The Manufacturers' Network

Lisa Ryan

The Manufacturers' Podcast is THE place for manufacturers to connect with and learn from other manufacturers. Not only will listeners get to learn from their manufacturing colleagues, but they will also discover HOW they can help each other as a resource or as a source of help and inspiration. As a manufacturer, it's easy to get pigeon-holed into only focusing on your own industry, whether it be through your industry trade association or your industry colleagues. While trade associations are an excellent source of information for their members, sometimes it's gaining a perspective from someone else in a completely different industry that gives you the solution to your dilemma. Stay tuned for new episodes every week on "Manufacturing Monday's." This drive-time length podcast will give you the information, tips and strategies you need to get your week off to a fantastic start.

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Building Brand Credibility Through Video for Manufacturers with Wendy Covey
Today
Building Brand Credibility Through Video for Manufacturers with Wendy Covey
Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm here today with Wendy Covey. Wendy is a CEO technical marketing leader, author of content marketing engineered one of the wall street journals, and ten most innovative entrepreneurs in America. And she holds a Texas fishing record over the past 24 years. Wendy and her team at Trew marketing have helped hundreds of highly technical companies build trust and fill their pipelines through inbound marketing. Wendy, welcome to the show. Wendy Covey: I am thrilled to be here. Thank you. Lisa Ryan: First, share a little about your background and what led you to do what you're doing at Trew marketing. Wendy Covey: I'll tell you, it's not an easy marketing gig working with engineers at technical buyers. Sometimes I think I'm crazy. But I started my career at National Instruments, now known as NI. And they manufacture hardware and software products for manufacturing. And during that time, I held many positions within the organization, from marketing communications to product marketing. And then, after a while, a colleague and I decided to leave, put up our shingle, and start our agency. And we did so because we saw a significant need amongst the smaller companies. So say small to mid-size companies that were working within the NI ecosystem. And at the time, they didn't have websites, or they had websites, but they were pitiful. They had very shallow and content. They weren't doing well in search and didn't have a differentiation—story about what they offered. And so, knowing what we did from our time in marketing, we knew we could help these companies. And so that was the beginning, and that was back in 2008, and we all know what happened around 2009, which wasn't a pretty economic time. And so for us as an agency going from, okay, we'll work with whoever we know engineers, but we'll work with whoever. So we need to get serious about who we are as an agency. And so it was around that time that we decided, you know what, we're going to only work with engineering companies or companies targeting highly technical buyers, something we know inside and out. And once we narrowed that focus, that's when our agency took off. And you mentioned that wall street journal award, which was based on the reality that the business strategy of saying no is to grow our business. Lisa Ryan: So when it comes to marketing, because marketing and manufacturing are marketing and engineering, they aren't generally two words that you find in the same sentence. Why do you find that critical for these types of companies to do? Wendy Covey: Yeah, and it's a funny thing. Because often these manufacturing companies are doing cutting edge things, right? They're solving problems in new and unique ways, yet when it comes to marketing, they can be woefully behind in their adoption of new technology and strategies. And so when it comes to marketing and manufacturing, Boy, if you think about these buyers, let's put ourselves in the shoes of the technical buyer. They have a severe problem they're trying to solve and need lots of education. They might be innovating, solving something that's never been done before. And so when they go to education, where do you think they go? They go to Google. They do searches. And they're trying to find information from trusted sources. And that's naturally what marketing should be doing - creating content on behalf of that company to help that engineer, that technical buyer. Find answers, build trust and start to build credibility so they can be on that shortlist. We believe strongly that this content-driven marketing approach methodology is perfect for the technical buyer. And from a customer standpoint, marketing is fantastic because you have to get your product knowledge and the cutting-edge technology you're using. Lisa Ryan: But marketing is also critical from a workforce basis because, with today's labor shortage, you and I discussed...
Building Brand Credibility Through Video for Manufacturers with Wendy Covey
Today
Building Brand Credibility Through Video for Manufacturers with Wendy Covey
Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm here today with Wendy Covey. Wendy is a CEO technical marketing leader, author of content marketing engineered one of the wall street journals, and ten most innovative entrepreneurs in America. And she holds a Texas fishing record over the past 24 years. Wendy and her team at Trew marketing have helped hundreds of highly technical companies build trust and fill their pipelines through inbound marketing. Wendy, welcome to the show. Wendy Covey: I am thrilled to be here. Thank you. Lisa Ryan: First, share a little about your background and what led you to do what you're doing at Trew marketing. Wendy Covey: I'll tell you, it's not an easy marketing gig working with engineers at technical buyers. Sometimes I think I'm crazy. But I started my career at National Instruments, now known as NI. And they manufacture hardware and software products for manufacturing. And during that time, I held many positions within the organization, from marketing communications to product marketing. And then, after a while, a colleague and I decided to leave, put up our shingle, and start our agency. And we did so because we saw a significant need amongst the smaller companies. So say small to mid-size companies that were working within the NI ecosystem. And at the time, they didn't have websites, or they had websites, but they were pitiful. They had very shallow and content. They weren't doing well in search and didn't have a differentiation—story about what they offered. And so, knowing what we did from our time in marketing, we knew we could help these companies. And so that was the beginning, and that was back in 2008, and we all know what happened around 2009, which wasn't a pretty economic time. And so for us as an agency going from, okay, we'll work with whoever we know engineers, but we'll work with whoever. So we need to get serious about who we are as an agency. And so it was around that time that we decided, you know what, we're going to only work with engineering companies or companies targeting highly technical buyers, something we know inside and out. And once we narrowed that focus, that's when our agency took off. And you mentioned that wall street journal award, which was based on the reality that the business strategy of saying no is to grow our business. Lisa Ryan: So when it comes to marketing, because marketing and manufacturing are marketing and engineering, they aren't generally two words that you find in the same sentence. Why do you find that critical for these types of companies to do? Wendy Covey: Yeah, and it's a funny thing. Because often these manufacturing companies are doing cutting edge things, right? They're solving problems in new and unique ways, yet when it comes to marketing, they can be woefully behind in their adoption of new technology and strategies. And so when it comes to marketing and manufacturing, Boy, if you think about these buyers, let's put ourselves in the shoes of the technical buyer. They have a severe problem they're trying to solve and need lots of education. They might be innovating, solving something that's never been done before. And so when they go to education, where do you think they go? They go to Google. They do searches. And they're trying to find information from trusted sources. And that's naturally what marketing should be doing - creating content on behalf of that company to help that engineer, that technical buyer. Find answers, build trust and start to build credibility so they can be on that shortlist. We believe strongly that this content-driven marketing approach methodology is perfect for the technical buyer. And from a customer standpoint, marketing is fantastic because you have to get your product knowledge and the cutting-edge technology you're using. Lisa Ryan: But marketing is also critical from a workforce basis because, with today's labor shortage, you and I discussed...
The Power of Video Surveillance in Manufacturing Using AI with Rish Gupta
1w ago
The Power of Video Surveillance in Manufacturing Using AI with Rish Gupta
Connect with Rish Gupta: rish@spotai.co LInkedIn: it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Rish Gupta. Rish is co-founder and head of product at Spot AI, a groundbreaking video intelligent company built to answer a simple question, "Why is it so difficult for people at work to access video off their cameras?" Rish, welcome to the show.  Rish Gupta: Thanks, Lisa. Excited to be here. Thanks for having me.  Lisa Ryan: So share a little about your background and what led you to focus on video.  Rish Gupta: Yeah, it's been a circuitous route to videos that always want to build technologies. So when I graduated college at about 22, 23. I started a company that was a pure software company. I knew nothing about running a business. I ran it for five years, grew to a few million users, and sold it. Again, though, I didn't know anything about running a business. The thing that helped the timing was it was just a couple of years after the event of smartphones. So the new behaviors and the influx of new people coming onto the internet because of smartphones led to that growth as a business for us. So as I was looking through new ideas and things to think about, one of the things that became constant was the number of mobile phones in the world. 91% of the people already have mobile phones, and the number of PCs has stayed constant at 2 billion for the last decade and sells approximately 300 million units a year. So it's okay. These computing devices are not growing. They're everywhere, but they're already there. But everywhere around us, if you see, look at your home, small internet chips are being inserted into your fridges, cars, and these Alexa, the baby cams, and the pet cams. And that seemed like a computing paradigm is changing where everything around us will get digitized. And the same thing was happening in, in the business arena. And then, when you double click on the business arena, you see that 80% if you're trying to get visibility into your physical operations. So basically, through the internet of things or any of these new technologies, 80% of how we consume the world is through our eyes. And 85% of the data on the internet is videos. So we thought, wow, would it be any different in the business arena? And that's why video seems like a really exciting place to focus on concerning enterprises. And then, as we dove into it, we realized that the existing state of videos is people had sold them IP cameras over the last 15 years. So every business, from a gas station to a manufacturing house to any part of an industrial chain, has a security camera. But then they're not able to access it. So they still use a USB thumb drive. It's an old-school VHS-like recorder somewhere in the back room. One person may be in the organization who knows where the video is and knows how to access it. And so, all these pain points in getting this data into the hands of users. And so that, that's what kind of drives us towards solving this problem.  Lisa Ryan: That's interesting because I think about what you just said about computers, that that, that hasn't grown and that, but the mobile technology has, and it's that's probably because five-year-olds don't have laptops yet, but they do have iPhones. So, why are they so far behind with so much mobile technology in the security camera industry?  Rish Gupta: Yeah, that's a good question. When we started building this technology, what baffled us the most was how far behind these cameras were. And the reason for that is if you think about what most people would remember is as children, we used Panasonic, Sony, neon, Canon one of these cameras to capture our memories, our holidays with our family. And today, these brands don't exist, right? Like they exist, or they exist in a much-diminished...
Mastering Your Marketing Outreach in Manufacturing with Emily Wilkins
Aug 1 2022
Mastering Your Marketing Outreach in Manufacturing with Emily Wilkins
Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. Our guest today is Emily Wilkens. Emily helps job shops make bigger profits and an even bigger impact by building them a radical brand and marketing machine and empowering them to use it in a few days. Emily, welcome to the show. Emily Wilkins: Well, thank you so much for having me, Lisa. Lisa Ryan: Please share a little about your background, what led you to do what you're doing, and particularly in working with manufacturers. Emily Wilkins: I grew up near Detroit, and most of my family worked for GM or in the auto industry, in some way, shape, or form. I have always been around manufacturing and mechanics and how things work. My dad had three daughters. I was the first of three girls, so I was his son. My dad did a great thing and got me involved in all that. Mom also worked for GM. They met at GM. She worked in product development, returned to school, and became a calculus professor. She's at Kettering University, which used to be GMI, in Flint. I had one choice when it came to college. It was Kettering. It's a unique school because it has a Co-op program that starts from your freshman year. I had a full-time job in the automotive industry before I started school for three months, so you switch from school to full-time work every other term. I had friends that were in management positions. I had friends that worked building or designing roller coasters or Disney like crazy cool opportunities as college students. I started in mechanical engineering, worked in the automotive industry, and found myself hanging out in the design studio. I was pretty bored with all of the mechanical engineering tests they gave me, which were mostly like busy work on spreadsheets and getting bored with being in a meeting with 20 people arguing over half an inch and bored. That's not the experience for all engineers, but that was my experience. I thought about attending art school, and then I switched to business. I stayed at Kettering as an associate company. My focus was in marketing. I liked my classes; I had always been entrepreneurial. I was the one with the lemonade stand and going around selling things to my neighbors, much to my parents' embarrassment. I've worked in product development and small job shops for most of my career. I've been the one-woman marketing show inside a couple of small job shops, so I have an inside look at what they need, what they don't need, what their budgets are, what their capacity is—internally handling marketing projects and working on things like that. When I started my business a couple of years ago, when I was working, I was the marketing director at a broad view product development. I started my business a little bit as part of a broad view and then branched out and started doing my own thing, and then, in the beginning, I didn't have well. I shouldn't say that I began to market metal with manufacturers in mind, and then, when the pandemic hit, I had all these friends like, hey, will you build me a website I'm going to start my business? So I broadened, but then last summer, I doubled back down into manufacturing, and that's where I have the most experience and, I think, where I can help the most. I developed this process that differs from other marketing agencies' approaches. It works well for manufacturing companies like small to medium shops that are doing custom work like RFP-based or FAQ-based projects not. I don't do E-commerce; I don't work with manufacturers who are developing and trying to market their products. I work with specifically service-based manufacturing companies. Lisa Ryan: Give us an example when you're talking about, because when you think about manufacturing, you don't necessarily think about marketing in the same sentence. So what would a job shop want to do to differentiate itself in the market? What are some of the things they do to do that? Emily Wilkins: Yeah, um, so a lot of job...
The Creative, Sensory-Rich Manufacturing Environment that Brings Employees to You with Robin Ritz
Jul 18 2022
The Creative, Sensory-Rich Manufacturing Environment that Brings Employees to You with Robin Ritz
Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Robin Ritz. Robin is a creative visionary and owner of Record, a women-owned small business providing safety netting. Robin, welcome to the show. Robin Ritz: Thank you, Lisa. Thank you so much for having me here. Lisa Ryan: Please share your background and what led you to do what you're doing with Record. Robin Ritz: I started in the office environment back in the 90s. My first job was cleaning offices. I used to role-play in an office when I was a child. I like signing checks and enjoy doing office things, so it's a natural fit. In the late 90s, I started working for a safety netting manufacturer. In 1995, Incord was started by my father and his partner, Bob Martin, and Mary Martin. I was able to come on and do some office management and get my get into the admin part of things on the side.   I was always interested in art and creativity. About 13 years ago, I became certified as a kaizen creativity coach. I found that balance between evoking creativity and honoring processes in the workplace and being in a manufacturing position. Combining that with the business and admin, I am a creative visionary today. I can incorporate all that love for honoring process but being creative and doing it in manufacturing. Lisa Ryan: That's not something that you think a lot about his creativity in the work environment in manufacturing. You think of it as a much more gritty, get-the-job-done environment. That has helped you create a workplace that draws and keeps people. What are some of the things you are doing that differentiate you from what you hear about in manufacturing? Robin Ritz: One of our guiding principles is that we're trying to be an exemplary employer. We focus on the employee experience. We focus on our corporate culture. We're focused on being the type of workplace somebody would want to work in so that manufacturing becomes secondary to that environment. First and foremost, working with people who are creative beings. Manufacturing gives us something to do at work. But the environment we're trying to create is about empowering people to be creative, be forward-thinking, and show up as a whole person in the workplace. Lisa Ryan: Well, returning to creativity, you're doing safety netting and custom solutions. What are some examples of your employees using their creativity and building those relationships with each other and the customers? Robin Ritz: Every individual has their expression of their creativity so being able to empower employees, to say we want you to use your creative talents in the ways that come naturally to you. Some people might be naturally organized. Some people might be naturally outgoing. Other people are more in an observant role. Hence, by honoring the ways that creativity shows up for each individual, they can contribute in a way that is unique to them.  Therefore, making systems process improvements, based on a suggestion, because somebody already organized and sees a better way that it can be approached or bringing a tool that they have from experience outside the workplace. So they're able to say, hey, we could use this or apply this technique to this process because I've seen it work in other ways, so I think it's more about the openness for the input.  Then the creativity takes on a life of its own. It's not necessarily painting on a canvas or art supplies. Instead, it becomes creative, and you're creating the environment that you want to work in.  You're creating the changes that you want to see. You're creating your career path. You're building relationships with customers or vendors. So it embraces creativity in a way that says you can be creative in different ways, and, yes, we can apply that in a mean factoring or administrative role. Lisa Ryan: And it sounds individualized. It also sounds like a lot of work. So how do you bring...
Incorporating Human Intelligence into Ai in Manufacturing with Christopher Nguyen
Jun 28 2022
Incorporating Human Intelligence into Ai in Manufacturing with Christopher Nguyen
Connect with Christopher Nguyen Website: www.aitomatic.com.  Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Christopher Nguyen. With a decades-long career, Christopher's tech bona fides are second to none. Since fleeing Vietnam in 1978, this multiple-time tech founder has played key roles and everything from building the first flash memory transistors at Intel to spearheading the development of Google Apps as its first engineering director. Today he's become an outspoken proponent of the emerging field of Ai engineering and a thought leader in the space of ethical human-centric Ai. With his latest company Aitomatic, he's hoping to redefine how companies approach Ai in the context of life-critical industrial applications. Christopher, welcome to the show. Christopher Nguyen: Hi, Lisa thanks for having me. Lisa Ryan: Share with us a little bit about your background and what led you to do what you're doing now with Ai. Christopher Nguyen: The most relevant thing about what I'm doing now can be considered a failure, starting after my previous company's acquisition by a company called Panasonic. We all know Panasonic as a global engine. However, many people don't realize that Panasonic is less of a consumer company than an industrial company in manufacturing, avionics, and automotive.  The acquisition of my previous company was the apply Ai machine learning to that global engine. Very quickly, we found that a lot of our, let me call it Silicon Valley techniques of digital-first companies like Google and Facebook, and Twitter run into apparent limitations when it comes to dealing with the physical world. The discussion or debate between atoms versus bits, and we've had to develop a whole bunch of techniques that involve leveraging a lot of human knowledge and expertise. We are automating all of that with machine learning to solve these industrial problems. That's the thesis of Aitomatic, the company. Lisa Ryan: So how do you do that when you talk about taking that human knowledge? How are you taking what we do almost automatically as human beings and turning that into machine learning? Christopher Nguyen: Maybe I can share why we do that because too many of us today, that is counterintuitive. We thought the future is only data-driven, and we only collect enough data with sensors on machines, and then we feed them and do these machine learning algorithms, and they'll know and don't predict they'll do everything for us. It turns out that doesn't apply not today and enough for a very long time to the physical industry. Take the problem of looking at sensors on a machine by refrigeration system and then trying to predict in advance. Is this likely to fail over the next two weeks? Is a compressor going to conk out or something like that? To do that, we still rely on human expertise because it's not in the data we're collecting. It's in their life experience. 30-40 years of seeing various refrigeration systems, models, operating conditions, and so on and building up instead of intuitions in their minds over time. We failed trying to do it the other way. We succeeded in incorporating human knowledge. That's the reason we do that. I can talk about how we do that. Lisa Ryan: That's interesting because when you have somebody that's been in the job for 20 or 30 years and, as you said, that's that feeling that intuition and being able to take a human feeling and turn it into data, that's just fascinating. If there's an easy way to describe how that happens, that would be great. Christopher Nguyen: If we learn like humans, we're building learning machines. We can either learn from examples, or we could learn from instructions. Data-driven machine learning is essentially learning. For example, learning by example requires lots and lots of examples before you start to build up some experience around it.  But learning from instruction,...
Exploring Composite Materials for Design and Acoustics with Nitin Govila
Jun 20 2022
Exploring Composite Materials for Design and Acoustics with Nitin Govila
Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Nitin Govila. Nitin is a management leader, entrepreneur, engineer, and meditation trainer. He is the Senior Vice President, air Pacific and MEA for the French manufacturing group Serge Ferrari, a flexible composite material sector leader. So, Nitin, welcome to the show. Nitin Govila: Thank you, Lisa. I'm glad to be here and delighted to be speaking with you. Lisa Ryan: Share with us a bit about your background and what led you ultimately to do what you're doing with composite materials. Nitin Govila: I was in the initial years of my life. I was born and brought up in India. I studied there and worked there for six to seven years. I started my career with paints after a few years in the dairy and food sectors. Building materials and paints were the first building materials I started with. I needed to kind of update or upgraded myself, so I felt a need for an international management degree. I came to Paris to do my MBA at HTC Paris, which opened me up to work in an international environment. I started working with another French company, which was in home automation. Then in early 2007 and eight, I felt the need that this part of the world was growing. At that time, I was working in France also, and then I felt the market that this part of the world was growing, and I wanted to be back in Asia. So that brought me to Singapore. I've now been in Singapore for 14 plus years. For the first seven years, I worked for a French company, also in roofing. I moved to a very niche product category in roofing. Then this opportunity came, which was unique and different. I did not know about the sector. We used to see some shade structures, blinds, and awnings, but they were in detail in the industry. When I was with the home automation, we used to supply moderation systems for the blinds and awnings. So I was exposed to that, but beyond that, not so much. It was an interesting journey for me to enter this business category. That's been six and a half years now. In this industry, as you mentioned, I've been handling the role of Vice president of Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. That's nearly a more significant part of the world regarding geography. It's also a growing part of the business for the company. I'm based in Singapore, but most of the time travel across all the countries and regions I am responsible for. Lisa Ryan: What has changed as far as these composite materials? Why are people moving towards them? And what are some of the benefits of using that as far as architecture and outdoor equipment applications? Nitin Govila: Great question. When I joined, it's already been six and a half years, as I mentioned. I also ask this question regarding what has been evolving in our company. It's touching 50 years next year, and what I've seen when I look back at the history, I think the main thing has been the technology and the innovation. If you look at composite materials, how it starts may start with a pellet. If you're using polyester, you begin with those pellets. You crush them you. You make a yarn. We process the yarn through our process and then quote them what drives the innovation and the quality of the products. More and more companies that have invested in innovation have always been able to lead the market, continuously bringing out new products. Based on the market's needs, if I look at significant structures now, I'm talking about stadiums, airports, and large shading structures when we talk about great architecture. Earlier, nobody thought it was a guy maybe 15-20 years back. You might call it a kind of a tarpaulin or a canvas, depending on which country you are from and what words are used. Over the years, companies have leaped to make some innovations. Serge Ferrari is one of the leading companies with innovation. We put nearly four to 5% of our turnover into R&D and innovation. What
Non-Traditional Resources for Finding and Hiring Great Talent with Andrew Crowe
Jun 13 2022
Non-Traditional Resources for Finding and Hiring Great Talent with Andrew Crowe
Connect with Andrew: Email: crowe@the-mfg.com Website: the-mfg.com LinkedIn: Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Andrew Crowe. Andrew is the leader of the new American manufacturing Renaissance and host of tv's project MFG. Andrew, welcome to the show. Andrew Crowe: Thank you so much for having me. Lisa Ryan: Share with us about your background and what led to your passion for changing the face of manufacturing. Andrew Crowe: I would love to. My name is Andrew Crowe. I grew up in inner-city St Louis. The area I grew up in was violent, and there weren't a lot of opportunities. In the school district or the radius of where I was, I didn't have a lot of options or platforms to see what I was good at outside of sports and entertainment. Seeing many people around me with jobs that weren't paying enough to survive on it led me into crime - to do something to lift my family out of poverty. Unfortunately, the only examples I had around me were people doing badly and illegal things. Before I was 18, I was a two-time felon and a teenage father. I didn't have a lot of focus, and I didn't know what I was going to do with my life. I didn't have much opportunity to express what I could be. Fast forward to jobs not working out because of felonies and getting into more trouble. I finally had enough. I put the word out that I was looking for a job and a young lady introduced me to a place where she was working. It was a manufacturing plant, and I walked in and took a machinist test and failed horribly. I had never seen micrometers or calibers or anything like that. But on the back side, there was a math test with fractions and decimals, which is what we measured. I did well on that side, so I got hired to run the saw on the third shift, cut material, and drop it off at the CNC machines and the manual machines. I took this job in that factory, and my mind exploded with all the opportunities for the first time. I felt like I was the guy that got left in the museum or the kid in the candy shop. I walked into this new world and had never considered how things were made. I didn't know anything about manufacturing. It lit a fire under me that I had never felt before. I wasn't passionate about the other things I had done in life. I didn't know what that felt like to have a passion. So I stayed in that environment as long as I could. I would work my eight hours, clock out, and then I would stay for four hours and watch the machines. Finally, I would stand and take notes. I bought a lot of coffee and donuts, and I tried to find some teachers and mentors that would teach me more about this field. At the same time, this thing kept me from the streets and making bad decisions because all I could think about was how important my job was. We were making things that went into the fighter jets, the tanks, the cars, and stuff like that, then that moves America and protects America. I didn't feel like a felon, and I didn't feel like a teenage father. I felt like I was an American, and I felt like the things I was doing contributed to America. I was important here, so I would come to work early and stay late. I would study and at the same time. I understood that the culture wasn't conducive to people who look like me, and frankly, not people who look like you. So, as I fell in love with this industry, I realized that this place isn't a great place for people of color and women. Because women raised me, and I am a person of color, I felt there were some things we could do to change that. I watched how manufacturing could uplift my life and brought me from feeling like I didn't have a place in America and wasn't important. I wanted to ensure that people who came from could have that same feeling. At the same time, my career started rising because I put as much as possible into it, so I went from the saw to running the...
Attracting Employees Through Apprenticeships with Miranda Martz
Jun 6 2022
Attracting Employees Through Apprenticeships with Miranda Martz
Connect with Miranda Martz Phone: 717-843-3891 LinkedIn: Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm here today with Miranda Martz. Miranda is a Pre-apprenticeship Coordinator for the Manufacturers Association. She started as a journeyperson machinist and is committed to the manufacturing industry. Miranda, welcome to the show. Miranda Martz: Thanks, Lisa. Thank you so much for inviting me. Lisa Ryan: Absolutely. Please share with us about your background and what led you ultimately to commit to your manufacturing career. Miranda Martz: It's been an interesting journey and not one that many people have had. Many people like listening to my journey because it's very odd. I grew up in Hannover, Pennsylvania, the snack capital of the world. When I was younger, I wanted to work on cars for a living. I worked with my dad on the weekends. I went underneath the car with him. He showed me how a car works. I grew up with a bunch of mechanics, so that's where I got into loving working on machines and with machinery, even at an age I didn't know what it was. I started there in high school. I never did good in high school, so that four-year college degree wasn't for me either. I never even thought I would graduate from school. I went to a place called Mannheim central, so it was a very Ag-centric school. I was either pushing towards going to ag or going to a four-year college and getting my college degree. I met my counselor maybe once or twice. That was odd to me to pick a career for the rest of my life.   I thought I had talked to them, but they didn't know me well. They knew I wanted to work on cars, so I went to the art Institute of Pittsburgh for industrial design technology, and I did the auto track. It's no surprise, probably, but I was the only female to do that, so that has its challenges. But unfortunately, I was there for a year, and it got too expensive because I ended up paying for it myself. So I had to drop out. It wasn't something that was for me. I found that the four-year college route wasn't for me, and it was way too expensive. I couldn't pay for it, so I came home and immediately got a job. But it was at a gas station. I worked there like three years, and I knew I needed to do something else. It wasn't something that could sustain me for the rest of my life. I needed more money, so I started looking into different things and was offered a job by a friend at the time at a place called electron energy corporation.  I went on to be a Hone operator. My first machine was a honing machine, making precision holes. From there, I became a machinist III. I worked up through the company. I learned one machine after another. It was something that I could healthily express myself. I was good at it. I knew every single machine that I could in that area. I worked in the ring cell, and it was something that I learned one machine after another. It clicked for me. I thought this was what I meant to do. This is what I'm good at it. It was a way for me to express myself. I wanted more. Over five years, I gathered enough information to be a machinist three at that company, and then after five years, I moved on in my career into the CNC machining world. I got exposed to my first machine – a Hoss CNC. I took CNC classes one through Levels one through three with House, including the programming classes and the turning classes on the laser levels one and two.   I went to a company called tape towers. Many people know them as Droplets, but they do staging for the entire world through the largest staging company in the world. I went into their machine shop and learned about one of their CNC machines. It was the same thing. It was easy for me. I learned a lot. I was on one machine, and I couldn't get enough, and I loved it. I started showing them that I could run two machines simultaneously, but I could set up...
The Secret Sauce of Leadership: Creating Leaders Who Lead Cultures with Rue Patel
May 16 2022
The Secret Sauce of Leadership: Creating Leaders Who Lead Cultures with Rue Patel
Connect with Rue: Email: Rue@RueWorks.com LinkedIn: EPISODE! (Originally Aired January 23, 2021) Show Transcript: Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce you to our guest today Rue Patel. For 15 years, Rue Patel led General Mills' largest manufacturing site. He was accountable for delivering expected quantifiable results with a focus on employee consumer and environmental responsibility. Rue is the founder of Rue Works. He works with smaller businesses to define and implement their growth strategy, provide executive coaching to their leaders, and speak at industry conferences. Welcome to the show. Rue Patel: They said, thank you so much. Thanks for having me. Lisa Ryan: Well, I know that you spent most of your career at General Mills, but you share with us a little bit about your journey. Rue Patel: Yeah, so my manufacturing journey started at PepsiCo, followed by 29 years at General Mills in various roles, mostly manufacturing, but some Research and Development roles. We had an incubator, a little business where we had a skunkworks factory and did some cool experimental things. I found that my love and passion was in building our brands through excellent manufacturing to driving people leadership, people growth, and development of great talent, driving great processes that deliver great results for General Mills.  And our $2 billion plant was an example of one that doubled in size in the last seven or eight years. And we were able to do a lot of that without capital and without adding additional headcount, so purely through improvement and some great technology.  It was the use of that technology with great planning, so it's been a lot of fun. I then kicked into Rue Works when I retired a few months ago. It's a passion to help smaller businesses - under 100 million dollars thereabouts - and help them improve themselves through the same things: strategy development, people development, and talent acquisition. In some cases, finding ways to improve their processes, streamline their systems, and drive to the bottom line. And that's been just a lot of fun. Lisa Ryan: Yeah, and it sounds like you're able to easily translate a lot of the work that you did for such a massive company like General Mills into working with smaller organizations. Part of what we're trying to do with this podcast is to show how easily transferable some of these ideas are.  You and I have had many conversations about some of the cool things you did a General Mills. But I was hoping you could share with our listeners some of the different philosophies that you had. And some of the other things you did at General Mills that now you're translating that key the clients you're working with today. Rue Patel: Yeah, so I'm a believer that General Mills, just a great company, is a company of people. It's a people company that happens to make food. For me, the center of this thing is people and the ability to develop people to see things differently, see themselves differently, and expand different roles.  I have done a lot of work with our minority and diversity groups, as I'm of Asian descent and a first-generation immigrant; and with women in our organization. Mentoring, supporting, leading, guiding, and sometimes pushing and kicking people to do things they didn't think they'd achieve. A third of our General Mills factory leaders who reported to me are now directors. I have worked on my teams at some point in their career. And I'm super proud of that.  So beyond the quantifiable stuff. It's the leadership of people, and then their ability to develop a strategy, make a plan and then execute that plan to drive results and do it the right way is stuff I've worked on. So that's the part that I get excited about is seeing that thing mushroom.  So I approached things without a template or canned...
The Benefits of Wellness in Your Manufacturing Plant with Joan Enoch
May 9 2022
The Benefits of Wellness in Your Manufacturing Plant with Joan Enoch
Connect with Joan Enoch Email: HR@lift-all.com Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Joan Enoch. Joan has been working with Lift-All company as the HR manager since January of 2004. Lift-All company manufacturers load-secure products in five plants in the United States. Joan has a degree from Penn state in industrial psychology. Throughout her career has worked in banking and consulting for various nonprofits and for-profit companies. She enjoys the no-nonsense and practicality of working in manufacturing and has a heart for people who work hard for their money to support their loved ones. Joan, welcome to the show. JOAN ENOCH: Thank you. I'm so excited to talk about something I'm very passionate about - manufacturing and who our employees are. They're hard-working, and excellent benefits they deserve to take care of themselves and their family members. Lisa Ryan: Well, awesome. Please share your background with us because it sounds like you've done many things before you got into manufacturing. What got you here? JOAN ENOCH: Well, I started in human resources and, like most folks, ended up initially on the recruitment edge of things. Not too long after doing recruitment and banking. I ended up in the compensation arena. Unlike most HR people in my niche, I love compensation and salary administration. With that came some benefits and just a broad breadth of many different things that I've been fortunate and unable to do over my career. I started in banking, and after banking went through lots of mergers and acquisitions, of which I was on a team doing some of that. Next, I found myself doing control consulting work for an employee assistance program and working with many companies. Then, finally, I landed in manufacturing, and, as you mentioned at the onset, I like the no-nonsense nature of manufacturing. We can tell it like it is. We can have good conversations. There's not tons of politics and playing around with how we want to say thanks. Lisa Ryan: When I think too when you and you mentioned employee assistance programs, which I think is so important, especially considering the last couple of years, with everything that we've gone through. What have you seen as far as how benefits have changed? JOAN ENOCH: Well, you know, federal legislation has changed things. When the affordable care Act came out in 2010, that changed many things. A lot of good came out of that in ensuring employers provide all kinds of preventive services for their employees. Those benefits are covered on dollar one. Also, obviously during Covid the last two years, there's just been a change in how people orient to benefits. There was a complete stoppage when Covid first hit, and the medical world had to figure out how we safely deliver services. So there's been a lot of creativity around telemedicine visits. Paired with more focus on mental health, most folks sit back and revisit how they got through Covid. There were some mental health and spiritual changes or emotional changes. That happened for folks over the last couple of years. What is life really about? We're all faced with Covid. It changed things, so it's been good to have that focus. Not just on our physical health but recognizing that there are so many layers to us as human beings, and how do we take our physical health, mental health, and emotional health and make sure that all of those are getting addressed. Our health care system can do that. Lisa Ryan: Well, it's not only important from a legal standpoint that we pay attention to mental health but there's always that if somebody has a physical disability, it's easy for us to see that. It's easy for us to notice it and empathize with it because we can see it. But when it comes to mental health, and we have somebody who is now suffering from depression, or you can't necessarily look at them and see what's wrong, you want to say snap out of...
Getting Your Manufacturing Culture Right with Dan Burgos
May 2 2022
Getting Your Manufacturing Culture Right with Dan Burgos
Connect with Dan Burgos: LinkedIn: free resource link:  ( Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Dan Burgos. Dan is the founder, President, and CEO of AlphaNova Consulting. This management consulting firm helps manufacturers in various industries, including aerospace, injection molding, construction products, chemicals, fiberglass, furniture, electronics, consumer goods, etc. Dan, welcome to the show. Dan Burgos: Hi Lisa. Thank you for having me. Lisa Ryan: Dan, please share with us your journey and how you got into consulting, especially with manufacturing. Dan Burgos: It all started with my father putting those entrepreneurial seeds in my mind as I was growing up. As I was finishing high school, I aspired to become a prosecutor - a lawyer. Of course, I knew I was coming to the US being an immigrant. My aspirations for that path. Then I learned that you had to get any license for every state you moved to, which killed my aspiration. So I had to develop the next best thing, which led me to industrial engineering. It was all about solving problems and being inquisitive. That's how it all started. I went to college, and throughout my journey, I knew I wanted to help people in an entrepreneurial capacity. I didn't know-how. When I finished college, one of my first employers had consultants there. When I interacted with them, I saw the impact that they were having, and I said why I thought this might be it. My career continued, and through the years, I met other consultants. I tried to understand what they did and how they were able to impact. It wasn't until 2009 that I met someone, and I finally said yes. I'm committing to this as my career path. By that time, I already had some experience in manufacturing and remained committed, knowing that I wanted to see different industries within the manufacturing sector. I moved around in other companies from oil and gas and furniture. I worked for a medical device company, an aerospace company, and then, finally, I worked for a boutique consulting company. I wanted to learn the ropes of the business, and it was quite helpful. Eventually, in 2016, I felt that I was ready to take the leap and jump headfirst to the consulting journey. We've been in business since 2016. Lisa Ryan: What are some of the things that you focus on? When you walk in there for the first time, what's something they want to focus on? What are the initial projects that you get started with? Dan Burgos: It depends on the company and the business. Some places have different needs, so there are several areas where we help clients. We help with execution, operations, and operations management. That's what gets us in the door. It's much more tangible for manufacturers, but we look at behaviors also from leaders once we're in. Because you may have a well-oiled machine, but if the leaders, don't have the right behaviors, you may still be having challenges to succeed. We look at that and we also look at the culture that these leaders create. We help in four areas. We help with the efficiency of the operation, we help with the management of the operation, and we also help with leadership. The process for deploying or cascading the strategy and, finally, how do we turn around that culture, how do we create an identity that people can get behind and also deter the people that are poor fits. Not necessarily because it's good or bad, but when someone is a poor fit for a company, it might not be the best place for them to be effective. Lisa Ryan: We've heard it so often that people don't leave the job they leave their managers, so when you're coming in from a consulting view, what are some things you notice. I want to put this in the perspective of somebody...
Innovating Your Manufacturing Processes with Jordan Erskine
Apr 25 2022
Innovating Your Manufacturing Processes with Jordan Erskine
Connect with Jordan Erskine: LinkedIn: Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to this episode of the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Jordan Erskine. Jordan is an innovative founder with 20 years of experience in the cosmetic contract manufacturing industry. Jordan co-founded Dynamic Blending. Since then, Dynamic Blending has seen over a 12,500% growth in less than five years. Jordan talks about breathing new life into a stale industry and how you can innovate within your industries. Jordan, welcome to the show. Jordan Erskine: Thank you, Lisa. It's a pleasure to be here. Lisa Ryan: Please share a bit about your background and what got you started in manufacturing and the cosmetic contract manufacturing industry. Jordan Erskine: It's a crazy story. I graduated from high school when I was 18 years old. I didn't know what I wanted to do with myself. In my neighborhood, there was a guy who started a contract manufacturing company. I didn't know what that was. When I graduated high school, he said, hey do you want to work with me? At the time, there were ten employees or fewer. It was small. I said sure because at 18 years old, I didn't have any prospects for college. I enjoyed it.  I was learning how to develop cosmetics and skincare products from scratch. I learned a lot of that is chemistry and that knowledge, but it's an art form too. It was fantastic to see how some of these higher-end skincare products come to be. So I stuck with it and got my undergrad in finance. I left that company and went to another company, where we are contract manufacturing toothpaste for a large Fortune 50 global consumer goods company. We manufactured four to 5 million tubes a month of toothpaste, so it was a very fast-paced operation. I worked there for about nine years and had a lot of student loan debt. I got my MBA in international business while working there at the time. I had about $140,000 in student loan debt between my wife and me. The panic started to set in that we would never pay this off. I got this weird bug, and a light bulb went off that I just needed to start my own company. I knew how to do everything on the contract manufacturing side - from development to production to package sourcing, just everything, so that's what I did. I started putting the pieces together and met up with an old colleague who worked with the first contract manufacturer. His name is Gavin, and he went on to be an attorney. After not talking about it for about 9-10 years, we met back up. One thing led to another, and his law firm invested a little bit into Dynamic Blending, and the rest is history. We only took on about $170,000 angel investment at the beginning. To this day, we are still privately owned by Gavin and me. It's wild. Lisa Ryan: So, when you're talking about a 12,500% growth in less than five years, I'm sure that people are listening to this podcast with their ears perking up, saying, I would like to have a small percentage of that. What were some things that you did that set you apart in such a short time? Jordan Erskine: I learned from the other contract manufacturers I worked for and knowing that this is my company, I want to build it my way. One thing that was important to me was the team. I started recruiting people. I got a couple of key people who couldn't afford higher salaries because we couldn't afford them. They were subject matter experts, so we gave them equity. We gave them a percentage of equity in Dynamic Blending. That sparked an interest. Some of them worked for us for a while for free until we could start affording that. The first thing is that I knew I needed the team in place in every single area to help us grow to where we needed to be. Our chemist, our R&D director, developed the ancestry DNA solution, so he has pharmaceutical drug development and chemical development. He's our director of R&D and then our...
Partnering with Your Suppliers for Manufacturing Success with Mike Murdock
Apr 18 2022
Partnering with Your Suppliers for Manufacturing Success with Mike Murdock
Connect with Mike Murdock Email: MDOCK50@gmail.com LinkedIn: Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today Mike Murdock. Mike is the President of M2 Collaborative Solutions. He has 38 plus years of manufacturing operations and vendor supplier optimization experience. In addition, he works with cross-functional teams internally and externally.  Mike works directly with key strategic vendors that support their daily manufacturing needs and requirements. Mike, welcome to the show. Mike Murdock: Hey, Lisa. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your show and share my experiences. Just briefly, for 38 plus years, I worked for General Mills. My first 27 years focused on the day-to-day manufacturing of multiple products. General Mills owns plants in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In July, the plant I retired from generated $2.4 billion worth of revenue a year. General Mills is roughly a 17 and a half to $18 billion company, so that's a good chunk of revenue coming out of Cedar Rapids. For the last 12 years, I have had a unique role where I focused on working with our key strategic vendors that provided materials, ingredients, and services to the Cedar Rapids facility and our supply chain. I worked in North America, and I did some global initiatives that helped our supply chain with our key vendors. Lisa Ryan: I know that that vendor or supplier relationship is where you put your focus, and it also got you through some tough times and these last couple of years with the pandemic. Please share with us some examples of where you saw that partnering with the people giving you the ingredients and supplies makes a difference and creates a win-win for everybody. Mike Murdock: So, as we are all aware, our world is turned upside down. In March of 2020, the norm was no longer how the business would operate. Nobody knew how long because the pandemic was new to all of us. We didn't know what to expect. But the thing that was refreshing and encouraging for not just me but our General Mills supply chain was those key strategic vendors. I had spent years working with them to lay the foundation and build that trust in our working relationship. I wanted to have uncomfortable conversations, be very fluid, and be nonjudgmental. It allowed us to get opportunities and issues in front of us in a non-threatening way. So what took place as the pandemic started to hit in the March/April timeframe.  We had these strategic vendors that I had been working with for years. They reached out to me via phone calls and emails. They let me know that General Mills is a top-three priority for them. They said we would do all we could to ensure your supply chain was not disrupted. That was very reassuring. Knowing that there were many unknowns in front of all of us now. Having that confidence and reassurance from these key vendors that we're dead in the water without their work. We can't make finished products that go out to the consumers. It allowed us to move forward with confidence, believing that we would have the materials and ingredients to make our finished product. Keep in mind that I'm talking about Cheerios, Wheaties, Lucky Charms, Betty Crocker Frosting, Betty Crocker fruit snacks, Nature Valley granola bars - I could go on and on and talk about all the different products in the General Mills portfolio. Think about how many empty shelves there were when you first went to the grocery stores early on in that pandemic. It was hard to understand, but it wasn't very long into the pandemic that some of those things you purchased regularly weren't on the shelves. They were not available. Lisa Ryan: Well, let's think about the vendors you were dealing with. It's General Mills, for goodness sake. You know they are a billion-dollar company, and they don't want to lose that business. There's still something to the relationships that you...
Three Tips to be a Master of Manufacturing With Darrin Mitchell
Apr 4 2022
Three Tips to be a Master of Manufacturing With Darrin Mitchell
Connect with Darrin Mitchell: Website: www.manufacturing-masters.com LinkedIn: Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm here today with Darrin Mitchell. Darrin has been a global manufacturer of highway equipment for the past 24 years. Last year, he developed an online training platform for manufacturing businesses to find best practices from experts worldwide. So, Darrin, welcome to the show. Darrin Mitchell: Awesome, thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here. Lisa Ryan: Please share with us your background and what led you to do what you're doing in manufacturing. Darrin Mitchell: We're a global manufacturer of big highway equipment. If anybody out there listening right now has ever been stuck in traffic, and you've complained that the equipment up ahead is blocking your way or making you late, I'm officially the guy to blame. We build the equipment that was building roads or in the mines or hauling agricultural products. We make big highway trailers for transporting big bulky things. We do that across North America, Australia, New Zealand Middle East, South Korea, and Europe. Lisa Ryan: And so, and why did you choose that industry? What led you into highway equipment, to begin with? Darrin Mitchell: So, 25 years ago, I met my business partner, an engineer. He said he was going to start making these highway trailers. I said, "For the love of Mary, please do not ever do that." He said no, no, I think it's a good idea. I said, "Listen, our biggest competitors are out of Ohio. They are vertically and horizontally integrated. They own their suppliers; they are next to the customers; they come and pick up the product from the factory, and they're happy with a five to 9% margin. Literally, day one - if we tried to compete from a rural and remote community, we've already lost just on the cost of getting materials to our factory. There is no hope in hell of us ever succeeding in competing against someone who has hundreds of millions of cap expending. They're fully automated. They're competing on volume and integrated into the supply chain. We'd never be able to win. Lisa Ryan: Obviously, something changed. Darrin Mitchell: I know. He went ahead and started it anyway and then told me. A few months later, he said I'm in deep, help. Oh okay. We started getting innovative immediately, understanding what we were up against—and not doing what our competitors were doing. One of the things that we did was built a lot of innovation into the product. We were able to ask for a premium. Being from a place where you're removed from your supply chain or customer base, you have to ask for a premium. We built a lot of things moving parts. The products could do things that our competitors couldn't do because they didn't have the capacity. When I meet with my competitors, they say I hate you and say, well, I, like you. Why do you hate us? They would say I hate you because it's hard to copy you. We have a massive assembly line set up in our factory, but how you've innovated with your products makes it hard to replicate that. They had an enormous assembly line, where you would put 10,000 20,000 products a year. So the first thing that we did was we innovated to make the product more valuable to the customer so that we could charge a premium. That's how we started growing the business and understanding that we didn't want to compete against the masses. So we tried to skim the cream off the top and ensure that we could show that value to the customer to charge that premium for the product. So that was the first step in what we did for the business's growth. Lisa Ryan: How did you decide what to add to your products to make them premium? Was that in researching the industry, talking to customers, etc.? How did you choose, and what would be an example of an innovation that you put in a product that your competitors couldn't...
Nurturing Supply Chain Relationships with Gerry Angeli
Mar 28 2022
Nurturing Supply Chain Relationships with Gerry Angeli
Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce you to our guest today, Gerry Angeli. Gerry has been a manufacturing and supply chain executive for over 35 years, including CEO-level experience. He's had the opportunity to work all over the planet on products, ranging from high volume consumers to very custom high value-added durable goods. Gerry, welcome to the show. Gerry Angeli: Lisa, it's great to be here. I appreciate you extending the invitation to be on the podcast. Lisa Ryan: Absolutely. Please share with us your background and what led you to do what you're doing. Gerry Angeli: Well, it all started way back when I left college, and I remember the line in the interview that got me into my first job. Coming out of engineering school, the interviewer asked me what I would like. I said, look, if you're looking for a world-class designer, that's not me. But if you're looking for somebody who knows how to troubleshoot things analytically and fix stuff, and work on items associated with quality and reliability. So he stopped me when he said I get 1000 of the first kind. I get one a year of you when can you come to visit the shop and that's how it started so from then until and in the early days, people called me a factory rat. I was always in the factory, so that's how I got started in manufacturing and the supply chain. It's a virtuous profession to make things and get them out there. So throughout my career, I've been up and down the supply chain. From customer service, on the one end to procurement, on the other, it's treated me well. Lisa Ryan: Being in the supply chain these days is just a little tricky. So, what are some of the things you're seeing that your experience or seeing happening in the industry? What are some of the ideas that you have to reestablish business continuity? Gerry Angeli: Well, that's the greatest place to start. I get very vocal about what I see going on at times, and much of it has its roots back in the 1980s when just-in-time and zero inventory production started. I'll hold that thought for a second because those were all good things to do. When I came to Florida, I was recruited by a company down here in Hollywood. Shortly after that, I got an operations executive. They had manufacturing locations in various parts of the planet. They had just moved the company from another State to South Florida when I got here. As I entered, the boss said to me, "I need you to stick your nose in something for me. Everybody warned me that there are hurricanes here, and you got to have a plan if you're in manufacturing, whether it's here or anyplace else, to recover from a weather event." We didn't call it business continuity. Back then, it was disaster recovery. I stuck my nose into the topics. As I got involved with it, naturally, the first thing is power, the second thing is water. All learning associated with recovering from a hurricane or a flood or a tsunami doesn't matter. It is episodic. You learn what to do.  Next time because of what's happened to you this time. So, there's no manual written. There's no checklist. There's no place you can go to say what is it the way I have to do. Can I run down this list and be safe? No. You've got to build your knowledge. And so we began doing that, and the more I got involved with it, we went through a couple of storms, where you're down for a week or two. You begin you build an encyclopedia dictionary of what to do. You'll resonate with this. One of the things that I learned early on is they always talk about power and water. Stay away from the down electrical lines. You gotta take care of the folks. They were getting ready for it, preparing for the coming storm, what happened during the storm, and what happened after the storm. The first thing you do is take care of the people. You ensure that they have enough time to get their affairs in order. That sounds a little dark, but it's true....
Keeping Up with Manufacturing Innovation and the Pace of Change with Maziar Adl
Mar 21 2022
Keeping Up with Manufacturing Innovation and the Pace of Change with Maziar Adl
Connect with Maziar Adl: LinkedIn: ( Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Maziar Adl, Co-Founder and CTO of Gocious. This product decision analytics platform empowers better product innovation for auto, mobility, industrial equipment, and high-tech industries. He oversees the end-to-end design, implementation, and development of products. Maziar, welcome to the show. Maziar Adl: Thank you for having me. Lisa Ryan: Please share with us your background and what led you to form Gocious. Maziar Adl: My background is primarily in information management and industrial engineering. I started working as a supervisor to create a new plant after graduating from college. After that, I switched my career to information management. At that time, information management wasn't necessarily just for manufacturing, but in general. We looked at different ways of bringing platforms to diverse audiences. Eventually, I realized that the product manager's role is rising because competition is growing. Understanding what products have to offer to customers and then bringing the voice of the customer into the company. As a result, I was always interested in how we can help product managers in different industries. When this opportunity came, it was perfect because it was a chance for me to go into this new venture of explicitly providing the product management role with modernized platforms. It's specific to this role, and, in our case in Gocious, we focus mainly at the moment on manufacturing. In manufacturing and, in general, there are complex systems. This is the company that we started in 2018 in southern California. So far, we think that we're on the right track, and we're very excited about the platform we're offering. The next generation is about to come to the market. We call it the CRM, or  the product roadmap management system. Lisa Ryan: So what changed with product management over the years? Why have you seen the shift to it being an integral part of manufacturing now? Maziar Adl: It's the fact that product managers now are going through changes more rapidly. The competition is fierce because of the availability of technology and software techniques to bring hardware and physical group goods to market more rapidly. To change them in the market or rapidly and keep track. We're keeping the product innovation going. Keeping up with this pace of change requires modern tools and requires specific roles. That's the challenge for product managers from our understanding. Lisa Ryan: When it comes to designing the systems, are the product managers doing their job differently? What are some of the things that you're seeing that they're adapting or adopting in their plants? Maziar Adl: If you think about it, companies now produce software as a service in software. Product managers have adopted agile technologies, and it's pretty much sinking in. They're looking at optimization, but most of these companies have adopted the process of adopting agile techniques in manufacturing. However, the software is being integrated into hardware. You can see that manufacturers are starting to think about how we capture these agile techniques to speed up and keep up the cadence of the operation? The challenge for the product manager is to keep up the communication and keep up the feedback from the different parts of the organization in a quick way and speed that up. Before manufacturing, cycles were long, but now that's also shrinking. Manufacturers have to give the product managers the tools to keep up with this communication flow. Lisa Ryan: When you're dealing with so many types of equipment and some of it is years or even decades old and trying to modernize the equipment, as well as adapting some of these new technologies, like you're talking about, how does a product manager do...
Simple Recruiting Strategies for a Tight Labor Market with Dawn Sipley
Mar 14 2022
Simple Recruiting Strategies for a Tight Labor Market with Dawn Sipley
Connect with Dawn Sipley: Email: dawn@sipleythebest.com LinkedIn: Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Dawn Sipley. With nearly 20 years in HR, nine of those in business ownership, Dawn understands the pressures of entrepreneurship. She began her professional career after graduating from UCF with her business degree in 2004. Since then, she has supported hundreds of companies in central Florida with their hiring needs, either as a corporate recruiter staffing company or consultant. During those years and staffing, the concept of Sipley the Best was born. Dawn, welcome to the show. Dawn Sipley: Thank you so much for having me today. Lisa Ryan: Please tell us about your background and the behind-the-scenes of why you focused your career in recruiting and staffing and doing what you're doing. Dawn Sipley: God had a funny way of bringing me to this market. I thought HR was all about onboarding and new hire paperwork, benefits, and payroll when I was younger. I had no idea. There was this whole human resources human side. I started off in the retail world slowly got into technology recruitment, which led me to the staffing world. I figured out that many people were terrible at hiring in the staffing world, which I found curious because I had a natural talent for it. That's what led me to get into consulting rather than doing it for people. I teach them how to do it and do it well. Lisa Ryan: So, what are some tips you like to share with people? As discussed before the show, job boards are dead, so people have to be more creative when recruiting. What are some of the things that you're seeing and you're helping others to do? Dawn Sipley: One big thing is pivoting their marketing messaging to attract new talent. For 70 years, marketing has been used to acquire new customers. Now it needs to be used to obtain new employees. One of the main reasons people leave a position is because they don't feel appreciated or heard. So they are highlighting employee of the month on your social media, talking about your organization's culture, and highlighting the different activities you do to connect and engage with your employees. Your younger generation of employees are looking at social media and that's how they're identifying potential employers. Using your marketing vehicle to attract new talent is an amazingly thoughtful and productive way to bring in qualified applications and resumes. Lisa Ryan: So that sounds like that may work in the corporate workplace because, of course, those people are on social media all the time. But if you're talking about manufacturing and the trades, is that working for them too? Dawn Sipley: It is. HR teams are more and more moving into a marketing role, and less of a let's just posting on the job board and wait for resumes to come in. The job boards are dead in this market. You can post, and you can boost, and you can do those things, but unfortunately, with the technology that we have, they control those algorithms. They won't put your job ad in front of eyeballs unless you're paying money. You don't have control over that, but you do have control over your Facebook, tick-tock, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram - all of those things. Your HR department needs to have a marketing line to it. Lisa Ryan: So does this entire bringing in like a full-time social media person, or how would you do that in a way that makes the most of your time and your effort when it comes to social media? We could go down that rabbit hole and watch cat videos for the next six hours if we're so inclined. Dawn Sipley: No, you don't have to hire a full-time person. It just needs to be a fraction of what your HR department is doing one or two posts a day to engage on multiple platforms. All that's required is a place. I found the best on social media is posting...
The Role of Garbage, Bathrooms, and Leaders on Employee Engagement  with Mark Whitten
Mar 7 2022
The Role of Garbage, Bathrooms, and Leaders on Employee Engagement with Mark Whitten
Contact Mark Whitten LinkedIn: Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. Our guest today is Mark Whitten. Mark is the President and CEO of Spartanburg Steel Products. Spartanburg specializes in designing, developing, and manufacturing high-quality complex metal stamping and welded assemblies, serving the automotive, heavy truck, power, lawn and garden, construction, utility, and off-road vehicle manufacturing industries. A passionate leader with 25 years of manufacturing experience leadership and strategic direction, Mark has achieved business success and transformation through engagement and collaboration. Mark, welcome to the show. Mark Whitten: Thank you for having me, Lisa. I'm glad to be here. Lisa Ryan: Mark, please share with us your background and what led you to do what you're doing right now with Spartanburg. Mark Whitten: Sure. I'm Canadian. I worked in Canada for many years before I came to Atlanta. I went to Mexico first. I started my career with General Motors Academy, a Suzuki joint venture GM plant. I did several different roles there. This was after Freightliner. Then I ended up Magna or National, a tier-one automotive supplier. I worked for Magna was seven years, and then I had the opportunity to go to Mexico as an assistant plant manager. So I moved my wife and children, and we went to Mexico. We were there for six years before returning to Canada again as a general manager for Magna. Then we came to the US in 2015. I did a short stint as a plant manager in the Cleveland area. Then I was recruited to Martin read, another Canadian automotive supplier for their Kentucky plant in Shelbyville. A few years later, I had a director of OPS role. I had the four plants under me at the time. I then had an opportunity to come to Spartanburg Steel Products as President CEO in March of 2020. It was while Covid landed - literally within weeks as I got here. We started the protocols for Covid. Lisa Ryan: Wow, isn't it funny that from now until the end of time, those of us in the know will know that anytime somebody says March of 2020, we will all go ooooh. Mark Whitten: yeah. Lisa Ryan: Absolutely. When you joined Spartanburg, what was the culture like? What were some of the things that you noticed and started to change? Mark Whitten: Well, Spartanburg is a privately held company family-owned business. They've owned the business for 40 plus years. It's a good company with good people. I think that, over time, the performance had eroded. The culture is affected when you have those situations where the company's not making money. You've got customer issues and quality issues. The culture also takes an impact there that people feel at leadership levels. My task coming in here was to grow the business back to what it once was, as a prominent BMW supplier. We're 12 miles from plant 10 Spartanburg, which is building all the X-model BMWs. We had a couple of things we needed to do to build a relationship back with customers. First, we needed to focus on the company's culture and make sure we were doing the right things to engage people. I always talk about how hearts and minds ultimately drive performance. Business results, good quality, profitability, and these things are crucial. The last two years have been a journey of doing exactly what we've coined at SSP 2.0 -Spartanburg Steel Products 2.0. And the 2.0 is, I wanted to honor 1.0. We're a company that's been around 40 years and a BMW supplier. We've had success. I didn't want to take anything away from the people that have been here for 25 plus years; I wanted to honor 1.0 as the foundation. But we ultimately focused on 2.0, which has to be the future. The world's changing, and you and I both know, Lisa, it's changing exponentially since March of 2020. Things continuously change, focusing on engaging people, giving cause and purpose, and clarity around goals. We...
The Profitability of Certified Sustainability with David Goodman
Feb 14 2022
The Profitability of Certified Sustainability with David Goodman
Contact David Goodman Email: DGoodman@edenark.com, Website: Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. Our guest today is David Goodman. David is the CEO of Edenark, the world's top environmental sustainability certification program for SME businesses, small and medium businesses, which are classified under a billion dollars. David, welcome to the show. David Goodman: Thank you very much for having me. Lisa Ryan: So, as we get started, please share with us a bit about your background. Why did you choose to focus on sustainability for your company? David Goodman: My career started in advertising and marketing. I spent many years in Real Estate, and I worked with a partner in the largest real estate company in the world. I ran 40 million square feet, and during that time, I spent a lot of time building energy reduction certifications like LEED or brain. A LEED-certified building is not a sustainability program, but they're building an energy reduction program, so I had that background. For the last 25 years, I've been a corporate enhancement CEO. Private equity groups will parachute me in to fix trouble companies. Having seen many companies that needed help and having this background in energy efficiency caused me to think about a way to help businesses use green or sustainability or energy efficiency in a positive way on the marketing side, not just on a positive way on the expense reduction side. That is what brought me to what we have today. Lisa Ryan: When you're thinking about the manufacturing, which is the bulk of this audience, what is it about green initiatives that can help them in their processes products and attracting people? David Goodman: First, we'll look at it from the standpoint of in effect market demand. I'm quoting organizations like Forbes Nielsen, Harvard Business Review, MIT Boston consulting group; these are not my studies; these are studies from large international organizations that are in the business of doing research and studies. We know that seven out of 10 consumers that's both B2B and B2C are looking for. We'll move their business to a certified sustainable business because they're looking for a way to do good, to find suitable corporate citizens. We know that 70% of the market out there is up for grabs. They are open to the potential of moving their business from where they are to where you are as a company.  It might be something that you want to think about. We also know that the number one thing that all businesses have since the beginning of time, the number one issue that all companies have is finding a way to stand out, differentiate, and convince the consumer to buy from you versus the organization down the street. If that's the number one issue that all businesses face, we know that sustainability is the number one thing consumers are looking for and that seven out of 10 will switch business. That makes a pretty compelling point, and organizations should consider this. Lisa Ryan: What percentage would you say of sustainable businesses right now? You're looking at something that you want to stand out from the crowd, but is this being one of 100? Is it one of 1000? What are the numbers? David Goodman: That's an excellent question. We know that the big organizations, those big publicly traded organizations, the over billion-dollar organizations, have already figured this out. They already have sustainability programs; they have sustainability departments that are deeply ingrained in both sustainability and SG environmental and social governance. But SMEs, which are, as you touched on before, organizations from basically one employee to 500 employees- $1 to a billion dollars that group is today not pursuing sustainability with any significant percentage. An SME can be significantly different from its peer group by becoming certified. That leads us to the real...
Simple Retention Strategies for Manufacturers with Kelly Springer
Feb 7 2022
Simple Retention Strategies for Manufacturers with Kelly Springer
Connect with Kelly: LinkedIn: Kelly.Springer@metalflow.com Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan. Welcome to the Manufacturers' Network Podcast. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Kelly Springer. Kelly Springer serves as Metal Flow Corporation's President and Chief Executive Officer. Metal Flow Corporation manufactures technically sophisticated custom metal components primarily to the global automotive industry. Kelly has made significant contributions to the community through her involvement in various organizations, including her current roles as a member of the Michigan West Coast Chamber board of directors, the Michigan Women Forward Advisory Council, and as Executive Champion for Inference Manufacturers next group. In addition, she was recognized in 2017 as the recipient of the Lakeshore Athena leadership award. Kelly, welcome to the show. Kelly Springer: Thank you for having me excited to share some time with you today. Lisa Ryan: Great. As we get started, please share a bit of your background, including why you chose to go into manufacturing. What led you to Metal Flow? Kelly Springer: Well, I started in manufacturing way before college. I worked in a family-owned business that had a manufacturing bent to it. It was a printing company and a family business. After graduating college, I went into accounting because my degree was in accounting. I was a public accountant for 23 years.  During that time, the main focus of my practice was tied to manufacturing. Metal Flow was one of my clients. I joined the organization in 2013 as the chief financial officer was intrigued about leaving the consulting side of public accounting and being part of a team that was running a successful business.  I spent a fair amount of time on the manufacturing floor and learned more about our processes in a family-owned business setting. I'm not a family member; I'm responsible for executing along with my executive team on all the things that make this business successful. We're going to talk a bit about people, and people are certainly the number one cornerstone of what we do here at Metal Flow. Lisa Ryan: When you look at how the labor market is right now, people are incredibly hard to find. The focus is on retaining the people you already have, those good people who are making everything work, and, of course, getting rid of the toxic people bringing everybody else down. Your tagline is people, process, products, pride, and where people come first. Please share your philosophy and how you've changed the culture over there. Kelly Springer: When you think about people, you don't have to go too far to hear lots of articles, podcasts, and media coverage about the uptick in automation in American manufacturing. That's an aspect. But the core foundation of what we do requires people to do it. We want folks to take great pride in the fact that they're part of the Metal Flow.  We refer to our employees as team members. It starts by valuing them and the technical talents that so many of our roles have and recognizing that retention becomes a vital part of understanding what all those roles involve.  So for us, it's just as crucial that the person who packs our parts in a box that ultimately puts the shipping label on them and sends them out the door feels equally as valued as the individual who ultimately manufacturers that part, with an extreme level of technical expertise that we relied on. When we think about that, and that philosophy, and or culture, we really were in a position where that became critical, even before the pandemic. Labor was tasked, and indeed, retention of those technical string paint trained individuals became essential to us, well in advance of that. We have focused on retention as a strategy for people for many years now, and it built that into our culture. Lisa Ryan: What are some of the things you do to make sure that that...