a BROADcast for Manufacturers

Keystone Click

Three BROADS (Lori Highby, Kris Harrington, and Erin Courtenay) bringing you stories and strategies exploring manufacturing topics that challenge the status quo while laying the foundations for future success. Together with special guests they’ll celebrate what’s working and unpack what is not so YOU can learn, grow, and succeed. The hosts are a BROADcast for Manufacturers are: Kris Harrington | President and COO of GenAlpha Technologies | linkedin.com/in/kristinaharrington Kris Harrington is the President and COO for GenAlpha Technologies. During her time with OEMs in the mining industry, Kris and the other founders of GenAlpha saw a need to find a better way for B2B manufacturers to do business. This led to the development of Equip360, an eCommerce, eCatalog and Analytics solution for manufacturers and distributors who want to grow their business online. Erin Courtenay | VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive | linkedin.com/in/erincourtenay Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future. Lori Highby | Founder & CEO @ Keystone Click | linkedin.com/in/lorihighby Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals. read less
BusinessBusiness

Episodes

55: The Guide to Modern Manufacturing Marketing- with Jaclyn Kolodziej
Jul 3 2024
55: The Guide to Modern Manufacturing Marketing- with Jaclyn Kolodziej
Meet Jaclyn KolodziejJaclyn Kolodziej, Client Growth Services Specialist at the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), has worked on over 220 marketing projects over the past two years.With a diverse background in various manufacturing sectors, Jaclyn has amassed a wealth of experience driving progress and innovation through marketing. Her unwavering goal has always been to propel momentum by executing marketing projects and crafting strategic growth plans for manufacturers.Jaclyn blends her passion for achieving tangible results with her expertise in marketing playing a pivotal role in assisting manufacturers across Illinois to enhance their top-line growth. Leveraging a robust business development and marketing background, Jaclyn excels in identifying growth opportunities and meticulously constructing roadmaps for success.Connect with Jaclyn!LinkedInimec.orgimec@imec.orgIMEC LinkedIn Highlights00:00 Benefits of Mushroom Elixirs02:10 Introducing Our Guest: Jaclyn Kolodziej03:22 What is IMEC?06:29 Marketing Trends in Manufacturing11:45 The Importance of Marketing for Manufacturers15:27 Tips for Manufacturers on Marketing19:58 Fun Facts and Personal Insights20:59 I Just Learned That Segment27:23 Conclusion and Contact InformationConnect with the broads!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn!
54: The Story of American Labor- with Rachel Slade
Jun 19 2024
54: The Story of American Labor- with Rachel Slade
Meet Rachel SladeRachel is an author and journalist (trained as an architect) with more than 15 years of publishing experience. Her first book, "Into the Raging Sea," about the 2015 sinking of the American cargo ship El Faro, was a NYT Notable Book and winner of the Maine Literary Award. Her second book, "Making It in America," about the American manufacturing revival, came out in January 2024.She has a passion for uncovering and developing compelling tales about politics, work, design, and urban planning that engage and inspire audiences across different mediums and genres. She has produced dozens of long-form articles and provocative essays, several of which have received national recognition and awards, including the CRMA for Excellence in Civic Journalism and the CRMA for Essays/Commentary/Criticism.Connect with Rachel!www.rachelslade.net LinkedInInstagramMaking It in America: The Almost Impossible Quest to Manufacture in the U.S.A. (And How It Got That Way)LinksTurn empty offices into little factories  Against trendbaitHighlights00:00 Introduction and Personal Failures01:20 Overcoming Challenges in the Workplace02:49 The Importance of Embracing Failure03:30 Discovering a Love for Physical Activity04:02 Introducing Our Special Guest: Rachel Slade05:55 Rachel Slade's Journey and Works06:56 The American Shipping Industry and Labor History09:06 The Impact of the Pandemic on Manufacturing16:47 The Apparel Industry and Immigrant Labor23:30 The Role of Immigrants in American Manufacturing27:43 The Knowledge Economy and Manufacturing30:30 I Just Learned That: Fun Facts and Insights39:50 Book Recommendations and Closing RemarksConnect with the broads!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn!
52: Empowering Connections with Women in Manufacturing (WiM) Southern Wisconsin
May 29 2024
52: Empowering Connections with Women in Manufacturing (WiM) Southern Wisconsin
This special episode, partially recorded live at the Women in Manufacturing (WiM) Southern Wisconsin Chapter event 'From Mic to Merlot' on May 15, 2024, at Wollersheim Winery, delves into the experiences and impact of WiM. The hosts share their excitement about the event and interview Andrea Virsnieks, President of WiM Southern Wisconsin, who provides insights into the organization’s mission, history, and her personal journey in reviving the chapter. The episode also features interviews with several WiM members discussing the importance of networking, the unique challenges and opportunities for women in the manufacturing industry, and the sense of community within WiM. Listeners are encouraged to explore WiM and its resources to join a supportive and inspiring network.Learn More About WiMWiM WiM Southern Wisconsin ChapterBecome a Member TodayWiM Southern Wisconsin LinkedInAndrea Virsnieks is a Principal at CLA, where she specializes in serving the manufacturing industry, working with both privately held and private equity-owned companies. With a wealth of experience in assurance, auditing, consulting, and due diligence services, Andrea provides strategic insight and innovative solutions that drive growth and profitability for her clients. Her deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within the manufacturing sector has made her a trusted advisor.Andrea is known for her collaborative leadership style and her ability to build and maintain strong relationships with clients and business owners. She is committed to staying current with industry trends and regulations, ensuring that she delivers the most relevant and effective guidance.Beyond her professional work, Andrea is actively involved with the Southern Wisconsin chapter of Women in Manufacturing (WiM). As the Chair on the Board, she dedicates her time to supporting, promoting, and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry. WiM is a national organization that empowers women through networking, education, and career development opportunities.In her role at CLA and through her work with WiM, Andrea continues to make a significant impact on the manufacturing industry and the professional growth of women within the field.Featuring WiM members Jennifer Black, Ariana Carney, Michele David, Maegan Miller, Loretta Mulberry, Debbie Shilling, Rachel Walter and Tori Wood.Highlights00:00 Live at Women in Manufacturing Event: A Phenomenal Experience01:59 Special Guest: Andrea Virsnieks, President of WiM Wisconsin02:51 The Revival and Mission of WiM: Andrea's Journey08:20 Expanding WiM: Growth, Goals, and Membership Insights10:38 Event Attendees Share Their WiM Stories15:30 Reflecting on Women's Roles in Manufacturing18:54 Generational Perspectives on Women in Manufacturing21:39 Wrapping Up: The Bright Future of WiMConnect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital...
51: Mastering ROI-Driven Marketing- with Chris Peer
May 15 2024
51: Mastering ROI-Driven Marketing- with Chris Peer
Meet Chris PeerChris brings more than 20 years of experience in B2B digital marketing strategy, lead generation, and marketing consultancy for manufacturing firms. An author and entrepreneur, Chris is the founder and CEO of G8P and SyncShow.Having witnessed the pain and frustration caused by ineffective marketing, Chris and his team developed the Great 8 Pillars to transform the marketing department from a corporate expense into a profit center. He has helped hundreds of companies scale through world-class marketing best practices.Chris’ perspective on marketing operations transcends tactical methodologies and focuses on people, strategies, systems, and software to move the needle.Today, Chris’ focus remains on helping B2B manufacturing companies scale through his companies, consulting, and speaking.Highlights00:00 Kicking Off with Favorite Holidays Discussion01:48 Introducing Today's Guest: Chris Peer03:28 Unveiling the Great Eight Pillars of Marketing06:12 Deep Dive into Goals and Value Proposition07:57 Exploring the Certification Program for Marketers12:00 B2B vs B2C Marketing Insights14:32 Learning Segment: AI, Shipping Strategies, and Oysters19:19 Wrapping Up with Contact Information and OffersConnect with Chris!LinkedInG8PSyncShowGreat Eight Pillar Certification CourseUse code SyncShow for 50% offThe Great 8 Pillars: ROI-Driven Marketing for Manufacturing CompaniesConnect with the broads!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn!
Reflecting on 50 Episodes: Our Journey So Far
May 1 2024
Reflecting on 50 Episodes: Our Journey So Far
In this special 50th episode, Erin, Lori and Kris reflect on their podcast journey, celebrating the diverse and enlightening conversations they've had with various guests from the manufacturing industry. They reminisce about starting the podcast, how it's evolved, and the personal growth and gratification they've experienced along the way. Highlighting their favorite episodes, they discuss poignant moments with guests like Nicole Donnelly and Nicki Vo, share valuable insights on manufacturing, digital transformation, women in STEM, and the importance of veterans in the workforce. The episode emphasizes the value of authenticity, diverse opinions, and the unique perspectives each host brings to the table. It concludes with a note of gratitude to their listeners and an invitation for feedback and guest suggestions, encouraging everyone to 'go make something awesome.'00:00 Celebrating 50 Episodes: A Journey of Connections and Conversations01:15 Reflecting on the Podcasting Journey: Insights and Surprises05:51 Highlighting Favorite Episodes: Diverse Conversations in Manufacturing11:37 Empowering Women in STEM and Beyond: Stories of Resilience and Innovation15:03 Exploring the Impact of Women in History and Manufacturing28:41 Veterans in Manufacturing: Bridging Skills and Opportunities32:35 Authentic Conversations and Diverse Perspectives: The Essence of Our ShowConnect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!
49: The Art of Curiosity in Manufacturing- with Jeff Beyle
Apr 17 2024
49: The Art of Curiosity in Manufacturing- with Jeff Beyle
Meet Jeff BeyleJeff started out writing software and then went to law school because he played softball with a bunch of lawyers and thought their work was interesting.Then he got lucky and joined Coca-Cola and had the opportunity to move to Hong Kong. He spent 7 years there, focusing mainly on China and Korea. Jeff moved to Seattle to join Getty Images. Eventually, he had the opportunity to set up Getty Images’ business in Latin America. After he and his then-biz-partner sold that company to Getty Images, his current business partner convinced him to co-found SC Tech.What are some of the advantages of not having a clearly aligned background in your current work? And what are some of the things that create obstacles or challenges? Every time I go into a customer facility, I'm a little bit on my back foot. When you go to this nondescript building open the door and it's like opening a Christmas present because you never know what's going to be in there.  Technology, I don't understand all the details. It's much more of a user perspective because I just don't understand those details. And at this point, I'm not going to pretend like I'm going to get in there and figure it out. But you go into these buildings and you're like I don't know what I was expecting. But typically, this is not what I was expecting. And it's just so interesting. And I have a lot of known unknowns, but I have to go in with curiosity.I have to go in and ask the expansive questions and ask follow up questions because I don't understand. But that really helps me understand. Can we help this business solve some problems, some pain point that they have? And if so, how are we going to do that in a way that works for them? Because I understand their business from their perspective, as opposed to bringing a lot of preconceptions.What customers do you really enjoy working with the most?  It's like that’s passionate about their business and says, “Oh, it's thermal treatment of metal products.”You're not going to go to a party and people are going to say, “Oh, that is the coolest thing I've ever heard of in my life.” But there's so many ins and outs of each business. There's so many different products being manufactured, and there are different stages of how they build up these products from different suppliers. And each one is interesting in its own way. You're open to being interested in and curious about how this stuff works. And it's so much fun to talk to somebody who's passionate, whether it's a business that they just joined or they bought it or it's a family business or whatever. It's pretty exciting to go in and talk to people who really love what they're doing.And I maybe one of the benefits of the pandemic and supply chain mess is more focus on how much fun and how interesting supply chain and manufacturing can be. There's a lot of press about how much fun it is to work at Google and you can play ping pong and all that stuff. That's nice in a way, but really so many people would get a lot more satisfaction of [manufacturing]. I'm using my hands, I'm using my brain and I'm making something. And it's not a trivial process. There's a lot that goes into it, and I think we've ignored that for a while. And hopefully that's turning a corner.And so much more… Connect with Jeff!LinkedInSC Tech(720)432-5001Connect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business...
48: Veteran Employment in Manufacturing- with Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz
Apr 3 2024
48: Veteran Employment in Manufacturing- with Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz
Meet Retired LtCol Kathy Lowrey GallowitzRetired LtCol Kathy Lowrey Gallowitz is an award-winning businesswoman with first-hand experience hiring Veterans who coaches employers how to boost productivity and reduce turnover by hiring and retaining Veterans. She helps companies become “Veteran-Ready” through the creation of a Veteran Talent Strategy. Her “Veteran Talent Academy” equips employers to find, hire and leverage Veterans’ skillsets. She is the Founder & CEO of Vanguard Veteran, LLC, author of “Beyond ‘Thank You For your Service,’ The Veteran Champion Handbook” for Civilians and has Masters degrees in Nursing and Political Science. She grew up as a Navy ‘brat,’ served nearly 30 years as an Air Force Officer and is married to an Army combat Veteran. Kathy also equips volunteer faith community leaders to build Military Ministries to cultivate mutual support, a sense of belonging and spiritual resiliency for military-connected peopleWhy are veterans particularly well suited to work in manufacturing? Well, Kris, you're probably can answer this just as well since you've spent your entire career there. Still, I think top of the list is quality assurance, quality control, safety mindset, and operational discipline. Those are the attributes that align most beautifully within the manufacturing setting But then beyond that is our love for small unit integrity. And with that integrity comes teamwork, leadership, and camaraderie. In the military, we're broken up into small groups and into bigger groups. And it facilitates problem solving, critical thinking, chain of command. And all that stuff mirrors the manufacturing industry, because everybody's got to know their job. You got to do your job right the first time to create that product to meet mission. Then there are other attributes I've heard employers describe military people's anchors. They're anchors because we're used to managing stressful conditions, high ops tempo, and potential conflict. And so we're pretty good problem solvers, critical thinkers, and calm under pressure, so that anchoring has it's ripples throughout the organization and really makes a difference. The other key attributes that I should have introduced way up front are technical skills and aptitudes. Now we may not have the exact training on the exact piece of equipment, but one thing we do do is train, train, train, and train some more. And more often than not, it's technical. Now that wasn't my career. I was in nursing and public affairs and I'm not very technical, but most military people who are interested in manufacturing probably have some sort of technical aptitude that they can bring.And so hiring for character and hiring for aptitude and training is in a manufacturer's best interest because you will get a return on investment by hiring that veteran that may have a different resume than you want. Take a chance, train them. You won't be disappointed.Where do manufacturing employers find veterans?That's one of the biggest complaints employers typically have because they feel confused and lost about how to connect with veteran talent. That's one of the things I do best. First of all, American job centers are all over the country and they give priority to military candidates. So that's a good place to go look.And, as I understand it, most of those job seekers are unemployed. There are also local and national nonprofits that connect employers to veterans and or vice versa, and or prepare veteran job seekers. One of those is Hiring Our Heroes. One of those is 50 Strong. But you can go look in your local community and look at how you can find veteran talent. They are around certainly there is varying quality, but you could go talk to your Department of Veteran Services (VA). They should have some general understanding of where to find those kinds of services. Of course, if you have a
47: Navigating Leadership Challenges in Manufacturing- with Holly Whitcomb
Mar 20 2024
47: Navigating Leadership Challenges in Manufacturing- with Holly Whitcomb
Meet Holly WhitcombHolly Whitcomb’s passion for helping people be their best drives her every day. Holly is the CEO and Founder of Novel Leadership, focused on the development of individuals and teams through coaching, workshop facilitation and consulting. Holly is well versed in working with front-line level leaders in manufacturing organizations as well as senior leaders in highly matrixed organizations.Prior to founding Novel Leadership, Holly led 3M Company’s North America Learning & Development team where she worked directly with senior leaders to increase their leadership team effectiveness and leadership development needs across 3M’s back-office, client facing and manufacturing teams.Why is leadership and all development important in manufacturing? Think about all of the changes that have happened over the course of the last 10 years, but even think about what we've been through in the last four years. And the impact that that has had on manufacturing environments, on teams. On all the challenges that have not been planned, even though we always say we plan for stuff, right? I think that that's where it really starts to come in and you start to understand the importance of this idea of building capacity, building skills, building agility across all levels of the organization, across all silos.And the one thing that I've noticed over the course of the work that I've done is this silo has a tendency to be left back here sometimes when it comes to these corporate initiatives of development. And so that's why I think it's so critical because when we think about what kept things moving, it was the people who went in. It was the people who were on the floor. And so it's how do we help recognize the value in a different way? So that's kind of why it's important to me and one of my passion projects.What are some of the most critical skills you find are lacking or really needed today? I don't know if this is just manufacturing. I think we're all recognizing that we are entering into what I call kind of this new phase of what it looks like to be an employee and be an employer in the world that we're in today. And mental health is a huge piece of that. Whole person is a huge piece of that. Inclusion is a huge piece of that.And so I think a couple of the things that I think about in terms of skills when I talk with leaders is where you are with your understanding about your own emotional intelligence. How is your coaching capability? How are you delivering feedback? And how are you engaging with people on that whole person aspect of who they are. So the whole idea of psychological safety, how are you creating an environment where people feel safe to be who they are and bring their voices into the organization? And when I think about it, oftentimes people are like, “Oh, manufacturing. No, they're just, they're good. They don't need it.” And they may work on machines, but these are humans. And think about what it is that we need to do as leaders in order to be able to crack open what our whole team knows and creating that environment where people feel safe.And so much more… ReferenceAdvertising spend will bounce back in 2024: S&P Global RatingsConnect with Holly!LinkedInNovel LeadershipFacebook
46: Focusing on Common Goals in Organizations- with Jim Bohn
Mar 6 2024
46: Focusing on Common Goals in Organizations- with Jim Bohn
Meet Jim BohnJim Bohn PhD, is a researcher-practitioner focused on improving organizations one person at a time. He is a change management expert with decades of experience across multiple business markets and has spoken throughout the United States on topics of leadership, organizational performance and people development. He is currently coaching doctoral students at Concordia University. Dr. Bohn's focus is helping businesses throughout SE Wisconsin to overcome challenges and improve productivity. His primary research interest is Organizational Engagement, a complimentary approach to Employee Engagement. Dr. Bohn has multiple publications on Amazon.How does your background uniquely make you suitable in the manufacturing space? Well, let's start with my background. I have run a punch press. I was a spot welder. I worked as a project manager across the United States with injection molding machines. I have machine oil in my veins. My father was a machinist. My son is a tool and dining maker journeyman.I am sort of the black sheep of the family. I got the Ph. D. They did real work. But I have spent my time on the shop floor. I know what it's like to be out there. I've got a few scars with stitches to prove it. And I'm very proud of my blue-collar roots.How do you get past the differences to get stuff done?Well, it's a fundamental thing. You design the end. This is what we want to accomplish. [I’m] a baby boomer, as you can tell, I'm 71 years old. I offer some things. I've got a bucket of experience. I've seen lots of failure. But I don't have the skill set of some millennial who can launch the space shuttle from my phone.And I think with all the generational differences, it's like “Okay, Boomer” or “Millennials are stupid.” If we do that, we're just shoving them into the corner as opposed to saying what can you bring to this? If you're a financial wizard and you're 18 years old, I don't care. I don't care where you came from. Bring your knowledge, bring your skill. A good leader will do that. And that's where I think that whole generational thing has been so divisive. It's helpful to understand. But again, I don't like it when somebody says, “Okay, Boomer,” because I look like an old man. Yeah, I'm old, but I can bring some things to you. I've seen the same stupid organizational mistakes over and over again. I can help you with that, but I'm not technically savvy. I want to know what you know, and I will learn from you if you slow down a little bit.And so much more… ReferenceTeens, Social Media and Technology 2023Connect with Jim!LinkedIndoctorbohnphd@gmail.com People Development: The best part of leading a teamConnect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on
45: Unveiling the Power of a Strong Brand- with Scott Seroka
Feb 21 2024
45: Unveiling the Power of a Strong Brand- with Scott Seroka
Meet Scott SerokaScott is the president of Seroka Industrial Branding, providing fractional CMO services to small to medium-sized industrial companies. Scott’s approach to creating effective marketing strategies is centered on building strong, compelling, and well-differentiated brands and activating brands within organizations through organizing and mobilizing continuous improvement cultures. He is a certified brand strategist and also a Six Sigma Lean Black Belt Professional.Let's talk about brands. What is a brand? I feel like a lot of people assume it's exactly the same as marketing. And I hear a lot of people think branding is just your logo, so let's talk about that. It's subjective, like art. If you look it up on Google, I think there are 3 million responses. It really is a unique set of distinctions that you or your company owns that makes a positive and noteworthy difference in the lives of customers.And I always say not just the external customer that buys products and services, but the internal customer, meaning the people who you employ. So when we think about branding, there's the customer brand and your employer brand. And the employer brand is really coming on the scene with a lot of vigor because so many people are looking for good people.And with the short supply and high demand of high quality people, how do we attract the kind of personnel we need to deliver upon our brand promise and exceed expectations? And who's going to actually care about us, our customers and our overall growth strategy? So brand has really taken on kind of a split personality in the past 10 or 12 years.And it's amazing how many companies- unfortunately, mostly in manufacturing- don't have an employer page about the reasons that people should wanna work for your company as well as on the customer side. Why should people buy our products and services with all of our competition?So it's really the complexity of branding here and it's even getting more complex as time goes on.What do I need branding for? Why? So go back to why you started your business. If you started a business and you knew that it was going to be a price race, or if you knew that it was just gonna be as long as I deliver on time, then why did you take the risk of starting your business?Go back to why am I doing this.  What void am I filling in the industry? What am I doing better than everybody else? What can I offer? What does my customer service look like? What kind of expertise do I have? What do I bring to the table when people say, “Oh, you have to buy from this company.”And so much more… Connect with Scott!LinkedInSeroka Industrial Branding scott@serokaib.com Direct line: (414) 628-4547Connect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit
44: Breaking Barriers in E-commerce for Manufacturers- with Nicole Donnelly
Feb 7 2024
44: Breaking Barriers in E-commerce for Manufacturers- with Nicole Donnelly
Meet Nicole DonnellyNicole is a fourth generation entrepreneur and the owner of DMG Digital - a content marketing agency for manufacturers. Nicole is the host of the Tales of Misadventure podcast where she invites successful entrepreneurs to share their stories of failure and how they turned lemons into lemonade.You have two different cultures attempting to make something totally new together. Do you mind speaking to that challenge a little bit? And then what were the things that you did to navigate those two different cultures working together? They're to the point of education. These technical partners are sometimes so technical that they're way up here. And they've gotta step down and really try to meet these manufacturers where they are.So, the first thing I think is so important is to help them in the discovery phase, really understand what are their business constraints. What's their pricing model? How are they shipping products now? And really understanding those constraints very, very well. That you can architect a solution that's gonna address and taking a crawl, walk, run approach to say we can't solve all these problems all at once. So Magento is an incredibly robust platform, so extensible. You can customize it to the nth degree, which is beautiful.The great thing is that it can grow with the organization as they continue to evolve. But you gotta really understand upfront as much as possible what all of the business constraints are so that you can make sure that over time that's gonna be built into the platform.Where would you advise that it makes good sense to put that 20% when you expect to go over budget? There's lots of places that money can go. You hit the nail on the head about it always going over. You have to set that expectation with the clients up front. Anyway, where would it go? It definitely depends on the manufacturer. Being able to integrate your e-commerce platform into your ERP is huge. And of course that's not something that you can always do right out of the gate, right? You gotta start with just getting their products catalog in there and everything.But I would say that that would be something that you could invest in, like in a phase two or a phase three type of situation.And so much more… Connect with Nicole!LinkedInDMG DigitalDMG Digital Manufacturing and Marketing InsightsConnect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!
43: Navigating the Six Stars of Client Acquisition- with Craig Lowder
Jan 17 2024
43: Navigating the Six Stars of Client Acquisition- with Craig Lowder
Meet Craig LowderCraig Lowder, author of Smooth Selling ForeverTM and co-author of the soon to be released Trusted Advisor Confidential, is a lead conversion/sales-effectiveness expert with a forty-year track record of helping both business owners and independent trusted advisors achieve their sales growth goals. He is the founder and president of MainSpring Sales Group. Lowder has worked with over sixty companies and independent trusted advisors increase first-year annual sales from 21 to 142 percent.He speaks extensively on the topics “The Star Guide for Smooth Selling ForeverTM, “Smooth Selling ForeverTM ... Charting your Company’s Course for Predictable and Sustainable Sales Growth” and the “NavSTAR Client AcquisitionTM System” for many groups and associations. Groups include Vistage International, the world’s largest CEO peer-to-peer association, and the Turnaround Management Association (TMA). Craig has also been featured at Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) group events.Can you share with our listeners what the six stars are of the NAVSTAR client acquisition system that helped generate significant predictable and sustainable new client growth?Absolutely. Like the ancient mariners, they had to chart their course and they followed the stars. Based on a 40-year track record of trial and error and learning, I came up with this system that I believe everyone either in sales or as a trusted advisor should follow. It starts with targeting the right fit clients or customers that you're seeking. It's foundational. If you don't get that right, you can't get any of the other five stars right.How do we shorten that sales cycle? Do you have some advice on that? Number one- Know your buyer journey. Everything starts with a buyer journey. Put your customer hat on your target audience and say,  "If I were to make a decision for my products or services, what step would I go through?"Then you need to choreograph the dance, build the sales mapping process from the customer's point of view. Because of the lead conversion process, we want to be going down the road in the same direction, at the same speed that our prospective client is going. maybe a little bit ahead of them in being able to offer them A and B chocolate or vanilla options in order to guide them in terms of making an informed purchasing decision for themselves. Because in many cases they haven't purchased from someone like us maybe forever. Maybe it's been 3 to 5 years and they don't know how to purchase. So we have to guide them through the process. The third thing is because of the pandemic and there was a great article that was put out by McKinsey right and was November of 2020 after an associate of mine, and Lori knows him, put me in Forbes talking about what's going on in the virtual world. And as I say today, we're in a virtual selling world. And digital self-serve is the driver. And in the McKinsey report, which was shocking, I think, to a lot of people, do you think the sellers are driving virtual selling? No, the buyers are buying virtual selling.And so much more… Connect with Craig!LinkedInSmooth Selling Forevercraig@smoothsellingforever.com (630)649-4943Smooth Selling Forever: Charting Your Company's Course for Predictable and Sustainable Sales Growth
42: Navigating the Path to Efficiency- with Dave Crysler
Jan 3 2024
42: Navigating the Path to Efficiency- with Dave Crysler
Meet Dave CryslerDave Crysler is the principal operations consultant at the Crysler Club and host of the Everyday Business Problems Podcast. Entering entrepreneurship after having spent nearly 20 years working for a publicly traded corporation, Dave quickly realized there was a tremendous need within mid-market manufacturing and distributions businesses to leverage systems that optimize planning, people, processes, and technology. Dave developed his operations framework to create systems that reduce friction and free up resources to maximize profitability.Given all of your experiences and in so many different environments, what have you seen lights people up? And then the inverse of that, what freaks people out the most? I would say kind of as a general answer to both of them, the thing that really lights people up is when you listen to 'em. And that sounds so simplistic, but that is the reality. Oftentimes from a leadership perspective, we think that we're listening to our teams. But the reality is that we're not. And when I was going into these organizations, and even today, if I go into an organization today, that is still kind of the number one thing that I hear from folks that are doing the heavy lifting.“Nobody's listening to us. Nobody's listening to what is really slowing us down. Nobody's listening to us to remove those roadblocks.” And so I would say, very simplistically, that is the thing that lights people up. By and large, people don't want to come in and have a bad day, right? People don't want to come in and make mistakes.Is there anything that's really exciting for you with where the future might be taking us? I'm thinking of AI automation and all of the other things that are happening in the space of technology. Is there anything you can predict or something you're really excited about? There's a lot of buzz right now, not just around AI, but around the kind of no code or low code connectivity and automation.You've got tools like Zapier which has kind of been a market leader for the last few years, but one that I really love beyond Zapier is called Make. It's just make.com. There's a lot more flexibility and it actually has connectivity to a lot more kinds of platforms natively. You also have the ability to do webhooks and custom APIs and all kinds of stuff.I would tell people as a general rule of thumb is don't go backward, right? Start in the correct direction. And what I mean by that is don't look for ways to automate until you've already gone through, documented your process and looked for things you can eliminate.Because why are we going to automate something that ultimately we could have eliminated? It's one of those areas where I see people saying they want to implement this particular technology, but not thinking about it from the standpoint of efficiency. Then let's look for the tool that is the best to automate the execution of that process flow.And so much more… Connect with Dave!LinkedInThe Crysler CompanyFacebookInstagramConnect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and...
41: Navigating the Modern Seller's Landscape - with Amy Franko
Dec 20 2023
41: Navigating the Modern Seller's Landscape - with Amy Franko
Meet Amy FrankoAmy Franko is the leader in modern sales strategies. She helps mid-market organizations to grow sales results, through sales strategy, advisory, and skill development programs. Her book, The Modern Seller, is an Amazon best seller and she is recognized by LinkedIn as a Top Sales Voice. amyfranko.comSometimes we believe if we bring an experienced salesperson in, they're just naturally going to know how to do things and we leave it up to chance. It does open it up for risk, right?  Absolutely. And and if it's helpful for those listening, I kind of give a little differentiation between process and methodology, kind of along the visual lines here.If you kind of consider your process, think of it like a staircase. It's those steps that you take that are, they're often linear. You might have to backtrack a couple times and jump ahead, backtrack, but there's a set of steps that you typically will follow to get from finding an opportunity to closing an opportunity.And it's pretty predictable. 80 percent of your opportunities will follow a very similar if not identical process. Methodology is like the chess match. Methodologies are like all the chess pieces on the board. You pick and choose from the pieces that make the most sense to help you get ahead. Strategies, skills, relationships, behaviors, all those things that you can choose from that don't necessarily have a linear path, but modern sellers  have the acumen to sort out what they need to move something forward.What are the unique challenges and opportunities that women in manufacturing sales may face compared to their male counterparts?  When I worked at IBM, I was on the sales team. My first, second and third line leaders were all women. And this was 20 years ago. When I share that story with people, they're like, wow, really? And probably at IBM, it might've been a little more common than in other organizations, but generally speaking, in the manufacturing sector and in a lot of sectors, that is not the case. What I learned from that was it was really great to be surrounded by female leaders, because I could see myself in those types of roles if I wanted to be in them in the future.But I was also surrounded by some really awesome rock star saleswomen who kind of took me under their wing when I was younger in my career. They would take me on calls with them. They would let me shadow them. And so I learned a lot from those highly successful women. The challenge side of things is that those examples don't happen enough. And seeing more women get into those types of roles, stay in those roles, and then bring more women along with them.And so much more… Connect with Amy!LinkedInamyfranko.comThe Modern Seller: Sell More And Increase Your Impact In The New Sales EconomyConnect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on
40: Putting Women In the Driver's Seat
Dec 6 2023
40: Putting Women In the Driver's Seat
Read the article here: Empowering women in the construction equipment sectorLori: Improving Economies for Stronger Communities is what the acronym stands for. So it's a non-profit organization that focuses on creating economic opportunity for people in communities, especially around like developing countries and whatnot. So I think that's fascinating and I love that mission.So Komatsu India went with to this company to help get more women trained to operate excavators, and I thought that was interesting. So I thought, let's let's talk about that on the show because, you know, manufacturing and ladies.Erin: And the future we'd like to talk about… the future is women. And this is a really, really strong example. I mean, just for our listeners, essentially, it's a really advanced training program. They put a lot of resources into training people up on these excavators, but with an eye towards the particular needs of women, given that they have not traditionally been part of this workforce.And so looking for ways to welcome women into this industrial sector and give them the skills that they need to really thrive and do well in it. And so you can imagine why even in the U. S. that would be kind of a big deal, right? Like these things are massive monster machines and that sort of work is often considered “burly man work”. Lori: And why not give more women the opportunity? I mean, there's a need for this work to get done. So if women are interested in learning how to run the machinery and the equipment and fill some of these holes in the job market, then why not? Lori: I mean, my thinking is…  I'm going to say the word that I tried to avoid, but it's just a good word. It's pivot. When change is required or there's a need to be filled, then why not make an adjustment to the norms? I see your argument, but I also think that this is a smart move. If there's demand to fill holes, and you have people that are willing to learn something new to fill that void, then what's wrong with that? Erin: I don't think that anything's wrong with it. Where my concern lies is this real societal progress. Let's take for example, we're looking at automation, right? We're looking at a lot of these types of jobs in particular moving towards an automation or robotic space. I don't know enough about this industry, but I know that is happening. Who's the first to go? Partly seniority is going to be an issue. The women are new because this is a new initiative, but also when we're not looking at structural change that isn't just about filling a need or what's needed here, then the first step back is going to be letting those women return to lower paying, lower opportunity jobs because why not, you know? They're the easy one to let go. And what are the signals where we're making real lasting change where women, whatever the economic or the labor infrastructure is, maintain our opportunities going forward. What are those signs?Women In Manufacturing - with Meaghan ZiembaAnd so much more… Connect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing...
39: Dismantling Cordial Hypocrisy for Future Success - with Dotty Posto
Nov 15 2023
39: Dismantling Cordial Hypocrisy for Future Success - with Dotty Posto
Meet Dotty PostoDotty started out as a business analyst and project manager. In these roles she repeatedly got 'Does Not Play Well with Others'. It wasn't until she was introduced to Change Management and Organizational Development work and received transformational coaching that her career and life shifted. Dotty has worked with iconic brands like The Chicago Tribune, KPMG Peat Marwick, Hewitt Associates, Harley Davidson, and Molson Coors. Dotty is a Leadership Consultant and Coach specializing in helping leaders and teams turn around the Curse of Cordial Hypocrisy where bullies have created a 'nice' organization and it's costing them money and opportunities and creating more risk. What is the curse of cordial hypocrisy?So, the curse of cordial hypocrisy is when you have people being nice, being agreeing. They're either being silent or they're being agreeable and it's a lie. So maybe they're afraid of someone or maybe they've been shut down in the past.Maybe there's someone who's just really dominating every conversation. And so they either stay silent or agree when they really don't agree. It creates a lot of problems in an organization because then you've got lower productivity in the background because people are behind the scenes.I'm not doing that. I don't agree with that. So there's all of this conversation in the background that is in disagreement with whatever was going on. Then whatever project or whatever they're trying to move forward isn't going to move forward. They're not going to get the same traction. They're not going to have the same speed. They're not going to have the same results. If not, everyone is in alignment, and not everyone agrees and not everyone wants to move forward. And you'll also find where people are doing this out of loyalty because they've been here a really long time.People aren't tapping into their own wisdom and the group is not leveraging the wisdom of everybody on their team.Do you do you actually see a difference in various industries or sectors and receptivity to these ideas? And if you do, what are some of the tools that people can use if it's not as natural for them to bring these into into how they do their work?I think there's validity to what you're saying in terms of manufacturing often being the old school or an old style of leadership. And when I say old style, some more of a command and control.I think age is part of it. There was a gentleman in a manufacturing plant I did some work with. After the eight months that I worked with them, the CEO retired. So he was an older leader and he and his leadership team, some of which were older, some of who were in their kind of mid career, and it took some time. They did create openness, but with that top leader being open to it.He has built some social capital with that team, and so I think that is a critical piece to have the trust. I was working with the HR manager who I had also worked with earlier in my career, and it took a bit for him to kind of crack open a little bit. But the more you've got senior leadership involved, this can make a difference. And it made a huge difference on his team. He had some very volatile leaders. He had some very defensive leaders. There's one activity that we did in the beginning that absolutely changed things. 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer:Navigating a Polarized WorldBuilding Trust: In Business, Politics, Relationships, and Life by Robert C. Solomon and Fernando FloresAnd so much more… Connect with Dotty!
38: AI's Role in Reducing Scrap and Maximizing Manufacturing Profit
Nov 1 2023
38: AI's Role in Reducing Scrap and Maximizing Manufacturing Profit
Read the article here: When will AI usher in a new era of manufacturing?Lori: Not even getting into the AI component of this, but I was fascinated that this manufacturing process to create diapers. There's 40 separate loose streams to assemble per diaper.Erin: Just that assembly line, and I'm sure there's a ton of automation within that already. And they're producing 1200 diapers a minute? In 140 different manufacturing lines globally? So when you're talking about data exactly, the amount of of data that they've captured. Exactly. And that's the other thing. They've invested in technology to be able to capture the data. That's step one, so they're not making assumptions. But the other thing that I found fascinating… As they did necessarily just take the raw data and throw it into AI, they actually created different simulated situations where there was an issue that occurred to identify it and try to be a little bit more proactive on how to minimize the downtime of their their machines.Erin: If there's some way that we could operationalize the dissemination of learning so that the smaller folks have a chance to really exploit the learning that we're getting from AI. I think that'd be awesome. Lori: Yeah. I mean, I agree with that a hundred percent, and that would be the end goal. To some extent the R and D comes in at the cost of the larger companies and then finds efficiencies that can carry down to the smaller companies.The article also had a case, which was Siemens, where the opportunity to support those smaller manufacturers as Siemens is actually using the products that they're selling that has AI built within their products. I thought that was kind of cool that they were, they didn't really specify exactly what it was that they were developing or building. But it's basically learning from the production lines, and then the machines themselves will be able to modify that the way that they're producing the equipment. To minimize mistakes and maximize production. So I think that's super cool, but also kind of like scary at the same time.Lori: Everyone's got their own playgrounds or shared tools being used in the AI space. But a lot of organizations are just creating their own AI. So it's interesting. Erin: Yeah, it is. And I think that's one of the discussed implications of AI. Iit goes right back to the manufacturing model in the early phases of AI when it was funded as a public good. So the artificial intelligence systems were being built as research for the sake of knowledge, and that information was shared. It was public information in that era, and this is sort of unknown to us. I think largely that era has closed, and so now the market driven development is really the phase that we're in. But we closed the public good development era before, I think, we really reached for the stars with what we can do for the good of humanity and what we could do for the good of all economic drivers.And so much more… Connect with the broads!Connect with Erin on LinkedIn for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  Connect with Kris on
37:  The Importance of Diversity in Engineering- with Dayna Johnson
Oct 18 2023
37: The Importance of Diversity in Engineering- with Dayna Johnson
Meet Dayna JohnsonDayna Johnson is the Emerging Technology Programs and Operations Leader at GE Gas Power. She joined GE in 2012 as a commercial manager for high-voltage electrical substations and has held a variety of roles since then, including participating in the Accelerated Leadership Program. Prior to GE, she worked as a civil engineer, designing water and wastewater projects.She holds a BS in Civil Engineering and a Master of Engineering Management from Valparaiso University, and she is a licensed professional engineer. She is also the immediate past president of the Society of Women Engineers.What's the importance of diversity in this space?We're sad that it's still not very common to have women engineers. And despite the fact that The Society of Women Engineers has been around for decades, we still are struggling to get women interested and excited in it. When we talk about what value diversity brings, you can go to all of the studies and say, “Oh, companies that have diverse boards, companies that have diverse fill-in-the-blank, have higher ROIs, they have better metrics.” Put all that aside.Let's just peel back the onion and talk about this at a big level. When we start talking about things like getting a design team together and coming up with requirements. The example I always use, which is a little grim is crash test dummies designed to the average male height, size, et cetera, as a result, women are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in car accidents. But that's like worst-case scenario. It can be when you talk about a group of laborers using gardening tools. They had a left-handed person who struggled to use the tool because it was made for a person who was right-handed.So when we talk diversity, it's not just gender or what you look like. So I think when I think about it as an engineer, way bigger than just pushing diversity for the sake of pushing it because it really truly makes our outcomes better and our products better.What struggles do women experience in this industry?Yeah. One of the big ones I think is just the bias, right?I'll be frank, right? My first job was very old school dealing with utilities, dealing with the good old boys club. For lack of a better phrase, the old white guys, and their bias was to have people that look like them around. It's those barriers, right?How do you figure out the ways that you can help people see that they can be there? How do you help people understand that? I think it's really hard for women to really be seen in some of the biases out there. People can Google and learn about the tightrope bias of how to not go too far one way or the other.There are all sorts of issues with women who want to be a strong, confident woman. And so they act the way a man would. That doesn't really work the same in the industry, right? You get penalized for acting like a man would. Bias is one huge aspect, but you look across and this has been a very male-dominated field. And we talk about things like walking the shop floor. If you're on a job site, these are things that society hasn’t designed for women to be able to fit right into. So, when we talk about jobs where heavy lifting is required, you can say what you want, but stereotypically women can't lift as much as men. Or if we talk about even just being on the shop floor, safety gear is not as easy to find. So, when I was out in the field, out of college, I was trying to find long underwear because construction happens during the winter, right? Yeah. Women's long underwear is not created equal.And so much more… Connect with Dayna!Connect on LinkedInSociety of...