The 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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May 17, 2019

Excellent customer experience is vital to the success of your manufacturing business, and marketing automation solutions can help you not only sell your business but maintain your customer base as well. In this episode of MakingChips, Jim and Jason discuss the importance of utilizing marketing automation correctly with B2B consultant and advisor, Todd Hockenberry. Author of Inbound Organization: How to Build and Strengthen Your Company’s Future Using Inbound Principles and host of “The Industrial Executive Podcast,” Todd shares how to customize your marketing automation to your customers and how to map customer behavior so that you can provide the best service to each individual.

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Understanding how the conversation works between your business and the customer

“Marketing automation is using technology to facilitate conversations so that you can build relationships.” Todd explains that it all begins with the conversation between you and the customer. Many businesses aren’t even aware that the conversation is happening - how a customer found the business, what they were looking for, if or how they found the solution to their needs, and how they interacted with the people and media of the business. Without some type of automation system in place, you won’t be able to map out the journey that your customer is taking - and how you can best meet their needs.

The role of the salesman is changing in the fast-paced world that we live in. Automated marketing is a necessity, and it is extremely powerful - if done well. Just as no one has time to invite a salesman in to talk and show off a product, no one has time to participate in poor marketing. Todd encourages marketers to consider whether the tools they are using are achieving the results that they want. Email, free downloads, and website forms have all been automation staples of the past, but they aren’t effective at speaking to the customer. Emails go unopened, downloads go unread. Marketing isn’t about how you want to communicate with the buyer. It’s about how the buyer wants to communicate with you. Familiarizing yourself with how the buyer acts and what they want can help you better serve them.

Personalizing your automated marketing systems to meet your customer needs

Everyone processes information differently. Some people absorb a message better audibly, visually, or through actual hands-on experience. Your automated marketing strategy must take this into consideration and be customizable to the buyer. Todd explains that he uses a myriad of mediums to relay a message and provide opportunity for conversation. Personalized video messages, pop-up chat boxes, marketing personnel available to answer phone calls, texts, and emails are all ways to make that personal connection with the customer.

The key is to make sure that your customer needs are being met. Automated chat-boxes - or chat-bots - are a useful tool, if handled correctly. If customer questions are being answered then all is well, but if they aren’t being answered, how long does it take for the customer to reach an actual sales rep? Immediacy is vital in our fast-paced world of communication. If you do provide a phone number, make sure that there is actually someone there to answer it. Time is money, and people don’t want to wait for information. Todd gives some excellent insight into the importance of immediate gratification when it comes to your customer, so be sure to listen to the entire episode!

Mapping out the journey of your customer is an extremely helpful step in understanding how to best serve them. Match technology with the needs of your customer - don’t just go shopping for technology and implement it into your systems without knowing if it is what your customers need to better communicate with you and vice versa. People want a seamless, helpful experience that helps them achieve their goals. Being able to track what an individual has downloaded, what they have clicked on or opened in your website or emails, and what mediums they have used to contact you - if any - are all part of the map that helps you locate what to improve in your marketing system.

Matching the persona of your business with the right customer base

People want to see themselves when they go onto your website - but you also want to see your business values in your customer. All relationships are two-way, and Jim and Jason understand the importance of aligning company values with the customer for an excellent, long-term relationship.

Jim, for example, has set up filters that keep those he may not want to work with at bay. He doesn’t list his available machinery on his website - instead, he promotes the core values of his company and highlights what makes Carr Machine & Tool unique. His goal is to get people into a conversation with someone on his team as quickly as possible - whether that be through a chat-box, email, or phone call so that the relationship is built before anything is sold.

Finding the right marketing automation solutions for your business

While there are numerous tools out there to help you track and map customer behaviors, you don’t need every bell and whistle to get started. HubSpot is a favorite of Todd, Jim, and Jason. Automated marketing is a continuous task, needing a high level of attention. HubSpot helps cut back on time spent logging information and allows you to see what each website visitor is clicking on, if they signed up for a newsletter, or if they have opened an email once, never, or several times. Being able to see what a customer is interested in will allow you to better market to them so that they are given only what they need.

CRM systems are also extremely helpful in building the relationship between you and the buyer. Don’t just use CRM systems as a place to drop email addresses to send automated messages to. Know the behavior of a person and send them the automated message that will speak to them personally. Keeping track of previous customers is another helpful aspect of a CRM system. If someone who bought your product a year ago is on your website again, then you know to reach out to them and update them on the latest and greatest that your company has to offer.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Creating an optimal customer experience through marketing automation.
  • Guest speaker: Todd Hockenberry - expert B2B consultant and advisor.
  • Are you tracking the online conversation surrounding your business and product?
  • Misuse of automation marketing.
  • Ensuring a personable customer experience with marketing automation.
  • The power of customization.
  • Mapping a value stream: following and anticipating the journey of your lead.
  • Creating a seamless experience for your customer.
  • Aligning your company persona with the ideal customer.
  • Content management systems are vital to your company’s performance.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Todd Hockenberry

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May 8, 2019

Jason and Jim both felt the need to fight against the perspective of nepotism within their family manufacturing businesses by proving their merit within their respective companies. Growing up in the family business had its perks, but it also came with the need to overcome the stigma that they were successful simply because of their bloodline. There was a lot to prove - to both themselves and others as they mastered the manufacturing business and took on greater leadership and responsibility. Guest speaker, Dietmar Goellner - Nick Goellner’s father - shares his own experience and insight into keeping nepotism out of the family business, while also mentoring his three sons within the company.

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The family business is still a business

Dietmar grew up saturated in the heart and soul of manufacturing. His father immigrated from Germany in 1958 and founded Advanced Machine & Engineering (AME) in 1966. Dietmar is now the president, CEO, and co-owner of AME - as well as the president and CEO of Henning Inc. Dietmar was raised to become the next leader within his father’s manufacturing business, but he himself has taken a different approach with his own sons. Dietmar approaches the family business as a business - putting the needs of the company and team ahead of any desire to put a family member in a job where they may not need to be.

“Being in the family might get you a job, but it won’t keep you a job,” he says. Having a managerial role in the company with shareholding and voting rights is earned by merit alone. It’s not a birthright. Dietmar never pushed his kids to follow his footsteps in the family business, but when one by one they said they were interested in pursuing their careers within the company, he took them in and placed them where the company needed them most.

Each of his three sons joined the family business with unique talents, skills, and passions. Dietmar recognized this and placed them strategically within the company - where their aptitude met their passion and the need of the business. The needs of the company must be met - and that should come above the wishes of any individual. Treat the business like a business.

Less micromanaging and more mentoring

It is easy to micromanage any team - but especially a team made up of family members. Dietmar discusses the importance of fighting against the micromanagement of family members within the company. Coaching and mentoring are far more productive and impactful methods of training. Dietmar warns against ever forcing or coercing a person into a position that they either aren’t wired to take over or don’t even want in the first place. Not all family members who want a part in the business are going to want a leadership role.

Mentoring begins with assimilation. Dietmar explains that with his sons, he explained the opportunity to be had by joining the company, but he also explained that they had to earn the right to vote and own shares. He did, however, include them in board meetings so that they could watch and learn what would be expected of them in the future. He also explained the importance of allowing family members to make mistakes and allowing for communication to be two-way. Whether you are the mentor or the one being mentored, you have a responsibility to communicate well. For Jim, that meant booking his dad’s schedule with a time-slot just for the two of them to go out and get martinis together and discuss business needs. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for more great insight into what mentoring and coaching the next generation looks like and how to keep from micromanaging your business.

Fighting nepotism by sticking to your core values

Core values are a key component of any company’s foundation. Dietmar encourages family businesses to communicate their stance against nepotism through their core values - and the determination to stick by them. At AME, the core value of servant leadership is vital. Anyone not displaying the humility that comes through leading by example is not considered for a place within the business - whether they are family or not.

Arrogance and ignorance are two attributes that Dietmar doesn’t allow on the manufacturing floor. While he recognizes that everyone has flaws and that no one is perfect, he understands the importance of a humble and knowledgeable leader. When considering whether to promote someone - whether family or not - he looks to see whether the individual embodies the characteristics of a servant leader and also displays the manufacturing skills necessary to take the business to the next level.

Dietmar explains that another aspect of a successful and healthy family relationship within a family business is respect. He warns against losing respect for one another over business issues and by not treating each other with professionalism in the workplace. Yes, you are family, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with disrespecting one another.

Have a succession plan - but hold it loosely

Having professionals come onto the board to help navigate succession plans and other business dynamics is hugely helpful. Dietmar suggests having an excellent attorney on board to ensure that you are getting it right when it comes to the details. Beginning the conversation early with family members about how the succession plan will work for the family business is important.

Dietmar reminds listeners that arguments and misunderstandings will occur during the succession planning process. Be okay with that. Go in knowing that there will be miscommunication. Hold everything loosely and operate under grace. Be able to ask for forgiveness and forgive. Building a strong family connection while also making the right decisions for the future of the company can be difficult. Dietmar suggests that if there isn’t someone in the family who wants to take on the business, then look within the company for someone passionate and capable who does want the responsibility. Open communication and honesty should be the foundation of any succession planning.

Be sure to listen to the entire episode for more helpful pointers on how to navigate the ups and downs of working with family in the family manufacturing business and how to keep nepotism at bay.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • The birth of The Boring Bar at MakingChips.
  • Defining nepotism.
  • Dietmar Goellner: president/CEO/co-owner of Advanced Machine & Engineering.
  • Is it wrong to give your family jobs in the business?
  • The issue of reverse nepotism.
  • Placing family members in jobs that will impact them and the company.
  • Less micromanaging - more coaching.
  • Relating core values to the issue of nepotism.
  • The dangers of arrogance and ignorance.
  • Building strong communication between you and your family within the business.
  • Don’t lose respect for one another!
  • Having the succession conversation - and being willing to flex.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Dietmar Goellner

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Apr 29, 2019

Jim and Jason both know the importance of fostering a great company culture within their businesses. Knowing where to begin and how to accomplish a thriving culture, however, can be daunting. In this insightful episode of MakingChips, Jim shares his personal experience building a company culture that won Carr Machine & Tool the Spark Award for Culture and Workforce Development.

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When the culture is great - the work is great

When your team embraces the core values of your company, the result is hugely impactful. Jim and Jason have both discovered that when manufacturing leaders take the time to pour into their team and employees, more is accomplished and business goals are not only met, but exceeded. Your people matter, and how you communicate the mission of your company to them is key. Jim explains that learning to listen to your employees and making structured room for conversation is the foundation for company culture success. The core values of your company should be honed down to just a few. They should act as the internal compass of your business and be the why behind what you do. When your people are united behind a common set of core values and know that they are each valued and have a voice, making chips becomes that much easier.

Mantra and motivation craftsmanship

Every business should have a stated mission and vision. Jim took those building blocks and presented them to his team - with a twist. He sat down with his team and asked them what their mantra and motivation was. What was their why? He wanted to know what it was that inspired and motivated his employees to get out of bed every morning and come to work at Carr Machine & Tool. The process offered powerful insight that gave Jim the tools he needed to communicate effectively with his team and understand his employees on a deeper level.

Jim knew that not everyone would have the same why and not everyone would understand what the company does in the same way. Jim explains that people’s answers change over time as well. For instance, not everyone on his team had the same answer for how the business actually made money. Jim encouraged his team to voice their differing perspectives so that he could better understand what areas he needed to clarify and unify his team. Structured round table discussions and reviews of the company’s goals, structure, and mantra help Jim keep a pulse on the health and vision of his company culture.

Investing in the team is investing in the company

Fostering a company culture where success is celebrated and failures can be discussed are aspects of investing in his employees that Jim deeply cares about. Group and individual successes should be noticed and celebrated, he explains. He also wants his employees to understand that mistakes will happen - and that is okay as long as everyone can learn something from them. “No one is perfect,” he says, and the culture he has built is one where everyone knows that someone else has their back when something goes wrong.

Having fun together is also an important part of the company culture at Carr Machine & Tool. Jim organizes field trips for his team to conferences, IMTS, or group BBQs. Learning together and sharing a relaxed drink together helps build community.

For Jim, the emotional and physical health of his employees is vital. He explains that when your people are healthy, they will be able to put forward their best effort. As a leader, he fosters emotional health by talking with his employees and encouraging open discussion. Sharing is key. As for the physical, Jim likes to supply healthy food options to his team throughout the day.

For more tips on how to build up your people and create a thriving company culture, listen to the entire episode!

How to begin changing the company culture

Growing a company culture takes time. Jim utilizes professionals in the areas that he needs help. He organizes standups with financial advisors and makes sure that his team understands the systems, investments, and decisions that the company is making. Uniting his team behind common knowledge of the company’s net profits and sales keeps any guesswork at bay, and taking the time to discuss hiring decisions as a team helps build trust and unity.

But where do you start? Jim encourages manufacturing leaders to simply begin the conversation with team members and employees. Giving your people the opportunity to speak and share is the perfect starting point. Structured dialogue can help foster a thriving culture while also keeping the focus on core values and business growth. “Everyone has a voice,” Jim explains, “and every voice is valuable.” As a leader, stay true to the decisions you make, limit distractions, and make it clear to your people that you are invested in them. Listen to the full episode for more tips on how you can set the example to your company and keep the culture thriving.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Why laughter is better than caffeine.
  • The criteria that won Jim’s company the Culture & Workforce Development Award.
  • Manufacturing News: tips for company culture success.
  • Empowering your team through strategic open communication.
  • Crafting the mission and vision of your company.
  • Encouraging emotional and physical health among your employees.
  • Clarifying the why and how of your company.
  • The importance of celebrating successes and discussing failures.
  • Utilizing field trips to foster company community and learning.
  • Hiring new team members as a team.
  • Contributing to charity as a company.
  • Utilizing professionals to help make sense of the details.
  • The return on investment of pouring into your company’s culture.
  • How to begin changing your company’s culture as a small manufacturing business.

Tools & Takeaways

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Apr 18, 2019

Knowing when to start the conversation about family business succession planning can be tough. Jim and Jason understand that the dialogue surrounding the family business can be hard as it is - without throwing in who is getting what and when. In this episode of the MakingChips podcast, Jim and Jason share their personal experiences as well as some insightful tips to help the manufacturing leaders of the Metal Working Nation get the ball rolling and keep the business growing.

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Knowing where and when to start the conversation

While bringing up succession is uncomfortable, it is important to start planning as early as possible. The earlier you begin the dialogue, the better. Jim shares that he knew the conversation needed to be brought up with his dad when he realized that the woman his father was dating at the time may have ended up being his stepmother - and an inheritor of all he had worked hard to maintain and create in the family manufacturing business. Family situations can get sticky, which is why it is vital to start now. Navigating all the discussions that need to take place, the legal issues, and the development of a practical, workable plan can take time. For Jim, it took several years from the time he began the conversation with his father to the time everything was legally settled on paper.

Jason shares that while his family situation wasn’t as difficult as Jim’s, his dad still realized the necessity to begin succession planning early in case of unforeseen or unfortunate events. It isn’t only about settling who gets what and when - it is also about preserving the future of the business.

Keeping interests and priorities in alignment

Jim knew that he didn’t want the amount of effort and energy he was putting into the family business to go to waste. It is important to understand and be honest with your family members about who has the greatest or equal interest in pursuing the future of the company and who is best equipped to handle the financial ups and downs. Jim shares that he didn’t want the business to be pulled out from under him by someone else when he was the one that had put the greatest amount of effort into the company and knew that was where his passion lay.

Similarly, Jason shares that while he and his sister both owned shares in the family business, Jason and his wife had sustainable future plans for the company and held a greater level of interest in its growth. Both Jim and Jason walked through the succession planning journey with their families, taking into consideration that it would be difficult and at least a little bit painful for everyone involved. The priority, however, always had to be the success of the business. Listen to the entire episode for details on how Jason and Jim helped their families walk the path of succession planning to cohesive decision-making.

Navigating the waters of appraisals and attorneys

Jim stresses the importance of seeking professional help when building a family business succession plan. Understanding which appraisals matter for tax purposes, payment plans, and divvying shares is vital. While conversations can create plans that seem doable, having everything put into a binding, written agreement is key. Having a business appraiser, attorney, and corporate account present can help you and your family make sense of everything involved and what needs to be done to make your succession plan a reality.

Jason explains the importance of understanding the fine print. You and your family probably won’t come to complete agreement on the first draft of the succession plan. Is what is being handed to you what everyone needs? Jason knew he didn’t want to be handcuffed in any way when he took over ownership of the family business, and so further work had to be done on the succession plan before he and everyone else was content with moving forward.

Jim & Jason’s call-to-action

Get the conversation going - no matter what. Yes, it can be uncomfortable - whether you are the one giving everything away or the one receiving. Yes, it can give rise to rifts and pains that no-one in the family will want to feel. Jim and Jason stress, however, that the longer you wait, the worse it gets. They suggest networking with peers that may be going through the same thing and collecting thoughts and ideas on how to navigate the succession waters so that you don’t drown when you go in to start the conversation. The important thing to remember is that you do not want something such as succession planning to be a looming impediment to your family business. The growth and success of your business should always remain at the forefront. Because if you aren’t making chips - you aren’t making money.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Jason and Jim discuss their personal experiences with family business succession.
  • The importance of beginning the discussion early!
  • Continuing the dialogue.
  • Balancing interest with priority.
  • Navigating Appraisals.
  • Getting started ASAP.

Tools & Takeaways

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Apr 12, 2019

Specific skills and savvy are needed to succeed in the manufacturing world, making a manufacturing startup difficult to achieve. Brandon Kane, however, knew he wanted hands-on work that made a difference in the world and began his own shop in the garage with his dad, Mike. Together, they have transformed a dream into reality through hard work, determination, and a willingness to learn. In this episode of the MakingChips podcast, Jim Carr and Nick Goellner explore what makes or breaks startup business endeavors and what we can learn from Brandon’s entrepreneurial spirit.

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The statistics behind startups

Entrepreneurship has many benefits. Most small business owners were inspired to create their own startup from a desire to work for themselves and be their own boss. Others had a passion they wanted to share with the world. The unfortunate reality, however, is that most startups don’t make it past their first couple of years. Jim and Nick share some surprising startup trends from the past few years. Most small business owners, for instance, are 50-59 years old - not young college graduates. The funding to start a business is often taken from the founder’s personal savings account, and family is usually a strong source of continued funding for the initial months of a small business. Learn more about the interesting statistics of startup businesses by listening to the entire episode!

Inspired beginnings of a manufacturing startup

Manufacturing is often seen as an industry that has a hard time inspiring the younger generation to follow in its footsteps and pave the way for the future. Brandon Kane, however, grew up watching his dad work in the manufacturing industry and fell in love with “hands-on” work. He attended a technical high school, learning skills that would help him late on when he decided to begin a manufacturing startup with his dad in their garage.

Brandon’s dad, Mike, settled into his role as the visionary of the business - having seen needs in the industry that weren’t being met by the larger corporations and companies. While time is money, there should always be excellence in production, and Mike felt that smaller orders weren’t being met properly by the larger businesses. Mike helped Brandon begin a small business - Manufacturing Solutions - that saw a need and began filling it.

Brandon’s love of design led him to experiment with CAM software on their first machines, creating a trigger for a firearm they use for hobby target practice. From there, the designs became more complex, and Brandon’s knowledge of software grew to produce prototypes, and he became more comfortable with different tool paths and CNC machines.

Different learning paths - same passion for excellence

Jim and Mike talk about the differences in the ways that they learned manufacturing skills as opposed to how the younger generation - such as Brandon - have picked up the skills needed to succeed. While it used to be popular to learn through hands-on experience with the machines themselves - learning to feel and listen to the tone of a machine and metal to determine whether or not the design would come out - Brandon learned through CAD-CAM software first. He and Mike purchased a video series on how to work the tools with the software, but much of the learning was done through experimentation and from mistakes made along the way.

Mike explains that in a startup, you learn a lot through failure. He talks about the edge that modern technology can give a manufacturing startup by providing new software that can optimize a CNC machine to produce quality parts every time with a well-built design. Probing systems have also taken much of the guesswork out of machining, allowing for a more consistent product.

Building the benchmarks for a strong foundation

While there are many differences in the ways Mike and Brandon have learned the industry, they are united through the passion to produce quality products to fulfill a need and to inspire a positive atmosphere among manufacturing leaders. Much of their business's marketing has been done through word-of-mouth and through maintaining a strong social media presence on Instagram. Brandon loves sharing his day-to-day life with others, hoping that his business will inspire others to launch into their dreams with determination and hard work.

Realistic benchmarks are important to any business, and Mike and Brandon have built theirs around practical goals. They both know that they would prefer not to compete with large, corporate companies and have tried to maintain steady growth without growing too big too fast. Mike wants to hire another employee with the same passion for learning and sharing the manufacturing industry. Brandon wants to become a bigger influence on social media and hopefully begin coaching others while also building the business he and his father have built. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for the rest of the inspiring story of a manufacturing startup done right.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Surprising startup business trends.
  • Brandon and Mike Kane: manufacturing entrepreneurs.
  • Growing up inspired by design and hands-on work.
  • Generational differences in learning and manufacturing application.
  • Learning through failure.
  • Marketing through word-of-mouth and social media.
  • Shooting for practical benchmark goals.
  • Creating a positive atmosphere and influence on the manufacturing industry.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guests: Brandon & Mike Kane

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Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify

Apr 4, 2019

Life often gets crazy busy, and it can be hard to fight the stress that easily sneaks in and overwhelms the everyday. Jason and Jim unpack the causes of major stress and give practical insight and tactics for overcoming the stresses that keep leaders from performing at their very best. Speaking from personal experience, these two manufacturing leaders share their personal tools and explore the need to prioritize your priorities.

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Pinpointing the major causes of stress

Stress can come in quietly and pile up quickly. Life changes, bad news, distractions, and inefficient processes are only a few ways stress can overtake your work, family, and life. Businesses grow, teams expand, and life gets busy! Jason talks about a time when stressful business news impacted his health. Stress not only affects how you view and approach work, but it also affects your health, relationships, and effectiveness as a leader.

Understanding why you are stressed is the first step. The connectedness of the modern business world is one major cause of stress for many industry leaders. Technology has created the opportunity to be connected to everything and everyone at all times. Overstimulation can lead to incredible amounts of stress because there is never time to simply turn off and relax. How do you overcome the limitations of stress-induced scars and build a life of minimal distraction? Be sure to listen to the entire episode!

Eliminating distraction and reducing wasted time

Jason and Jim share some of their personal tools for combating the stresses that permeate all of life - from work to family. Exercise, essential oils, writing out thoughts in short notes or lists, spending time with loved ones and friends, and taking the time to relax and laugh can all help reduce stress. Even spending time with a pet or taking the time to relax and drink a glass of wine at night can help mitigate the constant stimulation that your mind lives in throughout the workday. But what steps can you take to cut stress in the bud and mitigate its presence at work and as a leader? Jason shares seven tools for doing just that.

(7) Turn off notifications on your phone! It is easy to get caught up in group chats or conversations that could be had later or under better circumstances. Jason shares that he only leaves notifications on for family and team members vital to his current work. Otherwise, the conversation can wait.

(6) Use your calendar to plan ahead. Book out the next couple weeks so that you know what to expect and where you need to be and what you need to get accomplished. Knowing your calendar can also keep you from overbooking yourself. Have a plan and write it out ahead of time. Jim and Jason have also learned to be careful with which calendar invites to accept.

(5) Say “No” often. As a leader, you have a choice as to what processes, meetings, and jobs you need to be a part of. Know where to delegate and where to partake and be honest about how much time you have available for jobs and meetings that could be run and accomplished by someone else. Take responsibility where needed, but don’t overextend.

Creating an efficient and stimulating environment

Jason and Jim explore tactics for fighting stress that require you, as the leader, to take a step back and take the time to dwell in objective observation. It is easy to become comfortable in the status-quo and not realize that things need to be changed. Jason and Jim share the following tools for creating that efficient and life-giving environment.

(4) Align yourself with great partners. Being willing to delegate the jobs that someone else can accomplish better than yourself is vital. Who on your team knows more than you about a specific job, or who do you know that has expertise where you don’t? Who has more time to give to a project? By delegating to the right people, you can grow your business by ensuring that everyone is giving their best work in their best arenas.

(3) Create a routine for yourself. Habits and a normalized routine can help keep the guesswork out of the workplace. Setting aside the time to accomplish what needs to be done while also creating space for creative work can help keep your day moving steadily forward.

(2) Take time to reflect on whether or not you have the right people in the right seats. Are your team members able to give their best in their current positions? Being willing to take a step back and observe whether or not a person, project, or conversation need to move forward as they are can be helpful. By simply moving a team member to a different position or by eliminating a project, you can create a more efficient path ahead for your business.

(1) Focus on the “ultra” important. Distractions can take away the energy and time you need to be channeling into what is truly important to you, the team, and your business. Being willing to utilize the tools above can help keep you from giving in to the distractions that riddle everyday life.

Fight stress through prioritizing

Prioritizing can be difficult - especially when you have so many vital priorities as a leader. The last tool Jason and Jim discuss is the need to focus. Jim explains the need for a leader to be flexible in his priorities for the day while not losing sight of the ultimate goal. Your checklist of to-dos will change throughout the day, and that is okay. What really matters is whether or not you are accomplishing the ultra important and moving steadily along the path to your personal and business goals. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for a more in-depth look at the tools and tactics listed above.

Everyone is different and will utilize unique stress-fighting tactics to overcome obstacles and distractions and create a healthy lifestyle. Taking the time to create in yourself the focus and endurance to combat stress will enable you to be a better leader. The important thing to remember is that, “If you're not making chips, you're not making money. And if you're too stressed, you're not making chips.”

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • What to do when life is crazy.
  • DMDII switched to MXD.
  • What causes stress?
  • Personal tools for eliminating stress in your personal life.
  • Tactics for overcoming stress in the workplace.
  • Prioritizing your priorities.
  • Discovering what works for you.

Tools & Takeaways

Connect With MakingChips

Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify

Mar 19, 2019

LinkedIn expert, Wayne Breitbarth, is back with more excellent insight into LinkedIn strategies to promote and grow your manufacturing business! Jim and Jason ask the hard questions about the worth of a premium account, when and how to say no to offending taggers and salesmen, and when, where, and how to post the good stuff. Be sure to listen the whole way through for all the tips and tricks to boost your business and put you on the leading edge of the manufacturing industry!

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The premium life: LinkedIn strategies for greater coverage

Is a premium account worth the cash? Wayne shares a helpful gauge to determine if it’s time for you or your business to bite the bullet for premium benefits. If you are running into what Wayne calls the “free wall,” then it’s time to pay. If trying to keep up with who has been viewing your profile is taking up all your spare time, then you may want to consider going premium. With the upgraded account, you can see the past 90 days of profile “stalkers.” Being able to go back and see who has been visiting your profile will help you determine who to reach out to and build relationship with.

Another way to tell if it’s time for that premium account is if you are maxing out your search allowance for the month. A premium account will give you a wider berth for searching out the perfect people to build your business and professional alliances. Wayne suggests the “Sales Navigator/Professional” premium setting as the perfect “rocket-ship” to carry your profile to the next level.

Dealing with unwanted attention

Jim and Wayne both get frustrated and feel offended when someone tags them in posts that have nothing to do with them. Some people use tagging as a sales tactic to take advantage of others’ many followers. Wayne suggests that if this happens to you, untag yourself from the post. If it happens again with the same instigator, direct message that person, and politely - but firmly - ask them to stop. If it still continues, disconnect with that person.

How do you respond when someone sends a connection request and within minutes of you accepting, direct messages you trying to sell you something? If there isn’t any effort being made to build relationship with you first, Wayne suggests disconnecting with that person. Learn why building relationship is important in establishing credibility before a sale and why pre-canned, automated systems aren’t the best tactic by listening to the whole episode!

What to post and where to promote

Earlier in LinkedIn’s history, one could post an article, and all of that person’s connections would be notified that an article had been posted. Articles, however, aren’t as profound as they used to be. Wayne explains that the tactic originally worked because LinkedIn was trying to garner quality material within its platform. Over time, however, people began cutting corners on the quality of their articles and began only posting a sentence from a blog post or a small paragraph. LinkedIn pulled back from the promotion of articles as the material deteriorated in quality.

While it is important to include your latest blog posts and articles on your profile, make sure that your writing is of high quality. People viewing your profile will want to see professionalism throughout your material - including your writing. Excellent writing builds credibility. Wayne encourages the strategy of re-sharing articles that may be a month old and didn’t receive the attention it deserved.

Unimpressive impressions

What does a view or impression mean? Unfortunately, they aren’t as big of a deal as some might wish. Wayne explains that an impression or view is essentially someone sweeping by your post but not actually looking at it. The activity to get excited about is comments. Making sure you are active on your posts and promoting conversation is also helpful. A response to others on your own post still counts as activity that will help broadcast your post to even more connections.

Personal pages are often more powerful than company pages because of the greater number of connections often found on personal pages. While posting on both will help generate greater activity, Wayne encourages users to focus their energy on their personal page. For more insight and tips on how to create the best content and broadcast it to the greatest number of connections, listen to the whole episode! Growing your business through LinkedIn isn’t as hard as you think.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • MakingChips News: Opinion articles to boost your competence.
  • Understanding what it means to be a “change agent.”
  • Wayne Breitbarth’s rise to LinkedIn success.
  • The power of a premium account.
  • Navigating the waters of unwanted tagging and sales.
  • When and how to upload company content.
  • Don’t be impressed by those impressions.
  • Quality over quantity.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Wayne Breitbarth

Connect With MakingChips

Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify


Mar 15, 2019

Gaining LinkedIn success is not as difficult as some may think. Utilizing the world’s largest database of professionals is key to marketing your manufacturing business and rising as a leader in the industry. Guest speaker, Wayne Breitbarth, is a LinkedIn trainer and shares his strategies and insights into the powerhouse of LinkedIn and how manufacturing leaders can effectively connect with other leaders, share their businesses, and expand their reach.

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Why manufacturing leaders need to pursue LinkedIn Success

LinkedIn is the largest database of professionals and business leaders that is available. As business leaders, LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can be used to market businesses, find competent employees, and connect with other influential industry leaders. An exuberant amount of time isn’t needed to establish yourself and your business on LinkedIn. Wayne explains that it is all about strategizing the processes and systems available on the platform and focusing on what matters to you and your company.

Understanding the essence of LinkedIn

The essence of LinkedIn is not only found in the opportunities of such a large database but in the opportunity to form relationships. Relationships are the foundation of any successful business venture. Wayne describes what your relationship status may look like on LinkedIn depending on the size and purpose of your company. Sometimes more is truly more, and sometimes it’s not. If you are selling a book or trying to reach a wide audience with a new podcast release, then you may want to accept all those connections with people you may not know. If your business belongs in a more niche atmosphere, then your number of connections may be smaller - and that’s okay. It is important to understand, however, that the search engine algorithms that rule LinkedIn like to see a large connection base. Wayne suggests creating a social media atmosphere on LinkedIn that is saturated with the people of your industry, whether that be followers, customers, or other leading manufacturers. To learn more about how to create and maintain effective relationships, listen to the whole episode!

Strategizing your LinkedIn process

Succeeding with your LinkedIn profile can be achieved through strategizing the tools that LinkedIn offers. Keyword optimization is a large part of making yourself known and finding the people you need to help grow your business. Include specific terminology in your headline, stories, and description. Stay away from broad terms such as “strategy” in your skill-set and include specified terms such as “Podcast Host.” Show off your unique professionalism and offerings.

Your skill-set can be utilized through endorsements and recommendations. Search engines love using your list of skills as keywords. Make sure they reflect what you want to be known for. Wayne explains that recommendations and endorsements are gifts to you. Use them in business proposals and when sharing your business with others.

Posting can be a confusing tool, but Wayne explains that success in posting is all about velocity. Tagging relevant people in your post will expand its reach. Be careful to not “spam” others with overabundant tagging, but instead talk with the people you plan to tag and explain that it is a strategy to help promote and grow the business. Velocity is gained through initializing and promoting activity on your posts. Use hashtags and comment on a post that someone else tags you in to begin a conversation. LinkedIn algorithms look for how fast your post is being responded to and how much activity is being generated by your post. The more activity the better.

Creating an all-star profile

Beginning a profile or revamping a stagnant one isn’t hard! Begin by understanding your audience. Who are you writing and creating your profile for? Headlines should be short but descriptive. If you have five jobs, then list all of them in your headline and title. Create stories that are relevant and captivating when describing your job positions. Ask yourself, “How can my job experiences benefit others?” Promote your strengths and don’t be shy about creating an eye-catching profile. For more insight into what makes a great LinkedIn profile, listen to the entire episode!


Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Is social media a distraction?
  • Guest speaker, Wayne Breitbarth, is a professional LinkedIn trainer.
  • Understanding the power of LinkedIn: the largest database of professionals in the world.
  • Creating a strategic LinkedIn process.
  • Optimizing the time you spend promoting your company.
  • The essence of LinkedIn is relationship.
  • Is more actually more?
  • The art of tagging.
  • How to create velocity in your posts.
  • Effectively utilizing endorsements and recommendations.
  • How to begin or revamp your LinkedIn profile.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Wayne Breitbarth

Connect With MakingChips

Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify

Feb 15, 2019

Having the best workholding system is just as key as having the best tools! Jim Carr and Jason Zenger know the importance of keeping up with the game as manufacturing leaders. Growing up working the shop floor, guest speaker, Alvin Goellner, is the Business Development Leader of North America at Amrok Workholding. In this episode of MakingChips, he shares the latest trends in workholding systems and why you need to implement them for optimal efficiency and quality performance in your manufacturing business.

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Optimizing your workholding process is vital to overall success

The workholding process is all about how rigid you can make your setup - creating a solid foundation that will hold your material for optimal performance. Without a steady and rigid workholding system, your process will be riddled with chatter, less tolerance, and damaging vibration. While it is less of an investment to just keep upgrading your cutting and milling tools, it is still key to keep your workholding system up-to-date. The way your tool and materials are being held is vital to the outcome of the end-product. The workholding system must be rigid, robust, and competent at holding your material and efficient at resizing and holding different projects. Alvin explains that you can own the best cutting tools in the world, but without a competent workholding system, your product will not be the best on the market.

The grid system evolution

Alvin explains that over the years, he visited different manufacturing shops and studied the varying methods and machining solutions to the workholding process. He then went back to his own company - Amrok - and built the workholding systems that solved the problems he had found in his travels. The result was the 2-inch grid system, which has become an industry standard. While there used to be odd-sized grid systems with varying sized plates, Alvin found that most products can fit into the 2-inch grid plate. An incredibly efficient system, the hardened bushing, lock-tightened, slip fitted grid retains center distance tolerance because of its minimal clearance. 2-inch sub-plates are the common sub-plate, which allows for efficient adjustment of the numbers for varying projects. To learn more about the efficient and customizable applications of the 2-inch grid system, listen to the entire episode!

Vise system optimization

When projects become large a TRIAG modular vise system is the most efficient. With modular clamps that can fit almost any shape, the system boasts serrated base rails that mount on a standard, 2-inch grid and locate with dowel screws. This system enables the spindle to keep moving, thereby creating a more efficient process. The modular components can be loosened in seconds, and you don’t have to spend time indicating because of the dowel screw location. Listen to the full episode for more information on how the TRIAG modular vise system works and why it improves overall performance.

What to implement now for immediate impact

With so many options available on the current market, Alvin supplies three workholding systems that will instantly improve efficiency in the shop. First, optimize your foundation. Implementing a 2-inch grid system enables you to work with a lot of different system types, tools, and materials. Second, hydraulic, dedicated fixtures that automatically fit the part with a flip of the switch will save you time and energy. Third, introducing a low mix, high volume TRIAG system to your shop floor will prove invaluable. Center-less vises that mount on a rail are lighter and more efficient. Alvin explains that if you need to move from one sized part to another, the application is easy and fast, allowing you to produce more chips and earn more money.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Manufacturing news: manufacturing jobs are steadily growing!
  • Alvin Goellner: Business Development Leader at Amrok.
  • The birth of Amrok created out of the need for a solid foundation.
  • The versatility of a 2-inch grid system.
  • Why optimizing the workholding process is just as important as upgrading your tools.
  • How’s your vise grip?
  • European vs. American workholding systems.
  • The three most impactful workholding systems that you can implement today.

Tools & Takeaways

  • Amrok

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Alvin Goellner

Connect With MakingChips

Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify

Feb 10, 2019

The team at MakingChips knows how important it is for the Metalworking Nation to optimize efficiency and productivity. Having the right tools for the job is at the foundation of a leading manufacturing business. Guest speaker, Tom Senger, gives the run-down on the latest and greatest tools to utilize on the shop floor. Tom is the manager of the Vending, Integration, and Productivity (VIP) program at Zenger’s. Helping customers integrate new operations, realize new levels of productivity, and bring in greater revenue is his specialty. Manufacturing runs in his blood, and he understands what tools to use to get the job done.


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The latest trends in cutting tools can help you make more chips...and more money

The tools you use can make or break the impact of your manufacturing business. Hosts Jim Carr and Jason Zenger know you need to be making chips. Being on the cutting edge of cutting tools is imperative to saving money. Tom gives several suggestions for what tools to use for what job and explains that several improvements are being made throughout the manufacturing tool spectrum. Consistency is one of them.

Small diameter, multifunctioning drilling tools have seen huge improvements in all-around consistency. It’s no longer the case that you need specialized tools for each part of the job. Not only do multi-functional drilling tools save you a ton of space in your collection storage, but they also get the job done with consistent quality and efficiency. Invest in one tool that can serve multiple functions.

Coolant through is the new buzzword

Coolant through is being implemented across the tool board. This quality helps reduce wear and tear on your drill bits, improves lubricity, and saves you time and money on maintenance, especially with solid carbide spindles and bits. It also improves consistency. Tom shares about some of the utilization of coolant through on the shop floor.

Flat-bottom drills are excellent because they don’t have to be followed up by an end mill. They have replaceable tips and a myriad of products that you can place on the high-speed, coolant through, steel body. The flexibility of this tool enables you to save on carbide costs, and it is incredibly precise with diameters down to a millimeter and a half.

Coolant through is also improving the performance of turning and cutting tools, cut-off and groove tools, and milling tools. Fast and high-speed milling tools are seeing smaller diameters, indexable end mills, and dynamic milling processes with the help of CAD CAM software. Different high feed cutters are being utilized to create more corners, even up to 6, 12, and 16 corners with repeatable functions. Turning and cutting tools are being improved with higher feeds and a greater depth of cut. The coolant through allows for less load on the spindle. It’s much the same story with cut-off and groove tools. Tom explains that the coolant through allows for a cooler cutting zone, cutting the cutting time by almost half.

Be sure to listen to the full episode for all the details on how and why these improved tools need to become your next investment!

Coating, and tolerance improvements

As Tom points out, coating is king. Products and tools are no longer simply coated in a layer of tin. Now, there are several layers of different materials being applied for improved performance. Post-treatment coating is especially valuable, coming over the top insert and applying a clear, shining, polished surface. The polish protects and preserves carbide function and strength, improving the shelf-life of the tool up to 25%.

Tolerancing is also an obvious ingredient of a great tool. Improved molding technology paired with coolant through enables tools such as the solid carbide spindle coolant drill to function with consistent quality up to a thousand repeatability.

Slim the carbide and save on cash

Carbide is expensive, and the more you can save on the life of your carbide tools and bits, the better. Solid carbide end mills have been a staple, but Tom explains that many are moving away from solid carbide and choosing steel shanks instead. Different types of end mill heads can be applied to the shank, and many of them have been made smaller for improved performance. Investing in coolant through applications and the right coating can have a huge, positive impact on the shelf-life of your carbide collection, allowing you to work harder, longer, and better without the constant maintenance costs.

For more insight into the latest cutting tool trends, be sure to listen to the entire episode!

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • To make chips you need the right tools.
  • Manufacturing news: exciting award nomination for Carr Machine & Tool, and sales summit for Zenger’s.
  • Tom Senger, manager of Zenger VIP program.
  • The latest and great cutting tool trends.
  • Coolant through, small diameter, multi-functioning drills.
  • The power of the flat-bottom drill.
  • Holding tolerance levels.
  • Yes, the coating does mean everything.
  • High feed milling tools and dynamic processing software.
  • Turning and cutting tool trends.
  • Cut off and groove improvements
  • Shrink fitting tools is the way to go.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Tom Senger

Connect With MakingChips

Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify

Jan 25, 2019

Understanding how to create an employee development plan can be difficult if your company is not striving towards constant improvement. Guest speaker Jess Giudici is back with the MakingChips team to discuss the importance of taking the time to focus on each employee’s goals and dreams and how to foster alignment between their goals and your company’s vision. Developing your team can help you better understand why people leave your company and why they stay. Listen to this episode for insightful advice on how to best strategize your development plan and build an ever-improving team!

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Fostering a united vision to constantly improve through excellent employee development

While a lot of people look at employee development as getting someone to the next level or role in a company, Jess encourages business leaders to view their development plan as a tool to foster continual growth in the individual. A good strategy is to diversify the development process. Don’t make your development plan entirely made up of formal meetings between you and the employee. While you should have planned discussions with documented goals and deadlines to meet those goals, you should also make an effort to informally engage in conversation on the floor. Learn about who they are and what they want from life, from work, from their skill-set. Jim and Jess agree that having a standard set of questions and procedures as a base to employee development is an excellent place to start - but allow space in the personal conversations you have as well. Documenting the conversations you have can help clarify future meetings, goal-making, and accountability.

What motivates you? What is your passion, and how can we help?

Each person is unique and will be motivated in different ways. The goal should be to align the skills that a person is motivated to learn and their aspirations with the goals and vision of the company. Ask your employees what they are passionate about. Ask what they find challenging in work and how you can help them overcome those challenges.

What if someone doesn’t want to “move up the ladder” and take on leadership? Jess says that such an answer is perfectly okay - as long as your company can sustain the current position. The goal is to engage with your employees and make sure that they are feeling fulfilled in their positions.

The Annual review: drawing the line between performance and pay

Annual reviews are often a combination of performance review and pay review. Jess suggests that the two be separated and discussed independently of one another. While the pay may be influenced by performance, excellent performance doesn’t always mean a raise in salary. The focus should be on the employee, not the pay. This elevates the importance of performance and sends the message that you care about how the employee is doing and feeling in his or her job.

When dealing with individuals who feel they should be paid more while being allowed to stay in their current skill-set and position, Jess encourages company leaders to be frank and honest about the company’s expectations and salary caps. Supporting your employees is key, but be clear about the policies. Listen to the entire episode for more advice on how to evaluate your employee performance and foster a thriving company culture!

Why do they leave? Why do they stay?

Understanding and evaluating retention and attrition can be confusing. Jess explains that employees leave for a wide variety of reasons, and you shouldn’t be surprised when you hear that someone is leaving your team. If you are surprised, then something probably went wrong in the development process. You should be self-evaluating your company’s processes to make sure you are doing your best at developing your employees and the company’s goals. Jess suggests having interviews with people who are leaving - as well as with people who love their work and want to stay long-term. Understanding why people want to stay can help you understand why some people may not be a good fit and want to go.

Creating a company culture where everyone has a voice is vital to a thriving and happy atmosphere and excellent work ethic. Jason points out that a great culture comes from truly loving and caring about the business and the people who work it. Jess reminds leaders to understand who they are as an employer and to take the time to understand their employees’ voice.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Uniting your team under the goal to constantly improve.
  • Manufacturing news: Millennials’ perspectives on manufacturing jobs.
  • Jess Giudici is back with the Metal Working Nation!
  • Fostering a love of personal and company growth through HR development.
  • Understanding the individual: what drives your employees?
  • What if someone doesn’t want to climb the career ladder?
  • Balancing formal and informal development conversations.
  • Separating performance and pay reviews.
  • Understanding why people leave and why people stay.
  • Creating and cultivating a great company culture.
  • Bonus interview about compensation techniques with Jess Giudici.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Jess Giudici

Connect With MakingChips

Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify

Jan 18, 2019

Streamlining and optimizing your company’s hiring and onboarding processes can be difficult and sometimes daunting. Hosts Jim Carr and Jason Zenger bring helpful and common questions to the table with guest speaker Jessica Giudici - manager of organizational development at Smalley. Jess gives practical and engaging advice on how to approach your hiring process and create efficient, job-unique procedures for finding the best individuals for your company’s needs. Learn how staying true to your company’s vision and values can help save you time in the hiring process on this episode of the MakingChips podcast!

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The hiring process: taking it back to the roots

Where should manufacturing leaders start when assessing their company’s hiring process? Jess emphasizes that understanding who you are as a company is key. Branding isn’t just something that you talk about with the marketing team; who you are should permeate everything you do, including hiring and onboarding. Identify and establish who you are as an employer. What is your commitment to your employees and team members? Jess explains that when you understand who you are as a company and employer, it helps narrow down who you want to join your team and who will make a good fit.

Create an optimized process centered around your company’s values

Recognizing your identity is just the first step. The next is understanding who your audience is when marketing an open position. A cookie cutter approach to hiring won’t attract the unique candidates that you want to see applying for your specific job opportunities. From there, you can hone down which platform you will use to market the job. After you have identified who it is you need - and for what job - you need to walk through what the first conversation will look like. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and think about what they will find and feel when they walk through the door at the first meeting. Are your processes outdated? Is it all paper and work? Is it boring? Think again about who you are as a company and create an atmosphere that highlights your strengths, values, and vision.

Interviewing: a process of identification

Jess discusses why speed to hire must be executed within the framework of quality over quantity. You don’t need 10 or 20 candidates; you need one excellent candidate. Create an interview process for your company that focuses on finding the right fit. Jim and Jason agree, saying that making sure the candidate is aligned with your core values is essential. Jess recommends training your hiring managers to effectively engage the candidate and to listen to the entire team’s perceptions. She discourages the 2 on 1 interview, explaining that it is needlessly intimidating to the candidate, and it is easy for the emphasis of the interview to shift from the candidate to the communication between interviewers. To learn more about the best practices for interviewing and whether or not money should be discussed in the process, listen to the full episode!

Breathing life into your onboarding process

Having an optimized onboarding process is just as important as having solid hiring procedures. Jess recommends walking through the goals and desired impressions of the onboarding experience. She reveals that it only takes about 45 days for a new employee to decide whether or not they wish to stay with a company long-term or begin looking for new opportunities. The first few months are vital! Training your leadership on how to engage effectively with new recruits will quicken learning and make for a positive experience for all participants. The focus should be on creating an environment in which the new employee can thrive as a learner. For more excellent tips on how to streamline your manufacturing company’s hiring and onboarding processes, listen to the entire episode! Jim and Jason encourage you to not become overwhelmed but to take things one step at a time, leading to effective success.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Carr Machine & Tool secured a finalists position for some exciting awards!
  • Bill Gates invests in carbon-free steel manufacturing.
  • Guest speaker, Jessica Giudici - a MakingChips veteran.
  • The importance of a streamlined hiring and onboarding process.
  • Where to start in assessing your company’s hiring process.
  • Creating a step-by-step process that highlights your company’s vision and values.
  • Best practices for the interviewing process.
  • How to optimize the onboarding process and boost long-term employee retention.
  • Don’t be overwhelmed! Improve one step at a time.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Jess Giudici

Connect With MakingChips

Subscribe to Making Chips on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify

Jan 12, 2019

The word is out - the economy is changing, and you should probably start planning for a recession. MakingChips hosts Jason Zenger and Jim Carr help take the intimidation out of a looming recessional period by offering some practical advice based on their own personal experiences with leading manufacturing businesses during economic recessions. Learn how you can get a head start in your business and personal life by making just a few - and not too frightening - changes to your company’s lifestyle in this important episode of the MakingChips podcast!

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Preparation prevents poor performance

Jim and Jason explain that recessions in the economy are inevitable. While we can’t ever know for sure when or how harshly recessions will hit, we can take steps to prepare for the strike. There are difficulties in every season of the economy - even in the good times. Recessions simply provide a different set of challenges that can be weathered more effectively by those who plan accordingly. Jim and Jason point out that the manufacturing economy is at a booming national high, which makes now the perfect time to save and plan for a dive.

The money game: where to spend and where to save

A looming recession raises numerous questions on how to best manage company and personal finances. Jim and Jason give helpful starting points for long-term effectiveness, beginning with the important step of keeping your debt low and under control. The probability of needing to cut job margins is high, and there will not be as much room in the profit margin to play with. Keeping debt thin will leave more room for necessary funding. Saving money is also vital. Jim and Jason recommend bulking up the savings account to create a buffer for yourself and your company for when times get tight. Saving now can help counter the possible need to cut employment levels. A third way you can take precautions now is to be prudent with your company and personal spending. Determine what you can cut out of your business and personal spending and make a budget. Learn how sacrificing now can save you later by listening to the full episode!

Building up your team and your machine

Don’t leave your employees and team members in the dark on what is happening in the economy and of the changes that you will likely need to make in your business when the recession hits. Encourage your team to not overextend themselves and to prepare themselves. Build up morale by explaining the cyclical nature of the economy. Recessions don’t last forever! Give them tools to help them prepare (such as this podcast!). Refrain from purchasing new machinery leading up to the recession and during. Invest in your current machinery by making necessary repairs and keeping up on maintenance. Today’s machinery will be tomorrow’s money-makers. Invest now while you have the monetary means.

Seizing the opportunity in a recession

Jim and Jason point out that opportunity is available in every season of the economy. Diversify your customer base now so that when things get rough, your company’s well-being won’t be compromised by the collapse of just one or two of your clients. Not all of your customers will be affected by the recession in the same way. When the recession does hit, don’t sit back and wait it out. Look for ways to build your business by observing what is available when other companies are struggling. An example Jim and Jason give is acquiring your competition’s businesses or bringing them onto your team. Look for ways you can help yourself by helping others. For more tips and tricks on how to lessen the pain of a recession and effectively prepare your manufacturing business for the coming times, listen to the full episode!

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • A recession is coming.
  • Exciting news about national growth in manufacturing and Jim’s new trunnion table.
  • Changes in the economy call for changes of plan: how to be prepared.
  • Why you should keep debt low.
  • Why you need to diversify your customer base.
  • Communication with your team is vital.
  • The importance of maintaining your current machinery and equipment.
  • Building your savings account so it can do its job.
  • How being prudent in company and personal spending NOW will save you later.
  • Opportunities are abundant - even in a recession.

Connect With MakingChips

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Jan 4, 2019

In this episode of MakingChips, Jason Zenger and Jim Carr introduce a new team member, Christine Schmitz - an experienced editor and writer who explains why storytelling matters to manufacturers and their businesses. Having long been connected to the manufacturing world through her husband, Dr. Tony Schmitz (featured in a previous episode), Christine has an intensely valuable viewpoint on how and why it is important for leaders to be able to tell good stories. “Communications is the foundation of who I am,” Christine shares. To communicate well, one must build relationship, and relationship is founded in the sharing of stories. Want to know what makes a great story and how knowing how to write one can boost your game in the manufacturing business? Listen to the whole episode!

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Bringing process and art together

Just as in manufacturing, there is a process of writing a good story. Christine shares the process of how to take your story and vision and work it into a compelling and useful tool.

  • The process begins with the reader - the intended audience. Identify who your audience is and ask, “What do they want to know that I can share?”
  • Identify what expertise you can share with your audience by knowing what problem you solve through your business or work. Your audience’s interest lies in the application of your knowledge and profession.
  • Find an editor or another person you trust to give you feedback on your writing. Another set of eyes is invaluable and a vital part to the success of your story.
  • Always reread your writing. Trust your professional intuition and make sure that your work, vision, and story is conveyed honestly and effectively.

Creating a shared vision through your story

Christine points out that most people only think of themselves when communicating. To build a lasting and effective relationship, however, one must think of the other person - in this case, the manufacturing leader must think of his or her business, employees, customers, and possible recruits. All of these categories are readers of your story who want to know, “What’s in it for me?” It can often be difficult for manufacturers to share the story of their work, the challenge of their highly technical fields, or the processes they use. Christine reveals that relevance is key to building the bridge between writer and reader. “When it’s hard to explain what you are doing to another person,” she explains, “it dramatically impacts the relationship you can have with them.” To learn how to best create a shared vision through your story, listen to the full episode!

Connecting yourself and your audience through problem-solving

Tailoring your message to your audience is vital for the survival of your story. But how should you convey your manufacturing story to capture your audience? Christine points out that manufacturing is something that permeates everybody’s lives. Manufacturers produce something tangible every day, whereas most other people do not. People want to know how and why you create the things you do - as long as the application applies to them. Your audience wants to know what the problem is that you solve and how and why you solve that problem. Connect yourself with your audience by concentrating your story on the end result of your work.

Quality is always better than quantity

Christine warns against the temptation to simply flood your readers and audience with information that they may not be interested in or need. Always take quality over quantity. One way you can ensure the quality of your writing is through an editor. While your professional expertise is needed to correctly tell the story, an editor can help you build the strongest and most effective bridge between your story and your audience. Also, realize that there is no one way to write. Find a process that works for you and don’t be afraid to change that process when it’s not working. To learn more about writing as a process and why storytelling matters to your manufacturing business and skillset, listen to the full episode!

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Manufacturing is storytelling.
  • Manufacturing News: changes in tariffs.
  • Introducing the new MakingChips member: Christine Schmitz.
  • Why is it important to convey a good story?
  • Storytelling as a process.
  • Clarity in storytelling.
  • What’s in it for me? Relevance in storytelling.
  • Why should manufacturers write?
  • Getting started: Connecting with your audience.
  • Common storylines: everyone is touched by manufacturing.
  • The importance of an editor.
  • Quality over quantity in writing.

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest: Christine Schmitz

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Dec 28, 2018

The MakingChips podcast welcomes guest Tony Schmitz, professor at UNC Charlotte and assistant director, energy production and infrastructure center to talk about machining vibration. Tony teaches mechanical design, helping students design and build useful technology like robots. He also teaches mechanical vibrations, structural dynamics, and advanced manufacturing. He says, “At the end of the day, when you’ve made something, you never feel like you didn’t accomplish something that day.” During this episode, Tony gives helpful information about how to measure and mitigate machining vibration in manufacturing.

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The 3 pieces of the machining dynamics puzzle

Why are machining dynamics important for manufacturing leaders? Knowing the variables within a tooling machine and being able to adjust them appropriately can increase the longevity of the tool and increase productivity. Tony Schmitz explains that there are three pieces of the machining dynamics puzzle. Listen as he explains why considering these three factors are essential for manufacturers.

Feel the machining vibration

Whenever a force is being applied to a nonrigid structure, there will be vibration. The problem, according to Tony, is that CAD/CAM software encourages you to ignore vibration and the variables within the machining tool. CAD/CAM always drafts the cutting process perfectly. However, it doesn’t take into account the reality of a machining tool that vibrates. Vibration means displacement of your cutter that changes over time. However, Tony says that the math equations you learned in school can actually be applied to the shop floor. Hear how differential equations can actually be used in CAD/CAM software to help get higher axial depths of cut without chatter.

Good vibrations v. bad vibrations

“Just like we all have fingerprints, every cut has a fingerprint as well and it’s the frequency content of that sound signal,” says Tony Schmitz. Bad vibration, also called chatter, are unmistakable when you hear it in a shop. Tony talks about how he can analyze frequencies that a machine puts out and identify bad vibrations and problems in the chip making process. He also explains how viewing wave patterns produced by a machine can tell you how to adjust your spindle speed. Tony says, “The most powerful knob on your controller is not the feed override, it is the spindle speed override.”

How to increase productivity in your shop

In order to mitigate bad vibration and increase your productivity, Tony encourages collecting a minimum set of data. He describes how to select the 8-10 standard tools that you use the most and collect data on those tools, using an impact, or tap test. Results from a tap test can help you bid jobs more accurately. They can also help you make adjustments to your machines so that you can avoid chatter and be more efficient. Learn about that and much more on this episode of MakingChips.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Manufacturing News: A Detroit entrepreneur applies lean auto manufacturing principles to build a beauty salon
  • Introduction of guest Dr. Tony Schmitz, professor of at UNC Charlotte and Assistant Director, Energy production and infrastructure center
  • Tony explains the three pieces of the machining dynamic puzzle
  • How math and physics can be applied to the shop floor
  • Analyzing frequency data to identify bad vibrations within a machining tool
  • The correlation of feedback in a PA system and chatter in a milling tool
  • How a tap test can help you measure your tools data, make adjustments, and increase productivity
  • The pigskin professor and how Dr. Tony Schmitz put together videos for University of Florida football games

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Dec 22, 2018

On this week’s episode of MakingChips, guest Noah Goellner talks about lean process improvement for manufacturers. Noah is the Vice President of Continuous Improvement for Hennig Inc. He is also a lean expert with who presents lean practices in his role at Hennig and as a member of the board of directors of QRM. During this conversation with Jim and Jason, Noah shares why focusing on lean process improvement is important for manufacturers and how it can help transform their companies.

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Why do manufacturers need to focus on lean process improvement

Manufactures should devote time to integrating lean into their companies for many reasons. There are cost saving benefits, improvement of throughput, better problem-solving skills and employee development and much more. Failure to have a lean process can put you behind the competition Noah says, “You can’t improve without changing and you can’t change without improving unless you are going the wrong way.” Listen as Noah explains the benefits of lean process improvement during this podcast.

How lean flows value to the customer

Success doesn’t begin on the shop floor. Most of what determines success happens upstream before the work ever reaches a machine. Quality engineering, supply chain, and employee development all determine whether or not your company can serve your customers well. Lean process improvement is all about flowing value to the customer by eliminating waste or white space, increasing efficiency and consistently improving in all areas of the business. Listen as Noah Goellner shares more ways that lean flows value to the customer.

How can you start implementing lean into your company?

As with any new process implementation, the key is to take the first step. You don’t have to wait until you have everything figured out. And you don’t have to do everything at once. Consider your pain points and areas of inefficiency and start with one challenge. Noah Goellner talks about taking a cata approach to solving problems. He encourages manufacturing leaders to avoid the shotgun approach and instead take a focused approach to implement lean.

Lean process improvement over the natural approach

Manufacturing leaders can fall into the habit of operating their companies under natural or organic processes and expectations. However, growth and improvement must be intentional. Noah explains that taking the natural approach allows you to work in your areas of strength while your weaknesses remain unaddressed. Lean process improvement can be an effective agent of change, especially in the areas of weakness. As you identify the challenges within the business, you can then start to implement strategies to change for the benefit of the company and the customers you serve. Hear all about that and more on this episode of MakingChips.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Manufacturing News: Manufacturing’s mixed messages aren’t helping to close the skills gap.
  • Why do small machine shop owners need to devote time to implementing lean into their businesses?
  • How Noah Goellner defines lean and how it helps companies provide value to the customer
  • Real-world practices for implementing lean into your manufacturing business
  • How to work backward through the manufacturing process to set expectations and evaluate process to achieve those requirements.
  • What is cata and how does it help with problem-solving?
  • Noah Goellner shares some stories of success for companies have implemented lean processes.
  • What is the best reason for implementing a process rather than allowing it to happen naturally

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Dec 8, 2018

On today’s podcast, Jim and Jason share a very special announcement about MakingChips 2.0. Four years ago, MakingChips started with the goal of equipping and inspiring manufacturing leaders. The mission has not and will not change. However, what started as a hobby has now turned into something much more. And now there is an exciting new partnership that is going to take MakingChips to the next level. Listen to this episode to hear all about MakingChips 2.0

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A strategic partnership that is reshaping the future for MakingChips

On this episode, Nick Goellner joins the podcast to reveal a new strategic partnership for MakingChips. Nick is the Marketing Director of Advanced Machine & Engineering and is now a Partner and Managing Director at MakingChips. He is joining the team to propel the company from a simple podcast to a media agency that can serve the metalworking nation. Hear about the bright new future that lies ahead for MakingChips and how you can be encouraged and equipped even more by joining the journey.

The impact of content marketing for manufacturers

Marketing has changed dramatically in the last twenty or thirty years. Companies used to talk to the consumer and tell them what they wanted. Now the key to marketing success involves interacting with your audience and talking with them, not at them. Content marketing isn’t a new strategy. Nick Goellner talks about how two companies that have leveraged it to help grow and solidify their brand. Listen to hear how content marketing can help your company expand its reach.

How do you build a brand?

How can you build your brand? Nick Goellner says that you build a brand by building an audience. That’s exactly what MakingChips has done over the last four years. By consistently creating quality content that educates your audience, you become a thought leader and expert in the industry. During this episode, Jim and Jason share with Nick how they have approached content marketing with MakingChips. They also discuss some of the exciting new opportunities that lie ahead.

The future of MakingChips 2.0

MakingChips has provided interviews, information and inspiration for the last four years. Realizing how challenging manufacturing can be led Jim and Jason to seek out wisdom and knowledge from other leaders. Now, MakingChips is becoming an agency to serve manufacturers so they can experience greater success through marketing. Utilizing video, written content, and the brand new Chip-In program, MakingChips will continue to strive toward the mission that has driven them from the very beginning.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • The big announcement of MakingChips 2.0 with a very special new partner
  • Manufacturing News: 2019 Manufacturing Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report
  • The mission of MakingChips when Jim and Jason started and where it is today
  • Two classic examples of content marketing.
  • Nick shares the six steps of building a brand by building an audience.
  • How partnering with Nick will help MakingChips expand and grow.
  • Ways that the metalworking nation can be a part of encouraging and inspiring manufacturing leaders.

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Nov 30, 2018

Jim and Jason are back in the studio to start their new series on process by talking about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. This podcast series on process is designed to help you evaluate your current processes and determine where in your company new ones can or should be implemented. During this episode, Jason talks about the EOS process and how he has applied it at Zenger’s Industrial, Black Industrial and Safety Supply, and at MakingChips. As they discuss EOS, Jason and Jim also give some helpful tips for starting your own process journey.

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What is the Entrepreneurial Operating System?

EOS is a set of concepts and tools designed to help leaders and organizations get better. It includes the best business practices and process, combining them into a single system. EOS focuses on vision, traction, and health to help companies solve their problems and experience progress. Listen as Jason shares how the Entrepreneurial Operating System has benefited his teams during this podcast.

The 6 components of EOS

During this episode, Jim and Jason discuss the six components of the EOS. Each component is vital to growth and health. The first component is vision. Everyone in the company needs to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. Vision gives your company a common objective and defines success. EOS helps by giving eight questions for leaders to answer that will help them cast a vision.

Right people, right seat

The second component of the EOS is having the right people in the right positions on your team. In order to move forward, you have to have a team that is aligned with your core values. Hiring the right people first requires creating an organizational structure. Many companies structure their companies around the personalities already on the team. Jim and Jason talk about the importance of conflict management and solving problems methodically. Hear more about all 6 of the components during this episode.

How to implement a process like EOS

Knowing about a process like EOS isn’t enough. If you want to experience the benefit of such a process, you have to take a step and start implementing it. So how do you do that? Jim and Jason give some advice for how to begin utilizing a process like EOS. They also discuss how to experience the best results and how quickly change can happen. Be inspired to take a step in evaluating and upgrading your processes as you listen to this episode of MakingChips.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Jason introduces the process system that he uses at Zenger’s Industrial Supply, Black Industrial and Safety Supply and at MakingChips
  • The process that Jim uses at Carr Machine & Tool, Inc.
  • Manufacturing News: Volvo upends U.S. manufacturing plans in reaction to China tariffs
  • 6 components of the Entrepreneurial Operating System
  • Having a vision that is compelling and well communicated
  • Getting the right people in the right position
  • The importance of gathering and utilizing data
  • Solving issues methodically
  • Running your business like a franchise
  • How are you achieving your vision on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis

Tools & Takeaways

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Nov 23, 2018

On this special Thanksgiving episode of MakingChips, the Metalworking Nation shares what they are thankful for. While Jason and Jim usually address the challenging issues that manufacturers deal with, on this episode they step back and make some space to express gratitude for the good things in life. You wrote in and shared what you were thankful for and many of those are read many on the show.

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The struggle is real, but so are the blessings

Jason and Jim kick off the show by sharing the things they are thankful for. While they admit that there are difficulties and struggles in life, they have great perspective to know that in the grand scheme of things, they are blessed. Jim shares how he has learned to make adjustments in life and leadership and the difference that has created. Even small changes can have a huge impact. They also give credit to their wives for their grounding and success.

What would you be doing if not manufacturing?

Consider for a moment what you would’ve done for a career had you not gone into manufacturing? Where would you be if you hadn’t started in this challenging industry? During this episode, Jim and Jason discuss that very question. Listen as they both guess what they think the other would’ve done for a career. Thankfully, both Jim and Jason became leaders in the manufacturing industry and started encouraging and inspiring manufacturing leaders through the MakingChips podcast.

Giving thanks with fellow MakingChips listeners

On this episode, you will hear several members of the metalworking nation share about what they are thankful for. As you listen, take some time to think about how you might give thanks during this Thanksgiving season. Kaleb Mertz shares some of the email responses from MakingChips listeners and past guests. While not everyone could be featured, the ones that are shared on the episode are inspiring and encouraging.

The contagious gift of gratitude

One highlight of the episode comes from Steve Zenger, Jason’s dad. He wrote in to share his gratitude for his family and friends. You can hear the emotions and sentiment in his response. There are many other great submissions that include gratitude for co-workers and teams, technology, success in business and family. Listen to hear some great people giving thanks on this episode of MakingChips.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Since it is Thanksgiving week, Jim and Jason talk about what they are thankful for
  • The metalworking nation shares what they are thankful for
  • Tina Carnelli, Marketing Manager at MP Systems feels blessed by working with people she likes
  • Bob Petrini, President of Chick Machine Company includes Making Chips in the list of things he is thankful for
  • Steve Zenger, Jason’s dad, shares with MakingChips the things he is thankful for
  • Todd Stukenberg is excited about robots and how they are making manufacturing safer and faster
  • Shaun Bisordi owner/machinist at Rocky’s Wire EDM is thankful for the social community of manufacturers
  • Matthew Guse is thankful to have been on MakingChips earlier this year
  • Michael Pulizzi says he is thankful for his wife

This Week’s Superstar Guest

  • All mentioned resources
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Never share an email address

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Nov 16, 2018

It’s time for you to start dialing in manufacturing processes that can revolutionize your business. Manufacturing is challenging. But MakingChips is here to help through every aspect of running and growing your business. One of the best ways to jumpstart productivity and success in your company is by evaluating and implementing processes. Manufacturers are inherently process-oriented people. Once you understand the processes you have and the ones you need to add, you are on the way to taking your company to the next level.

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The new MakingChips series

Edwards Deming said, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process then you don’t know what you are doing.” Needless to say, processes are important. MakingChips is launching a series on the podcast that is all about dialing in processes for manufacturing leaders. Over the next few weeks, Jim and Jason will address how you market and sell, how you produce and how you manage your finances. Upcoming episodes will include discussions about the most critical areas of business that manufacturing leaders deal with every day.

Facing your fear of processes

Even the thought of processes for some manufacturing leaders can seem daunting. You may feel like you don’t have the time or bandwidth to deal with them because you are trying to run a business. Jim and Jason talk about the 3 Ps of running a successful company, which includes people, product and process. Each one of the three legs of the business stool is important. Failure to address one can lead a gap in your company that could cost you money and opportunity. However, optimizing core manufacturing processes can take your business leadership to the next level. The new MakingChips series will help you face your process fear.

Steps to elevate processes for success

What do you do once you’ve decided to jump in and start evaluating the value of manufacturing processes in your company? What are the steps to improvement? During this episode, Jim and Jason share how to implement core processes. One of the keys is to involve a team of people so that you aren’t trying to bear the load alone. Jim even encourages the smallest shops to get together weekly to talk about the difficulties and areas of growth in their shops.

Dialing in your manufacturing processes with MakingChips

So many companies have unwritten processes that are guiding their operations daily. Those undocumented processes can be streamlined. You can start dialing in manufacturing processes by beginning at the 30,000-foot view and zooming in as you get more comfortable. The purpose of the upcoming series is to help ignite the flame in manufacturing leaders to start implementing processes in their companies. Doing so can propel you to greater levels of success.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Jason and Jim introduce a new series on the podcast that will address manufacturing processes
  • What are the steps to implementing processes in your shop
  • Is not having a process and indication that you don’t have confidence in what you are doing?
  • The process checklist
  • How to start evaluating and implementing processes in your company

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Nov 2, 2018

Welcome to the MakingChips IMTS2018 wrap up podcast, recorded live from the final day of the show with guests Larry Turner, President and CEO of Hannover Fairs USA and Peter Eelman, Vice President of Exhibitions & Business Development at AMT. After a long and exciting week, Jim and Jason reflect on some of the trends and themes that emerged from the show and discuss some of the takeaways for manufacturing leaders. IMTS2018 proved that it is an exciting time to be in the manufacturing industry.

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IMTS’ commitment to the next generation

The future of manufacturing lies in the hands of young men and women who have not even graduated high school yet. Investment in next generation leaders is critical to seeing continued success in the manufacturing world. IMTS2018 displayed its commitment to students this year, drawing over 20,000 student registrations. The entire lower level of the C hall was devoted to students, including exhibit space and conference rooms. Students are increasingly interested in the unique machinery and technology that makes up modern manufacturing.

How IMTS broke the record

This year, there were over 130,000 registered attendees, an all-time record for IMTS. Why did so many people come to this event? Even though manufacturing is challenging, it is also seeing unprecedented growth. IMTS is capitalizing on the momentum that the rapid growth and change of the industry is ushering in. Peter Eelman describes how he sees the industry changing and how that change is having a positive impact on manufacturing in the United States.

The manufacturing atmosphere is changing

Upon reflection, IMTS proved to be a great representation of manufacturing as a whole. There was an excitement and energy at this year’s show that is prevalent throughout the entire industry. Peter Eelman believes that there is a sea change in attitude and culture. He says, “There is going to be continued growth in U.S. manufacturing. There is a desire to make things locally and closer to home.” He also thinks that shows like IMTS will stem the tide in the skills gap and will continue to foster interest in the industry.

We are just getting started

IMTS is meant to serve as a catalyst for manufacturing leaders. The real work begins when you get back home and start building a strategy for how to implement necessary adjustments for future growth. Both Peter Eelman and Larry Turner encourage manufacturing leaders to focus on learning. Mobilize your team to learn as much about the technology and opportunities on the horizon so that you can start implementing changes effectively.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Introduction of Larry Tuner, President & CEO of Hanover Fairs Inc, and Peter Eelman, Vice President - Exhibitions & Business Development at AMT -The Association for Manufacturing Technology
  • With over 130,000 attendees at IMTS, Peter Eelman describes what it means both to him and the manufacturing industry
  • The theme of IMTS and how it was seen throughout the show
  • What do metalworking leaders need to do to educate students on the opportunities in manufacturing?
  • Will the skills gap increase or decrease in the next 24 months?
  • How a culture of collaboration is emerging in the manufacturing industry
  • What is one actionable step that manufacturers can take when they go back to work after IMTS

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Oct 26, 2018

Jim and Jason are live from IMTS2018 Day 5 with guests Jim King, Andrew Benson, and Meghan West to discuss industry 4.0 and its impact on the metal-working nation. How does a machine tool manufacturer, tooling manufacturer and a CAD/CAM company work together to elevate a manufacturing business? What is industry 4.0? Listen to this episode to hear the panelists discuss their perspective on Industry 4.0 and how collaboration is driving innovation.

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How collecting data can make you better

One of the benefits of Industry 4.0 for manufacturers is the ability to collect data and increase both speed and efficiency in their shop. Jim King says that Industry 4.0 means collecting data and then analyzing it to improve the quality of manufacturing. Ultimately, data collection can help business owners make good decisions. Jim also shares the benefit of interfacing with the end user to understand their needs so that his company can build better tools.

Connectivity and integration are 2 keys for Industry 4.0

For Meghan West, President at CNC Software, Industry 4.0 is about connectivity and integration. Without a machine tool, the software that her company creates is useless. However, pairing the software with the tool allows users to optimize their experience. Throughout the panel discussion, the theme of collaboration emerges as everyone discusses the benefit of integration and shared information.

Variability is the enemy of quality in manufacturing

Andrew Benson says that Industry 4.0 is allowing Iscar Metals to eliminate variability through digitization. Using indexable tools has increased the precision and predictability so that the quality of the work coming from a manufacturing floor is better. He shares the value of repeatability and how reconditioned tools might become obsolete because of the unwanted variability they introduce. Just like the other panelists, Andrew Benson sees collaboration as an important component of manufacturing. He says, “to support the factory of the future, a company can’t be an island unto itself.”

Collaboration that fuels innovation

In the past, companies were very secretive about the machines they were building. Rather than working together, they considered competitors to be threats to their success. However, there has been a shift in the manufacturing world that now encourages collaboration. Companies are working together, sharing data and solving problems together to push innovation forward. Industry 4.0 is leading to more collaboration that is propelling the manufacturing industry.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Introduction of guests Jim King, Andrew Benson, and Meghan West
  • What is Industry 4.0 and what does it mean for the manufacturing industry
  • How is CAD and CAM merging and how does that impact the end user?
  • What is possible by connecting a cutting tool technology with a machine tool?
  • Does the machine tool builder design differently based on the advancements in manufacturing software
  • How does a machine tool builder connect all of the complementary products to deliver maximum value to the end user?
  • The ways R&D has changed because of industry 4.0

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Oct 19, 2018

Live from IMTS 2018 day four in Chicago, Jason and Jim are joined by Barry Walter, Dietmar Goellner, Craig Zoberis, and Teresa Beach-Shelow to give their insight and advice that will help manufacturers sleep better at night. There are so many decisions and challenges that manufacturing leaders face that it is sometimes hard to get a good night’s sleep. The four panelists draw from their extensive wisdom and experience to share how you can handle some of those challenges so that you can sleep better tonight.

Handing over the keys to the kingdom

One issue that keeps manufacturing leaders up at night is succession planning. Manufacturers want to see their business last beyond them. How can you structure your company so that it will run well even if you are no longer the top leader? Barry Walter is a third-generation manufacturer who, despite swearing he’d never work for his father, is now in business with all four of his brothers in his father’s business. Dietmar Goellner is a second-generation manufacturer who has the third-generation working in his business. Listen as all four panelists discuss their succession plan experience and how they are planning to pass along their businesses to the next generation.

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How company culture impacts the bottom line

Teresa Beach-Shelow says, “Core values pour out the front door.” It’s true, culture is everything. It guides how you make decisions, how you serve your customers and how you treat employees. Craig Zoberis says, “If we take good care of our people, they will take good care of our customers.” Especially with the generation of millennial workers who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, you have to clearly define the why in your company. Creating a great company culture takes massive amounts of time and energy. But will it translate to more profit? Hear what the panelists have to say about that topic and much more during this episode.

The technology that is shaping businesses

Technology can be a double-edged sword. New machinery and tools can keep your business relevant and give you the competitive edge over the competition. It can also be daunting, hard to understand, and a challenge that keeps manufacturing leaders up at night. During this panel discussion, each guest talks about how they approach technology and how it is defining their businesses. Find out from them how to sleep better at night by using technology to your advantage.

A marketing and sales strategy to help you sleep better

Companies used to have teams of salesmen that went business to business trying to sell products or services. It was a simple strategy, but one that wasn’t always effective. Marketing and sales has changed dramatically over the past few years. It is critical for manufacturing leaders and business owners to think about how they are developing their brand. While it can be overwhelming to understand the different marketing avenues, there are tools and resources available today that can help. Listen as the four panelists discuss their marketing and sales experience and give tips for how you can have a better marketing strategy for your company.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Introduction of the four panelists at IMTS 2018 day 4
  • How to implement a succession plan for your manufacturing business
  • How long does it take to activate a succession plan?
  • Does investing in a company’s culture produce profitability?
  • In what ways is technology shaping your company?
  • How the marketing and sales environment has changed in your company?
  • The 4 panelists give their final advice for how manufacturers can sleep better

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Oct 6, 2018

During this episode of MakingChips, Jim and Jason talk with Tim Thiessen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Okuma America Corporation about the core values and culture of OKUMA. This conversation happened at IMTS2018 where that unique culture was on full display. OKUMA has been around for 120 years. During this conversation, Tim shares how their values influence how they serve customers. He also gives his vision for the future of manufacturing. You don’t want to miss this episode of MakingChips.

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How core values impact customer interaction

Long-term successful companies with strong core values are the ones that last over time. This is certainly true of OKUMA. OKUMA has a saying, “The criticism of one is more valuable than the praise of millions.” OKUMA takes customer engagement seriously. Their tagline is “Passionately pursuing customers for life.” Tim Thiessen shares how that impacts sales and customer interaction. He says, “In sales, you want to be as close to your customer as possible.” Hear Tim share how they apply that in their sales approach and strategy during this interview.

A customer-centric culture that stands the test of time

Trust is the foundation on which strong relationships are built. This is true in marriage and in business. In order to be effective in sales, you have to build trust with your customers. Tim Thiessen believes that the best way to earn trust is by showing genuine empathy. Rather than just selling a product, Tim stresses that you want to understand your customer. You need to know not only their machining needs but also the challenges of the customers business. Creating that kind of transparent relationship isn’t easy. It takes time, but it is worth it for a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. When you have a culture so obviously dedicated to the customer, you earn business not just for one purchase, but for a lifetime.

Investing in manufacturing for long-term benefits

What sets OKUMA apart is their dedication to the core values and culture. The people who work for OKUMA love the manufacturing industry. They want to see the industry continue to thrive and are actively investing in it. They are dedicated to quality, making reliable machinery that will last. They are also on the cutting edge of technology, creating new machines with open platforms that provides flexibility and connectedness for machine shops. For Tim, he is most excited about the additive and subtractive opportunities. Listen as he shares his excitement for the manufacturing industry and the future during this conversation on MakingChips.

How AI will shape the future of manufacturing

There is so much potential for the future of manufacturing. As the market continues to grow, so will the opportunities for employment and technological advancement. Already, technology is outpacing the workforce in manufacturing. Tim Thiessen shares his vision for the future of manufacturing and how AI will play a significant role in the way machinery works. If you haven’t already begun to consider how to position yourself to adapt to AI technology, then now is the time. Hear more about the advantages of AI and other exciting innovation on this episode.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Manufacturing News: 5 ways industrial AI is revolutionizing manufacturing
  • Introduction of Tim Thiessen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Okuma America Corporation
  • OKUMA’s tagline is “Passionately pursuing customers for life.”
  • The role of empathy in successful leadership
  • What percent of the machine tools that OKUMA sales is to repeat customers?
  • The core value of passion and how it impacts customer engagement
  • How Tim Thiessen got started in the manufacturing industry.
  • What the term “open possibilities” means in the OKUMA culture.
  • Tim Theisen is most excited about the additive technology and the connectedness of machinery
  • The machine tool technology of the future for which manufacturers should be preparing

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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Oct 1, 2018

Live from IMTS 2018, Jim and Jason talk with Steve Kline, Director of Market Intelligence at Gardner Media Business, Inc. to answer the question “does manufacturing data matter?” Steve has generated forecasts for his family owned business and for the metalworking and plastic industries. Gardner Media Business produces media for the durable goods manufacturing industries.

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The current reality of manufacturing by the numbers

During the interview, Steve Kline gives his assessment of the manufacturing industry. There has been a renaissance in manufacturing over the last few years. Steve says that he is surprised at the current trajectory of the industry. In the best way possible, the market isn’t following a typical pattern, with the machine market seeing growth for nearly eight years in a row.

Why does data matter to manufacturers?

Steve will be at MTForecast to talk to manufacturers about data related to machine tool spending, types of machinery and the buying market specific to location and company size. He explains that data matters because it helps you budget for machine tool pricing. Knowing the supply and demand of a particular tool will help you know whether prices are negotiable or if it is a seller’s market As a buyer of machine tools, data can help you plan, budget and manage expectations.

What machine tools are in demand?

In his company’s research, Steve Kline says that they look at six specific areas of tooling data including turning, machining centers, grinding, screw machines, and EDM. Every category is expected to experience growth in the next year. Horizontal machining centers are in particularly high demand. Even though they are a more expensive option, they better meet the needs of manufacturing customers. Listen as Steve explains the other areas of machine tool growth during this interview.

How can a leader interpret manufacturing data as an evaluative tool?

While it is widely accepted that data is important for business leaders, how to use that data is not always as clear. How accurate are the numbers? How are leaders to interpret the data in a way that helps guide their decision making? Steve Kline offers some advice on how to leverage the information that their research delivers. His main message is to focus on trends and not on individual numbers. Looking for patterns can help owners make educated decisions that will positively impact their future stability and growth.

Here’s The Good Stuff!

  • Manufacturing News: Manufacturing Day is Friday, Oct. 5
  • Introduction of Steve Kline, Director of Market Intelligence at Gardner Media Business,Inc.
  • The current manufacturing market
  • What does the data matter and what does it tell about the manufacturing industry?
  • What machine tools are in demand right now and which machines can be found on a bargain?
  • How should manufacturing leader interpret the data as an evaluative tool
  • How accurate has Gardner Media’s forecast been over their 40 year history?
  • How can manufacturers be prepared in the event of another economic downturn?

Tools & Takeaways

This Week’s Superstar Guest

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