Manufacturing the Future

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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Episodes

Thursday Oct 12, 2023

"Voice of the Manufacturing Manager" Roundtable
What's on the minds of manufacturing leaders today? What's on their to-do lists? What do they see on the horizon? Epicor recently surveyed 400 manufacturing leaders for our "Voice of the Manufacturing Manager" report to find out more about how they're approaching technology, business strategies, worker engagement, and the future of their industry
In this special episode of the "Manufacturing the Future" podcast, we invited three manufacturing leaders to discuss the findings of the report and to hear their perspectives on the key takeaways. Kerrie hosts John Preiditsch, President & CEO, Six S Partners; Mark Jamieson, President & CEO, 2WTech; and Ivan Rebolledo, Chief Revenue Office, Technology Coast Partners for an insightful discussion on the technology shaping manufacturing today, how to increase engagement across your workforce, and how being perceived as "modern" can promote your business. 
Topics
A discussion around the key takeaways of Epicor's new report, "Voice of the Manufacturing Manager."
How being perceived as a "modern manufacturing company" impacts business.
The different types of technology manufacturing companies are using today, including cloud and AI.
Where manufacturing companies stand on upskilling, and how it can increase worker engagement while producing a higher return on new technology.
How to increase the morale of manufacturing workers through increased pay and time off, and by appealing to other non-monetary needs.
The priorities and challenges to manufacturing leaders and how to solve them.
Why communication is a key skill to look for when hiring for the future of manufacturing.

Thursday Sep 28, 2023

"A lot of times you can really get stuck when you're doing something. You lose sight of what's next because you're so fixated on what you're doing that you don't think about the future," says Ario Khoshbin, Founder & CEO at Prollenium Medical Technologies in our newest podcast. And Ario has done just that in building a medical aesthetics technology company from scratch, learning the ins and outs of the industry as it scaled, and instilling a mindset of constant innovation.
As Ario explains, Prollenium Medical Technologies started with a $300 loan and is now a company that employees 300 people. Instead of hiring expertise from already established companies, Ario built it from scratch, learning how to create formulas for their products and ensuring that they're being produced in sterile environments. As they grew, they implemented more technology like HR software and an ERP system to empower employees, especially to keep the pulse of employees as the environment scaled.
Ario founded the company after working with his immigrant parents in their own businesses, and being inspired by their hard work. That’s been another factor he’s focused on: scaling a company while staying true to his family roots and values.
In This Episode
What can young entrepreneurs learn from someone who put in the work to found and scale a company in a highly-regulated industry, and make sure that that growth is sustainable? Listen to our conversation with Ario Khoshbin and leave inspired to follow your passions and see your hard work come to fruition.
Topics
Ario's background being raised in an immigrant family, and how he grew up working with his parents in their businesses, which inspired him to start his own medical aesthetics technology company.
How the company grew from a $300 loan to now employing 300 people, and is the first Canadian company to open a manufacturing facility specializing in dermal fillers.
The technology that Prollenium has adopted to support and empower their employees, like HR software, an ERP, and more.
How instead of hiring from other companies, Prollenium built their company from scratch, and why Ario considered it a great learning experience.
The current trends in manufacturing, and why it's key to continue to innovate and not get stuck.
Advice for young entrepreneurs on following your passion and standing on the shoulders of others.

Thursday Aug 17, 2023

"When we look at some of the technology or capability that our aerospace and defense manufacturers are looking for, it really is centered around how can we let technology improve their operation and put a minimum impact on the resources or the people that they have inside their organization?" That's what Bob Aronson, Chief Revenue Officer at Cre8tive Technology and Design, does each day: help manufacturing customers understand how to leverage technology to either obtain or maintain compliance in a very rapidly growing industry.
Manufacturers in the aerospace and defense industry need a number of elements to be successful. Not only do they need methods in which to track their manufacturing and visibility into their operations in order to stay productive and efficient. Manufacturers with government contracts also need to stay compliant to certain regulations as well, like the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) that ensures contractors have safe cybersecurity practices. A failure to stay compliant can mean losing their contract.
How does an ERP system play into this? As Bob explains during the conversation, an ERP system and other technology can not only optimize production, but it can ensure you're staying compliant while taking out human error and lowering risk.
In This Episode
How can aerospace and defense manufacturers seek to improve their operations as well as ensure they're staying in compliance with often-changing government regulations? Listen to our conversation with Bob Aronson to find out how to leverage technology like an ERP system in order to thrive in the growing aerospace and defense industry.
Topics
Bob's career trajectory, from serving in the Air Force, to being the launch director for the first military satellite inside the space shuttle, to creating ERP solutions, to becoming Chief Revenue Officer at Cre8tive Technology and Design, Epicor's aerospace and defense partner.
The rise in cybercrime, and how an ERP system can help keep aerospace and defense manufacturers safe and compliant with government regulations like CMMC.
How an ERP can support the many facets of an aerospace and defense manufacturer's supply chain, and give visibility into inventory, finance, engineering and part production, contracts, and more.
How aerospace and defense manufacturers can optimize their operations and lower their risk by using an ERP system.
Advice for aerospace and defense manufacturers on what to keep in mind when adopting a new technology, as well as why you shouldn't wait to upgrade.

Thursday Aug 03, 2023

"The leader of the lab asked me, 'So what are you really all about? Do you love building things or doing research?' And in my heart, I knew that the answer was building things." For David Merrill, it was his love of building things and his realization that "logistics needs better solutions” that led him to create a new approach to enable same-day shipping to every person on the planet: Elroy Air. 
By using autonomous cargo aircraft systems, Elroy Air is doing more than just making sure your package gets to you quickly. They envision the ability to provide humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and resupply in locations that may be challenging to reach with current aircraft. But building new types of aircraft requires finding ways to manage materials, product requirements, compliance, software updates, and more.
As Elroy Air continues to invest in R&D and prove that their technology works, the question now is: When do we begin to integrate technology to help scale our efforts? When do we transition from pen and paper that allowed us to move fast to digital systems that can standardize, automate, and scale our production? David talks about facing and answering these questions in our new episode of Manufacturing the Future.
In This Episode
Elroy Air has the opportunity to revolutionize logistics for a number of industries across the globe. Listen to our conversation with David Merrill to get a behind-the-scenes look at a manufacturing company at a digitization inflection point, and how they're beginning to implement technologies that will help them grow alongside with their goals.
Topics
How David started Elroy Air after realizing he wanted to build things and not go the academic route, and how they're solving express logistics across the planet.
The intersection of humans and technology, and the way in which computers, hardware, software, and robotics systems "become an extension of our intentions."
How Elroy Air is balancing moving quickly with their research and development with taking their time on implementing automation, digitization, and other technologies for standardization and scale.
The digitals tools that Elroy Air is embracing as they scale, like software tools, document tracking, specifications tracking, and ERP.
The questions David says they're asking in terms of what new technology to implement, and when is the right time to implement when you're still in the R&D phase.
Advice for entrepreneurs, including hiring a manufacturing expert, being efficient with capital, and digitizing what makes sense.

Thursday Jul 20, 2023

In This Episode
The panel offers insights for those already running Kinetic who want to learn more about others' experiences, or for those who are in the early stages of thinking about moving their enterprise resource management into the cloud. Take a listen as three manufacturing business leaders talk about their experiences, give advice, and answer audience questions in this special episode of Manufacturing the Future.
Topics
What made three manufacturing business leaders decide to move to the cloud and upgrade their ERP to Epicor Kinetic, and how their implementation processes went.
In what ways moving to the cloud has opened up new investments and technologies, including no longer needing on-prem servers, more time freed up to implement new technology, and better application integration.
The testing process for updates, and why it's essential to create your own playbook and testing routine, as well as play with it in the sandbox before it goes live.
What, if anything, they would have done differently during integration in order to make the process smoother.
Their favorite part about running in the cloud, and the relief it brings for companies who don't have IT departments.
Lessons learned from implementing Kinetic and moving to the cloud, especially around training employees on the new systems.
Answers to technical questions around running Epicor Kinetic, including how to customize it, optimizing the speed at which it runs, support availability, how to integrate other systems, and more. 

Thursday Jul 13, 2023

"We're competing against regions that have extremely low cost of labor, cost of utilities … extremely low-priced product that we would never be able to compete with if we weren't using all of this technology," says Daniel Izhaky, CEO at United Safety Technology (UST). What is UST competing on? Producing high-quality PPE masks and gloves for frontline healthcare workers.
When the PPE shortage began to impact healthcare workers during the pandemic, Daniel and UST took action to fill the manufacturing void. Facing supply chain issues and challenges sourcing from overseas, they decided to ramp up production domestically to produce N95 masks and nitrile exam gloves. A federal government contract helped boost manufacturing, and today, they run lines that produce between 45,000 to 48,000 units per hour, surpassing the industry standard of 30,000.
But maintaining that manufacturing efficiency and ensuring quality requires technological innovation, something that UST has thoroughly embraced. On a recent podcast episode, Daniel details the ways in which they're using end-to-end automation, AI, visualization, smart sensors, data, and more to ensure that healthcare workers are getting the equipment that they need to keep themselves and their patients safe.
 
In This Episode
How can manufacturing companies take a cue from United Safety Technology and adopt technological innovations into their operations to increase productivity, efficiency, and quality? Listen to our conversation with Daniel Izhaky to learn more about how to meet customer needs while staying competitive on a global scale.
 
Topics
How United Safety Technology set about solving the PPE shortage during the pandemic, and how they've ramped up production on N95 masks and nitrile exam gloves here in the US.
Their three focus areas of productivity, energy reduction, and quality, and how they're using technology to impact those areas.
How they're using end-to-end automation, robotics, and AI to increase their productivity and improve the quality of their products.
The challenges to manufacturing today, including meeting requirements, competing on costs and labor, and how to manage smart technology data.
How they train their new employees, and why they're dedicated to having 30% of their workforce be people with disabilities.
How innovation, automation, and sustainability will shape the future of the manufacturing industry, and how it's allowing United Safety Technology to stay competitive globally.
Advice for other manufacturing leaders who want to be more successful, including why having a great team is key and how they can leverage local resources.
Resources Mention: 
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) resource
Website
LinkedIn 
 

Wednesday May 03, 2023

"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
VEM-tooling.com
VEM-medical.com
LinkedIn

Thursday Apr 20, 2023

"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: 
Dugoutmugs.com

Thursday Apr 06, 2023

"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: 
Oransi.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-mann/

Thursday Mar 23, 2023

"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: 
UsedCardboardBoxes.com
UCBZeroWaste.com

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