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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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Making Chips Podcast for Manufacturing Leaders
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Now displaying: 2023
Dec 26, 2023

Kyle Stoff spent his high school years doing parkour and making butterfly knives by hand. By the end of his Junior Year in high school, he’d decided he wanted to get into manufacturing to perfect his knife-making process. He skipped his Senior Year and dove into a full-time program at Ranken, becoming one of my best—and youngest—students. 

Now, Kyle works full-time for Orizon Aerostructures and makes his knives on days and weekends. His knives typically sell starting at $1,800—many are auctioned off even higher. He shares his story and why he’s passionate about manufacturing in this episode of MakingChips. Because if you’re not MakingChips, you’re not making knives, and you’re not making money. BAM!

– Drew Crowe

Segments

  • [0:17] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [3:08] How MakingChips launched Drew’s career
  • [8:40] Shoutout to Mark Bosworth at Southwestern Illinois College
  • [11:12] Celebrating MakingChips hitting 1,000,000 downloads
  • [17:11] Introducing today’s guest: Kyle Stoff with Orizon Aerostructures
  • [24:07] Check out Thomas™ Programs
  • [26:52] Shifting to making knives on a CNC machine
  • [31:47] Kyle inspired a curriculum change
  • [42:12] Kyle’s message to aspiring machinists
  • [44:03] The trajectory of Kyle’s future

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Dec 19, 2023

Do you express gratitude for your team members? Do they know their work is appreciated? Do you help guide them through their career so they can continue to learn and improve? Too many shops overwork good employees because they achieve excellence. That’s a mistake. It’s one of many reasons machine shops struggle with retention. 

In part II of our conversation with Drew Crowe and Dan Borders, we talk about the importance of showing appreciation. We also cover why it’s important for account managers to offer value, and how to retain young talent. Because if you’re not appreciating your talent, you won’t retain them. And if you can’t retain them, you’re not MakingChips, and definitely you’re not making money. BAM!

– Nick

Segments

  • [0:21] Register for IMTS 2024
  • [2:22] We need to express gratitude
  • [7:38] Recap of part I
  • [8:16] Transitioning to Edge Technologies
  • [15:35] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [17:19] What we look for when we hire
  • [20:39] Recruiting the next generation
  • [25:58] Thomas™ Programs

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Dec 12, 2023

How can we attract the next generation to machining? How can small shops attract and retain talent? How can we fuel greatness? In this episode of MakingChips, guest host Drew “The MFG” Crowe—the force behind the American Manufacturing Renaissance—brings on Dan Borders with Edge Technologies to start to tackle these questions. Because if you’re not attracting and retaining top talent, you won’t have a team to make chips. BAM!

– Nick

Segments

  • [0:16] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [1:50] Introducing Drew “The MFG” Crowe 
  • [8:43] Why “Y’all” is universal
  • [9:50] The Chip on Drew’s shoulder: Influencers
  • [19:17] Netsuite by Oracle
  • [20:47] Introducing Dan Borders
  • [31:50] How Dan landed at Davis Tool & Die Co.
  • [40:51] Thomas™ Programs

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Dec 5, 2023

What separates successful shops from unsuccessful ones? The people. As a leader, taking care of your people is paramount. So how do you manage and lead your people better? By following the Golden Rule. How do you apply the “Golden Rule” in business? Mike Ruge—the Integrator and Experience Director at ZENGERS—shares what that looks like and it can transform your business in this episode of MakingChips. Because if you aren’t taking care of your people, they won’t be MakingChips and if they’re not MakingChips, you’re not making money. BAM! 

Segments

  • [0:16] Take advantage of Thomas™ programs
  • [4:10] Manufacturing News: Tesla is changing perspectives 
  • [8:45] Applying the Golden Rule in your business
  • [14:33] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [16:07] Ask questions to collaborate on a solution 
  • [22:26] How to shift your culture in the right direction
  • [25:34] How to address underperformance 
  • [35:02] Some BIG changes at ZENGERS and Hennig 
  • [37:06] Learn how to be more empathetic
  • [38:06] Learn more about IMTS+
  • [39:31] How to keep yourself accountable

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Nov 29, 2023

How do you select the right ERP for your business? What should the implementation process look like? What are some mistakes you must absolutely avoid making? In this episode of MakingChips, Paul Van Metre shares some of the lessons he’s learned from failed ERP implementations. Because if you’re not MakingChips, you’re not making money. BAM! 

– Nick 

Segments

  • [0:17] Take advantage of Thomas™ programs
  • [2:20] The definitions of ERP, QMS, and MES
  • [6:08] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [7:47] The chip on my shoulder: Weaponizing contracts
  • [11:02] Paul Van Metre’s background in the industry 
  • [12:47] You need to involve every impacted department 
  • [17:13] Choose a system that works for the whole shop
  • [19:53] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [21:27] Use real data and processes in demos
  • [23:34] The implementation process: Let go of the past
  • [29:43] Overcoming analysis paralysis in the implementation process
  • [36:46] Register for the exhibitor workshop for IMTS 2024! 

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Nov 22, 2023

Why do you need to create video content, both for recruiting team members and bringing in new business? How do you get started when you don’t have the budget to hire a production company? Casey Voelker and Matthew Nix share what you can do to kickstart video marketing for your shop—and why it’s incredibly important—in this episode of MakingChips! Because if you aren’t Making videos, you’re losing out on money. BAM!

– Nick

Segments

  • [0:16] Sign up for a Thomasnet™ program
  • [3:11] Manufacturing News: Short-form video trends
  • [9:12] How Casey started working with Nix Companies
  • [13:27] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [16:16] How to get started creating videos 
  • [22:33] Integrate video marketing into your business
  • [24:16] Content marketing in manufacturing
  • [27:57] A day in the life of a craftsman
  • [29:05] Incorporating video into MakingChips
  • [29:44] Join the AMT Community
  • [32:00] Why you need to create video content

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Nov 14, 2023

What is FabTech? Why should anyone in welding, fabrication, metal forming, or finishing attend FabTech? They not only hold seminars and have booths and exhibitors to visit. You won’t only learn about trends in technology and meet with potential suppliers. Most importantly, you’ll be able to network. In this episode of MakingSparks recorded live at FabTech 2023, we interview a couple of people we met at FabTech whose careers were positively impacted because they showed up. Don’t miss it.

– Matthew Nix

Segments

  • [1:16] Why you should go to FabTech
  • [2:35] Netsuite by Oracle
  • [4:06] Networking opportunities at FabTech
  • [6:13] Casey’s dad joke 
  • [7:04] FabTech will help rejuvenate you 
  • [11:38] What stood out at FabTech 2023
  • [13:38] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [16:27] Spark of Knowledge: Use a CRM 
  • [17:49] Stephanie Hoffman with the AWS
  • [22:39] Learn more about Weld.com
  • [27:32] Check out Thomas™ services

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Nov 8, 2023

Recruiting in manufacturing can be difficult. Many students are taught the traditional “Graduate high school and go to college for four years” mentality. While there’s nothing wrong with taking that route, how do we capture the attention of young talent? How do we make them see the career trajectory available in welding or fabrication? Lindsey Nix and Angela Kirlin share some actionable tactics and strategies in this episode of MakingSparks!

– Matthew Nix 

Segments

  • [1:13] Lindsey’s dad joke
  • [2:35] Create a Thomas™ profile
  • [5:02] The internship programs at Nix Companies
  • [9:53] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [12:21] How Nix is investing in recruiting 
  • [15:57] The benefits of video marketing 
  • [19:54] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security
  • [23:13] Spark of Knowledge: Try candidate tryouts
  • [24:16] Leverage social media for recruiting
  • [31:22] Now trending: work/life balance
  • [34:23] Show children different career options
  • [36:34] Register for IMTS 2024
  • [37:42] Be authentic and consistent 

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Nov 1, 2023

Most mom-and-pop shops don’t have to worry about recruiting, hiring, and retaining talent until they decide they want to grow. When you find yourself needing to recruit and hire talent, where do you start? Start with your core values. Your company needs core values and a clear mission and vision to hire the right people, build the right culture, and retain your team long-term. Lindsey Nix and Angela Kirlin weigh in on what it takes to recruit top talent in this episode of MakingSparks.

Segments

  • [1:10] Introducing Lindsey Nix and Angela Kirlin
  • [2:30] Casey’s dad joke of the day
  • [4:02] Hiring and recruiting in the beginning
  • [6:37] Sign up for a Thomas™ program!
  • [9:38] How Angela learned the culture
  • [12:18] Spark of Knowledge: Core Values
  • [13:38] Angela’s role encompasses retention 
  • [15:35] Recruiting women in fabrication 
  • [18:15] Palo Alto Networks Industrial OT Security 
  • [17:23] The importance of core values 
  • [28:23] Join the AMT community

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Oct 24, 2023

MakingSparks has officially arrived! Matthew Nix and I, Casey Voelker, are here to speak to the welding and fabrication industry. And just like MakingChips, we want to equip and inspire while attracting the next generation. Everyone will have some takeaways from MakingSparks.

In this episode, Matthew shares more about Nix Companies and their explosive growth over the last 20 years. We’ll also cover what you can expect from MakingSparks, who should listen, and give you a sneak peek at our next episode. 

– Casey 

Segments

  • [3:24] Learn more about Matthew Nix and Nix Companies
  • [5:33] Recruiting and talent retention in fabrication
  • [7:27] Spark of Knowledge: Branding and marketing
  • [9:25] Growing the company to 100x revenue
  • [10:21] Who should listen to the MakingSparks podcast?
  • [13:50] Learn more about IMTS+
  • [15:13] What should we talk about?
  • [16:25] What’s happening in our next episode? 

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Oct 17, 2023

Are you in welding or fabrication? Are you a long-time listener of MakingChips who’s just been waiting for content that speaks directly to you? The wait is over. In this episode of MakingChips, Casey Voelker and Matthew Nix join us to introduce a brand new addition to the MakingChips lineup: MakingSparks. Casey and Matthew will be hosting the show that will bring even more industry voices to the mic. Tune in to this episode to learn exactly what to expect from this new podcast! Because if you’re not MakingSparks, you’re not making money. BAM!

— Jason 

Segments

  • [2:24] Why we created the MakingSparks podcast
  • [6:19] What’s going to be different about MakingSparks?
  • [7:16] Spark of Knowledge: Strategic planning
  • [10:23] Free KPI checklist from Netsuite by Oracle
  • [14:46] The evolution of Nix Companies 
  • [18:44] What we want your takeaway to be
  • [20:36] IMTS 2024: Sept 9th-14th in Chicago
  • [21:57] Who will MakingSparks speak to?

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Oct 10, 2023

You’ve found your acquisition target. They’ve committed to selling you the business. Now the real work begins. It’s time for due diligence. Where does due diligence start? What factors should you consider? How do you build a checklist? 

Jason, Nick, Adam Schmitt, and I tackle due diligence in this episode of MakingChips. Because if you’re not doing due diligence, you may miss important factors that will impact your ability to make chips. And if you’re not MakingChips, you’re not making money. BAM! 

– Matthew Nix

Segments

  • [0:57] Where does due diligence start? 
  • [6:43] Don’t be afraid to walk away
  • [9:33] Will leaders and employees stay?
  • [11:01] Take a deep dive into processes
  • [12:26] Asset purchase vs. stock purchase
  • [15:45] Don’t stop asking questions
  • [18:46] How to develop your own checklist

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Oct 3, 2023

How do you increase your capacity, make more chips, and bring on new clients without buying a new machine or pitching yourself to a single end user? Buying a company. Acquisitions are a large part of how we’ve all built our companies. But how do you start acquiring companies? Why would you want to? 

In this episode of MakingChips, Adam Schmitt—the Managing Partner of ProFab Alliance—joins Jason, Nick, and I (Matthew Nix) to dive into the starting point of acquisitions. Because if you’re not making acquisitions, you’re not MakingChips, and if you’re not MakingChips, you’re not making money. BAM!

– Matthew Nix

Segments

  • [3:43] Manufacturing News: Trade School Programs
  • [9:39] Why should you make acquisitions? 
  • [16:04] How should you look for acquisitions? 
  • [23:35] Buyout conversations gone wrong
  • [26:39] Why you need to pay attention to due diligence

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Sep 18, 2023

Once you’ve implemented lean manufacturing, how do you sustain a lean culture? How do you motivate your team to focus on continuous improvement? How do you inspire them to keep reaching and passing their goals? 

In this episode of MakingChips—part 2 of a live panel discussion at TSMA with special guests Doug Bawel, Femi D-Etti, and Jake Ward—we dive into what it takes to maintain a lean culture. It can be so easy to fall back into old patterns but it’s important to stay the course. 

Because if you can’t sustain a lean culture, you won’t be MakingChips efficiently, and if you’re not MakingChips, you’re not making money. BAM!

– Jason

Segments

  • [0:52] Leading measures for lean manufacturing
  • [5:34] Balancing day-to-day with improvement projects
  • [11:46] Learn more about NetSuite by Oracle
  • [13:17] How to sustain a lean culture
  • [17:40] Their biggest wins in the lean process
  • [24:58] Some final thoughts on lean manufacturing 

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Sep 12, 2023

What is your definition of lean manufacturing? One definition of lean is “Maximizing the flow of value through your business to your customer.” We all want our business to be customer-centric, right? It’s a given that we all want to reduce waste and improve efficiency.

But how do you do that? On this episode of MakingChips, we recorded a live panel discussion at TSMA with special guests Doug Bawel, Femi D-Etti, and Jake Ward. Each of them shares how they’re finding unique ways to build a lean culture through strategic leadership. 

Because if you’re not implementing a lean culture, you’re not MakingChips efficiently, and if you’re not MakingChips, you’re not making money. BAM!

– Nick

Segments

  • [2:50] What does lean manufacturing mean?
  • [7:09] Introducing Doug Bawel, Femi D-Etti, and Jake Ward
  • [14:50] The most important factor when introducing lean into your culture
  • [22:33] How to use gamification to move your teams toward a goal

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Aug 28, 2023

What is going on with the economy? We’re all feeling a slowdown in the manufacturing industry. So what gives? What happens in the economy can be directly impacted by politics. It can be impacted by war. It can be impacted by interest rates and the rising costs of consumer goods.

Nicole Wolter—the President and CEO of HM Manufacturing—joins us again to dissect what we see happening with the economy and what you can do to start marking more chips. Because if you aren’t MakingChips, you aren’t making money. BAM!

– Jason

Segments

  • [0:15] Netsuite by Oracle 
  • [4:04] Nicole’s experience representing manufacturing at the white house
  • [9:25] Lessons from manufacturing leaders: How AI will help manufacturing
  • [15:23] What is the manufacturing economy like right now? 
  • [18:27] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [26:05] Why are we in our current economic position? 
  • [31:01] What should you do when the economy is down?

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Aug 22, 2023

Today’s controversial topic: What is a woman…in manufacturing? We need to inspire the next generation of women to pursue a career path in manufacturing. But is the “sex sells” movement killing any chance of that? I’m Nicole Wolter—the President and CEO of HM Manufacturing. In this episode of MakingChips, I share how we can attract more women to manufacturing. Because if you’re not making chips, you’re not making money. BAM! Segments

Segments

  • [0:19] Netsuite by Oracle 
  • [2:44] Introducing Nicole Wolter
  • [3:35] What’s the chip on your shoulder?
  • [8:57] Is “Sex sells” corrupting the women in manufacturing movement?
  • [13:06] How do we attract more women to manufacturing? 
  • [15:17] Everyone is welcome in manufacturing
  • [18:45] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [19:24] The “booth babe” rant
  • [24:58] Getting girls interested in manufacturing 
  • [27:38] What is a Woman in Manufacturing?
  • [31:40] How to support other women in manufacturing

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Aug 11, 2023

Many companies strive to move toward digital transformation. Some struggle with the process. Others—like JJR Fabrication—see remarkable results. They’ve seen enormous efficiency and throughput improvements by embracing digital workflows while ensuring the physical side of their shop is in full alignment. 

This includes doing things like lean manufacturing work, Kaizen activities, and really embracing the ProShop way of doing things. Kevin Richards and Lynne DuBose from JJR Fabrication join us in this episode of MakingChips to share how their leap toward a digital transformation was a game-changer for their business. 

Because if you’re not being efficient, you’re not making chips, and if you’re not making chips, you’re not making money. BAM!

– Paul Van Metre

Segments

  • [0:12] Learn more about Netsuite by Oracle
  • [4:44] Lessons for manufacturing leaders
  • [7:47] Introducing Kevin Richards and Lynne DuBose
  • [11:09] How I met Kevin and Lynn
  • [12:41] Making the transition to ProShop
  • [20:20] The physical changes they’ve implemented
  • [24:17] The premise of the book “2 Second Lean”
  • [27:25] Why they implemented a morning meeting
  • [29:16] Creating a thoughtful pre-production checklist
  • [35:47] 4 Lessons for a successful digital transformation
  • [37:33] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop

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Jul 31, 2023

How do you grow a business while raising a family? When you and your spouse are business partners, how do you choose what to prioritize and when? Matthew and Lindsey Nix have been navigating this challenging road together for years.

In the second part of a two-part episode (check out episode #1 first), Matthew and Lindsey share some of the lessons they’ve learned about leadership and family life. Because if you aren’t making chips, you aren’t making money—and you aren’t providing for your family. BAM!

– Jason

Segments

  • [0:20] Learn more about Oracle Netsuite
  • [3:00] The BIG news: Baby #4 is on the way!
  • [4:47] What’s more important: The business or the marriage?
  • [6:11] What’s the chip on your shoulder?
  • [9:34] Set boundaries for each other
  • [12:50] Overcoming the negative voice in your head
  • [14:49] “Treat people like you would want your kids to be treated.”
  • [17:56] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [18:36] Balancing the kids and the business

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Jul 26, 2023

What is it like to be married to your business partner? Especially when both people are very involved in the business. The metalworking industry is dominated by family-owned businesses. I’d love to see more husbands and wives team up to grow manufacturing together. In the next two episodes of MakingChips, special guests Lindsey and Matthew Nix share what it’s like to grow a business as a united front. Because if you aren’t making chips together, you aren’t making money. BAM! 

Segments

  • [0:22] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [3:28] Introducing today’s guests: Matthew & Lindsay Nix
  • [7:13] Manufacturing News: We Need More Hybrid Cars
  • [14:58] How Lindsey became part of the business
  • [17:57] What catapulted their major growth
  • [19:25] Lindsey’s role throughout the years
  • [23:50] The challenges of a married couple working together

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Jul 17, 2023

Are you embracing automation in your shop? Or are you hesitating because you’re unsure how to implement it so that you’re making the best use of your time and money? Brian Kippen—the owner and CEO of KAD Models & Prototypes—reframes how you can use automation. 

In this episode of MakingChips, Brian Kippen, Steve DeGrasse, and I share how you can approach automation from a different perspective. Because if you’re not automating efficiently, you’re not MakingChips, and if you’re not MakingChips, you’re not making money. BAM!

– Nick

Segments

  • [0:15] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [1:48] Introducing Brian Kippen and Steve DeGrasse
  • [3:12] What's the Chip on Your Shoulder?
  • [5:30] Brian Kippen’s origin story
  • [20:36] How Brian approaches automation differently 
  • [24:28] Running his company like a barbershop
  • [30:21] What Brian looks for in new talent
  • [36:44] How Brian is using automated pallet delivery
  • [41:10] Why Brian took a job as a high school teacher

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Jul 10, 2023

I created a campaign to build awareness for machinists. Why? Because, sadly, the general public knows very little about manufacturing. They don’t look around them and see what we see: That almost everything is machined. 

So in this episode of MakingChips, I’ll share a few ways you can highlight manufacturing in your communities. It’s not just to build awareness but to also grow interest in manufacturing in the next generation. Because what would happen if no one was MakingChips?

– Paul Van Metre

Segments

  • [2:51] Leadership Spotlight: Jacob Sanchez
  • [5:17] Everything is influenced or created by machines
  • [9:28] What inspired #ThankAMachinist 
  • [11:00] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [12:19] How to shine a spotlight on manufacturing 

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Jul 3, 2023

Paul Van Metre is no stranger to MakingChips, and we’ve shared his story before. But this time, we’re looking at it through a whole new lens. Paul and his partners started in the industry running a machine shop. Then, it morphed into a software company: ProShop. What started as a solution to their problems became a solution for thousands of businesses. 

How has ProShop become a game-changing ERP? How are they growing and supporting the industry at large? Find out in this episode of MakingChips. Because if you’re not making an impact, you’re not MakingChips. And if you’re not MakingChips, you’re not making money. BAM!

– Nick

Segments

  • [0:16] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [1:39] The manufacturing community down under
  • [4:44] Lessons for Manufacturing Leaders
  • [12:42] What’s more fulfilling to Paul?
  • [13:54] From PRO CNC to ProShop ERP
  • [16:58] Proving the concept
  • [19:12] Will ProShop ERP grow to other industries?
  • [24:19] How ProShop supports the industry at large
  • [31:11] What’s next for ProShop ERP?

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Jun 26, 2023

How do you create and cultivate a manufacturing leadership mindset? What can you do to recharge? How do you take care of yourself so you can take care of your team? How do you unify your team toward a shared goal? Special guests Eric Nekich 5th Axis® Workholding, Michael Gaunce with SCHUNK USA, and Kaleb Mertz with AME help me tackle these questions in this special round-table episode of MakingChips. Because if you aren’t leading your team well, they won’t be productively making chips, and they won’t be making money. BAM!

– Nick

Segments

  • [1:36] Introducing our three guests
  • [3:54] Our daily routines to recharge
  • [12:59] How to set realistic expectations 
  • [18:40] Thomasnet™ Industrial Digital Marketing Services
  • [19:22] Embracing a change-oriented mindset
  • [26:28] The skills gap is becoming a wide-ranging reality
  • [32:45] How to unify teams toward a shared goal
  • [42:38] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [43:16] How to connect with our guests

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Jun 19, 2023

What is the most impactful factor that helps machine tool distributors sell tools? Is it the quality of the tools themselves? Is it the skill of the salesperson? Is it the service that the distributor can offer? Tony Harrod—General Manager at Methods Machine Tools, Inc.—believes that one of these things sets you apart: Service: But is the answer really that simple? If you aren’t providing quality service, will you be making fewer chips, and making less money? Find out in this episode of MakingChips! 

Segments

  • [2:53] Manufacturing News: February 2023 Orders Nearly 50% Above Average
  • [6:20] Introducing the GM of Methods Machine Tool West: Tony Harrod
  • [7:40] What sells machine tools? What is the most important factor? 
  • [14:41] How they figure out what “doors to knock on”
  • [17:25] What the machine tool industry needs to improve
  • [18:29] The Lean Setup Guide from ProShop
  • [19:10] Why machine tool and cutting tool distributors should partner 
  • [26:56] Why Tony trains his customer on every machine they purchase
  • [28:46] How the skills gap is impacting machine tool distributors

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