’ve been easy money in his pocket. Instead, he chose to honor his core values and lead with integrity. 

To hear the rest of Jon’s mission, vision, core values, and advice for leaders in manufacturing, listen to the whole episode! 

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • What would Jim do if he wasn’t at Carr Machine & Tool?
  • What’s happening at Carr Machine & Tool 
  • What’s new at Zenger & Black
  • Subscribe to the Boring Bar Newsletter!
  • Manufacturing News: Mike Rowe weighs in on student debt
  • Why Jon Klinepeter left ministry for machining
  • The purpose of Forrest Bradshaw Industries
  • The core values Jon embraces in his business
  • Jon’s advice for aspiring manufacturing leaders
  • We chat with Mark at Xometry about ITAR compliant vs. registered

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Dec 3, 2019

Employee onboarding can be stressful and it’s hard to know what you should or shouldn’t be doing. What do you tell a new hire on day one? Do you start the process before their first day? When do you do performance reviews? The list of questions goes on! Today, Jim and Jason are going to walk you through the Carr Machine & Tool onboarding experience. 

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Hiring Millennials: A new era of employee onboarding?

The overarching number of people applying to machinist jobs are millennials. For those of us in a different generation, do we need to change the way we onboard? According to Jungohr, there are some tips to make the process more successful. 

  1. Get on-board with preboarding: You can send the employee handbook and have them fill out the necessary paperwork before day one.
  2. Begin relationship-building: One fun way? Have them listen to the MakingChips Podcast!
  3. Clearly communicate: Communication is key to a successful onboarding process (this, of course, applies to every generation)
  4. Establish a sense of purpose: Millennials want to feel as if they are contributing to the greater good of the company and the world. Foster an environment where they know they are!

Many of these points apply to every generation, but it’s been found to be especially impactful to Millennials. Let us know what YOU think!

How to gauge if the potential hire is the best fit

At Carr Machine & Tool, Jim has several ways to see if a potential hire is a fit for their culture. If he has a good feeling about a candidate, he will bring them into his weekly production meeting to see how they interact with the team.

He also enjoys walking a candidate through the shop to see how they interact and engage with people. This could be labeled as “pre-boarding”—he’s involving the potential hire in his company culture before officially hiring. 

If they’re not interested in engaging and don’t make an effort, you can end the process before it’s even started. It may seem time-consuming on the front-end but can save a lot of pain and problems throughout the next 30, 60, or 90 days.

Make performance reviews meaningful 

On a new hire’s first day, Jim lays out what the process looks like, and schedules a 30-day performance review. The first 30 days is a sort of trial period to see how they acclimate. There is no goal-setting or anything that would place pressure on the candidate. You want them to spend time shadowing (and there’s a lot of hand-holding) and learning new processes. 

Jim makes sure to ask 6 different questions in the first performance review. He wants to let them know if they are on-par with expectations and see how they think they’re doing. Jim will even let them know if they are performing below expectations. The goal isn’t to be critical, but to let them know that you are going to take an active role in their success. 

When should you do a compensation review? Listen to find out!

Regular performance reviews are a proven process for success

Within the first year an employee is hired, Jim does performance reviews at 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, and at the one-year mark. These reviews are based on goals they’ve set, improvements that were recommended, and so forth. If the employee has proven themselves exceptional, they reward the employee with a pay increase

It allows the employee to learn new skills and be goal-driven. 

The goal is to help your team members feel more connected and that they have a safe environment to grow in—you want to help them reach the next level of expertise. When you schedule reviews in a formulaic manner, it’s a structured way for both you and the employee to constantly move forward. 

To hear some mistakes to avoid, be sure to listen to the rest of the episode!

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • What’s new at Zenger!
  • Subscribe to our newsletter: text CHIPS to 38470
  • 4 Proven Ways to Successfully Onboard Millennial Employees
  • The onboarding process at Carr Machine & Tool
  • Check out Xometry’s helpful design guides!
  • A proven process that works for Carr
  • Mistakes to avoid making during reviews

Tools & Takeaways

Connect With MakingChips

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Nov 26, 2019

This re-release of one of our most popular episodes includes never released bonus content about development, retention strategies, compensation techniques and much more. Our returning guest, Jess Giudici, packs a punch with her on-point advice and skillful mastery of employee development. If you’re ready to grow and retain a team of motivated and fulfilled employees, don’t miss this special episode!

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Create development paths that aren’t leadership specific

Human Resources (HR) is a faction of every company and the roles within HR can vary. On one hand, they must be focused on protecting the business. But new-school HR is about recruitment, development, training, and retention. As an employer, it is your job to make sure that the employees you’ve recruited feel understood and fulfilled in their role. 

One means of doing that is crafting different development paths that allow team members to grow—that aren’t necessarily leadership. Not everyone wants to climb the career ladder with the end goal of being in leadership. How can you help individuals grow in their roles, take on more responsibility, or become more technically proficient? 

To hear some of the questions that Jess recommends asking to gauge what an employee desires for their career path, keep listening!

The conversation about compensation 

Jess recommends having “touch-point” conversations with employees throughout the year where you gauge their engagement level and offer support. Sometimes, they may feel content with the role that they’re playing and aren’t looking to take on increased responsibility. Jess points out that this is great if they’re consistently achieving what is expected of them.

But the guys ask—what if they want more money with no added responsibility?

Jess takes the challenging question head-on, recommending that you be ready and equipped to answer. She points out that it’s okay to implement salary caps for positions and clearly define up-front that you understand the desire for a raise, but they are at the high end of the payscale for their position. If they would like more compensation you can start the conversation but be sure they’re aware that includes increasing responsibilities. 

Jason, Jim, and Jess continue to talk about fair market value, offers from competition, and employee engagement. Don’t miss it!

You need to implement two separate reviews

Many businesses tend to do an “annual review” to assess employee performance and converse about the “expected” raise. Jess believes these conversations need to be split up. The annual review should only be about performance. It should be tying up loose ends regarding the conversations you’ve had throughout the year. Center the review around development and engagement. Be sure the employee knows that compensation is not part of this conversation, and they will be more engaged and open. 

Compensation needs to be addressed separately, even perhaps as the employee is exceeding what is expected of them. Often, there is an expectation that an employee will get a “cost-of-living” raise, but this isn’t always the case. Your team needs to know that if they are exhibiting behaviors that detract from their productivity and performance, they may not get the expected raise. Jess points out that the team members should know that their performance has been lacking—it shouldn’t come as a surprise—and that you will work with them to further develop. Perhaps they’ll see that raise at a later date as they improve. 

The guys open up a tough conversation about some of their pet peeves about expected yearly raises. Be sure to listen!

Understanding employee turnover and developing retention strategies

In most cases, Jim and Jason aren’t surprised when an employee announces they’re leaving, but sometimes it comes as a surprise. If an employee decides to leave unexpectedly, it’s important to know why. Were they engaged? Did they receive sufficient training? Did their pay scale not match the market? All of these questions can be incorporated into an exit interview. It allows you to reflect on your processes and making changes where necessary. 

But how do you avoid employee turnover?

Jess advocates for giving your employees a voice. When someone is employed in a culture where they feel validated and understood, they are likely to feel fulfilled in their role. You can cultivate a culture that gives everyone a voice while aligning with your core values. Hold round-table discussions, ask for feedback or have employees complete surveys—then be prepared to implement changes. This helps your team feel heard and respected.

Jess, Jason, and Jim talk in detail about developing a culture of engagement in this episode. If you’re ready to create a company culture where no one wants to leave, this is the episode for you! 

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Uniting your team under the goal to constantly improve. 
  • Manufacturing news: Millennials’ Skeptical About Manufacturing Careers
  • Jess Giudici is back with the Metal Working Nation!
  • Fostering a love of personal and company growth through HR development. 
  • Understanding the individual: what drives your employees?
  • What if someone doesn’t want to climb the career ladder?
  • Balancing formal and informal development conversations. 
  • Separating performance and pay reviews. 
  • Understanding why people leave and why people stay. 
  • Creating and cultivating a great company culture. 
  • Bonus content: Compensation techniques with Jess Giudici. 
  • Automated quoting process with Greg Paulson of Xometry
  • Keeping file sharing ITAR compliant 

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Jess Giudici

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Nov 12, 2019

Is social media marketing for manufacturers really worth the effort? How should you market your brand in general? It may be hard to figure out where you fit in the social media world and what content to put out. In this episode of Making Chips, Jim and Jason talk about why social media marketing can make a positive impact on your business. Their answers aren’t what you expect!

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Prioritize Self-Care above your business

Jim and Jason had a scary Halloween—but not for the reason you'd expect. They were preparing to record a couple of episodes for the podcast. Instead, Jim was rushed to the ER with a case of Gastritis. Among other factors, severe stress is one of the things that contributed to his illness. Running multiple businesses and caring for unhealthy parents took a toll on him. The moral of the story? Know what’s going on with your body, and take care of yourself.

As a business owner, you have an obligation to care for your company. However, it is impossible to do so if you aren’t healthy. Proper self-care should be the entrepreneur’s #1 priority. Jim is already active and watches his diet, but wasn’t limiting his stress. It was a wake-up call for him and he hopes that it’s a wake-up call for listeners as well. 

Social Media marketing to promote company culture

A listener pointed out that he doesn’t believe a machine shop must do any social media marketing. He doesn’t buy it. He believes that it’s a total waste of time for an industrial company. After all, what aerospace engineer goes on Facebook to look for a manufacturer? While Jim and Jason point out and understand that social media isn’t for everyone, there are some important reasons to utilize Social media. 

Firstly, you’re not creating posts on Facebook to attract buyers. You are doing it to promote your company culture. You can promote new talent or offer a behind the scenes take of what your company does. Social media allows a business to share their values with the world. It is THE most effective way to do so—and costs you nothing but time. 

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn—where do you begin?

As much as you may not want to give credence to the importance of the social space, they point out that people build careers in social media. Instagram influencers make thousands of dollars promoting services or products in posts. Instagram is a great model for the manufacturing space because it allows you to share visuals in a meaningful way.

You can share photos of parts, people in your business, or of projects you’re working on. Or perhaps a short video of work in progress or a how-to piece. Whatever it is, it allows you to build an authentic connection with your audience. If you’re providing valuable information, social media marketing for your brand can certainly be worth the time and effort.

LinkedIn can also be a useful tool to attract new talent. A new hire came across some of the content Jim had shared on LinkedIn. He saw that Jim was hiring a C & C Machinist, and messaged him about the opportunity. He already knew—based on their social media presence—that the company would be a good fit. And he was!

Marketing isn’t a waste of time when done properly

Marketing doesn’t necessarily reap immediate rewards as far as attracting new clients. However, the immediate reward is how it impacts your company. As you build a website or define a marketing strategy, you are defining how you want your business presented to the world. What are your values? What are your specialties? What is the #1 thing you want the general public to know about your company? 

As you’re building a vision for your brand it helps lay out the vision for how you operate your business. You differentiate yourself in the industry by being different, and marketing helps you portray what makes you special. If you stand out and exploit what makes your business different, you attract the type of customers that are the right fit. They emphasize the importance of finding a good marketing agency to guide you through the process. It can make a world of difference. 

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Manufacturing leaders need to prioritize self care
  • SIA latest news
  • Social media marketing for manufacturers
  • What can Instagram do for you?
  • Is marketing a waste of time?
  • Find a good marketing agency!
  • What Upcoming episodes will look like
  • A conversation with Peter Goguen of Xometry

Tools & Takeaways

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Oct 22, 2019

Making the decision to employ veterans may seem like a shot in the dark, but it could actually be the best hiring decision you will ever make as a manufacturing leader. Military veterans not only have the tangible leadership skills you need to grow and succeed in your business, but they also bring a rich set of attributes and experiences to the table.

Making the transition from military life to a new, civilian career can be intimidating, however! Helping veterans thrive in their post-military chapters is what brought Andrea Biwer (Executive Director of the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce) and Marne Deithorn (Director of Human Resources at the Des Plaines Rivers Casino) together to form the Veteran Boot Camp. 

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The “Aha moment” that created the Veterans Back to Work Boot Camp

Andrea knew there was a shortage in the manufacturing workforce, but she didn’t see it as an opportunity for veterans until she watched her son and his friends come back from their service in the marines and have trouble finding work. Joining with Marne (a veteran herself!) at the Rivers Casino, the two women helped lead the charge in founding the Veterans Back to Work Boot Camp. The ten-week program is built to help and empower veterans who have given so much to our country and to fill job opportunities within various industries - including manufacturing! 

A ten-week itinerary of life-changing self-discovery

Over 250 veterans have applied to the boot camp since it began. 20 were chosen out of 85 applications for this past year’s program. While there are no set criteria for being accepted, Andrea and Marne explain that they painstakingly go through each application, looking for those they believe will most benefit from the experience and be committed to the learning opportunity. Those that aren’t accepted are still given access to the job fair put on by the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce. 

Mentors come alongside the veterans, sharing their own mistakes and experiences. Topics such as Who are You?, Persona, and Introversion vs. Extroversion are covered, as well as interviewing skills and resume building. Marne explains that in the military, everyone is told exactly what to do - all the time. Veterans are used to a life where they are told what to wear, where to move, and what they should do in their job. Suddenly living in a world without constant direction can be daunting. The Boot Camp endeavors to help veterans find themselves again after identifying themselves as “the military” for so long. 

Employ veterans for their strengths and tangible leadership experience

Andrea and Marne share that the veterans who leave the program are filled with newfound confidence and strength in their personal capabilities. The practical experiences they gain from the program, such as participation in networking events and community service projects, help give them a sense of purpose outside of the military. One of the greatest strengths of veterans is their desire for purpose - to give to something bigger than themselves. Veterans have so much to offer, and their military training and experiences have proven them to be men and women of integrity, loyalty, character, and principle. They know how to lead under pressure and how to build up those around them to greater achievements. They know how to make decisions. When you employ veterans, you aren’t just utilizing their skill-set, you are investing in the future. 

Don’t stereotype - we all have things we struggle with 

Unfortunately, there are many misconceived misgivings surrounding employing veterans. Firstly, veterans aren’t just line employees. Because of their military experience, they are ready for leadership positions at the get-go. While they may need to learn the details of a specific job, they already have the tangible leadership skills needed to succeed (know yourself, know your troops, and know your mission). 

Secondly, not every veteran has PTSD. Andrea and Marne warn against placing veterans inside a box of mental disorders. “That negative stigma is absolutely ridiculous,” they say. Everyone has something they struggle with, and not only military members have PTSD. If you find that one of your employed veterans has some type of disorder, help them find the encouragement and aid they need. 

Thirdly, not all homeless veterans have a debilitating habit that brought them to that condition. Again, everyone has struggles. Veterans are human too, and they deserve a chance. To learn more about the ways you can help give back to military veterans while also growing your business, listen to the episode! 

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Veterans know how to make decisions!
  • The inspired beginnings of the Veterans Back to Work Boot Camp. 
  • The three-fold mission of the Boot Camp. 
  • How do veterans benefit from a mentorship-based program? 
  • Overcoming obstacles on the road to self-discovery. 
  • Training built to inspire and create the future. 
  • Practical experiences make for a well-rounded education. 
  • Unexpected reasons you should employ veterans. 
  • How the manufacturing community can help make a difference. 
  • Overcoming the negative stigmas surrounding employing veterans. 

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guests

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Oct 15, 2019

Training to achieve top credentials has long been a goal of many in the Metal Working Nation, but what about training for performance? Montez King, Executive Director of NIMS, unpacks the power of training machinists to perform at their ultimate best. How do you measure performance? Listen to the episode to find out! 

Montez grew up on the rough side of the tracks in Baltimore - eager to pursue something bigger than himself when he grew up. Encouraged by a high school instructor to pursue machining, Montez found himself learning the tricks of the trade in his high school machine shop. Over the years in various manufacturing jobs, Montez endeavored to find solutions to the issues he found riddling the manufacturing industry - namely, the habit of companies to reward their employees for hoarding their expertise. As he climbed the industry ladder, Montez encouraged a paradigm shift towards a community rich in growth, teaching, and learning. 

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Redefining the values: training for performance instead of credentials

When Montez became the executive director at NIMS, he laid out a new mission for the organization - to train from the end. Manufacturers are always learning. Technology continues to grow at a rate that demands elite performance and an insatiable desire to learn. Montez explains that simply having a list of credentials doesn’t cut it anymore in an industry where performance equals compensation. Employers are coming up against unique problems every day that require quick and expert solutions. Performance has become the new measuring stick. 

NIMS helps companies train for performance with specific goals and standards in mind. When measuring performance, they determine whether or not an individual can operate within the responsibilities of their job description while drawing upon the competencies associated with that job. The training isn’t just for the sake of training. It’s training with a specific performance goal in mind. 

Empowering the standards while building the performance 

Manufacturing leaders know that they can’t wander aimlessly when trying to improve their teams. There needs to be a goal - a standard of achievement. NIMS takes this need for standards and applies it to their performance measurement, creating training methods that enable the trainee to meet the performance goals of the employer. Trainees leave with the ability to make an analysis of the task at hand and to apply their expertise based upon their best judgment of the tools, time, and needs within their environment. 

Montez makes it clear that standards should not be held above performance. The answer to the employer’s needs is the competent and consistent performance of the trained individual. Credentials are awarded to individuals who complete the training and meet the performance standards so that the trainee is recognized for their hard work, while also meeting the needs of the employer. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

It’s a three-way stop in the NIMS stakeholder environment 

In order to make the performance training at NIMS a true win-win, Montez has helped create a stakeholder environment in his company’s training methods. Using the image of three bars, each one stands for a stakeholder in the training: the employer, the trainer, and the trainee. Everyone is reaching for the same goal, and each one is held accountable for their part in the deal. Validation is achieved when the trainee can draw upon the competencies they have learned and can successfully apply them to the environment that their employer has defined for them. The employer is responsible for establishing the standards, the trainer is responsible for creating a training method that builds performance and skill, and the trainee is responsible for mastering the craft and competence in applying knowledge to real-life situations. All three bars have to measure up. When one falls short - they all fall short. 

NIMS is building an exciting opportunity for manufacturing teams at IMTS 2020

To Montez, performance measurement is preventative maintenance! In order to push the Metal Working Nation to the next level, NIMS will be hosting a one-of-a-kind challenge at the IMTS 2020 trade show. The goal will be to measure the performance of a team, since teamwork is such a vital part of the manufacturing industry. This PM will require multiple skill-sets to come together to design, create, and produce a task that will then be voted upon by the IMTS crowd. In accordance with the NIMS training methodology, the competition will include standards, inspections, and requirements modeled after real-life challenges. What’s the reward? You’ll have to find out at IMTS 2020! 

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • From Baltimore to NIMs - Montez’s manufacturing story. 
  • The detrimental trend of hoarding knowledge. 
  • Changing the culture and mission of NIMS. 
  • Measuring performance instead of credentials. 
  • Creating a win-win training method for employer and employee.
  • The magic of entanglement in training. 
  • The importance of having standards and reliable methods. 
  • It’s the employer’s job to define the desired performance standard. 
  • NIMS is offering an exciting opportunity at IMTS 2020!

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Montez King

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Oct 8, 2019

Content marketing provides an opportunity to expand your business and to offer something of value to the manufacturing community around the world. Chris Fox, the creative director at MakingChips, shares why every manufacturing leader should be investing in the development of a strong and value-driven content marketing strategy. It’s all about building your online presence as a company and growing your audience. 

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Provide content marketing with value to those that need your expertise

Content marketing has grown from only a couple of usable platforms to several powerful mediums for sharing what your business offers - from products to educational knowledge. Blogging, social media, and YouTube are all avenues for content marketing. The goal is to establish the presence of your business and brand, while also meeting the needs of the Metal Working Nation. Chris explains that learning and teaching are things that every machinist and manufacturing leader can benefit from. Every manufacturing business has expertise and wisdom to share with the manufacturing community. Don’t be afraid to begin documenting the story of your company as you create, make mistakes, and overcome obstacles. Your knowledge can easily become rich building material for content marketing! 

Create authentic content that offers a valuable return on investment

Your audience craves and needs original, authentic content to help them accomplish their work at their very best. Being natural in your content marketing is vital. People easily see through facades and glossy content. Be honest and provide real solutions to real problems through your content marketing. If you want your audience to invest their time in watching your videos, reading your blog, or re-tweeting your twitter post, then you need to provide a valuable ROI. 

Chris encourages listeners to put aside the notion of proprietary secrets. The goal is to grow as a manufacturing community - while also building your reputation as a brand. Value-driven content marketing can help establish your reputation as a trustworthy source for knowledge and product. 

Vlogging helps establish credibility with your audience 

Vlogging is blogging in a video format - most often through YouTube. The true value in a blog comes from the individuals in your business. Content marketing doesn’t have to be formal or impressively polished. Being real is vital, and showcasing the talent and knowledge of individual team members can help establish credibility with your audience. 

Chris explains how to navigate the nuances of vlogging as a manufacturing company. Being honest with the titles of your videos is key. If your title claims to answer a question, make sure that the video actually answers it. Google is now smart enough to read the transcript of your video and match it with the title. If those two factors don’t match up, Google is less likely to promote your video. 

The length of your videos should be tailored to the needs of your audience. If it takes an hour to demonstrate the solution to a real problem, then your video should be an hour long. If it only takes three minutes, then only create three minutes. Lots of ads and fluff in your videos will turn your audience away and detract from your credibility. Above all, be honest and be concise. 

Equip and inspire your audience - and your team

The value in content marketing is derived from the desire to give without thought of receiving anything in return. Take the time to understand what your customers, partners, and team members need. Know what platforms they use and what types of mediums they are most likely to engage with. While you may not be able to kick off a content marketing strategy that utilizes YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Facebook all at once, you can certainly start with one. Don’t have expensive camera equipment to film? Use your phone! Bring in the team and refer to their feedback when developing material. Companies aren’t people, but they are made up of people. Make sure that you are providing excellent content by ensuring that you are not only promoting your brand but also equipping and inspiring. 

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Why Jim and Jason see MakingChips as a way to pour back into the Metal Working Nation. 
  • Introducing Chris Fox: Creative Director at MakingChips
  • Is all marketing content marketing?
  • The valuable knowledge that manufacturers have to share. 
  • Tracking your marketing performance through content marketing platforms. 
  • People want value - not excess material. 
  • Knowing what platform is best for your company’s needs.
  • Building credibility through vlogging. 
  • How important is the title of your vlog video?
  • Showcasing the people in your business - not just your products. 
  • Gaging the appropriate length for your video. 
  • Learning how to tag your videos. 

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Chris Fox

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