Making Chips Podcast for Manufacturing Leaders

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! MakingChips was launched in 2014 to equip and inspire the metalworking nation. Hundreds of episodes and a million downloads later, it’s an industry-leading source of information, inspiration, and entertainment for manufacturing leaders of all types. It’s hosted by Jason Zenger and Nick Goellner, two multi-generational manufacturing leaders, and they’re joined by a rotating panel of expert guests – including Titan Gilroy (TITANS of CNC), John Saunders (NYC CNC), Mark TerryBerry (Haas Automation), and many more. Join us as we tackle the topics that keep you up at night - leadership, operations, technology, growth, workforce development and culture.
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Now displaying: 2015
Dec 23, 2015

Some people think additive manufacturing will radically change the face of manufacturing. Although it is still a relatively new technology, additive manufacturing (also referred to as 3D Printing) has caused quite the buzz in the manufacturing community. Will additive manufacturing eventually become the way of the future, or has it's usefulness been overhyped?

“Additive can not do its adding anywhere near as fast as machining can do it’s subtracting." - Peter Zelinski

In this episode of MakingChips, we welcome back Peter Zelinski of Modern Machine Shop Magazine. Peter, Jim, and Jason discuss all things Additive Manufacturing, as well as the importance of manufacturing discussion among the presidential candidates.

“Manufacturing happens in small facilities.” -Peter Zelinski

Episode Outline:

  • [00:17] - Episode Preview
  • [01:26] - Welcome Back Pete
  • [02:00] - What Guided Pete to Manufacturing?
  • [05:30] - Additive Manufacturing
  • [07:50] - Is Additive Manufacturing Overhyped?
  • [11:30] - Additive Manufacturing Under the Radar
  • [13:00] - Modified Machines
  • [15:01] - Can Additive Encourage Domestic Production?
  • [18:00] - Presidential Candidates and Manufacturing
  • [22:40] - Prototyping vs Production
  • [24:00] - Additive vs Machining
  • [27:30] - Call to Action for Listeners
  • [29:45] - How to Reach Peter Zelinski

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Dec 16, 2015

This is MakingChips Episode 50!

In this episode of MakingChips, Jim and Jason recap some of their favorite episodes and interviews from the last year. This episode highlights the story behind MakingChips, as Jim and Jason share their experiences from the beginning to where they are today.

“Jason and I really want to thank each and every one of you for tuning in every week, listening to us, being with us, and taking this ride with us. We had no idea that it was going to be as popular and successful as it has been so far. We’re really working hard (very hard) to make it even better.”

Episode Outline:

  • [00:08] Episode Preview
  • [01:52] The Story Behind MakingChips
  • [05:15] Hiccups along the Way
  • [06:40] Episode 1
  • [07:50] Episode 2
  • [08:20] Recession
  • [09:20] One of our Favorite Episodes
  • [10:00] It’s Not Your Dad’s Machine Shop
  • [11:25] The Power of Networking
  • [12:24] Robots in your Shop
  • [13:00] Skip Generation
  • [13:20] Fernando Ortiz
  • [14:00] Most Downloaded Episodes
  • [15:00] San Diego
  • [15:45] Michelle Mabry
  • [16:30] Patricia Miller
  • [18:09] Jon Baklund
  • [18:18] Eric and Heidi Schmid
  • [19:30] Focus on What You’re Good At
  • [20:00] Tom Hilaris
  • [20:25] Workshops for Warriors
  • [22:45] Julie Poulos
  • [23:30] LinkedIn
  • [25:20] Thank You Listeners
  • [25:45] Jason’s Call to Action
  • [26:24] Thank You Guests
Dec 9, 2015

What makes a good leader? Leadership is the single most important factor in the success or failure of any business. Great leaders use their leadership traits to motivate, inspire, and build high performance teams around them. The role of an innovative leader greatly differs from the conventional image that many people hold of good leadership. What kind of qualities do these innovative leaders share?

“The innovators in this industry, (machining, desecrate part production) are engaged together in this huge open source effort at figuring manufacturing out.” – Peter Zelinski

In this Episode of MakingChips, we sit down with Peter Zelinski of Modern Machine Shop Magazine. Peter has been a writer and editor for Modern Machine Shop for more than a decade. Peter regularly visits machining facilities to learn about the manufacturing technology, systems and strategies they have adopted, and the successes they’ve realized as a result. He shares many of his insights from these experiences with us, including 4 Traits of Modern Manufacturing Leaders and 3 Deep Level Trends in Manufacturing.  

“Even making metal parts is ultimately a people business.” – Peter Zelinski

Peter Zelinski’s 4 Traits of Modern Manufacturing Leaders:

  • Authenticity
  • Persistence
  • Love
  • Genuine Regard for People

3 Deep Level Trends in Manufacturing:

  • Automation
  • Additive
  • Atmosphere

Episode Outline:

  • [00:07] Intro/Preview
  • [01:36] Manufacturing News
  • [04:30] Welcome Peter Zelinski
  • [07:45] Leadership Characteristics
  • [09:10] Authenticity
  • [10:32] Persistence
  • [12:50] Baby Steps
  • [13:35] Process Improvement
  • [19:40] Love What You Do
  • [22:15] Regard for People
  • [25:00] Value of the Employee
  • [26:22] Bad Traits
  • [29:20] Culture Changes (Atmosphere)
  • [33:10] Jason’s Call to Action for Listeners

Shops Mentioned in this Episode:

  • Rekluse Motor Sports in Idaho
  • Baklund R&D in Minnesota
  • C&A Tool in Indiana
  • Byrne Tool and Die in Michigan
  • Tech Manufacturing Co in Missouri

Also Mentioned in this Episode:

Dec 2, 2015

The thought of leaving your machine shop for even a few hours can be enough to cause anxiety for many manufacturing leaders, so it may seem impossible to imagine running your business from halfway across the country.

“To make manufacturing work, to make money, you feel like you have to grab it so hard it slips through your fingers.” – Eric Schmid

In this extended episode of MakingChips, we sit down with brother and sister Eric Schmid and Heidi Schaefer of Schmid Tool and Engineering. Eric and Heidi share their story of how and why they made the decision to work remotely, while still maintaining their respective roles in the company. There were many important decisions that they needed to make along the way in order to ensure a seamless transition. This episode covers a range of topics that can help manufacturing leaders decide if working remotely is the right move for them. Topics include Letting Go of Control, Planning the Transition, Bumps in the Road, Being Accessible, Holding Accountability, and Mastering Fear.

Episode Outline:

  • [0:07] Intro/ Preview
  • [1:34] Manufacturing News
  • [5:00] Welcome Heidi and Eric
  • [6:10] The Roots of Schmid Tool
  • [7:40] Roles in the Business
  • [9:30] Working Remotely
  • [11:40] Letting Go of Control
  • [14:00] Planning the Transition
  • [14:50] Bumps in the Road
  • [17:00] Being Accessible
  • [19:00] How Do You Let Go?
  • [22:30] Cultural Consistencies
  • [24:00] Making the Move
  • [27:20] Management and Leadership
  • [29:20] Steps to Working Remotely
  • [31:25] The Illusion of Control
  • [33:00] Accountability
  • [35:30] Mastering Fear
  • [37:00] Give and Take
  • [38:40] Helping the Owners
  • [40:00] Conclusion
Nov 25, 2015

Last week on MakingChips, we sat down with Craig Zoberis of Fusion OEM for the first half of a two part interview. This week, we cover a range of topics relating to a company’s Core Values.

In part two of this episode, Craig shares with us his set of Core Values that define his company while guiding his team member’s actions. Later on, Craig presents us with his insight about the difference between generic Core Values, or what he calls “The Ticket of Doing Business”, and meaningful Core Values that resonate with his employees.

The Right Core Values:

  • Strive for Simplicity
  • Show Gratitude
  • Be Flexible
  • Have Fun
  • See Possibilities
  • Go Home Safely

Episode Outline:

  • [1:23] – The Daily Huddle
  • [4:00] – How to Handle Sharing Bad News
  • [6:00] – Identifying Bottlenecks
  • [7:00] – Managing Different Schedules
  • [9:00] – Expectations of the Huddle
  • [11:00] – The Three “I’s”
  • [12:15] – Jim Asks Whether Everyone Gets It
  • [15:45] – Employee Growth and Trust
  • [16:30] – The Wrong Core Values
  • [18:45] – The Right Core Values
  • [23:50] – Jason on Core Values
  • [25:40] – Fusion OEM’s Monthly Rock Star Program
  • [30:29] – Jason’s Call to Action for Listeners
  • [32:00] – Outtakes (Craig and Jason Discuss Books)

Mentioned in this Episode:

Nov 18, 2015

In the modern business era, we consistently hear the terms “core values” and “company culture”. Among many other business terms, we have integrated these words into our everyday language. But what are company core values and why are they so important?

In this two part episode of MakingChips, Jim and Jason sit down with Craig Zoberis, founder and current president ofFusion OEM. Fusion is an OEM contract manufacturer for industrial OEM’s whose offerings range from Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and Kanban system systems for machined parts and private labeling equipment.

Craig founded Fusion OEM from his home in Illinois, and has grown the company exponentially since it’s inception in 2002. In 2009, Ink magazine named Fusion OEM as one of the 500 fastest growing privately held companies in the country.

Craig begins by giving us a bit of information on his background, what sparked the idea for Fusion OEM, and what his business is all about. Later in the episode, he shares valuable insight on his company’s culture, customers, and core values.

Outline of this Episode

  • [0:08] – Intro (Preview)
  • [1:26] – Veterans Day (Workshops for Warriors)
  • [4:12] – Welcoming Craig Zoberis
  • [7:20] – Fusion OEM
  • [12:30] – What Sparked the Idea for Fusion OEM?
  • [16:15] – Fusion’s “Ecosystem”
  • [21:55] – People
  • [24:00] – Core Values
  • [25:30] – Wrong Core Values
  • [30:20] – Jason’s Example of Core Values
  • [32:26] – End of Episode

Mentioned in this Episode

Nov 11, 2015

In this episode of MakingChips, hosts Jim and Jason talk about millennials, the future of manufacturing, and 7 millennial traits that baby boomers need to learn.

The Millennial Generation is made up of people born around the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Currently they make up nearly 1 in 3 American workers. With 3.5 million manufacturing jobs expected to be created in the future it is important for manufacturing leaders to have an understanding of what drives millennials. Jim and Jason cover 7 different traits of millennials to help older generations understand their needs and passions.

7 Millennial Traits Explained in this Episode

  • Passion
  • Risk-Taking
  • Work and Life Balance 
  • Project Based Thinking
  • Energized Through Newly Learned Skills
  • Spontaneity
  • Travelers

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:07] – Intro (Preview)
  • [1:56] – MAZAK Discover 2015 Event
  • [6:35] – Millennials in Manufacturing
  • [8:40] – 7 Different Traits of Millennials
  • [22:31] – Recap and Questions
  • [24:00] – Outro

Article Mentioned in this Episode

Nov 4, 2015

Episode 44 of MakingChips is inspired by Matthew Feight of Miller Welding.  He writes:

I should start by saying that I am a Plant Manager for contract manufacturer in central Pennsylvania. We have approximately 400 employees within our 3 locations and are a contract manufacturer of fabricated metal products with capabilities in cutting, bending, welding, machining & painting. I was just referred to your podcasts yesterday by the President of our Company. I have listened to several of your episodes, a couple of your first, and a few of the more recent. One that I took particular interest in was the one regarding Business Management Tools for Manufacturing Leaders. I believe it was Jim who stated that he uses Evernote quite extensively and I would definitely like to hear more on how. I have been using Evernote for some time but do not feel I use it to its potential and would be interested on how Jim uses it to manage his time and tasks. Any input would be greatly appreciated. I am looking forward to listening to more of your podcasts.




From Jason:


Thank you for reaching out to us.  The funny thing is that Jim did not mentioned this…it was me (Jason)…so, either we sound the same or we are always talking over each other (most likely).  I hope that you enjoy this episode.



Show Notes:

Everybody has a different way to manage getting things done. For some people, it can be as simple as using an “old school” paper planner. For others, they may prefer organizing their tasks into various software programs. The most important thing is to use one system, and stick to it. Using multiple systems of management can be a tough habit to break. Figuring out a way to transition to one form of task management can do wonders for increasing productivity, and simplifying your life.

In this episode of MakingChips, Jason shares his knowledge of task management that stems from one of the most popular business books ever written, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. The main premise of the book is relatively simple to grasp, “Get your tasks out of your head, and don’t touch them multiple times.” Jason shares a quote from his father that captures this concept perfectly. 

“Don’t open your mail unless you are going to deal with it now and get rid of it.”

Later in the episode, Jason explains (in great detail) how he uses the business application, “Evernote” to manage his to-do lists, tasks, and projects.

“The Basics of Getting Things Done”

  • “Clearing Your To-Do List”
    • This will help you gain peace of mind and focus on what tasks are most important  (New Job, New Quote, New Hire, Increasing Productivity, etc.)
  • “Creating an Inbox of To-Do’s and Projects
  • “Weekly Review”
    • It’s important to spend a short amount of time every week to review your to-do’s and projects. 
    • Put them into context so you can tackle in a more productive manner.                     (Who, Where, and When)

“8 Different Ways to Organize Tasks”

  1. Single Step Task Items
  2. Can Be Completed in Under 2 Minutes
  3. Trash 
  4. Reference Filing System
  5. Task to Create a Project
  6. Delegated List “Waiting For”
  7. Someday/Maybe List
  8. On the Calendar

“Things to Manage without Evernote”

  • Trash
    • To put simply, trash it and never think about it again because it is of zero importance. (An event you won’t be attending)
  • Calendar
    • Something you are doing on a particular date or time that doesn’t need to be thought of before that time. (A meeting with a partner)
  • 2 Minutes
    • If it is something that can be completed in under 2 minutes, just get it done now and move on.

“Setting Up Evernote”

  • Create a notebook called “Action Pending” and another notebook called “Completed” or “Completed Tasks”.  Then drag one of those notebooks on top of the other to create a nest or stack and rename that stack “Tasks”.  Jason mentions that he uses a third notebook with Tasks called “Completed Content”, which is where he puts everything associated with this podcast once finished.
  • Create a tag called “.When” and “.Who”. The reason for using the dot is so you can group these together with all of your tags.
  • Begin creating your “Who’s”. (Who you are talking to)
  • Create your “When’s”


Projects are “things” that need to be broken into smaller steps. You should never manage a project like a to-do because it can become overwhelming. Jason refers to an old adage that captures this concept perfectly.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

  • Create a note with the project name in the action pending notebook.
  • Tag is as “Project”.
  • Break up the project into small actionable steps.
  • Create 2-3 of those to-do’s or action steps as notes just as you would for a normal to-do.
  • Once you create the to-do, delete that step out of the master project note.
  • Review your projects once per week to see what new to-do’s need to be created out of it.
  • Once the project is done, move the note to the Completed notebook.

“Other Tips”

  • All to-do’s should start with an action verb.
  • This may sound really time consuming and complex, but is actually really easy once you get the system up and going.
  • Brain dump everything that you need to do as soon as you think about it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] – Manufacturing News
  • [7:45] – Matthew Feight from Miller Welding
  • [9:20] – “Getting Things Done”
  • [17:15] – Handling E-Mails
  • [20:19] – 3 Things Not Used in Evernote
  • [23:00] – Structuring Evernote
  • [30:10] – Reviewing Evernote Structure
  • [39:00] – New Projects

Jason’s pre-show notes before Ryan rewrote them.

Oct 14, 2015

Get out your scuba gear, we’re taking a deep dive today! In this episode of Making Chips Jason and Jim are with a guest, John Berard who has a ton of experience in the research and implementation of ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) systems in manufacturing businesses. John’s got a lot of actionable advice for both the small and larger size manufacturing operations about how to determine your ERP needs, how to find and choose and ERP system, how much budget to set aside for the purchase, and what to expect during the implementation and transition period. This episode could help you take that bold step into a more streamlined way of managing your machine shop.

What is an Enterprise Resource Planning system? (ERP)

An ERP is business management software—typically a suite of integrated applications—that a company can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities. It might and probably will include other software systems (known as MRP - Materials Resource Planning systems). Some of the things a good ERP may include are systems that track product planning and costs, manufacturing or service delivery, marketing and sales, inventory management, and shipping and payment. It sounds complex but once you have the right ERP solution chosen and implemented in your business, the long term benefit is cash savings on a daily basis. Find out more about ERP systems from our guest today, John Berard as he discusses the topic with Jim and Jason.

How does an ERP system work?

ERP provides an integrated view of your most essential business processes, allowing you to see a “big picture” of what’s going on in your manufacturing operation from many different levels. It also allows you to “drill down” into those broad categories to see the details you need to make better business decisions. A good ERP often does this work for you in real-time, using common databases maintained by a database management system integrated into the program. The applications that are a part of the system share information across the various departments of your operation (manufacturing, purchasing, sales, accounting, etc.). Hear the benefits your business could derive from implementing a good ERP system by listening in to this conversation.

How should you start the process of finding and implementing a good ERP system?

John Berard, today’s guest on Making Chips, recommends that the owner of the manufacturing company NOT try to make this decision on his own. It’s vital that everyone involved in the collection and use of data within your company be a part of the process. The combined knowledge of the particular facets of your business will enable you to make accurate and helpful decisions about what kind of functionality you’ll need from an ERP system. John’s got some very practical suggestions about how to stage and manage those conversations and how to go about finding the right company with the right solution for you. If you’re considering an upgrade to an ERP system, the basics John shares could save you tons of time and money. Be sure to listen.

There are 3 main ways you can mess up the implementation of your ERP system.

John Berard has seen many implementations of ERP software and has some “horror stories” about how you can mess it up. #1 - Ignore your people. You have to listen to those you’ve entrusted with the areas of your business. They will have the information and hands-on experience to help you make a good decision. #2 - You want to listen to your peers who have done an ERP implementation in the past. They will have “lessons learned” that will be of great benefit to you, so don’t let the bells and whistles of a fancy ERP system and a smooth talking salesman lead you down a path that a peer is saying may not be the best. #3 - If you have a gut feeling that the software consultant is not serving your best interests by highlighting the bells and whistles of the software that don’t really apply to your operation, listen to that feeling. You don’t want to make a huge mistake on this crucial decision. Find out more from John’s experience on this episode of Making Chips.

Outline of this episode

  • [1:05] Welcome and introduction to this episode with John Berard.
  • [3:27] What is the direct function of a ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning tool) or MRP (Materials Resource Planning tool) system?
  • [6:00] How do you bring all the “islands” of MRP systems together under one system?
  • [9:05] An example: a small CNC machine shop, business is good, how do they formalize a plan to bring everything together?
  • [12:13] Success stories of how this transition works.
  • [14:15] Finding an ERP software solution to fit your needs.
  • [15:51] A disaster in ERP implementation solutions and 3 ways you can mess up the transition.
  • [17:28] Avoiding the bells and whistles the salesman might point out so you can apply the system to your typical jobs.
  • [19:37] What should a small manufacturer budget for this type of software?
  • [21:31] How long does it take to implement these software solutions?
  • [21:56] John’s advice to those considering implementing an ERP solution for your company.

Links mentioned in this episode

John’s podcast:

Or call us at 312-725-0245

Oct 7, 2015

Chambers of commerce have been around for a very long time. The very first recorded mention of a chamber of commerce was in Marseille, .France in 1599. Trade associations have an equally long history with Associations finding their roots in organizations such as the church, medieval craft guilds, and merchant trading groups. Both groups still exist today and could be an important avenue through which your manufacturing business receives support, stays engaged with your community or industry, or becomes known for what you do and the quality with which you do it. On this episode of Making Chips, Jim and Jason chat a bit about the differences between chambers and associations and give their input about the value of each.


What is a chamber of commerce and how should you decide if being a member would be beneficial to your company?


When you think of a chamber of commerce the first thing that comes to mind should be the word “local.” A chamber of commerce is always tied to a local community, whether it be a township, city, or other local area. The focus of a chamber is to consider and discuss the interests of all businesses in its local area, moving beyond individual interests to that of a collective group. The establishment of chambers provides merchants, traders, craftsmen and business owners a public forum to discuss issues facing them as a business community. This representation of common interests became, and remains, the foundation of chambers of commerce worldwide. Should YOUR business become a member of your local chamber? Jim and Jason have some things for you to think about as you consider that decision. Take a few minutes to listen to this episode to hear what they advise.


What is a trade association and would it benefit your business to join one?


A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry or a specific niche of an industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, political donations, lobbying and publishing, but its main focus is collaboration between the companies that make up its membership. Associations may offer other services, such as producing conferences, providing networking or charitable events, or offering classes or educational materials to its members. In the manufacturing industry there are a number of associations, many specialized to serve its particular membership. Should your company be a member of a specific trade association? Only you can answer that question but Jason and Jim have some thoughts about what you should consider before deciding. You can hear their advice on this episode of Making Chips.


Why would I want to join my local chamber of commerce?


Given your company’s role and profile in the community, membership in your local chamber may not be a good fit. But there are many good reasons TO join your local chamber: Membership could bring credibility to your business in the community. Membership could increase your visibility in the community. Becoming a member could provide networking opportunities for your business. Being a chamber member could also give you an amplified voice in governmental issues. As part of your local chamber you’ll also make local business contacts. With a chamber membership, you can also reach potential clients through member exclusive advertising and opportunities for business-to-business advertising and publicity.


What are the benefits to joining a trade association?


Trade associations provide a valuable resource to those who take advantage of their resources. Some of the reasons you might want to be a part of a specific association are: 1. You can receive specialized knowledge. Odds are that someone, somewhere, in the industry has already discovered the solution to a vexing problem in your particular niche. 2. You can enhance your company’s reputation. 3. You can make personal and industry-related connections. 4. You could increase your company’s purchasing power. Trade associations often arrange for members to receive discounts on certain products and services. 5. Your company could gain political clout and expertise. Trade associations bring competitors together, turning each small voice into a persuasive, collective shout that gets the attention of lawmakers and officials. Listen in as Jim and Jason discuss the benefits of their membership in various associations.


Outline of this episode


  • [1:00] The Making Chips Youtube channel is live!
  • [3:12] IMTS 2016 is coming up in September of 2016… and we’re putting together some ideas about the Making Chips audience coming together for collaboration.
  • [4:06] Associations, Chambers, and both.
  • [4:26] Local Chambers of Commerce… a local opportunity: Jim’s experience.
  • [6:00] The kinds of things to expect at a local chamber meeting.
  • [8:27] Costs and time investments required to be a part of a local chamber.
  • [9:16] A success story from Jim being on the board of a local chamber of commerce.
  • [10:32] The differences between an association and a chamber.
  • [11:49] Clear focus characterizes associations.
  • [13:05] For both chambers and associations, getting involved is important.
  • [14:50] A sampling of associations that are available.
  • [16:15] Thing you need to know about chambers and associations.
  • [17:20] Things to do before joining an association or chamber.
  • [18:00] Give us your feedback about chambers and associations.

Links mentioned in this episode


Mazak’s upcoming event -


Or call us at 312-725-0245

Sep 30, 2015

Word of mouth advertising still works. It’s wonderful when a satisfied customer tells someone else about their experience with your company. But there are more options today than just relying on word of mouth. Technology and social media have created the opportunity to put your advertisements in front of the people who are most likely to buy your products or use your services. How is it possible? Through data that is collected through platforms like Facebook. In this episode of Making Chips, Jim and Jason will be discussing their experience with Facebook ads, including the results they’ve seen, the cost they paid, and why they thought it was a good idea. Listen in to get the whole story.


Getting in front of your ideal customer is easier than ever.


When a person first sets up their Facebook account they’re asked a series of questions about their interests, hobbies, work, likes and dislikes. The responses they give are more than just ways to connect them with other people. Those are data points used by the Facebook machine to organize ad campaigns for those who use the Facebook Ad platform. On top of that, every click, every like, every comment is recorded and logged as well, giving Facebook an immense amount of data on every user over time. That’s the data you could tap into by using Facebook Ads. Find out more about this amazing opportunity, in this episode of Making Chips.


Jim’s experience using Facebook ads for Carr Machine and Tool.


At one point Jim decided to try out Facebook ads and set up an ad campaign for his business, Carr Machine and Tool. He was able to target people who either worked in the manufacturing industry or were interested in machining, tools, etc. It was amazing how easily he could “drill down” into the very group of people he wanted to target to put his ads in front of them, and them only. The results? He actually had one person send him a bid opportunity because of his Facebook ads. Find out more about how Jim and Jason are planning to use Facebook Ads in the future by listening to the conversation today.


The Mazak event is almost here. Act now to be a part of this amazing event!


Mazak is a company that leads the way in the manufacture of advanced technology solutions including Multi-Tasking, hybrid Multi-Tasking, 5-axis, milling, turning, CNC controls and automation. Their upcoming event, Discover 2015 is one of the largest events held in the United States and is an educational, technology, and networking event manufacturing leaders won’t want to miss. How can you be there? Go to the Mazak website and register for this event, coming up October 27-19, 2015, in Florence, Kentucky.

Do you have a question or topic you’d like addressed on Making Chips? How about a guest you’d like to recommend?


Jim and Jason would love to hear from you so they can better craft the show to meet your exact needs. You can leave your question or make your guest suggestion by going to the Making Chips website - . Don’t be shy, the guys would love to hear from you!

Outline of this episode


  • [1:06] The upcoming Mazak event - a valuable opportunity for networking and interaction.
  • [3:05] Introduction of today’s topic: Advertising your Machine Shop on Facebook
  • [5:31] Jim’s experience posting ads on Facebook for Carr Machine and Tool.
  • [7:38] How Facebook ads work to target who gets to see the ad.
  • [9:25] Who Jim targets with his Facebook ads.
  • [10:44] The amazing ways Facebook ads can be nuanced to hit your perfect customer.
  • [11:43] The importance of using images when creating Facebook ads.
  • [13:48] What is the cost of Facebook ads?
  • [14:40] Jim’s success story from using Facebook ads.
  • [16:25] How Jason would use Facebook ads and what his goals would be.
  • [17:56] The Making Chips experiment to test the use of Facebook ads.
  • [20:39] How to leave your info about topics you’d like Jim and Jason to cover on Making Chips.

Links mentioned in this episode


Mazak’s upcoming event -


Making Chips episode about networking:


Or call us at 312-725-0245


Sep 23, 2015

The world has changed since the days of your grandfather’s old, dusty, dingy manufacturing shop. Technology and a global economy are forcing these changes and the American manufacturing industry is changing along with it. Small manufacturers now have to compete on a global level and it’s to the advantage of all manufacturers within the United States to come together and collaborate so the U.S. manufacturing industry can remain a dominant force in the global economy. It’s to that end that a government/private sector organization, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation was born. On this episode of Making Chips Jason and Jim do their best to explain what the NNMI is, how it came about, and why it’s an important force behind the needed changes that are coming to the U.S. manufacturing industry.

Collaboration for the sake of all.

That’s the idea behind the creation of the NNMI. If the government can facilitate and encourage the individual manufacturers within the United States manufacturing industry to come together, share knowledge, data, and resources, and work together to increase the manufacturing capacity and ability within the nation, everyone will win. Hear how Jim and Jason are thinking about this new effort and how you can be involved, on this episode of Making Chips.

One organization, many institutes with specialized areas of focus.

The NNMI is focused on helping the manufacturing industry overcome the obstacles to remaining a global force in the world-wide manufacturing community. Toward that end it has created many specialized institutes. Among them are America Makes, Digital Manufacturing and Design, Lightweight Metal Manufacturing, Power America, the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing, AIM Photonics, the Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute, the Innovation Institute on  Smart Manufacturing, and the Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Find out more about each of these on this episode.

What do Jim and Jason think about the DMDII from their participation on a panel at their facility?

Jim and Jason were both very impressed not only with the amount of time and money that obviously went into the event they were asked to participate in, but also in the genuine concern those putting on the event had with their input and concerns. As representatives of the smaller manufacturers in the U.S. the two had a unique perspective that those running the DMDII event were very interested in hearing. Jason and Jim are hopeful that is a good sign of the desire to truly cooperate and work together for the benefit of all manufacturers. Hear more of their impressions by listening to this episode.

Do you have comments, questions, or resources you’d like to share with the Making Chips crew?

Jason and Jim would love to receive your feedback, learn from your knowledge, and share it with the Making Chips community. You can connect with either of them through the website at or call them at 312-725-0245. They’d love to hear from you and build a connection that will benefit the entire manufacturing community.

Outline of this episode

  • [1:06] The upcoming Mazak event October 27-30 and November 30-5.
  • [2:21] Introduction of Ryan Scanlan, social media manager for the Making Chips crew.
  • [4:20] Demystifying the NNMI.
  • [6:03] Jim and Jason’s input through the DMDII (Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute), regarding smart manufacturing.
  • [7:47] What the NNMI does: collaboration between government, private companies, and academics to improve the manufacturing industry.
  • [8:40] What these sorts of partnerships could accomplish in the industry.
  • [9:44] A vision for collaboration surrounding innovation within the manufacturing industry.
  • [10:56] Issues surrounding time to market that the NNMI wants to address in light of the change toward a global market.
  • [12:42] Why those manufacturing companies that are resistant and inflexible could be left behind.
  • [13:20] The different NNMI institutes, what they are focused on, and where they are.
  • [19:19] Jim and Jason’s impressions of the DMDII facility and their time there.
  • [22:04] Your invitation to contact the Making Chips crew with your thoughts and ideas.

Links mentioned in this episode

Mazak’s upcoming event -

Workshops for Warriors -

Or call us at 312-725-0245

Tweets you can use to tell others about the episode

Government - private cooperation in the manufacturing industry?

Demystifying the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation #NNMI

What would happen if #manufacturers across the board could collaborate and innovate?

A movement to increase #TimeToMarket speed in the @manufacturing industry

#ManufacturingInnovation through cooperation, on this episode of #MakingChips

Sep 16, 2015

MC039: A Young Woman with Manufacturing Dreams: A conversation with Michelle Mabry


Traditionally the manufacturing industry has been dominated by the presence of men. That’s not a bad thing. But it’s not necessarily a good thing either. Today’s episode of Making Chips is a conversation with one of the many young women who are stepping into the once-male-dominated manufacturing industry and making a very positive difference. When Michelle Mabry moved to Chicago she enrolled in a welding class at a local community college and was set on fire by the wonderful skills and things she could do with a welding torch in her hand. She’s confident that she has a ton to offer the manufacturing industry. Hear her story on this episode of Making Chips.


What inspires a young woman to become a welder?


The answers to that question will be is as different as the young women you’re talking about, but for Michelle Mabry it was the way that welding could be an outlet for creativity and inspiration. She discovered that the skill of welding enables her to create things that otherwise might never come to reality, and that she could transfer those skills to others through teaching and enable them to establish a solid future when there otherwise may not be any hope. Hear more of how Michelle is using her welding experience and education to inspire others to make something great of their lives, on this episode.


Is the modern machine shop an appropriate place for women to be?


Michelle Mabry thinks so… as do the hosts of  Making Chips, Jason Zenger and Jim Carr. Modern manufacturing facilities are not your grandfather’s machine shop. By and large today’s shops are clean, technical, skill-oriented environments where women and men can work alongside each other to create the parts and machinery that keep our country running. Jason, Jim, and Michelle have a very open and candid conversation about the unique perspectives that women bring to the manufacturing industry on this episode, and you get to listen in.

Why are women needed in the manufacturing industry?


A unique mindset and perspective is one of the many things women bring into manufacturing, and Jason Zenger and Jim Carr believe it’s sorely needed. Men and women are different and they feel it’s about time we utilized those differences to move the manufacturing industry forward, opening up doors of possibility that until now have gone unnoticed. With the combined insights and creativity of both sexes, manufacturing companies can innovate and grow in ways we’ve not seen yet. Hear more about how this combination of the sexes in the manufacturing industry could move things forward, in this episode.


What about you? Are you willing to take a step into a new field?


When Michelle Mabry first told people that she was going to enroll in a welding class at her local college, she hit opposition almost immediately. People took exception with her choice because she was a woman, because it wasn’t “normal” for a women to don a welding helmet and apron. But Michelle says the naysayers only fuel her determination. It’s not that she wants to be like a man, she wants to be who she is, and welding is one of the channels she uses to express her creativity and make a difference in the world. Hear Michelle’s inspiring story on this episode. Maybe it will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and develop a new skill as well.

Outline of this episode


  • [1:06] The upcoming Mazak event, “Mazak Discover 2015” - click to register for this incredible event.

  • [3:12] Introduction to this episode: An inspiring story about following your passion!

  • [3:45] Industry news - Jim’s participation on a panel discussing smart manufacturing, and Jason’s journey in working through some acquisitions for his company.

  • [6:10] Introduction of today’s guest: Michelle Mabry.

  • [7:50] Michelle’s move to Chicago as the catalyst that moved her into the field of welding.

  • [9:00] What inspired Michelle about welding?

  • [10:15] Michelle’s enrollment in a welding class: what she learned and the certifications she is earning.

  • [14:00] Michelle’s aspirations to teach welding once she’s finished with her education.

  • [16:02] Hopes for the future: Sculptures, encouraging others to consider their possibilities, and the desire to help others excel.)

  • [17:56] How to get the younger generation or women interested in the manufacturing industry.

  • [19:21] How a welding lab can breed confidence in people who otherwise might not have it.

  • [20:26] The power of manufacturing skills to give people a new lease on life and dreams for their future.

  • [22:04] What the average manufacturing employer is looking for.

  • [22:43] Michelle’s “Ah Ha!” moment when she knew manufacturing was what she wanted to do.

  • [23:20] How Michelle dealt with the naysayers.

  • [24:16] The importance of women in the manufacturing industry.

Links mentioned in this episode


Mazak’s upcoming event -


Workshops for Warriors -


Or call us at 312-725-0245


Tweets you can use to tell others about the episode


What motivates a young #woman to become a #welder?


A young #woman who became a #welder, and how she dealt with the #naysayers


Why women are vitally needed in the #ManufacturingIndustry


How #manufacturing skills can inspire and motivate people to a better more productive life


Using #welding to #inspire and #motivate others, in this episode of #MakingChips

Sep 9, 2015

Business growth what we all want to see. More customers, more jobs, and more revenue. But there are other ways to grow your company, including the purchase or acquisition of another company in your niche. In this episode of Making Chips Jason and Jim chat with Tom Hilaris who has recently become CEO of Ergoseal, a company that manufactures seals for OEMs in the industrial and aerospace rotating equipment industries. Within a two month period Tom’s company acquired 2 other companies and grew both his manufacturing capabilities and his bottom line. Find out more about Tom’s experience, including things to watch out for in acquisitions, on this episode.


What is the right motivation for acquiring another company?


While the individual details of each situation will vary, there are a couple of foundational motives that would make the acquisition of a company a good deal, and there are others that wouldn’t make sense - financially or otherwise. Tom Hilaris shares his experience in leading Ergoseal in the acquisition of two other companies in the last year, on this episode. It’s about more than simply acquiring another company. It’s about adding to your product line, cutting expenses, and making greater profits. Find out how to make those determinations regarding possible acquisitions on this episode of Making Chips.


Did you know that you can hire an acquisitions advisor to guide your company in an acquisition process?


A very important part of Tom Hilaris’ story of leading his company to acquire two other companies, is the role a hired Acquisitions Advisor played. He was instrumental in helping Tom and his team pull together the paperwork they needed, locate the right companies to purchase, and strike the deal in a way that was beneficial for everyone. Looking back, Tom feels that he could possibly do those things himself from here on out, but feels that he’ll stick with an Acquisitions Advisor for future acquisitions as well simply because the expertise the Advisor had made his role much simpler and the process more streamlined. Find out more on this episode.


What are the funding options for acquiring another company?


Jim and Jason asked that question of Tom Hilaris in this episode and his answer came from his experience in leading his company in 2 acquisitions. He says that owner financing is obviously the best deal if you can make it work, but most owners who are trying to sell are wanting out of the situation entirely and aren’t open to carrying the financing. They want to take the cash from the sale and leave. That means that other types of financing will be required and Tom found that the tight formulas used by the larger banks made it impossible for his smaller manufacturing company to get financed with them. He wound up going with a smaller bank that took other things into consideration. Find out what options might exist for your situation by listening to Tom’s advice on this episode.


Hear the 3 fundamental things to consider when looking at a possible acquisition.


The lessons we learn from experience are often the best ones, and Tom Hilaris shares 3 important things to keep in mind when you’re considering the acquisition of another company. First, he cautions that you make sure you have the right motives for making the move, second, that you figure in at least 3% more than the costs that show on paper for related expenses, and third, take into account the cultural impact the acquisition will have on your employees and the employees of the incoming company. Hear more hard-learned wisdom from Tom on this episode of Making Chips!

Outline of this episode


  • [1:17] Extended promotion of from Thyssen Krupp (sponsor). Get your 15% discount by using the code CHIPS2 (through September 2015)

  • [3:12] Business news: Acquiring a new business as part of your current business?

  • [5:17] Introduction of our Guest: Tom Hilaris, CEO of Ergoseal.

  • [6:16] Tom’s recent experience acquiring companies to add to his present company.

  • [7:12] The motivations involved in buying and selling companies.

  • [8:29] The steps Tom took to begin acquiring companies and how they navigated the journey.

  • [9:34] What is an acquisitions advisor? How does his role help in the process of acquiring a company?

  • [11:24] Gaining a product line through an acquisition - the benefits Tom experienced.

  • [12:31] How gaining the customer list of an acquired company boosted sales, etc.

  • [14:11] Tom’s decision to acquire a second company that was in the same building his company was in.

  • [15:22] How an acquisition could be a good option for older owners who are thinking of liquidating.

  • [15:59] How the advisor helped them determine the costs and projections for the acquisition.

  • [18:09] What is the best approach to finding funding for a company acquisition, and what hurdles or roadblocks might you experience?

  • [21:50] The impact federal regulations have on business financing for acquisitions and growth.

  • [22:47] The 3 fundamentals to consider when thinking about an acquisition of another company.

  • [25:07] Be careful of the overall costs - add 3% to what you see on paper.

  • [27:40] Tom’s plans for further acquisitions.

  • [28:44] Contact Tom Hilaris on LinkedIn.

  • [29:19] Please comment or interact about these issues on the show notes page


Links mentioned in this episode


Connect with Tom Hilaris through his LinkedIn Profile -


Tom’s company - Eergoseal -


Or call us at 312-725-0245


Tweets you can use to tell others about the episode


Benefits of company acquisitions, on this episode of Making Chips


There are more ways to #GrowYourNusiness than adding customers


3 fundamentals to consider when looking to acquire another company


Add 3% to the acquisition costs you have on paper - here’s why


Company culture is a huge consideration when acquiring another company

Sep 2, 2015

In this great part-two episode, Jason and Jim continue their conversation with Sarah Caldicott. Besides being an extremely intelligent student of business and innovation, Sarah is an author and the great grandniece of Thomas Edison. Her study and writing is largely based on her own interest in her famous relative who was not only an amazing inventor, but also a manufacturer in his own right. Listen in to hear tales of Edison’s life and systems and why his contributions to the manufacturing industry continue to impact us today.


Thomas Edison’s “systematic innovation”


Edison had a process that he followed to not only innovate in his own thinking and processes, but to encourage innovation in his employees. It was a different way of thinking which included many aspects, including collaboration, product creation, and looking at issues from a variety of angles. He demonstrated that true innovation comes about by truly getting outside the conventions that exist to approach situations and problems in different ways that provide new solutions to the problem. Listen in as Jim and Jason chat with Edison’s great grandniece, Sarah Caldicott.


“Charismatic optimism” is how Sarah Caldicott (Thomas Edison’s great grandniece) describes his attitude


It’s more than a “rah-rah” mindset that is filled with unrealistic fluff. It’s a “can do” mindset that sees opportunities where others see obstacles. Edison was legendary for that kind of optimism even in the face of incredible difficulty or tragedy. In this episode Sarah shares quite a few instances of how Edison pushed through difficulties to accomplish incredible breakthroughs and turns a corner to help you see how that kind of attitude can become infections in your company, enabling you to accomplish more, innovate to a greater degree, and become more profitable. That’s on this episode, so listen in.


Better educated employees make for a more productive and innovative company


Thomas Edison had a library IN his manufacturing facility that contained over 50,000 volumes. He encouraged his employees to borrow books from the library to read, learn, and grow at all times. His belief was that employees who were growing in their knowledge and in their ability to see and recognize patterns. He believed that individual growth in his employees would make them better employees and enable his company to thrive and innovate even more. Hear the entire story by listening to this episode of Making Chips.


When you assess things, how are you at “engaging other senses?”


Thomas Edison had a summer home in Florida, at which he had a manufacturing facility, garden, and many other atypical things. He loved to get out into the gardens and feel, smell, and experience natural things. He believed natural things could be used as inspiration and even elements of the design itself. As an example, the first filament Edison used in the light bulb was made of bamboo. Listen in to hear Sarah Caldicott’s take on how manufacturing leaders can engage all of their senses in the manufacturing realm, all on this episode.

Outline of this episode


  • [0:58] Do you know what the “L” at the end of a metal designation means? (sponsor)

  • [8:14] Thomas Edison’s “systematic innovation” and what it means for manufacturers today.

  • [10:01] The different way of thinking Edison used and how it integrates with collaborating with others, creating products, etc.

  • [11:43] How Edison’s positive mindset helped him differentiate himself from others in industry.

  • [12:35] How non-product-creating manufacturers can bring innovation to their organization.

  • [14:05] How anticipating a client’s needs is powerful in helping them make the decision to go with your proposal.

  • [15:09] How to move forward in collaborative ways once an order is placed.

  • [16:10] How you can develop your brand with potential customers.

  • [17:00] What is charismatic optimism and how can leaders employ it to be better leaders and business owners.

  • [18:09] How a tragedy in Thomas Edison’s career was turned around to become an opportunity instead of a liability.

  • [19:59] The reason Making Chips exists and how Edison’s story inspires that goal.

  • [20:50] How Thomas Edison encouraged learning in his employees, and why he did it.

  • [22:05] How Jason is following Edison’s model to raise the bar for his employee’s productivity and the company’s success long-term.

  • [23:01] How Edison was a fan of “engaging other senses.”

  • [24:43] Thomas Edison’s experiments with using natural substances for manufacturing.

  • [25:34] How manufacturing leaders should use a notebook as Edison did.

  • [29:38] How to connect with Sarah.


Links mentioned in this episode - Thyssen Krupp’s website - our sponsor.


Midnight Lunch - Sarah’s book


Innovate Like Edison -  Sarah’s other book


Sarah’s website -


Or call us at 312-725-0245


Tweets you can use to tell others about the episode


Learn the #1 way to boot up your mind and become an innovator


What was in Thomas Edison’s notebooks, and how it can help you innovate


Why Thomas Edison encouraged his employees to learn and grow… in this episode


What is charismatic optimism & how can leaders employ it to be better leaders & business owners.

How non-product-creating manufacturers can bring innovation to their organization

Aug 26, 2015


Thomas Edison was an undeniable genius. His processes and inventions still influence the way we live our lives today. Today’s conversation is one that will turn the lights on (no pun intended) for you and your manufacturing team if you’ll open yourself up to some ways of thinking about how you run your business. Today’s guest is Sarah Caldicott, author and great grandniece of Thomas Edison. Her new book “Midnight Lunch” profiles many of the strategies of collaboration and innovation that came out of Thomas Edison’s work teams, and delves into the ideas you can draw from his example to make your manufacturing company a game changer in the industry.


Thomas Edison didn’t believe in a hierarchical company structure


Don’t misunderstand, he was entirely “in charge” of the companies he created, but he was never a dictator or one who felt he had to come up with all the answers. He fostered a climate of cooperation and peer relationships that served to spark innovation and creativity in ways most manufacturing companies today can only dream of. Sarah Caldicott shares stories of Edison’s amazing work habits and approach in this episode of Making Chips, and in doing so provides practical ways you can adjust your approach to innovation and product development that could transform your place and impact on the manufacturing industry.


What would happen if the teams within your company engaged in more dialogue and debate?


At first, the idea might sound a bit out of control, or difficult to manage. But we’re not talking about adversarial debate, here, we’re talking about challenging, constructive, goal-oriented debate that brings about new ideas and fresh ways of thinking. It’s the type of atmosphere Thomas Edison built into every one of his many companies, and the type of synergy that enabled him to bring so many world-changing inventions to the world. Sarah Caldicott highlights how that happened and provides ideas about how modern manufacturing companies can apply the same approach to become innovators in their niche of the manufacturing industry.


If you can cross-train your employees you’ll be able to create a greater synergy.


That’s a principle straight out of Thomas Edison’s own approach to building and working with teams. He found that having team members adequately trained to work in multiple areas and even on different projects enabled the team as a whole to come up with better ideas, see other options, and approach difficulties with fresh eyes. Nobody was allowed to stay locked in one area of expertise but rather was encouraged (even required) to step into other projects that grew and challenged their thinking and abilities. The end result is that Edison’s teams were able to pioneer 6 distinct industries within 30 years, all which are still with us today. Find out more from Sarah Caldicott as she discusses her newest book, “Midnight Lunch” on this episode of Making Chips.


What was the only reason Thomas Edison ever got angry with an employee?


Was it when they failed to reach a designated goal? Was it because they made a huge mistake? Was it because they failed to do what they’d been told to do? None of those are the reason. Thomas Edison only got angry with employees when they were careless. Carelessness means they weren’t “taking care” to think through the eventualities and possibilities of what they were doing and to safeguard against bad results as much as they were able. How does that approach shed light on your attitude toward employees? How can you adjust to make the environment in your company more amenable to cooperation and collaboration? Find out how  Edison’s approach could help you grow in those areas, on this episode.


Outline of this episode


  • [1:06] Welcome and introducing Sarah Caldicott, great grandniece of THE Thomas Edison.

  • [1:40] Calls to action for this episode

  • [2:08] Introduction of Sarah, her background, experience, and current projects.

  • [3:47] Sarah’s summary of her newest book, “Midnight Lunch,” and how it came from the practices and experiences carried out in the workshop of of Thomas Edison himself.

  • [7:23] How a 5 person company could create great innovations in the Manufacturing Industry.

  • [8:00] The importance of hiring people who are not like you to be part of your team.

  • [8:20] The importance of dialogue and debate on a team.

  • [9:05] Trying to create “low social distance” in your manufacturing business - a non-hierarchical work climate.

  • [11:10] How Thomas Edison did cross-training and encouraged synergy among his teams.

  • [13:17] Taking the concept of the “midnight lunch” to a small manufacturing company.

  • [15:00] How dialogue and collaboration spark innovation in a company.

  • [16:51] Collaboration as “discovery learning.”

  • [17:38] How Thomas Edison created 6 industries in 30 years.

  • [18:36] The only reason Thomas Edison got angry with people on his teams.


Links mentioned in this episode


Midnight Lunch - Sarah’s book


Or call us at 312-725-0245

Aug 19, 2015

The last episode of Making Chips featured a conversation with Hernán Luis y Prado, U.S. veteran and founder of Workshops for Warriors. This episode is a continuation of that important conversation. Hernán is passionate to see two things: the manufacturing industry rebuilt in a sustainable, truly effective way, and the reintegration of veterans into the American society and workforce. Hear how Workshops for Warriors is doing that in their San Diego training facility and how they have achieved 100% job placement - in this episode of Making Chips.

What should an employer consider when employing a veteran as opposed to someone else?

When Hernán Luis y Prado, the founder of Workshops for Warriors was asked that question, his answer was shocking and immediate. He said he doesn’t care who manufacturing leaders hire, he just cares that they hire and train people to prepare for the devastating problems that could hit the manufacturing industry if another huge demand were to hit. His heart is for veterans to be trained for the manufacturing industry because of their level of expertise and ability to produce on a level that is unmatched, and they are ready to be trained now. Find out more about how Hernán is changing the manufacturing industry on this episode.

Workshops for Warriors is really just a drop in the bucket.

Though the work they’re doing is amazing and powerful, Workshops for Warriors is a very small part of the help the manufacturing industry needs. At this point there are 150 locations around the United States where a similar training facility for veterans could be established and thrive. And Hernán Luis y Prado believes those 150 facilities are vitally needed. What can you do to help meet the need the manufacturing industry is facting? Find out on this episode of Making Chips.

Hernán Luis y Prado’s biggest disappointment in running Workshops for Warriors…

has been an ongoing problem since the organization first began, and it’s a responsibility he takes squarely on his own shoulders. He is disappointed that he’s been unable to effectively communicate, to successful, intelligent people, why they need to be active in ensuring that the manufacturing industry is supplied with competent, trained workers not only now, but for generations to come. In his mind, if the manufacturing leaders of today don’t get on board to help supply a vast pool of qualified workers for the industry, the entire industry will fall prey to some terrible effects in the near future. Find out more about how you can get involved, on this episode of Making Chips.

The cannibalization of the manufacturing industry is a very real possibility.

What does that mean? It means that when the demand for skilled workers for the industry is so great, like it is right now, the tendency is for the larger companies to entice workers at smaller companies away from their jobs, which clearly benefits the large company short-term, but could be a devastating blow to the smaller company, which will hurt the entire industry in the end. The fact is that there is plenty of work to go around and every company that is producing quality products is needed to meet demand. What is needed is effective and thorough training of a new workforce for the manufacturing industry, and Workshops for Warriors is leading the way. Learn how you can avoid that kind of short sightedness by supporting Workshops for Warriors, on this episode.

Outline of this episode

  • [1:06] Tyssen Krupp - Defined Vendor Management Systems for material applications.
  • [3:07] What should an employer consider when employing a veteran as opposed to someone else?
  • [3:34] The need for more manufacturing workers and the danger of cannibalization in the manufacturing industry.
  • [4:51] 100% job placement through Workshops for Warriors.
  • [5:16] The Workshop for Warriors visit to the White House.
  • [6:40] 150 locations that are ripe for another facility similar to Workshops for Warriors.
  • [9:02] The main two main pain points Workshops for Warriors has.
  • [9:57] What is needed from the manufacturing community to meet the vast need.
  • [10:27] The biggest holdup to people getting involved in training more manufacturing workers.
  • [12:31] A story of Workshops for Warriors’ success.
  • [14:08] The greatest disappointment Hernán Luis y Prado has experienced with Workshops for Warriors.
  • [15:09] The personal cost Hernán is paying to get veterans trained.
  • [15:46] Your opportunity to get involved supporting Workshops for Warriors.
  • [17:01] How you can help WFW on a political level.

Links mentioned in this episode - The Tyssen Krup website (sponsor). Use the code CHIPS2 to get 15% off! - Make your contribution to help Workshops for Warriors

Or call us at 312-725-0245

Aug 12, 2015

There is a problem in the United States among Veterans of the U.S. Military


After sacrificing a great deal to protect their homeland, U.S. Veterans often struggle to find their place in civilian society. It’s especially difficult for those who are injured or disabled and come home to industries and jobs that are not suited to their newfound disability. Many fall into drug use, crime, and other non-productive walks of life. Workshops for Warriors is the vision of one man, a veteran himself, who saw the need and stepped into the gap to make a way for those oft forgotten heroes to find a place of productivity in the society they have given so much to serve. This episode of Making Chips highlights the efforts of  Hernán Luis y Prado, founder of Workshops for Warriors.

A painful need, right in front of him.


Hernán Luis y Prado came face to face with the debilitating problems many wounded warriors face when trying to reintegrate into American society when he encountered a fellow serviceman who’d lost his legs in service to his country. It was at that point that he realized that many have made tremendous sacrifices in service to their country, and through nobody’s fault, are being left to fend for themselves when it comes to the rest of their lives. That’s when he began developing a plan to train and equip disabled veterans to move into the manufacturing industry as productive workers. Find out more on this episode.


How many 18 year olds are used to being responsible for million dollar pieces of equipment?


That’s a question Hernán Luis y Prado asks when he is asked why veterans make ideal candidates for important careers in the manufacturing industry. He’s making the point that their experience in the military has trained them to take technical demands and needs very seriously, and they know how to put that expertise to use. It’s second nature, and one that can be redirected to energize and reinvigorate the U.S. manufacturing industry. The slogan of Workshops for Warriors (Hernán’s organization) is, “Rebuilding Manufacturing, one veteran at a time.”  Find out how he’s doing that on this episode of Making Chips.


Manufacturing equipment, redesigned to accommodate wounded warriors.


That’s one of the many steps Workshops for Warriors has taken to make it possible for those who have given it all for their country to be able to do valuable jobs in the manufacturing industry so they can once again serve their country with distinction. WFW also provides training in many areas, computers, machinery, welding, all with a focus on enabling veterans to continue to provide value to the country in important ways. If you, or someone you know is in need of this kind of specialized training, listen to this episode to find out more about Workshops for Warrior’s varied programs.


But that’s not all of the conversation…


We’re just getting started. Part 2 of this important conversation will publish next week, and Hernán Luis y Prado will reveal more of what Workshops for Warriors is doing for disabled and returning veterans, the kinds of training they provide, and how you and others you know can get involved with their programs and training school to build a career in the manufacturing industry. It’s a continuation that you won’t want to miss, so listen to part 1 here, and watch for part 2 next week.

Outline of this episode


  • [0:01] Welcome to this episode of Making Chips - THE Podcast to equip manufacturing professionals!

  • [0:17] Introduction to today’s guest - founder of Workshop for Warriors

  • [1:04] Featured audio from Workshop for Warriors - a look into what the organization does.

  • [4:15] Introduction of Hernán Luis y Prado, founder of Workshops for Warriors.

  • [6:02] Hernan’s service in the U.S. Military and his journey to starting Workshops for Warriors.  

  • [11:42] The specialized welding equipment for disabled veterans Workshops for Warriors has created.

  • [13:28] How the dream began in  Hernán’s garage and moved on from there.

  • [15:59] The U.S. problem with equipping veterans to reintegrate into society.

  • [17:45] The problem with drug abuse and crime among U.S. veterans.

  • [19:34]  Hernán’s transition to working with WFW full time.

  • [22:35] The first training programs WFW was able to begin.

  • [23:02] The Workshops for Warriors facilities - what they have and the programs veterans can take advantage of to receive training.

  • [25:34] How the U.S. Military uniquely equips veterans for the manufacturing industry.


Links mentioned on this episode


Or call us at 312-725-0245

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

Jun 17, 2015

We introduced you to Patricia Miller of Matrix IV back in episode 26 and in today’s episode we’re going to do a deeper dive into the challenges and victories Patricia has faced as she’s taken over the reigns of her family’s ailing manufacturing company. The insights she shares as a former marketer from the biotech field, looking into the manufacturing industry for the first time, are very insightful and worth a listen.


As Patricia Miller took over the reigns of her grandfather’s failing company she realized that she had her work cut out for her. The company was stuck in the 70s and had to pivot quickly or else it would die. Patricia took immediate steps to do a handful of vital things - 4 in fact - that she highlights in this episode of Making Chips.


First on Patricia Miller’s list of advice for those in the manufacturing industry is the vital need to build community and connection within the industry. She did exactly that after taking over as leader of Matrix IV, going to conventions and local meetups, using the internet to get to know other influencers and leaders within the manufacturing industry, and working to not only be known, but to get to know others in the community for the sake of mutual support and help as the industry moves forward in a new era.


Patricia’s marketing background comes into play as she looks at the way the manufacturing industry has traditionally done its own marketing - and she’s convinced that more time needs to be spent by company owners getting to know their market, asking their customers how they are doing at meeting their needs, how their needs are changing, and what they can do to better serve and enable their clients to achieve their business goals. Companies need to become more concerned with creating a positive experience for their customers and those who might use their services in the future.


As Matrix IV began to re-grow under the leadership of its new CEO, Patricia Miller, many challenges and hurdles had to be overcome. Morale and company culture needed attention immediately, as did the discovery of new pools or niches of customers so that the business could continue on a solvent path. On top of all that, Patricia had to discover how to add much needed employees to get the company producing effectively while balancing a very meager budget at the same time. You’ll learn a lot from Patricia’s advice.

All this and more on this episode of Making Chips!


Here’s the outline of part two of the conversation with Patricia


  • Patricia Miller from Matrix IV - inheriting a family business after a successful marketing career in the corporate world.

  • Through the eyes of a newbie - Patricia’s observations and advice to those who are in the manufacturing industry.

  • The power of community and connections within the industry and how Patricia made connections within the manufacturing community after taking over the helm at Matrix IV.

  • Why Patricia thinks it’s very important for manufacturers to truly understand their market, their clients, and how to create a positive position for them.

  • The first steps Patricia took to understand her market and customers.

  • The valuable presence and a path forward for the manufacturing industry in the U.S.

  • Why change is a great ally for manufacturing companies.

  • The first thing that had to change in her company when Patricia moved into the manufacturing industry.

  • How the culture in Patricia’s company has changed as she’s implemented improvements.

  • The challenges of adding employees to an older company.

  • The roadblocks experienced as the company experienced its re-growing pains.

  • What Patricia believes will be the next steps in the growth of Matrix IV.

Links mentioned on this episode


Part 1 of the conversation with Patricia Miller -


Patricia’s company - Matrix IV -


Episode 18 with Ray Ziganta


Episode 22 - Create your corporate snapshot


Or call us at 312-725-0245

Tweets you can use to tell others about the benefits of vending systems


Is my #manufacturing company a positive experience for my customers?


Learn to market your #manufacturing company without a #marketing degree


A #thankyounote is one of the most powerful messages you can send to your customers


Change produces hope, even in the #manufacturing industry


Changing the culture in your manufacturing shop is hard, but worth it


Why #change is a great ally for #manufacturing companies that want to grow

Jun 10, 2015

Marketing is an important part of any business. It’s got to be because it’s how you let people know who you are and what you do. That’s something that can never change. But the WAY you marketing has GOT to change. Why? Because the world we live in changes. People are repulsed or attracted by different things today than they were even a few years ago. Marketing has got to flex with the times.


In this episode of Making Chips, Jim Carr and Jason Zenger walk you through their personal mindset about marketing for the manufacturing industry, focusing on the top old-school marketing tactics that don’t work in the modern era. Some of them are seen as “staples” of good marketing but simply don’t yield results and wind up wasting money. Listen in to find out what they are.


A peek into this episode: Interruption marketing. Do you know what that is? Do you know why it’s probably the WORST way to get attention for your manufacturing business? And do you know if you’re doing it or not? If you didn’t know what it was in the first place, chances are you are still doing it. Listen in to this episode to learn how to modify your marketing tactics so you can be more effective in generating interest in your services and products.


Do you use the Yellow Pages to market your business? Jim and Jason beleive the good old YP are a thing of the past as well. The ways people search for information have gone increasingly online and less toward print. The advent of smartphone technology is making that more true every day. The money you spend for those expensive yellow pages ads could be money wasted. Jim and Jason will explain it in the episode.


In manufacturing news, there’s a growing need for skilled, quality people in the manufacturing industry. Opportunities are abundant and more are popping up every day. There’s plenty of room for advancement and good salaries. Listen to this episode of Making Chips to find out more details about this great opportunity.


All this and more on this episode of Making Chips!


Here’s the outline of the conversation


  • The possibility of sponsorship opportunities for the Making Chips podcast.

  • News items: Quality people needed in the manufacturing industry.

  • No more interruption marketing - do you know what that means?

  • What about the yellow pages and manufacturing directories? Should you really be in there?

  • Are you a spammer? You might be surprised.

  • General radio advertisements.

  • Line cards, facilities lists, and brochures - do you need them?

  • What is permission-based marketing? It’s the new way marketing works today.

  • Do you know what inbound marketing is? You need to.

  • Jim and Jason’s personal top No-No’s of traditional marketing.


Links mentioned on this episode

Or call us at 312-725-0245

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