5 episodes

Manufacturing a Stronger Standard podcast addresses simplifying automated solutions for general industry and upskilling your workforce. Derek DeGeest, and special guests, share relatable topics and applications meant to be educational, but more importantly, inspiring to help manufacturers through the robotics and automation movement in manufacturing. Bringing complex automated solutions to general industry in a simple way.

Manufacturing a Stronger Standard DeGeest Steel Works

    • Technology

Manufacturing a Stronger Standard podcast addresses simplifying automated solutions for general industry and upskilling your workforce. Derek DeGeest, and special guests, share relatable topics and applications meant to be educational, but more importantly, inspiring to help manufacturers through the robotics and automation movement in manufacturing. Bringing complex automated solutions to general industry in a simple way.

    The Business of Overcoming Fear with Jim Rieffenberger and Derek DeGeest

    The Business of Overcoming Fear with Jim Rieffenberger and Derek DeGeest

    In work and daily life, fear can halt business and personal progress. Derek DeGeest, President of DeGeest Steel Works & LestaUSA, and Jim Rieffenberger, Business Leader Coach, speaker, and author from Renue, talked about ways to address the fears that can hold businesses back.

    Rieffenberger, a lifelong friend and mentor to DeGeest, recently became a consultant for DeGeest Steel Works & LestaUSA to transition the leadership team and the rest of the shop as the company grows.

    “Jim came to me about this topic of fear,” DeGeest said. “With everything going on right now with the global pandemic, Rieffenberger developed a program and asked if he could talk with our shop. Whether we like to admit it or not, we all deal with fear. We all have adversity and struggles in our lives. To bring it all together and find a way to cope with them, we thought it was a valuable insight for our company.”

    “The funny thing about fear,” Rieffenberger said, “(Is) you can’t work on it unless you’re in it.”

    And that recognition of present fear is critical.

    “We want to make sure we’re talking about how we can cope and deal with fear and understand what’s happening and how we’re reacting, so we can get on the same page and work together to deal with the fear positively,” DeGeest said.

    One of Rieffenberger’s tips for overcoming fear is exercise. But it is not just physical exercise Rieffenberger suggests for dealing with the stressful situations in life.

    He recommends that people exercise their minds, both mentally and spiritually. Listening to podcasts, reading books and opening the mind to other ways of seeing a problem are things Rieffenberger suggests can provide fear-reducing benefits. Prayer is also a method Rieffenberger uses to calm himself.

    Be sure to subscribe to Manufacturing a Stronger Standard for the latest podcasts on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

    • 19 min
    Best Practices For Adding Automation That Empowers

    Best Practices For Adding Automation That Empowers

    On this episode of Manufacturing a Stronger Standard, a DeGeest Steel Works podcast, President Derek DeGeest joined host Tyler Kern for the third installment of the duo’s series on upskilling your workforce. Upskilling refers to giving employees additional tools and skills, elevating their knowledge and capabilities – and often your entire operation. Previous episodes have touched on helping employees take ownership of the manufacturing process, even in the age of painting robots and automation, and this episode took the conversation further, highlighting how automation and robotics can be successfully implemented into your facility. Though the words automation and robotics can cause apprehension among workforces and companies concerned about the role robots will play in eliminating the need for human work in certain aspects of manufacturing, DeGeest said there are best practices to ensure automation is truly beneficial and empowering for the entirety of your operation.
    “One of the ways to break down that apprehension and the fear when looking at automation and whether their facility and their team are ready to add it into their operation is to start problem-solving groups,” he said. These groups help employees use their expertise to come up with processes together. This creates a united front and a team atmosphere for getting the most out of operations by thinking of ways to add automation. “Ultimately, we are developing problem solvers throughout our company.”
    Adding automation to your manufacturing operation needs to be looked at holistically, not in silos. Be cautious about adding one robot or adding a fast laser or a machine that does not integrate your shop. Add automation that engages workforce at all levels of your facility. DeGeest adds, “Start small, but look for ways that can be touchpoints or effective for more than one employee.”
    Another strategy is finding ways automation or technology can be used in multiple departments. Examples: ERP system, Scanners instead of manual entry, Quoting software, Work instruction software, Digital department status boards.
    Kern and DeGeest also touched on other best practices, specific examples of how these strategies, such as problem-solving groups, have elevated their business, and more.

    • 16 min
    Manufacturing a Stronger Standard: How the Steel Industry is Attracting and Retaining New Talent in a Modernized World

    Manufacturing a Stronger Standard: How the Steel Industry is Attracting and Retaining New Talent in a Modernized World

    As the technology-native Gen-Z comes of working age, flashy Silicon Valley jobs twinkle in their eye. But there’s another industry that is attracting these fresh young minds, and it is working hard to retain and invest in the people that choose to work there. That industry is manufacturing. Joined by Derek DeGeest[https://marketscale.com/industries/contributors/derek-degeest/], President of DeGeest Steel Works & LestaUSA, “Manufacturing a Stronger Standard” explores how the manufacturing industry has modernized and how it’s taking big steps now to invest in the future. DeGeest is no stranger to today’s youth, as he frequently leads tours around DeGeest Steel Works. He’s noticed it is not just the modern machinery that gets people excited, they also are interested in how our employees demonstrate autonomy, decision-making and have an active role in what they’re creating. Today’s workers don’t want to be a robot, a drone or another cog in the wheel. They want to be engaged with the whole facility, understand how their efforts help their team and company, and participating and influencing the product with new ideas and creative thought. DeGeest agrees. By investing in employees, DeGeest Steel Works creates better careers that attract new people into the industry. “Anything you’ve ever touched has been manufactured,” DeGeest said, and that hits home for many young workers who grew up purchasing the latest products. In order to be competitive on a global scale and stay that way, manufacturing must continue to improve. This requires great minds, big ideas and collaboration among new employees and old. For DeGeest Steel Works' workers, DeGeest said, this holistic collaboration between generations is empowering and a vital tool for doing a better job.

    • 10 min
    A Focus On Employees Will Save the Future of Manufacturing

    A Focus On Employees Will Save the Future of Manufacturing

    As robots, coding and technology continue to change how we live our lives, they also change how we do business. In the industry of manufacturing, robots are completely redefining the landscape. But, rather than taking jobs from humans, they’re making humans work more efficiently. In this episode of “Manufacturing a Stronger Standard,” Derek DeGeest, President of DeGeest Steel Works, explains how his company is investing in its people with technology and seeing it pay off. Many hear the word “automation” and think people are losing their jobs at the hands of a robot. But, DeGeest argued, the opposite is true. Certain laborious tasks in manufacturing are better allocated to a robot, leaving the human to do jobs that a robot cannot, like problem-solving and thinking creatively to produce new ideas. This, in turn, enhances and multiplies an employee’s efforts, DeGeest said. It all comes down to empowering employees, and technology is a key component in taking employee knowledge and elevating it. When human minds come up with new ideas, efficient systems or enhanced manufacturing practices, it empowers them to do great work and think big. DeGeest has found that employees enjoy fitting into the flow of manufacturing in this way as being valued silos of for their knowledge and experience.

    • 10 min
    Automation in the Paint Shop: Robots with a Human Touch with Derek DeGeest and Emanuele Mazza

    Automation in the Paint Shop: Robots with a Human Touch with Derek DeGeest and Emanuele Mazza

    Derek DeGeest, President, DeGeest Steel Works, Co. and Lesta USA, went on a search for ways to automate business processes, utilize software and technology, and help his employees accomplish more. Little did he know he was about to come across a solution that would revolutionize his business.

    As DeGeest Steel Works’ automation processes grew, a bottleneck formed at the final stage of production: the paint shop.

    “We were looking for ways to add automation to our paint process,” DeGeest said.

    But the nuances in the very human process of painting steel products proved a difficult challenge to automate.

    How did DeGeest solve this problem? Enter Emanuele Mazza, Co-Founder, Lesta Srl, in Italy. Mazza’s company manufactures robots that learn from the actions of human painters and duplicate the process. DeGeest watched online videos of Lesta’s robots but could not believe what he saw. Before long, and after a phone call to Mazza, DeGeest was off to Italy to see these self-learning robots for himself.

    It didn’t take long for DeGeest to realize Lesta had the solution he needed, and he purchased two robots on that trip. These robots enhance the skills of the trained painters, who now can do more, and add customization to their workflow.

    DeGeest Steel Works began to design their paint systems around these new learning robots and came to the quick realization that a partnership with Lesta made perfect sense. Mazza agreed, and LestaUSA formed. The collaboration and robots made their North American debut at FABTECH in November 2019.

    Mazza said the focus of the creation of these robots was to make life easier in the workplace and add flexibility for the people who work in the production areas.

    “Together, working in partnership with DeGeest Steel Works, and now as LestaUSA, we are developing new products and solutions to solve many different problems,” he said.

    • 26 min

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