Jason Zenger: Welcome to MakingChips. We believe that manufacturing is challenging, but if you're connected to a community of leaders you could elevate your skills, solve your problems and grow your business.
Jason Zenger: I'm your host, Jason Zenger, and I'm joined by my substitute co-host, Nick Goellner. How you doing, Nick?
Nick Goellner: Substitute, man.
Jason Zenger: You're like the substitute teacher.
Nick Goellner: Yes. They were my favorite because we would just watch movies.
Jason Zenger: Exactly.
Nick Goellner: We wouldn't do any work-
Jason Zenger: We have to be professional here, so-
Nick Goellner: So where's Jim?
Jason Zenger: Don't know, don't know, but this is actually our second try at trying to record an episode and I was really thrown off by not having my roadie here carry my equipment for me.
Nick Goellner: Yes, I noticed that. So I'm excited to actually record an episode today because last time we got all the way up to it and then you were like, "Hey, do you have the mics?"
Jason Zenger: Exactly, and I had nothing. I'm just used to Jim carrying all my stuff for me. I don't know if the Metal Working Nation knows this, but Jim's first job on MakingChips was carrying the equipment, a.k.a. the roadie, and with him being gone, nobody was there to do that.
Nick Goellner: Well, he's really grown a lot, you know.
Jason Zenger: Yes, he's matured now we let him host the show and be an important part of it, so ... But we do miss him when he's gone.
Nick Goellner: I think he's in Vegas.
Jason Zenger: Could be.
Nick Goellner: He's doing a little gambling and it might be a gamble for him to not be here because he may not have his spot back.
Jason Zenger: Yes, we may not give it back to him.
Nick Goellner: So we always like to talk about the things that are keeping the manufacturing leader up at night, and I was wondering-
Jason Zenger: Manufacturing is challenging.
Nick Goellner: We know that. But if you're connected to a community of leaders-
Jason Zenger: There you go.
Nick Goellner: So what's keeping you up at night?
Jason Zenger: So I've been talking to my team about this for the last like, say, week, and I've got one more week to go, but my wife and I are going on vacation on Saturday and it's our anniversary and I'm going to turn off my phone, I'm not taking my computer with me and I'm going to be completely disconnected. So-
Nick Goellner: I'm impressed.
Jason Zenger: It's only the second time I've done it. The first time was on our honeymoon and I'm a little nervous about it but I'm going to do it. And so everybody knows my right-hand man [Craig 00:02:03]. If somebody needs to get a hold of me, they can contact him, he's going to know what hotel I'm at and he has my wife's email address and he can email her, but I am completely disconnected. So you, Nick, will not be able to get a hold of me unless you contact Craig.
Nick Goellner: So I won't bother you.
Jason Zenger: Yes, exactly.
Nick Goellner: So he'll email your wife if there's a crisis and she'll be the filter on if it's important enough to tell you.
Jason Zenger: Bingo.
Nick Goellner: And that filter's probably going to be pretty loose, like, the building has to be burning down.
Jason Zenger: Her first reaction was, "Really? I'm going to be getting 100 emails a day about stuff that they need to-" And I was like, "No, everybody knows, they're not going to bother me and I'm really not that important that they need to contact me that much."
Nick Goellner: So how many years?
Jason Zenger: This will be eight years.
Nick Goellner: Wow, congrats man.
Jason Zenger: Thank you. We're going back to Mexico where we got married.
Nick Goellner: [inaudible 00:02:45]
Jason Zenger: What about you, Nick, what's keeping you up at night?
Nick Goellner: Well, I'm actually thinking about the same things. I'll be in the Dominican Republic the first week in June and I'm going to try to disconnect a little bit, I don't think I'm going to have a filter, but just being pulled in so many directions and feeling like, how do you manage it all and how do you take that time to have that work/life balance that we tell other people about but we kind of suck at, so.
Jason Zenger: Yes, and I'm doing it, I'm doing it.
Nick Goellner: And I'm impressed, I really am.
Jason Zenger: Yes, absolutely.
Jason Zenger: So what's going on at the Boring Bar, Nick?
Nick Goellner: Well, for those that don't know, the Boring Bar is our weekly newsletter. It's like the conversations you would have at the bar with the other manufacturing leaders in your circle, and what you can get there is an original piece of content, usually written by me or someone on the team. You can get-
Jason Zenger: So something related to the MakingChips episode?
Nick Goellner: Yes.
Jason Zenger: And just like a little bit of a nuanced information, but in written form instead of podcast.
Nick Goellner: Exactly. We'll kind of dive deeper on one of the themes that we talked about in the episode. And then we get a contribution from another manufacturing leader who can equip and inspire based on the topic that we discussed that week. And then of course we talk about the latest manufacturing news.
Jason Zenger: So, Nick, what do we have for the manufacturing news today?
Nick Goellner: Well, today's article comes from Modern Machine Shop, and perfect article, because I just had a conversation with Greg Jones from AMT when I was at Eastec, and we were talking about, when I went to one of his sales training seminars like maybe six, seven years ago, and just how much the industry has changed and how the training and the credentialling needs to change with it. So he was telling me about some new things that they have in play at AMT and with NIMS because he's on the board with NIMS, and so today's article is NIMS partnering with Festo to develop Industry 4.0 skill credentials.
Jason Zenger: Okay, so they're actually, NIMS is going to have credentialling for Industry 4.0.
Nick Goellner: Yes, and it's-
Jason Zenger: What exactly does that mean?
Nick Goellner: Well, Industry 4.0 is all about the connected factory, so machines talking to other machines and everything connected through a network, so the article says, "In partnership with Festo Didactic." ... Which is that company making all those awesome mechatronic robots that act like animals and stuff, check it out on YouTube, they've got some great stuff. But they're partnering with them to develop "skills standards and credentials for jobs involving manufacturing digitization and the Industrial Internet of Things technologies. The partnership will combine NIMS credentialling and training resources with Festo's Industry 4.0 Learning Factories courseware and e-learning integration."
Nick Goellner: Couple other points from the article. "This is an exciting development for manufacturers and educators as it directly addresses both the data-driven revolution happening in manufacturing today and the skills gap." That's from Montez King, someone who we're going to speaking with in the future.
Jason Zenger: Yes. I've talked to Montez and you're going to have him on the show. He is a, he's the executive director of NIMS and so obviously he thinks highly of the credentialling that NIMS offers and we're going to definitely get his perspective because there's a lot of alternative perspectives about credentialling and is it a barrier or is it good for the industry. And I think the answer is a little gray but here at MakingChips we want to get all sides of the story so if we get-
Nick Goellner: Exactly. We just want to solve the skills gap problem. Anyone who's doing anything for that, we're going to give them the platform.
Nick Goellner: Montez says "There's so many interdependent functions and abilities surrounding the Industry 4.0. This effort will help to bring clarity to the proficiencies required, train people extremely well and validate their expertise." And that's what we're looking for.
Jason Zenger: That's great, and validating someone's expertise when you hire them is, that's pretty huge. You have to know whether they can do the things that they say they can.
Nick Goellner: And you may be validating my expertise right now by giving me a mic and seeing if I make the cut.
Jason Zenger: Yes, you're not making it yet, so.
Nick Goellner: Shoot.
Jason Zenger: Yes, we need to talk about that afterwards.
Jason Zenger: So, Nick, why don't you introduce our guest?
Nick Goellner: Yes. So our guest today is a manufacturing entrepreneur from Kentucky. The owner of Martin Manufacturing, he's a machine shop owner, he's a product innovator, and he's a workholding advisor to manufacturers all around the world. They call him Stan the Trunnion Man. Welcome, Stan Martin.
Jason Zenger: So Stan, welcome to the show. My first question is: Nick said, "They call him Stan the Trunnion Man." Did you call yourself that? Did you come up with that nickname or did somebody give that to you? Because I've had some friends over the years that they gave themselves nicknames just to sound cool. Is this a nickname you gave yourself?
Stan Martin: No. [crosstalk 00:06:59].
Jason Zenger: No, you actually were ... okay-
Stan Martin: No, I forget exactly who gave me that nickname.
Nick Goellner: I mean it's pretty cool. It's a cool nickname.
Stan Martin: Yes, people say, "Just call Stan."
Stan Martin: I know who it was, it was a dealer in Florida said a customer called him up, he said, "You need to talk to Stan the Trunnion Man."
Nick Goellner: And it just stuck.
Stan Martin: And it stuck, yes.
Nick Goellner: That's awesome. So tell us the origins of Martin Manufacturing and how you move from being a job shop like Jim Carr to owning your own product line. I mean, that is the dream of every job shop out there, it's to have their own product line and you accomplished it.
Stan Martin: Yes, it is, and more than anything else it happened by accident. I say that it happened because I was a lazy machinist and because I was lazy, I said, "Man, I am tired of handling parts all the time and seeing my guys handle parts." So I literally, one Friday afternoon I went home from work, I'm sitting on the front porch, aggravated because this job that we quoted for x amount we were getting killed on because of handling, and I was sitting there, literally had my feet propped up, drinking a beer-
Jason Zenger: You weren't drinking a bourbon? You're from Kentucky-
Stan Martin: No bourbon. No bourbon allowed, no. Bourbon-free household.
Stan Martin: So I had my feet kicked up and it just dawned on me, I said, "What the heck am I doing? I've got all these CNC machines, I've got rotary tables on them, why don't I do this?" And so I literally, on the back of a paper place, started drawing. I went in that weekend, took me about three days to make the first one, and from the rest it was history. It literally turned, that first job we were making, getting about 10 good parts a week to getting about 40 good parts a day, and the customer was willing to pay the same either way obviously, so I'd rather get 40 good parts a day than 10 a week.
Jason Zenger: So did that job, essentially, help you to turn the corner on your product line and dedicate the time to be able to make that your own product, Martin Trunnion Tables.
Stan Martin: Well, I don't think it dawned on me right away, but as I started adding other products to the mix I realized, I mean, it's literally ... I'm not exaggerating, some of our worst paying jobs turned into our best paying jobs because of one factor, handling.
Jason Zenger: And how popular are trunnion tables nowadays?
Stan Martin: Well in our opinion, not near as popular as they should be. Most companies still look at it from the standpoint of, "Well, I have to have the right job to run." Which is, couldn't be any farther from the truth because there's very few jobs out there that you only handle one time. Most jobs that you're ... that machine shops, manufacturers are doing have to be handled a multitude of times and that's exactly what our trunnion tables eliminate.
Jason Zenger: And when you say handling, you mean like, unclamping it, flipping it, clamping it again and every single time you do that there's opportunity for the part to be off.
Stan Martin: Exactly. And not only that but the amount of time it takes for an operator to walk in, to wait for the machine to be finished, stand there staring at it, open the door, blow the part off, unclamp the part, reverse the part, rotate the part over or whatever you want to call it, close the door, and hit cycle start again, and that's if they're at the machine. If they're wandering around the shop, going to the bathroom, doing this, doing that, well it takes even longer. So the way that we do it is we look at every part and say, "All right, how can we put this in there so it comes out complete with the least amount of handling?"
Stan Martin: And so our trunnion tables, they are the answer to that. For the every day job shop it's a tool that starts at ... our lowest priced one is around $2000 and they go up, the sky's the limit from there. But they start at $2000 and for the average job shop, it gets them started, gets them thinking. I've got customers calling me all the time and say, "Stan, I need another one. I just ordered a new machine, I need another trunnion table because my guys won't run parts any other way." Once they start running parts on trunnion tables they do not want to run the parts any other way.
Jason Zenger: So anyone who's got a rotary indexer can get a fourth axis, that's the whole point, right? But I'm surprised that you're really the only one out there who's focused on just the trunnion table. I don't really see a lot of other people doing that. What were they doing before Stan the Trunnion Man?
Stan Martin: Well I think the vast majority of customers of, when rotary table manufacturers sold them a rotary table, and the customer say, well, how do I tool this up, the rotary table manufacturer would say, basically, "You're on your own at this point." And this is why most rotary table manufacturers, even to this day, tell me that 80% of rotary tables sold are sitting in the corner of the shop collecting dust because, especially in this day and age as you guys well know, there are very few machinists out there that are capable of building tooling for rotary axis machines. So that's what we're doing, we're providing them with a simple, simple piece of tooling that allows them to machine multiple sides of the part in one setup.
Jason Zenger: Because that's honestly how we would do it. We've done a couple trunnions here and there at AMRoC and it's been like, "Okay, what indexer do you want and we'll build the table," and it was always, like you said, dedicated to a certain job that they wanted to do. They weren't really thinking, "I want to buy a trunnion table as a foundation for multiple jobs." And some ... I guess one of my questions is like, there's so many different players in the workholding world, how have you been able to carve out your own niche?
Stan Martin: Well I think in the beginning it's because we focused on ... because my background obviously, is in as a job shop machinist, that's what we focused on. We focused on how do I help the average job shop. And maybe I was a little bit afraid to go to the big boys. Mazak is like five minutes away from us. I was maybe a little bit unsure to go to somebody like that and try to get them to sell it, so we focused on the job shop customers.
Stan Martin: And what I learned really quick was that I had better be willing and able to hold the job shop owners' hand to get them through that first batch of parts so they understood exactly what they could do with the trunnion table and how valuable it would be for them. We kind of developed our own niche because of that, because most workholding companies either don't want to take the time to help customers to that extent or don't have the people in house to even be able to give each customer that much attention. But that's something that we really pride ourselves on, even my guys, my engineers are really good on the phone working with customers and working through problems as they come along. "How do I hold this part?" "How do I program from center line rotations?" "Should we set the tools off the top of the part?" Or whatever. Both my engineers are great at talking to customers and that's the way I've got to keep it.
Jason Zenger: So Nick mentioned earlier that we have this chip-in program and you recently wrote an article about a customer-centric culture. So that's a little a bit about what you're talking about right now so I would encourage the manufacturing leaders out there to read Stan's article about a customer-centric culture just to get a little bit more about his philosophy about that.
Jason Zenger: So let's kind of shift gears away from the actual trunnion tables themselves and talk about what's your philosophy about competition and partnerships with other companies?
Stan Martin: I feel it's vital. We could not be where we are today without partnering with companies like COMER Precision, and Nikken rotary tables and Haas has been a huge huge partner of ours nationwide. The Haas factory outlets nationwide refer tons of material to us because they know that we're going to take care of the customer. And I feel like the only way that we're going to grow as a company is to not be selfish and say "No, I want to keep all those ideas for myself." We've got to work with AME, we've got to work with Nikken, we've got to work with COMER, we've got to work with other workholding companies to develop ideas that are going to work for the everyday machinist and the everyday job shop and if we don't do that we're not going to survive.
Nick Goellner: Yes, I think that's absolutely key. It's like the old way was like, "Okay we have to have the best ideas here, we've got to hire all the smart people, make sure they work for us so that we can do all the R&D and keep the profits here. Ship out the new ideas the fastest, be the first to market and have it all be us and hopefully no one gets in here and figures out our secrets or else they could become a competitor."
Nick Goellner: And now it's this open innovation model where it's like, "Hey, there's a lot of other smart people who maybe know their space a little bit better, how can I partner with them and work together? How can R&D be a collaborative effort? How do we benefit from research that other people have done and use that research to springboard our next new idea?"
Stan Martin: Is that-
Nick Goellner: And so a lot of things have changed. And even at the family business we've got three generations here, it's like just the mindset between first generation, second generation and third generation, like they're a lot more guarded and protected than I am.
Jason Zenger: Our whole role in the supply chain is being a partner. We're a distributor. We don't manufacture anything ourselves. We have some product lines that we private label but we're purely a distributor. So we rely completely on the partnerships that we have. We've sold some of your workholding products to our customers and when we saw a need and we saw a pain point that they had to solve, we went right to you guys because we knew that it would solve the problem. So I think having those partnerships and not wanting to be, I guess, I would use the word, greedy about it is the right way to go because for us it's all about delivering that savings to the customer and you can't do that alone.
Jason Zenger: So Jim, the Metal Working Nation knows that we love ProShop ERP, but did you know that ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning? So it's software that helps you to plan and your whole enterprise is involved in it? So tell me what that means to you?
Jim Carr: Actually I did know what ERP system-
Jason Zenger: Sure you did.
Jim Carr: No that's ... You know I love acronyms right?
Jason Zenger: You know because I told you.
Jim Carr: I know, well, you refreshed my memory, let me tell you that. But what I do know about ProShop ERP, the cloud-based software that we're using at Carr Machine & Tool, is it is really a customer-centric platform. Everybody from the office to the guy out in the shop is engaged with the software every day. They come in, they clock in, they track their time against work orders, everyone knows when the part has to get out for maybe a five-day finish, they know what the delivery date is. We are keeping the customer at the apex of importance in the company.
Jason Zenger: And everybody in the company is involved in that?
Jim Carr: Everybody knows.
Jason Zenger: That's the way it needs to be.
Jim Carr: Everybody has access to it.
Jason Zenger: The whole enterprise?
Jim Carr: The entire enterprise, the entire facility. Everyone knows, there's no more mistakes. That's the deadline, everyone has access to the delivery date, and you have to be accountable for it.
Jason Zenger: So go to ProShopERP.com for more information.
Nick Goellner: So there's all sorts of different forms of partnerships. You've got your manufacturing partners, maybe they help you make your product. Everyone's got a supply chain. You've got your application engineering partners. You've got sales partners. So you were talking about Haas and how the factory outlets work very closely with you. How much are they just letting you do the engineering, how much are you working with them to serve the customer?
Stan Martin: 95% of it is them just letting us do the engineering because Haas as a company is so busy that their application engineers are basically solving problems for existing customers already, solving so many problems that at least all the application engineers that I deal with directly, they work a million hours and they're always under the gun to get stuff done. So they trust us, they say, "Stan, here's the guy's name and number, see what you can do." And so we work through the problems, if there is a question I call the application engineer and say, "This is what's going on, what do you think?" Or sometimes I'll even, I'll email the models of what we have and say, "Hey, you know the customer, you've been in his plant many times, what do you think?" And that works out great because maybe they see something that we didn't because they've been messing around with these parts for some time also. So it's just ... It's a great collaboration between them and us.
Nick Goellner: And if you were paranoid about, like, okay, maybe they'll steal our models and go start doing it direct or whatever, you wouldn't have that kind of collaboration.
Stan Martin: No way, no way, and they're not about that. Not only Haas but all the machine tool dealers we work with, whether it's Ellison or Gosiger or Methods, they want happy satisfied customers and if we can do that for them, then so be it. They don't need to have their hand in everything.
Nick Goellner: And it's hard to keep a happy, satisfied customer when you're so busy you can't hardly get the product out the door. Do you have a strong supply chain of manufacturing partners too?
Stan Martin: We do, but in the last couple of years I think we'd all be a little naïve to admit that it's been tough. It's been tough getting supplies, whether it's hydraulics or pneumatics or brake parts, whatever. It's been very difficult to keep up with the demand and sometimes we'll be late on orders because we can't get a certain hydraulic component.
Jason Zenger: Yes, I think that this feverish economy brings its own set of problems that a recession has its own problems and a feverish economy has its own problems. There's a lot of stress involved nowadays. I just want an economy that's nice and consistent and not too crazy.
Jason Zenger: So how do you plan to continue to innovate through partnerships?
Stan Martin: Exactly what we're doing. We've worked very hard to form strong partnerships with the machine tool dealer network around the country. We're working directly with AME who has an incredible portfolio of products that we think need to be out in the marketplace. Like I said before, I don't think there's any way that we can grow unless we partner with the AMEs of the world because there is just not enough time in the day, there's not enough talent out there to handle the stuff that they provide.
Nick Goellner: And that's one of the things that we learned from our conversations with you, is like, people are going to buy the convenient solution that's plug-and-play, and when people would ask us for a fourth axis solution on a vertical, we'd be like, "Okay, what indexer are you going to buy? And do you want us to do this, do you want us to do that?" And what you've been able to do is kind of standardize and put packages together where it's like, "Okay, if you've got this machine, here you go, this is everything you need to get started."
Stan Martin: Right. Yes, we're-
Nick Goellner: And so we're hoping to take that to the next level with you where it's like, okay now you've got the trunnion, it fits the machine that you own, what are you actually clamping the part with and how do we provide the complete package that allows them to continue to scale like that.
Stan Martin: Right, so the next thing is that we offer right now, and we have offered for some time, rotary table packages, so if the customer doesn't already have a rotary table or even if they do, they send us the rotary table or we purchase the rotary table, we mount it to a base plate, we mount the trunnion table to it, and now what we're doing is we're taking it even one step further. We will now be putting all the workholding on to the trunnion so that when the customer receives the package, it's all bundled together there ready to start cutting chips instead of saying, "All right, now I've got the trunnion table, how am I going to mount the rotary table?" Or "I've got the rotary table, what am I going to use for tooling for the rotary table?" We're trying to simplify that whole process so that it's easy. It's one purchase order, the one person, and we take care of the whole thing for them.
Nick Goellner: And that's a big part of ... Like what I have to do is just make it easy and do a lot of the education. So I work with a lot of the Zengers of this world. Okay, so now you have this to offer and you don't have to figure out all the nuanced details of the indexer, the trunnion table, the tooling, like. We'll explain how to find opportunities out in the field and then we'll provide the package where it's like, "Okay, here, now you've got what you need."
Nick Goellner: So for me it's just educating. Talking to the dealers, talking to the distributors and being like, "Look, we'll make it as easy as possible. Let Stan be the Trunnion Man, we'll be the Clamping Man, and we'll try to make it easy for you to solve problems for your customers."
Jason Zenger: Yes. Part of our partnerships that make things successful for Zenger's is that we're ... We almost become like a project manager for continuous improvement and it's a matter of us being the connector, it's, you know, customers come to us for a pain and we know where to go for the person that's going to take away that pain, and there's a thousand solutions out there and there's always the best one. And that's our role, is project managing that continuous improvement and being the connector in the marketplace.
Jason Zenger: So, Stan, it's been great. I learned about trunnion tables more than what I had known before, so it's definitely great to hear from you and understand how you work through some of your partnerships and also just how you went from being a machine shop to having your own product line. Like I said, you're the envy of the machine shops out there that want to accomplish just what you want to do. And I would encourage everybody out there, if you do have that pain point, figure out to solve it. There's so many companies out there have been created just based on solving that pain that they have in their own lives and that's what you did. So thank you for being a part of MakingChips.
Stan Martin: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Jason Zenger: So Nick, do you have any closing thoughts?
Nick Goellner: I just want to tell the Metal Working Nation, if you like the episodes that you listen to, if you thought that they equipped or inspired you, you can help us get the message out there by leaving a kind review or a positive rating on whatever podcast player you're listening to. That's really the currency of the podcasting world, so we're all about bringing this community together and elevating manufacturing leadership and you can help us do that by leaving a review.
Nick Goellner: I think at the end of the day we talked a lot about your tagline: stop handling, start machining, and if you're handling a part you're not making chips.
Jason Zenger: And if you're not making chips, you're not making money. Bam.
Outro: Metal Working Nation, listen up. Manufacturing is challenging. You need to think differently. The day-to-day whirlwind of urgencies, the pressure to grow, customer demands, workforce development, new machine tools and robots, the list goes on and on. It is possible to stay ahead of the game of manufacturing but you can't do it alone. We're here to give you access to exclusive content from other leaders as well as videos, blogs, show notes and more resources designed to equip and inspire you on MakingChips.