9 episodes

Manufacturing the Future is dedicated to helping manufacturing leaders future-proof their operations. Each episode features interviews with innovative manufacturing executives, subject matter experts, and thought leaders who share actionable insights, tips, and best practices to embrace technology so they can streamline operations, prepare for what lies ahead, and continue to keep the world turning.

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Manufacturing the Future is dedicated to helping manufacturing leaders future-proof their operations. Each episode features interviews with innovative manufacturing executives, subject matter experts, and thought leaders who share actionable insights, tips, and best practices to embrace technology so they can streamline operations, prepare for what lies ahead, and continue to keep the world turning.

    Continuously Improving Upon Global Tooling and Plastics Manufacturing with Marc Weinmann

    Continuously Improving Upon Global Tooling and Plastics Manufacturing with Marc Weinmann

    "If you do things right and if you focus on quality and on time delivery and don't take the shortcuts, then you can be — relatively quickly — relatively successful," says Marc Weinmann, Owner and President of VEM, about the early years of creating and scaling VEM, a plastics manufacturing and tooling company.
    VEM started as an electronics company in Hong Kong in 1998, printing circuit boards and doing assembly, until a customer asked them to make a plastic housing around the circuit board. After that initial creation, they moved more into tool making and plastics, opening locations first in China, then in other locations around the world. Today, VEM offers a full range of services including prototyping, production mold making, injection molding, component sourcing, testing, packaging, and more, in the medical, aerospace, automotive, and consumer plastics space. 
    Of course, global manufacturing companies, especially those creating medical devices, face not only complexity challenges but they need to ensure high-quality standards as well. How does VEM do so? Weinmann tells us in our new episode of Manufacturing the Future. 
    In This Episode…
    Despite having been in the tooling and plastic injection molding industry for 30 years, VEM continues to evaluate its processes, adopt new tools and technology to improve efficiencies and reduce costs and waste, and continues to find ways to increase collaboration at its sites around the world. Listen to our conversation with Marc Weinmann to learn more about how to prioritize and execute operational excellence at scale.
    Topics discussed:
    How Weinmann's career and VEM evolved from an electronics manufacturer in the late 1990s to a premiere plastics manufacturing and tooling company, with locations around the world, serving the medical, aeroscape, automotive, and consumer plastics industries.
    What type of technology VEM uses to design in-house molds, and why they're looking to 3D steel printing as their future.
    Why VEM is always looking for new technology to not only make them better, faster, and cheaper but to make them more environmentally friendly, too, by increasing efficiency and reducing waste.
    The software that VEM uses to track their production, generate reports, and keep employees around the globe aligned, and how they use that tracking to measure and improve their processes.
    The future of manufacturing, including how innovations like steel printing and automation will change the industry.
    How VEM manages its multiple global locations, keeps employees communicating, and creates synergies between locales.
    Three pieces of advice for manufacturing leaders looking to improve their processes, or for those just getting started.
    Resources Mention: 
    3D steel printing video

    • 20 min
    Hitting a Home Run with Scalable and Simple Manufacturing

    Hitting a Home Run with Scalable and Simple Manufacturing

    "I had no real path that I knew I wanted to go in.” It was what Randall Thompson was thinking when, after playing baseball all his life, the Toronto Blue Jays released him. "I knew I wanted to be creative and I wanted to create things. So I started Dugout Mugs."
    The idea was simple: Take the barrel of a baseball bat, hollow it out, and turn it into the "ultimate game day mug." Of course, while the idea was simple, creating the first prototypes took a bit of work. ", I didn't know what a wood lathe was. I didn't know anything about woodworking in the beginning. I tried to make one myself, and unsuccessfully," Thompson tells us in our newest podcast episode. Eventually he found the right resources to create the mug he envisioned.
    Thompson began the company in 2014, but saw major growth during the pandemic when there was an increase in online purchasing, and people had stimulus checks to spend. Since then, Dugout Mugs has seen hyper-growth in the ecommerce space. So how does a company keep up? Thompson tells us in our new episode of Manufacturing the Future.
    In This Episode…
    Dugout Mugs creates the ultimate game day mug, a unique product that is great for sports fans, and a fun conversation piece. But getting the products into the customers' hands takes effort and efficiency. Listen to our conversation with Randall Thompson to learn more about how to hit a home run with your manufacturing operations.
    Topics discussed:
    How former professional baseball player Randall Thompson created and grew Dugout Mugs as a way to continue engaging with the game he loves.
    How COVID's lockdowns had a positive effect on the business — with people at home buying things online, Dugout Mugs' business took off.
    The challenges of scaling quickly, especially when you "throw money at problems" — and the need to return to those challenges to think through sustainable solutions for the future.
    How Dugout Mugs streamlines their operations by leveraging Facebook and Instagram ads, Shopify, and ShipStation to run its ecommerce sales.
    Why Randall is excited about software that can connect apps across an organization, streamline processes, and provide information about the company in real time.
    Advice for entrepreneurs or those wanting to lead a manufacturing company, and why, if you want to create a product or start a business, you just have to jump right in.
    Insights into Dugout Mugs' distribution operations, and why they're taking risks to meet people where they are.
    Resources Mention: 

    • 18 min
    Breathing Easier Through Manufacturing Innovation, Ideas, and Technology

    Breathing Easier Through Manufacturing Innovation, Ideas, and Technology

    "Is there a way to make his environment better that perhaps would reduce asthma triggers and really improve his quality of life?" It's the question that Peter Mann asked when trying to find solutions in 2009 to improve life for his asthmatic son. The question led him to start Oransi, which today is a leading manufacturer of HEPA air purifiers, and a leader in clean products and technologies. Just in the past two years, they've seen a 122% growth.
    In This Episode…
    Oransi has many people breathing easier, but there's still work to be done to ensure that they keep costs down and stay competitive — especially as they scale their manufacturing here in the US. Listen to our conversation with Peter Mann to learn more about how to achieve operational efficiency and excellence.
    Topics discussed:
    The creation of Oransi, prompted by Peter's desire to make air quality better for his asthmatic son.
    How the company has grown, and how COVID and the desire for cleaner air boosted the company's growth.
    The type of software Oransi uses for ecommerce sales, scaling its operations, and communication — and the need for all systems to work seamlessly and talk to one another.
    How Oransi weathered supply chain issues by planning well and carrying extra inventory.
    What technology will be crucial in gaining a competitive advantage as Oransi continues to scale its manufacturing in the US.
    Advice for other manufacturing leaders looking for innovative ways to be competitive.
    Resources Mention: 
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-mann/

    • 17 min
    Managing Operational Complexity and Reducing Waste by Thinking Inside the Box

    Managing Operational Complexity and Reducing Waste by Thinking Inside the Box

    "Very few people start businesses, fail, and then try the same business again. So I did and — knock on wood — it worked the second time around," says Marty Metro, Founder and CEO of UsedCardboardBoxes and UCBZeroWaste, in our newest podcast episode. It was a simple problem he was trying to solve: he didn't want to spend money on new boxes to move. As Metro drove around to find used, free boxes discarded by stores, he realized there was a business model there: gather used boxes and get them to companies who need them.
    The first business he started that did this was a "colossal failure." But Metro tried again, this time launching UsedCardboardBoxes differently, with "funding and technology, and a focus and a management team and infrastructure." Today, they are the largest processor of used boxes in North America and their clients include Dole, General Mills, Kellogg's, McCormick Spice, Walmart, and Walgreens.
    In This Episode…
    Not only has UsedCardboardBoxes solved a waste problem for a number of companies, they've also created ways to handle internal complexities and reduce costs by building custom software — which is now being used to solve bigger sustainability challenges. Listen to our conversation with Marty Metro to learn more about how to solve operational challenges, and how an entrepreneur did it right the second time around.
    Topics discussed:
    Marty's journey from founding a business, failing at that business, and then relaunching the same business with a new vision, management, infrastructure, and operational plan.
    The operational process of how UsedCarboardBoxes acquires its boxes, sorts them, inventories them, and ships them to customers who need them.
    How UsedCarboardBoxes designed and built its own robust in-house software to track boxes, run matches "twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week," and connect boxes to the right people. 
    The importance of viewing business decisions through the lens of ROI, and how to change a culture from "building cool stuff" to making decisions that will have an impact on revenue and cash flow.
    The technology UsedCarboardBoxes implements to keep their team on the same page when it comes to projects and decision-making, and why everything is either a "to do" or an "issue."
    Advice for business managers and entrepreneurs about what is most critical to measure in order to benchmark success.
    How UCBZeroWaste is transforming waste management with its tracking software, allowing companies to see how much they're spending on waste so they can better manage their sustainability efforts and carbon footprint.
    Resources Mention: 

    • 33 min
    Disrupting the Future of Ice with Better Processes and Great People

    Disrupting the Future of Ice with Better Processes and Great People

    How can you improve on ice delivery? It's an industry that's been around for centuries, yet it hadn't changed much — then, it was chopped-up chunks of ice on the back of a buggy, and now, companies are manufacturing ice in a plant and putting it on a diesel truck with a heavy carbon footprint for delivery. "We believe that this is a space that can be easily disrupted," said Ben Gaskill, Director of Sales at Everest Ice and Water Systems, in our most recent podcast episode. "What we believe is that ice and water vending is the way that ice will be delivered to the consumer in the future. That we can make a better product, fresh and on demand at the point of use, where the customer is."
    While ice vending machines have been around for twenty-three years, Everest Ice and Water Systems saw that they could make a better product with better technology, that's more sanitary and 30% more efficient than other machines. And customers are responding, as Everest Ice and Water has seen a three-year revenue growth of 850%.
    But with growth at that scale, how can a business make sure that its operations remain efficient and its people connected? Ben Gaskill explains how in this episode of "Manufacturing the Future." 
    In This Episode…
    Not only has Everest Ice and Water innovated on fresher, more sanitary, and more efficient ice vending machines, they're innovating on their operational approaches as well to sustain their business growth. Listen to our conversation with Ben Gaskill to learn more about operations in a scaling company, and why hiring the right people can provide that foundation for growth.
    Topics discussed:
     How Everest Ice and Water solves operational problems one step at a time, and uses technology to help create sustainable solutions.
    The challenges and solutions to growing a manufacturing company, and why it's key to diversify your supply chain, to set expectations with suppliers, and to have a good purchasing team in place.
    How Everest Ice and Water keeps their employees connected across teams and building through various chat apps, resource management tools, and even monthly lunches.
    How Everest Ice and Water disrupted an old industry, and how they created ice vending machines that were more efficient, more sanitary, and offered a fresh product to customers.
    Why it's key to hire well, and how hiring for gaps in your knowledge can help strengthen your operations.
    Why you need to take risks in manufacturing, and how taking risks while surrounding yourself with great talent brings about change and growth.
    Resources Mention: 
    Everest Ice and Water Website: everesticeandwater.com

    • 21 min
    Reimagining Retail Manufacturing: Improving Supply Chains and Creating a More Sustainable World

    Reimagining Retail Manufacturing: Improving Supply Chains and Creating a More Sustainable World

    "I started To the Market because I believe fundamentally that the retail manufacturing industry can and should be reimagined," states Jane Mosbacher Morris in our newest podcast episode. Morris is the Founder and CEO of To the Market, a turnkey solution for ethical manufacturing by democratizing access to the global supply chain. "But how I even discovered that that was an opportunity was a little bit of a winding road."
    After spending time in the public sector in counterterrorism, Morris realized how impactful the private sector can be. She saw that if you could leverage market forces to drive change, an organization can have an impact on social and environmental opportunities. 
    With that drive, Morris turned to retail manufacturing, an industry that was in need of reimagining, and created To the Market, which connects companies to a syndicated network of sustainable, story-rich suppliers, improving sustainability efforts and increasing ethical sourcing in their supply chain. To the Market recently ranked in the top 20% of the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest growing private companies.
    In This Episode…
    Not only is To the Market looking at ways to improve supply chains and reimagine the retail manufacturing industry, they're also making the world a better place as well. Listen to our conversation with Jane Mosbacher Morris to learn more about the impact To the Market is having on companies around the globe.
    Topics discussed:
     How To the Market supports their growth by setting team expectations, articulating what they want to achieve, and putting systems in place to measure progress.
    Why establishing structures to keep in touch with each other and make every employee involved is key for growth — and how To the Market does it across their remote teams, distributed around the world.
    The importance of sustainable growth and ethical sourcing, and how To the Market helps organizations both big and small evaluating better ways to do business.
    The challenges of working in an analog industry where there's little visibility into processes, and how digital tools are making the industry more transparent.
    Success stories of organizations who have made changes in their sourcing to significantly impact their sustainability.
    How To the Market uses data to inform their customers of their impact, and how more information can empower organizations to make better decisions.
    Advice for business leaders who want to improve their existing sustainability operations, and why it starts by looking at your raw materials.
    Resources Mention: 
    To the Market: tothemarket.com
    To the Market social media: @letsgottm

    • 21 min

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