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New to Manufacturing? Here’s How to Build Credibility

Author: Jason Zenger

New to Manufacturing? Heres How to Build Credibility

If someone is new to the manufacturing industry, how do they acclimate to the industry and begin to build authenticity and credibility? How do they learn the ropes and become familiar with the necessary lingo?

Get dirty on the factory floor

Jim throws out that someone new to the industry can come work for him in shipping and receiving and get enmeshed in the process for a couple of months. At the very least, we recommend you shadow someone with experience for a couple of days. You have to get dirty on the factory floor. That short stint can give you basic knowledge that is a great starting point. You know what to look for and learn about. And it allows you to ask a lot of questions. 

Don’t be afraid to ask a LOT of questions

Sarah Wierman—a guest on an earlier episode—took herself from being a newbie in the industry to becoming an expert in tooling. At the time, she worked for MD Tooling. Now she works for a group of industrial manufacturer representatives (Coast Industrial Sales). She said that her secret to success was that she likes to ask questions. This is something anyone new to the industry can easily do and must do. People in the manufacturing industry like to show off. They like to talk about everything that they’re an expert in. They’ll happily answer your questions.

Nick points out that the worst thing that can happen is that you always feel like an imposter, even when you’re not. You may have some experience under your belt but worry you should have more expertise. If you’re struggling with that, you’ll tend to avoid asking questions and exposing your ignorance. If you don’t know how to do something, you worry that the veterans may look down on you. 

But anyone who becomes successful asks relevant questions and learns from them. It’s okay if you don’t know it all—who does? When you get the answers you need and don’t have as many questions, eventually people come to you with questions. 

You need a passion for the industry

If you want to be successful, you need to get to know the industry and be passionate about it. Nick says it best, “I don’t really care how much you know if you don’t care about it.” You can have all the answers but if you don’t have passion, we’ll just go listen to someone who does. 

What drives the passion? For the three of us, this is our family business. It’s a legacy that we’re creating and we want to build something that will be great for many generations. 

For me, there is something to be said about helping build a tangible product. When I got my MBA, I was the only person in my classroom involved in manufacturing. The professors were fascinated by it. I get involved in making aerospace parts, medical parts, and parts for cars. Not everyone can say that. You can be proud of it. 

How else can you build the knowledge necessary to be successful in the machining industry? How can you build credibility, authenticity, and authority? We share some helpful tips in episode #280 of Making Chips. Go check it out!


– Jason

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