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Making Chips Podcast for Manufacturing Leaders

MakingChips is hosted by a set of multi-generational manufacturing leaders who are on the factory floor everyday, living their lives in the world of manufacturing—they know first hand that manufacturing can be challenging. Founders Jim Carr and Jason Zenger released their first podcast in late December 2014—releasing over 300 episodes to-date, reaching more than 650,000 downloads—all while striving to deliver on their mission, to “equip and inspire the metalworking nation.” In 2019, Nick Goellner, another multi-generational manufacturing leader, joined the MakingChips hosts, bringing a third generation of manufacturing leaders to the table. Join the hosts as they work through industry challenges with leaders such as Titan Gilroy (Titans of CNC), John Saunders (NYC CNC), Mark Terryberry (Haas Automation) and more.
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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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