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

Welcome to MakingChips - We believe that manufacturing is challenging, but if you are connected to a community of leaders, you can elevate your skills, solve your problems and grow your business. Making Chips is a weekly podcast that will EQUIP and INSPIRE MANUFACTURING LEADERS to succeed in the challenging world of manufacturing. Our mission is for the METALWORKING NATION to Think Differently About Manufacturing In Order to Elevate their Game. Your hosts, Jason Zenger & Jim Carr, own manufacturing businesses and interview other leaders in the metalworking, machining, fabrication, tooling and machine tool industries. We have interviewed successful manufacturing CEOs you may have not heard of and also the biggest names in manufacturing like Titan Gilroy from Titans of CNC, John Saunders from NYC CNC, Mark Terryberry from Haas Automation and others from MakerCast, Sandvik Coromant, Autocrib and more. Think of us as your virtual community of manufacturing peers to help solve your toughest problems and grow your business. "Making Chips has provided a transparent approach to sharing within the manufacturing community and a modern platform to do so. Thank you both for taking the lead on moving our industry segment forward!" Patricia Miller - CEO & Visionary (Matrix IV) I really think what you guys are doing is a great, great thing for manufacturing. I have learned so much already from many of your episodes, and am so thrilled to have met people that get as revved up about manufacturing as I do! Cassandra Haupers – Vice President of Operations (Swiss Precision Machining) I love being able to experience what manufacturers are doing to promote culture and engage their team members and community. All of us are smarter than one of us. That is why I am part of the Making Chips tribe. Barry E. Walter, Jr. – Chief Operating Officer (Barry E. Walter, Sr. Co.) Finally, relevant manufacturing media that is actually entertaining! Dietmar Goellner – Chief Executive Officer (Advanced Machine & Engineering / Hennig) The more manufacturing companies we can get to think this way, the stronger our industry will be. Thank you for sharing! Jess Giudici – Manager, Talent and Culture I’m thankful to you for creating MakingChips for the Metalworking Nation so that Owners / Employees can strengthen their companies. Phil Sponsler – President (ORBITFORM) I love the podcast! It really serves to fill a void in the manufacturing world. I will admit I always feel a little more inspired. Jason Falk – Senior Application Engineer, CMTSE (HURCO) Thanks to all the great info on your podcasts and the website. Dave Lechleitner – Director of Solutions and Product Marketing (KEYEDIN) I really love what you guys are doing to advance the mfg industry in a way that really reaches the right audiences. Jeff Rizzie – Senior Manager-Business Development (Sandvik Coromant)
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MAKING CHIPS Podcast for Manufacturing Leaders with Jason Zenger & Jim Carr
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Now displaying: September, 2021
Sep 27, 2021

Do your employees feel like they’re a means to an end? I think a lot of team members don’t realize—or believe—that we care about them. Some feel that when you hold them accountable to hit their numbers that data is all you care about. But that isn’t always the case.  At the end of the day, we’re all business leaders who need an efficient working environment. So where do we find a balance between data, accountability, and caring for our team members? How do we drive profitability without driving our employees away? Listen to this episode of Making Chips for the full discussion!

Segments

  • [0:40] Check out ProShop ERP for more information on manufacturing software!
  • [3:24] Hold your employees to metrics they can control
  • [7:33] Manufacturing News: A Generation of American Men Give Up on College
  • [16:55] Learn about Amper Technologies machine monitoring systems
  • [17:39] Avoid measuring data that is not helpful to the employee
  • [37:33] Accelerate your digital transformation with Xometry

Hold your employees to metrics they can control

I’ve seen a trend where everything is about data. Everyone wants to harvest data. But can you take it a step too far? Can there be an imbalance in the data?

On a recent episode of Russell Brand’s podcast, he talked about how Amazon’s delivery people have an app they have to use. The app tracks every move they make and everything they do when they deliver packages. But it appears that Amazon is tracking metrics that are outside of the control of the employee and using those metrics to evaluate them. 

We believe when you hold people accountable with metrics it should be something that’s within their control. But Amazon has taken it so far that people are being fired when they don’t meet the metrics of the algorithm Amazon has in place for delivery drivers. 

When Russell Brand described this, he pointed out that Amazon was treating their employees like zombies living in an algorithm—disposable cattle. 

The data doesn’t always show the full picture

Nick had a conversation with leaders at AME and Hennig about compensation for their salespeople. Commissions are results-based compensation and the result is why you work. But there are other activities salespeople do that add value. They do activities to achieve an objective to create a result. So his company talked about activity-based objectives they could compensate their salespeople for. They decided compensation should be a mix. 

Salespeople are driven by increasing their compensation. So they tend to focus on what would compensate them the most. But if your company wants them to focus on other activities not directly tied to making a sale, you might have to compensate them. You have to match the compensation with the desired behavior. 

Situations when data-tracking is necessary

I just took off the month of August and ZENGERS had a record month of sales while I was gone. I’m not trying to micromanage my team. They have an overall objective—sales and profitability. My goal is to train them on the right things to do to achieve that goal. I’m not saying they need to make a certain amount of calls a day or track every detail. I give them an overall mission to achieve but I don’t track their every movement. I feel like asking your team to track everything they do is the kiss of death. But is that true for every business? 

For Jim, due to Carr Machine & Tools AS9100 certification, they are mandated to document all of the results from their machining process. He runs a data-driven and oriented business where he has to measure, record, validate, time-track against jobs, and more. 

And of course, each individual on my team has those types of quality measurements that they have to hit. We record data that contributes to useful management of your team. But I don’t want my team to record data that’s pointless. Nick’s brother always says that any data that you record and isn’t used to make an improvement is wasted money. Wasted information is wasted action. 

The bottom line is that everyone needs to take a step back and think about this. Are the right activities being tracked? Are you gathering useful data, or just wasting time? You need to collect the right data that helps you drive profitability for your company. Listen to the whole episode for the full conversation. 

BAM!

– Jason

Resources mentioned on this episode

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Sep 20, 2021

The U.S. labor market is still struggling despite record numbers of job openings. Businesses aren’t able to hire as quickly as they need to. What’s the holdup? Is there a lack of candidates in the market? Are people choosing not to return to work? In this episode of Making Chips we dissect what’s happening—and a few things you can do about it. 

Segments

  • [0:18] Check out ProShop ERP for manufacturing software!
  • [2:30] What’s happening in the Making Chips world
  • [8:43] Manufacturing news: The U.S. Labor Market
  • [19:41] Accelerate your digital transformation with Xometry
  • [20:36] What I’m learning through the hiring process
  • [35:35] How to recruit high caliber candidates
  • [41:34] Learn about Amper Technologies monitoring systems

The U.S. Labor Market Isn’t Adding Up—And This Is Why

According to Andrew Hunter’s research, we’re seeing a high level of job openings but low levels of hiring. Millions of Americans are quitting and many aren’t re-entering the labor market. It’s claimed that the labor market is healthy, but the numbers don’t add up. Why? 

  1. Subdued Employment: 8.7 million Americans remain unemployed. Before the pandemic, 5.7 million Americans were unemployed. 
  2. Record Job Openings: The number of job opportunities is high and rising, reaching 10.1 million at the end of June with 590,000 more openings than the month before. 
  3. Low Hiring: Hiring isn’t keeping pace with job growth. June saw 6.7 million hires, but that’s 3.4 million short of the number needed to fill open roles.
  4. High Quits: Referred to as the “great resignation,” 3.9 million people quit their job in June. It’s partly the response to job opportunities. Workers are confident in their ability to find better jobs. 

The incentive to stay home and not work will decrease as the double unemployment payments are pulled back. The economy is recovering but worker confidence isn’t returning at the same pace. Autumn 2021 may bring the correction needed to balance the market. The outlook is optimistic. But until things turn around, what do manufacturers do?

Find creative solutions to your problem

A client of Jason’s had a key person in their shop that was doing some things that he deemed worthy of firing. But Jason’s client couldn’t afford to lose—and be forced to replace—this person. So he took a risk and sat him down for a conversation. He gave him the option to fix the problem or he’d be fired. This person turned his life around completely. This may not be an option for everyone, nor will it work in every scenario, but it was a creative way for this business owner to solve a problem. 

Two ways to hire for difficult positions

Recruiting for regional sales positions has been a huge focus of mine recently as we are restructuring our sales. But I don’t want to hire the first warm body. Everyone has heard “Hire slow, fire fast,” right? But if your machinist quits, you can’t hire slow because it causes production problems. 

So what am I doing right now? Finding a way to work with a candidate before we commit to hiring them full-time. If there’s a way to test the relationship, do it. Making Chips is a podcast and marketing agency. We brought someone on as a contractor to try out on a trial basis before we commit to hiring him full-time. It’s great for both parties to make an educated decision about each other. You can even put it in writing so it’s transparent and fully agreed on. 

What else can you do to hire for a difficult-to-fill position? Use LinkedIn’s recruiting tool. The price is steep—approximately $30,000—but you’re given access to highly qualified candidates interested in a new position. LinkedIn will even train you how to use it. The opportunity to do it yourself is available for larger companies who can make that number work. 

Listen to the whole episode to learn more about how the hiring process has gone for me and get some in-depth details on my two strategies. 

BAM!

– Nick

Shameless plug: If you are interested, we’re all hiring!

Resources mentioned on this episode

Get The Boring Bar Newsletter - Text CHIPS to 38470 to subscribe!

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Sep 6, 2021

I wanted to differentiate myself among other machine shops in the area with the new Carr Machine & Tool location. The shop floor is where we make our money. I took extra steps in the process to create a new image for my shop. I wanted to present it in a way that was sophisticated, high-tech, polished, and professional—while remaining efficient. 

That’s where IMEC came in. I reached out to them for some technical collaboration to help design an efficient shop floor. I worked with both Dean Harms and Tim Maurer and it was an amazing experience. So in this episode of Making Chips, I’m sharing what the collaboration and design process looked like with IMEC.

Segments

  • [0:24] Check out ProShop ERP for more information on manufacturing software!
  • [2:46] Why I chose the new Carr Machine & Tool location
  • [4:17] What’s happening at ZENGERS?
  • [6:19] Why investing in your business is important 
  • [10:32] President Biden Announces Support for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework
  • [12:55] The process of designing a new facility with IMEC 
  • [15:10] What IMEC (the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center) is all about
  • [19:16] Amper Technologies machine monitoring systems
  • [19:59] How the infrastructure bill will be distributed to MEPs
  • [25:43] My experience working with IMEC to design my shop floor
  • [36:50] Other types of shops IMEC works with
  • [38:55] Accelerate your digital transformation with Xometry

What IMEC (the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center) is all about

Dean Harms is a Regional Manager with IMEC. It’s his mission to help others any way he can on a daily basis and have fun along the way. Sounds like us, right? 

IMEC is part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network. It’s connected to the US Department of Commerce through the NIST organization. IMEC launched in the 1990s and is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. There are 51 MEPs (one in every state + Puerto Rico). Their overall mission is to provide solutions and improvements to small and medium-sized manufacturing companies to help them navigate the changing landscape, drive profitability, sustain growth, and become globally competitive. 

IMEC is a non-profit that is both privately and publicly funded. They are a channel that brings tax dollars back into the state of Illinois by specifically serving manufacturing businesses. Dean Harms makes sure the money is applied where it’s needed most. 

My experience working with IMEC

Dean cold-called me after I was on a live Facebook interview. I mentioned I was about to move my shop, so he reached out. He knew that there was probably something IMEC could do to help with the move. I heard that they could help design my shop floor and I really wanted a high-end polished shop. Dean introduced me to Tim Maurer and said he would be the perfect guy to collaborate with to design my shop floor. Tim has decades of experience not only with IMEC but also with Caterpillar. After I met Tim, I knew I was dealing with someone who was competent and knew what a manufacturing floor should look like. 

The shop floor design process

Tim’s design process was thorough, starting with the vision for our future and ending with the execution of the move. We started by setting objectives: Where did we want to be? What type of work would we be doing? What new technologies will be utilized on the shop floor? 

We did a physical walk of both of the properties. He took physical measurements of the new building, all of our tools, and made sure the room was big enough for a CMM. After he did the physical layout, we met again to go over the flow of the room and nail down the workflow. We placed the machinery and equipment in the prime areas of the floor to maximize the square footage. 

He established power needs, air drops, water needs, an eyewash station, etc. He developed the CAD and we talked about future automation and made sure they’d be room around the machines. He delivered the final layout to us in a CAD model. The best part? On moving day we had a roadmap to mark where everything went. We knew where every single thing would go. 

The design process was an investment in our future productivity. I would never have completed this process as well as Tim did. I highly recommend working with IMEC through a big move to create a more efficient shop floor. Don’t be afraid to delegate design to the experts. 

BAM!

– Jim

Resources mentioned on this episode

Get The Boring Bar Newsletter - Text CHIPS to 38470 to subscribe!

Connect With MakingChips

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