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ask makingchips

MC080: ASK MAKINGCHIPS: Promoting a Positive Culture in your Work Environment

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Today on MakingChips, we answer a question from a listener and aspiring manufacturing leader named Doug. Doug asks the question: “Not being a manager yet, what can I do to promote a positive culture/work environment at work?” Jim and Jason share their respective opinions on the matter. In Manufacturing News, we talk about concerns over rising wages in the metal industry. Later on, we share some details on our Make & Elevate series, and we preview IMTS’ “Miles for Manufacturing” 5K event.

Episode Structure:

  • [03:05] – Manufacturing News
  • [05:30] – Hiring Filters
  • [08:07] – Make & Elevate
  • [09:45] – IMTS 5K Run
  • [11:40] – Sandvik Infographic
  • [14:37] – Ask MakingChips
  • [19:30] – Life is Great Attitude

Mentioned in this Episode:

 We Want to Hear From You, The Metalworking Nation:
  • Telephone: (312) 725-0245

MC079: Preparing for the IMTS Hangover

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Today on MakingChips we give you an inside look at what you can expect to see at IMTS 2016. We tell you what you need to be prepared, where you can find us at the event, a brief rundown on what’s happening in the four different buildings, as well as information to help you find where you’re going. In Manufacturing News, we talk about the history of IMTS, and later on we reveal some exciting new details about our highly anticipated Make & Elevate Series.

Episode Structure:

  • [02:30] – Manufacturing News
  • [04:40] – Being Prepared for IMTS
  • [07:20] – Find MakingChips at IMTS
  • [11:05] – Find Where You’re Going
  • [14:30] – Machine Utilization
  • [17:40] – Student Summit
  • [18:35] – Make & Elevate Series
  • [23:45] – Corporate Snapshot
  • [25:00] – Conclusion of Episode

Mentioned in this Episode:


MC077: 3 Questions – Your Corporate Vision on a Post It Note

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Where are you going?
Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing (your mission), where you’re trying to go (your vision), and how you’re going to go about it (your values) are the glue that holds an organization together.
On this episode of MakingChips, Jim and Jason dive into the subject of corporate vision. Notably, the questions you should be asking yourself when developing your companies vision. In manufacturing news, we discuss signs of a slowdown in auto sales. We also highlight some of the exciting things we will be doing during our highly anticipated Leadership Series.
Episode Structure:
  • [02:11] – Manufacturing News
  • [04:00] – Getaround
  • [05:56] – IMTS 2016
  • [07:54] – Make & Elevate
  • [13:58] – Vision
  • [16:00] – Question 1
  • [19:26] – Question 2
  • [20:43] – Question 3
  • [23:40] – Diversifying
  • [27:20] – Conclusion of Episode
Mentioned in this Episode:
 We Want to Hear From You, The Metalworking Nation:
  • Telephone: (312) 725-0245

MC075: 7 Different Ways to Avoid Nepotism

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It is not unusual for multiple members of a family to work at the same business.  However, such situations can be troublesome if the relationships give rise to suspicions of favoritism or unfair treatment. We see this a lot in family business, government, everywhere.  After all, it’s in our human nature to help those we love and who are like us but is it good for the business? What should your company do to avoid nepotism?

“Growing up [in the family business], you were very cognizant of the fact that employees thought you were being treated in a different way.” – Jim Carr

On this episode of MakingChips, Jim & Jason share their experiences with family in the business and lay out 7 different ways to avoid nepotism in the workplace.

Episode Structure:

  • [02:15] – Sandvik Coromant Video
  • [03:22] – Manufacturing News
  • [05:56] – Listener Email
  • [10:00] – What is Nepotism?
  • [13:36] – Seperation
  • [19:00] – Evaluation
  • [20:02] – Hiring Process
  • [24:30] – Conclusion of Episode
Mentioned in this Episode:
Ways to Avoid Nepotism:
  1. Reinforce that being a part of the family or a friend may get you in the door, but you have to perform – and probably to a higher level and without as much praise.
  2. Owner separation from job role – starts at the top.
  3. Clear and consistent manner of evaluation backed up by data and multiple examples as evidence.
  4. Job description that includes specific goals.
  5. Stated hiring process.
  6. Exclude family members from awards & contests.
  7. Family members should work somewhere else first – in relation to younger workers.

We Want to Hear From You, The Metalworking Nation:

  • Telephone: (312) 725-0245

Our favorite restaurants in Chicago

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Jim’s five favorite Chicago restaurants: 

  1. Bavette’s
  2. Topolobampo
  3. RPM Italian
  4. Bar Siena
  5. Coco Pazzo

Jason’s ten favorite Chicago restaurants:

  1. Amanda Zenger’s Kitchen – not a real restaurant, but the best Thai food in Chicago
  2. The Bristol – unique American food and amazing brunch
  3. Girl and the Goat – very unique and if you’re going to eat goat…
  4. sushiDOKKU – best sushi in town
  5. Summer House Santa Monica – Cali food in Chicago
  6. Riccardo Trattoria – perfect classic Italian
  7. Irazu – Costa Rican food
  8. Au Cheval – amazing burger and fried bologna sandwich
  9. Batter & Berries – chicken & waffles and birthday cake french toast…Wow!
  10. India House – if you have never tried Indian food, this is the place to start!



MakingChips Listener Survey

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We here at MakingChips strive to provide you with the best content for equipping manufacturing leaders. We would love to hear comments and suggestions from you, the listener.

We ask that you please take a few minutes to fill out the following survey so that we can better understand what resonates with our listeners.

Thank You,

Jim & Jason[mlw_quizmaster quiz=1]



MC045: Millennials in Manufacturing

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In this episode of MakingChips, hosts Jim and Jason talk about millennials, the future of manufacturing, and 7 millennial traits that baby boomers need to learn.

The Millennial Generation is made up of people born around the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Currently they make up nearly 1 in 3 American workers. With 3.5 million manufacturing jobs expected to be created in the future it is important for manufacturing leaders to have an understanding of what drives millennials. Jim and Jason cover 7 different traits of millennials to help older generations understand their needs and passions.

7 Millennial Traits Explained in this Episode

  • Passion
  • Risk-Taking
  • Work and Life Balance 
  • Project Based Thinking
  • Energized Through Newly Learned Skills
  • Spontaneity
  • Travelers

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:07] – Intro (Preview)
  • [1:56] – MAZAK Discover 2015 Event
  • [6:35] – Millennials in Manufacturing
  • [8:40] – 7 Different Traits of Millennials
  • [22:31] – Recap and Questions
  • [24:00] – Outro

Article Mentioned in this Episode



MC044: Task Management for Manufacturing Leaders

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Episode 44 of MakingChips is inspired by Matthew Feight of Miller Welding.  He writes:

I should start by saying that I am a Plant Manager for contract manufacturer in central Pennsylvania. We have approximately 400 employees within our 3 locations and are a contract manufacturer of fabricated metal products with capabilities in cutting, bending, welding, machining & painting. I was just referred to your podcasts yesterday by the President of our Company. I have listened to several of your episodes, a couple of your first, and a few of the more recent. One that I took particular interest in was the one regarding Business Management Tools for Manufacturing Leaders. I believe it was Jim who stated that he uses Evernote quite extensively and I would definitely like to hear more on how. I have been using Evernote for some time but do not feel I use it to its potential and would be interested on how Jim uses it to manage his time and tasks. Any input would be greatly appreciated. I am looking forward to listening to more of your podcasts.




From Jason:


Thank you for reaching out to us.  The funny thing is that Jim did not mentioned this…it was me (Jason)…so, either we sound the same or we are always talking over each other (most likely).  I hope that you enjoy this episode.



Show Notes:

Everybody has a different way to manage getting things done. For some people, it can be as simple as using an “old school” paper planner. For others, they may prefer organizing their tasks into various software programs. The most important thing is to use one system, and stick to it. Using multiple systems of management can be a tough habit to break. Figuring out a way to transition to one form of task management can do wonders for increasing productivity, and simplifying your life.

In this episode of MakingChips, Jason shares his knowledge of task management that stems from one of the most popular business books ever written, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. The main premise of the book is relatively simple to grasp, “Get your tasks out of your head, and don’t touch them multiple times.” Jason shares a quote from his father that captures this concept perfectly. 

“Don’t open your mail unless you are going to deal with it now and get rid of it.”

Later in the episode, Jason explains (in great detail) how he uses the business application, “Evernote” to manage his to-do lists, tasks, and projects.

“The Basics of Getting Things Done”

  • “Clearing Your To-Do List”
    • This will help you gain peace of mind and focus on what tasks are most important  (New Job, New Quote, New Hire, Increasing Productivity, etc.)
  • “Creating an Inbox of To-Do’s and Projects
  • “Weekly Review”
    • It’s important to spend a short amount of time every week to review your to-do’s and projects. 
    • Put them into context so you can tackle in a more productive manner.                     (Who, Where, and When)

“8 Different Ways to Organize Tasks”

  1. Single Step Task Items
  2. Can Be Completed in Under 2 Minutes
  3. Trash 
  4. Reference Filing System
  5. Task to Create a Project
  6. Delegated List “Waiting For”
  7. Someday/Maybe List
  8. On the Calendar

“Things to Manage without Evernote”

  • Trash
    • To put simply, trash it and never think about it again because it is of zero importance. (An event you won’t be attending)
  • Calendar
    • Something you are doing on a particular date or time that doesn’t need to be thought of before that time. (A meeting with a partner)
  • 2 Minutes
    • If it is something that can be completed in under 2 minutes, just get it done now and move on.

“Setting Up Evernote”

  • Create a notebook called “Action Pending” and another notebook called “Completed” or “Completed Tasks”.  Then drag one of those notebooks on top of the other to create a nest or stack and rename that stack “Tasks”.  Jason mentions that he uses a third notebook with Tasks called “Completed Content”, which is where he puts everything associated with this podcast once finished.
  • Create a tag called “.When” and “.Who”. The reason for using the dot is so you can group these together with all of your tags.
  • Begin creating your “Who’s”. (Who you are talking to)
  • Create your “When’s”


Projects are “things” that need to be broken into smaller steps. You should never manage a project like a to-do because it can become overwhelming. Jason refers to an old adage that captures this concept perfectly.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

  • Create a note with the project name in the action pending notebook.
  • Tag is as “Project”.
  • Break up the project into small actionable steps.
  • Create 2-3 of those to-do’s or action steps as notes just as you would for a normal to-do.
  • Once you create the to-do, delete that step out of the master project note.
  • Review your projects once per week to see what new to-do’s need to be created out of it.
  • Once the project is done, move the note to the Completed notebook.

“Other Tips”

  • All to-do’s should start with an action verb.
  • This may sound really time consuming and complex, but is actually really easy once you get the system up and going.
  • Brain dump everything that you need to do as soon as you think about it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] – Manufacturing News
  • [7:45] – Matthew Feight from Miller Welding
  • [9:20] – “Getting Things Done”
  • [17:15] – Handling E-Mails
  • [20:19] – 3 Things Not Used in Evernote
  • [23:00] – Structuring Evernote
  • [30:10] – Reviewing Evernote Structure
  • [39:00] – New Projects

Jason’s pre-show notes before Ryan rewrote them.


MC042: The benefit of associations and chambers for your manufacturing company

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Chambers of commerce have been around for a very long time. The very first recorded mention of a chamber of commerce was in Marseille, France in 1599. Trade associations have an equally long history with Associations finding their roots in organizations such as the church, medieval craft guilds, and merchant trading groups. Both groups still exist today and could be an important avenue through which your manufacturing business receives support, stays engaged with your community or industry, or becomes known for what you do and the quality with which you do it. On this episode of Making Chips, Jim and Jason chat a bit about the differences between chambers and associations and give their input about the value of each.

[shareable]What’s the difference between a #TradeAssociation and a #ChamberOfCommerce?[/shareable]

Mazak Discover 2015

What is a chamber of commerce and how should you decide if being a member would be beneficial to your company?

When you think of a chamber of commerce the first thing that comes to mind should be the word “local.” A chamber of commerce is always tied to a local community, whether it be a township, city, or other local area. The focus of a chamber is to consider and discuss the interests of all businesses in its local area, moving beyond individual interests to that of a collective group. The establishment of chambers provides merchants, traders, craftsmen and business owners a public forum to discuss issues facing them as a business community. This representation of common interests became, and remains, the foundation of chambers of commerce worldwide. Should YOUR business become a member of your local chamber? Jim and Jason have some things for you to think about as you consider that decision. Take a few minutes to listen to this episode to hear what they advise.

What is a trade association and would it benefit your business to join one?

A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry or a specific niche of an industry. An industry trade association participates in public relations activities such as advertising, education, political donations, lobbying and publishing, but its main focus is collaboration between the companies that make up its membership. Associations may offer other services, such as producing conferences, providing networking or charitable events, or offering classes or educational materials to its members. In the manufacturing industry there are a number of associations, many specialized to serve its particular membership. Should your company be a member of a specific trade association? Only you can answer that question but Jason and Jim have some thoughts about what you should consider before deciding. You can hear their advice on this episode of Making Chips.

[shareable]The benefits of #TradeAssociations for #manufacturing companies[/shareable]

Why would I want to join my local chamber of commerce?

Given your company’s role and profile in the community, membership in your local chamber may not be a good fit. But there are many good reasons TO join your local chamber: Membership could bring credibility to your business in the community. Membership could increase your visibility in the community. Becoming a member could provide networking opportunities for your business. Being a chamber member could also give you an amplified voice in governmental issues. As part of your local chamber you’ll also make local business contacts. With a chamber membership, you can also reach potential clients through member exclusive advertising and opportunities for business-to-business advertising and publicity.

What are the benefits to joining a trade association?

Trade associations provide a valuable resource to those who take advantage of their resources. Some of the reasons you might want to be a part of a specific association are: 1. You can receive specialized knowledge. Odds are that someone, somewhere, in the industry has already discovered the solution to a vexing problem in your particular niche. 2. You can enhance your company’s reputation. 3. You can make personal and industry-related connections. 4. You could increase your company’s purchasing power. Trade associations often arrange for members to receive discounts on certain products and services. 5. Your company could gain political clout and expertise. Trade associations bring competitors together, turning each small voice into a persuasive, collective shout that gets the attention of lawmakers and officials. Listen in as Jim and Jason discuss the benefits of their membership in various associations.

[shareable]Things to consider before joining a #TradeAssociation[/shareable]

Outline of this episode

  • [1:00] The Making Chips Youtube channel is live!
  • [3:12] IMTS 2016 is coming up in September of 2016… and we’re putting together some ideas about the Making Chips audience coming together for collaboration.
  • [4:06] Associations, Chambers, and both.
  • [4:26] Local Chambers of Commerce… a local opportunity: Jim’s experience.
  • [6:00] The kinds of things to expect at a local chamber meeting.
  • [8:27] Costs and time investments required to be a part of a local chamber.
  • [9:16] A success story from Jim being on the board of a local chamber of commerce.
  • [10:32] The differences between an association and a chamber.
  • [11:49] Clear focus characterizes associations.
  • [13:05] For both chambers and associations, getting involved is important.
  • [14:50] A sampling of associations that are available.
  • [16:15] Thing you need to know about chambers and associations.
  • [17:20] Things to do before joining an association or chamber.
  • [18:00] Give us your feedback about chambers and associations.

Links mentioned in this episode

Mazak’s upcoming event –

Or call us at 312-725-0245

Tweets you can use to tell others about the episode

[shareable]The benefits of #ChambersOfCommerce membership for #manufacturing companies[/shareable]

[shareable]Things to consider before joining a #ChamberOfCommerce[/shareable]



MC041: Why you should advertise your machine shop on Facebook

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The Mazak event is almost here. Act now to be a part of this amazing event!

Mazak is a company that leads the way in the manufacture of advanced technology solutions including Multi-Tasking, hybrid Multi-Tasking, 5-axis, milling, turning, CNC controls and automation. Their upcoming event, Discover 2015 is one of the largest events held in the United States and is an educational, technology, and networking event manufacturing leaders won’t want to miss. How can you be there? Go to the Mazak website and register for this event, coming up October 27-29 and November 3-5, 2015, in Florence, Kentucky.

Mazak Discover 2015

Do you have a question or topic you’d like addressed on Making Chips? How about a guest you’d like to recommend?

Jim and Jason would love to hear from you so they can better craft the show to meet your exact needs. You can leave your question or make your guest suggestion by going to the Making Chips website –  Don’t be shy, the guys would love to hear from you!

Outline of this episode

  • [1:06] The upcoming Mazak event – a valuable opportunity for networking and interaction.
  • [3:05] Introduction of today’s topic: Advertising your Machine Shop on Facebook
  • [5:31] Jim’s experience posting ads on Facebook for Carr Machine and Tool.
  • [7:38] How Facebook ads work to target who gets to see the ad.
  • [9:25] Who to target with his Facebook ads.
  • [10:44] The amazing ways Facebook ads can be nuanced to hit your perfect customer.
  • [11:43] The importance of using images when creating Facebook ads.
  • [13:48] What is the cost of Facebook ads?
  • [14:40] Jim’s success story from using Facebook ads.
  • [16:25] How Jason would use Facebook ads and what his goals would be.
  • [17:56] The Making Chips experiment to test the use of Facebook ads.
  • [20:39] How to leave your info about topics you’d like Jim and Jason to cover on Making Chips.

Links mentioned in this episode

Mazak’s upcoming event –

Making Chips episode about networking:

Or call us at 312-725-0245

Tweets you can use to tell others about the episode

[shareable]How Facebook Ads can be used to advertise your machine shop[/shareable]

[shareable]You can target your exact customers. Find out how on this episode[/shareable]

[shareable]What are the topics you’d like to hear addressed on Making Chips?[/shareable]

Mazak USA