HAAS Automation is leading the way in how-to manufacturing videos as an education tool for manufacturing leaders around the globe - as well as a content marketing tool to demonstrate how to use the newest HAAS equipment. Guest speakers Mark Terryberry, Bryan O’Fallon, and Scott Gasich share their video-making and content marketing expertise in this fascinating episode of MakingChips! Want to learn what makes a great how-to video and how sharing your knowledge can help boost your business? Listen to the episode to find out!
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After a couple of hit how-to YouTube videos demonstrating how to solve simple manufacturing issues, the HAAS Automation marketing team realized that there was no place for manufacturers to go to learn how to do new things or fix things outside of paper manuals. Jumping on the “video craze” bandwagon, they set out to fill the void of immediately available machining instruction by offering quality how-to and product video content.
Quickly finding that people prefer short, to-the-point videos, the HAAS team created short video series on different topics. They now average 4-5 videos per week with several series from “Tip of the Day” to “Don’t Fear 5-Axis” and the “Machine Tool Coolant Series.” Manufacturers today need quickly available and accurate demonstrations to help them master their art and easily find solutions. YouTube offers the medium that HAAS needs to accomplish its goal of meeting the needs of the manufacturing community while also marketing their latest products.
It can be overwhelming when trying to decide how much production value to put into video content creation. How polished do you make how-to manufacturing videos? Mark, Bryon, and Scott all share the need to be authentic with your audience. Just because you make a video doesn’t mean that people will watch it. Know who you are as a company and know who your customers and potential viewers are. What do they need and want to learn?
How-to manufacturing videos are a way to build trust with current and potential customers. If you are providing real solutions to real problems, then you will earn the trust of your viewers. Mark, Bryon, and Scott encourage listeners to use real-life machinists in their video production. The authentic empathy that machinists will have with viewer issues will come through in the videos and provide an added layer of reality and authenticity.
Listening to your viewers is key! While the manufacturing community may still be pretty old-school, everyone consumes online material, and everyone is looking for answers through mediums such as YouTube. Be sure to read the comments people are leaving in your channel. Provide a phone number and email address so that viewers and customers have a way of reaching out with questions. Use your own company’s mistakes as opportunities for creating new content that demonstrates how to solve the problems you come up against.
Scott says that with digital marketing, you have to jump right in and get at it. While print marketing may still claim a slice of your resources, put most of your resources in digital marketing. With $3,000 of Facebook marketing, you can reach a million people. With $3,000 invested in print marketing, you may reach a few thousand. Invest in what works.
Don’t know where to start? “Follow your gut,” says Scott. Think about how you would want the material presented to you. “Bet on yourself,” he says. Don’t go spend a fortune on production value right away. Use your phone and some good lighting tools and go from there. Build a script or storyboard to help guide the way. Speaking with passion and truth will win the trust of your viewers and help you build your business.
How can the Metal Working Nation close the manufacturing skills gap? As the manufacturing industry continues to grow with the demand for fast and excellent production, it is imperative that the proper skills be found, fostered, and taught. Even with the desirable technological sophistication of the modern manufacturing world, young talent isn’t being found quickly enough to fill the gap left by the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation.
Jim and Jason brainstorm with guest speakers Hernan Ricaurte (Owner of Ricaurte Precision), Brian Grigson (General Manager of Axxis Corporation), and Brain Pendarvis (Owner of Pendarvis Manufacturing) about how manufacturing leaders can take action to influence the next generation of machinists. Be sure to listen to the entire episode to catch the best insights into the real and persisting problem of the manufacturing skills gap!
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Ricaurte, Grigson, and Pendarvis all agree that the skills gap is certainly a major issue of the modern manufacturing world. The “great wave” is here; the older are retiring and the younger aren’t qualified or aren’t interested. Pendarvis shares the struggle of finding talent skilled in the newest manufacturing technology. Leaders know that you can’t just stick anyone on your CNC machines. While the skills gap is a real and present problem, it doesn’t have to remain that way.
Changing the perception of manufacturing is the first step. Most high schoolers don’t even know that trade school for CNC machining or similar work is an option. Many still think that they have to go to college to have a meaningful career. Manufacturing, however, offers so much at such little training cost. Building bridges with your community is the first step to closing the skills gap. Give presentations at the local middle and high schools, invite schools to tour your facilities and show them that what they need - and want - in a career can be found in manufacturing. “It’s not always money that people want,” says Grigson. A clean environment, security, incentives, and evident room for company growth are all attributes that can help your business attract young talent.
Who are you as a company? What is your niche? While there is a skills issue, it is important to only hire the skills that you need. What is your company culture? The culture that you want to foster within your business begins with you as the leader. One challenge created by the skills gap is finding someone who is not only talented but also a good fit within your company. Having more experienced employees shadow and oversee the work of new hires or interns provides the opportunity for not only the skills - but for the culture - to be taught.
Ricaurte shares the lessons he learned from studying the manufacturing culture of Japanese machinists. Fostering a culture of accountability and excellence if key. Attention to detail, respect for one another, and the willingness to learn are all necessary to an effective workplace Training the younger generation within that culture will help produce the future talent that you need. Don’t forget to listen to the rest of the episode for more insight into fostering effective culture!
It actually depends on the work and skill-set required! With the advancement of technology, the skill sets needed by manufacturers grows more diverse. While not everyone will be adept in all areas of machining, they always need to be willing to learn and grow. Curiosity is a sign of a great future machinist. While genuine curiosity, humility, excellent work ethic, and personal drive are all hard to detect in an interview, they should be attributes that you are striving to discover.
Running an apprenticeship or internship program at your shop is also a highly effective way to discover and nurture new talent. Involve high schoolers in your company’s growth and demonstrate to them the future possibilities within manufacturing. Hiring part-time can also be a good tactic to see if you and your new employee are a good long-term fit.
Your local high school isn’t the only place to find potential future talent to invest in. Underprivileged communities are gold when it comes to finding young people with the passion and drive to try something unconventional - such as attending trade school to learn CNC machining. There are bright, curious minds everywhere! Many kids don’t know that manufacturing is even an option among today’s career paths. Manufacturing leaders need to begin investing in and inspiring the talent and ability of young people.
Yes, the manufacturing skills gap is a problem, but it’s not insurmountable. Listen to the full episode to learn more about how you can make a difference in inspiring the next generation of manufacturers!
Being a manufacturing leader is difficult, especially if you are a manufacturing entrepreneur! With so many possible opportunities and pitfalls, it can be hard to know how to navigate the small-business world of an entrepreneur. Guest speaker, John Saunders, shares his insight and experience as a leading manufacturing entrepreneur and the ways he has successfully set his business apart and thrived through slow growth.
Founder and owner of Saunders Machine Works, John is a serial entrepreneur with his hands in multiple jobs, including running the NYC CNC YouTube channel and overseeing the training and manufacturing sides of his small business. His YouTube channel has become a medium to influence, inspire, and encourage aspiring and seasoned machinists in their careers.
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Although he attended college to learn entrepreneurship, John found that his key takeaways came from practical experience in selling and machining. Originally wanting to create a business in order to provide a specific product, he quickly realized that creating an excellent product isn’t the same as creating an excellent business. In order to generate a successful business, you have to know the “why” behind the work and the products created.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart. John advises that if you are having doubts as to whether or not you really want to work for yourself and jump into the world of paperwork, legality issues, building, training, hiring, producing, and customer service, then you may want to work for someone else for a couple of years. Study how your boss leads and drives their business forward - and then go try it for yourself.
John’s business - Saunders Machine Works - grew out of his love for CNC machining and sharing its workhorse capability with viewers on YouTube via his NYC CNC channel. Continuing with the YouTube channel, he wanted a business that could also train individuals in machining and sell manufacturing tools and products. The three-part business has kept up steady - yet slow growth - just as John wants it.
Keeping a focus on who you are and why you do what you do helps you to navigate the way forward. Instead of chasing every glittering opportunity, consider whether or not it will help fulfill the goals of your business or help create a better experience for your customers. What you are selling isn’t just the object in the box - it’s the atmosphere, relationship, and experience that you are offering your customers.
For John, this means finding the best ways to share the modern world of manufacturing with others. His YouTube channel provides a place for machinists of all experience levels to ask questions, easily view videos that demonstrate solutions to popular machining problems, and be a part of the manufacturing community. The training classes that Saunders Machine Works offers provide practical experience in a variety of machining skills and open the door to both young and old to explore manufacturing as a hobby or career. John’s business also values offering internship and apprenticeship-modeled jobs to those who need practical experience through their product manufacturing side of Saunders Machine Works.
The goal in sorting through opportunities is to make continuous improvements in your processes - to make them as efficient and streamlined as possible - all without wasting resources. Bootstrapping is the ability of your business to leverage your equity for the greatest return on investment. Money and time are ever manufacturing entrepreneur’s most limited resources. In some phases of your business, you may find that you are lower in one of those resources than another. If you have the opportunity to grow in your knowledge and skills as a master of your trade, take them! Don’t be wasteful. Invest with results.
“Growth eats cash for breakfast,” John warns. We are trained to think that any growth opportunity is a good opportunity, but it’s wiser and more profitable to consider each one through the lens of your “why.” With such a large following, John often gets calls offering partnerships with other businesses. Due to a poor partnership experience in his early entrepreneurial days, John has decided to never partner with another business. The true 50/50 partnership is rare and often difficult to maintain. That doesn’t mean you should never try it, but know where you want your business to go and maintain integrity with those goals through your growth tactics. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for more insight into making the best growth decisions possible.
It can be easy for entrepreneurs to become overwhelmed by all the marketing and advertising mediums available. John stresses the importance of only utilizing what you need, what you can afford, and what will speak most authentically to your potential customers. John aligns his content creation with his goal to help others help themselves in their manufacturing stories. Be honest about what you are portraying through social media. Authenticity is a huge factor; make it a point to share the stories that surround the challenges that your business has faced and the solutions that you found. Make note of what you are personally drawn to on social media and study why you like it. At the end of the day, it’s not about you. It’s about your current and potential customers and the quality of what you are offering them.