The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 month ago

Why the Employee Bathroom Is the Key to Leadership w/ Mark Whitten

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

If you’ve ever been curious how well management takes care of its employees at any given organization, there is one really simple way to find out: 

Check out the employee bathroom. 

That may seem funny, but… think about it — if management can’t take care of the bathrooms, how well can they really be taking care of its employees?

That simple test is wisdom today’s guest, Mark Whitten , President & CEO at Spartanburg Steel Products , has learned over years of successful leadership in which he has lived by a maxim that seems to have fallen by the wayside: Lead by example. 

In this episode, we discuss:

-Why leaders should work alongside their employees (and keep the bathrooms clean)

-How to achieve 2.0 transformation as a leader

-How leaders in manufacturing should respond to Gen Z’s entrance into the workforce

To ensure that you never miss an episode of The Manufacturing Executive, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

You can't transform a company bysitting in an office and barking out orders and expecting that the workforce will just comply. It doesn't happen that way. If I'm not out thereshoulder to shoulder with employees, leading by example and showing them andteaching them and helping them, then it ultimately doesn't transform welcome to the manufacturing executivepodcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that aredriving midsize manufacturers forward here. You'll discover new insights frompassionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share abouttheir successes and struggles and you'll learn from B to be sales andmarketing experts about how to apply actionable business developmentstrategies inside your business. Let's get into the show, welcome to another episode of theManufacturing Executive Podcast, I'm Joe Sullivan Your House and a Cofounder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerilla. Seventy six, anybusiness leader can talk a big game, we're retooling our business to meetthe demands of a new era were investing in our people and building a culture ofexcellence were committed to innovation, Bla, Bla Bla. All of this frankly, isjust lip service. That is until you can prove it, and my guess today is leadingan organization, that's doing exactly that from putting their leaders in thetrenches next to those on the front lines to letting the words they hearfrom their customers and their prospects physically impact, theevolution of their facilities to putting AI and smart factoryinitiatives in motion. This particular organization is actually walking thewalk and, as its leader will tell you, the rewards have been plentiful on anumber of fronts. So, on that note, let me introduce him. Mark Witton startedhis career as a shop floor employee at freight liner, heavy trucks. He thenhad the opportunity to work with Cami Automotive, the joint venture betweenGeneral Motors and Suzuki for a few years before joining magnainternational in two thousand over the next fifteen years. Mark worked in anumber of different roles across multiple magna divisions and indifferent countries, including Canada, Mexico and the US. In late, twothousand and fifteen mark took an opportunity to run a small seedingsupplier in Cleveland before joining Martin, Ria International, in twothousand and sixteen there he ran their largest facility in ShelbyvilleKentucky and became director of OPS before joining Spartanburg steelproducts in early two thousand and twenty mark welcome to the show, thanksfor having me Joe appreciate it awesome whole mark. I know you took the reinsjust a few years ago, at Spartanburg Steel, a company that's been around inone thousand nine hundred and sixty two, and I also know you've, made a lot ofreally positive headway already consistently surpassing a lot of thegoals you set out to achieve so wondering if you could start things outby telling us a little bit about what what were some of those goals, theassociated key metrics and how his SSP...

...performed right. You know. I appreciatea great question, thanks for having me again yeah, so sparkin Berg is being searound S, sand. Nineteen sixty two, the family that currently owns it wereprivately held as on it, one thousand nine hundred and eighty two greatownership. Great Company, no great leadership team here, and so when Ijoined, I had a mandate to you know to improve the results, to improve theculture, to really drive the top line and bottom line, and so we went aboutwith the leadership team here back in early two thousand and twenty westarted to deploy a strategy. We really for me. It was really important that wedefined you know where we want to go were referred to as our visiousstatement or true north. You know what we want to achieve, that's the goalsand then how we're going to do that, and that was SSP, two point o or thestrategy we deployed in order to achieve the goals and make sure that westayed true to the to the to the Vision Statement, which is to become a worldclass company. We don't want to be very specific and say you on be a worldclass manufacturing company. We want to be world class and everything we do sowe're really focused on, and I use these examples like if we hire someonewe want to do it in a world class way. We went on board people in a worldclass way. We want to train people in a world class way. We want to have worldclass results, so we know today we're certainly not a world class company,but we have a vision to be there and and what I've always found in my careerand whenever I've dealt with successful people, they always have a vision orfive year plan. You know where they want to be how they want to get there,and so I think it was really important for us to project ourselves into thefuture and say we want to be world class, and so therefore our behaviorhas to be focused on being world class and ask ourselves you know in everycase, are we doing things that are you know? Truly a world class company woulddo them or not, so that that was one thing to your question. We then had todetermine what is it we're trying to achieve here and really we're doingthat in buckets of a year, so we said: okay, we got three things that we haveto focus on in two thousand and twenty one, and that is revenue top line grope.So we set a goal to grow our revenue from what was a hundred and six millionto two hundred million by the end of our fiscal year of twenty one, whichends October thirty, first, two thousand and twenty one. Our secondgoal was to to have a profitability Tark, so in twenty nineteen and twothousand and twenty we were not for profitable in two thousand and twentyone we said we have to be profitable. We set a target, so we said we got tobe. We have to have a net profit number of x and we have to have that by theOctober, thirty first, two thousand and twenty one and then the last school andwe're all really interconnected. But the last goal was quality improvementor customer performance in terms of quality results. So we said we mustimprove our quality performance from X to y by October thirty first, and wehad a specific number of customer complaints that we had to drive it downto so so that's really the goals that we set and then below. That is reallythe. How how we going to do all this and that's all SSP, two point o awesome:Can you dive into SSP two point? Oh a little bit more, like t, tell me alittle more about what that means. Yeah. Of course I love talking about to Pinto.You know when I joined here. It was important for me to be respectful ofthat. The current leadership, the...

...ownership, the employees and Icertainly don't want to walk in here and say I know better and we're goingto do this and you at what you guys have done is not good enough. That'snot true. I mean this, this company's being a BMW supplier for many years,but great successes in the past, and I wanted to honor that so we really, wesaid, you know what SSP one point: O is a foundation. It's what God us to wherewe are today, we've been successful for many years. We've done a lot of thingsin the community. Here, we've had employees that have bought houses andtheir children work here, and so so this has been a good company for thecommunity and its employees. At the same time, of course, we have to changethe world's changing and really that was the two point o piece, so we honorthe past but reflect and look forward to today and next you know, and nextyears are really about developing a world class company. Being two point,Oh, and that two point, Oh really is broken into many buckets. You know,first and foremost, his leadership. When I talk about having the rightpeople in the right seats of the bus, it's about culture, it's about employeeengagements, about manufacturing, operating systems and quality systems,and all of those things are truly important and we had to. We had to makesure we had all of those things as a foundation in order to drive to point oto ultimately achieve our goals. So a lot of effort around to Buena and againleading by example, many many things I mean it's. I use these this example.More specifically, you know one of the things that really is important in anytransformation of any organization is that leadership must lead thetransformation cultural changes. You know culture is just in my opinion, isjust a result of people's behavior and that behavior, ultimately is driven bymanagements. Behavior Management is leading by example, is on the shopfloor, should, at a shoulder with employees, helping removing road blocks,pushing the teams, but removing you know helping them to alternate to besuccessful. That's when you truly see transformation take hold. You can'ttransform a company by sitting in an office and barking out orders andexpecting that the work force will just comply. It doesn't happen that way. IfI'm not out there shoulder to shoulder with employees, leading by example andshowing them and teaching them and helping them, then it ultimatelydoesn't transform and that's my experience- and I realized that so it'ssuper important in the to pool world and in a division of a World ClassCompany is that we go out leaders to the executive leadership team and weget out there and we clean. We organize. We help. We do daily meetings that Iattend every at am meeting every day in three different areas of two plants,because it's important because it's super important that the employeesunderstand we're going to drive our business. We got to be consistent andwe got to leave by example. I've shared this before as well. I mean in theparking lot behind me. You know management went out and painted thecurbs. We did that because it had to be done, but I wanted the people tounderstand that it doesn't matter what it is. We'll go, paint curbs we'llclean up. You know dirt in the plan will sweet floors we'll do whatever weneed to to be successful, and I feel very strongly that if leaders lead inthat fashion, then the people will...

...follow because they have they have aperson that they can get behind and they believe in that, and that's that'struly important. So that's really a lot of what two point O is about leading byexample, really pushing the organization but helping removing roadblocks and doing the right things for our people. How do people respond tothat curious inside of Spartanburg when they see leadership, kind of in thetrenches and working hard to understand what goes on there? What people areexperiencing in her their daily job on the front lines? You know that theinitial reactions they laugh at us. You know they see us out there sweating andyou know picking up garbage and there's a lot of there's a lot of joking aroundit, but we're consistent in doing it. We do it twice a week, we're always outthere doing it. So you know it goes from being kind of a funny thing to aserious thing and I've had many many employees stop me or come over you,here's an interesting thing. I'm out there struggling picking up somethingand it's heavy, and I can't you know I can't move and I'll. have an employeewalk over from you know. Another well say grabbed the end of it and helpd memove it. They started appreciating a long time ago, but they they start.Appreciating that we're just out they're trying to help you know we'redoing whatever we have to do so. It really became and I've had many of themstopped me up there and say I really appreciate what you're doing here. Youknow I really nobody's ever done this before we've, never seen management outhere, cleaning the plan, we've never seen management. Do this and and againthat's it goes back to your introduction, Joe. I mean I started onthe shop floor and I got to experience terrible leadership. I've seen greatleaders and horrible leaders and they both taught me some great thanks. Whatnot to do and what to do- and you know the worst thing in being a leader- istrying to lead by thou shalt. You know do what I say. Not What I do you cannotyou will people are smart, you know and they're not going to follow. Peoplelike that they'll only find, in my opinion, they'll follow people who leadbut do with what they say, they're going to do every single time, and I'vealways stressed that to my management team. You know if you say it and yougot to do it. You can't back away from that, because the minute you, theminute you do lose all credibility. It's that other thing. You can do athousand great things and one thing wrong, and the only thing people everremember is that one thing wrong. You did so so you got to be perfect in whatyou do so anyway. Lot to your question a lot of great feedback from theemployees. They get a kick at it. Here's an interesting point where aunionized company united steelworkers been unionized for many many yearsbefore I got here. You know and there's specific language in a contract thatstates that you know there's there's a bargain in committee work, somanagement can't perform or salaried employees cannot perform bargainingcommittee work. Yet the president of the Union and I met with her very earlyon in my career and a silicon. I need your support. I know what the contractsays and I know how to interpret the fact that management can't go out thereand do what would be considered bargaining committing wore. But I needyou to get behind me here and help me, because I'm not I'm not taking people'swork away, I'm trying to help them- and I really don't want to. I don't want toget in a situation where we are. You know we we get into a debate aboutwhether managements doing part in committee work we're not trying towe're trying to lead by example. She understood that and supported methrough that, and I've never had an...

...employee ever come to me and say youknow, you're doing work that belongs still barking. They've never said thatthey've always supported the action because they understand all we'retrying to do is make us better. Mark. You told me a really interesting story,a couple weeks back about a major automotive manufacture that SSP quotedyears back and lost the bit, and then you mentioned that you went back andyou spoke with their decision maker about the reasons SSP wasn't selected,whether you use the name of the company or not, doesn't matter so much to me asas much as you telling that story to our audience and sort of what proceededto play out since then, when I first joined here in March of two thousandand twenty right right around that time, maybe a couple weeks into to the rolewe received feedback that we did not win a very, very large package from atruck, it's actually a heavy truck manufacturer. We were working on that.Probably six months before I got here, the team was working on all the quotesand felt very strongly when I arrived, they felt the team here felt strongthat we would win the business and what a couple three weeks into that when Iarrived, we received feedback that we didn't actually win. The badness islike forty million dollar package man. This was a significant amount of work,so I you know being in the new guy, I said: listen, I'm going to reach out tothe senior buyer and I'm just going to ask questions. I'm new! You know nodogging ness fight at this point, so I did I called her. She took my call andI really appreciated that, and we had about a half hour conversation- and Isaid, listen, I'm new here. I just want to understand if you can share it withme. You know your logic around, not sourcing, Spartan work, because what Iwas led to believe is that we would. We in fact were the leading. We wereleading this bid and we were expecting to win it. She said she had a. She hada little bit of an internal debate with her company. She had kind of a group ofbuyers that were pro or supporting SSP and she had a group that were not, andshe said you know, I made a decision to come to Spartan bird with both groupsand do a full blown audit of your company that quality performancedelivery performance the shop floor. You know all the management systems shesaid. You know the audit didn't go very well at all. We came there. She said,frankly speaking the the shop didn't look. Very good. Quality performancewas not where it needed to be. We didn't see that the proper qualitymagic system in place- your delivery performance, wasn't very great for agood story, and I got it by the way because my first week in here as Iwalked the floor, I thought to myself man, I wouldn't source work here either.You know I wasn't to the standard that I would expect. So I wasn't surprisedby her comments. It made sense to me- and I understood it- she sent me theaudit. I got the chance to go through the entire audit and everything inthere is valid and it's true and at the end of the day you know they made adecision based on that and that's fine fast forward to it was about two monthsago she reached out and said that she was they were in the neighborhood Volvovisiting another supplier and they wanted to stop by it and meet with us.So they came over and I had never met her in person. I met her in person. Wehad a little chat and, I said, listen I'd like to walk you through StartinBerg, steel, froest, two point, O strategy and kind of bring me up tospeed from when we spoke a year and a...

...half ago to today what we've been doingis so she was great. She was, you know, happy to do that. I presented exactlywhat I want you and I are speaking about kind of you know, vision,statement, goals and Ssp. Two Point: Oh, but I went into great detail with herwhat the strategy was and why and why are it playing? And you know in theboard room you know she was. Ah that sounds great and you know it looksreally good etcetera. So I said: Let's go to the shop floor and go for a walknow and we walked out and we got to the shop floor. We walked about ten feet inand she stopped and said this looks like a bring like an entirely differentshop. I don't remember it being like this and I said well, that's good news,because I certainly hope it isn't like you remember so we walked around. Wespent some time and I you know basically pointed out the differentmanagement systems we put on individual management systems. We put on the floorand we're using a system called funnel cloud to use PLC real time data. So wecan see our performance, O ee and down time and delighting. We put all brandnew lid lighting in the plant. We've polished, concrete floors, we'vestriked, walk ways: We've you know visual management everywhere and herfeedback was, you know, humbly to me. I get goose bumps because I mean againI'm so proud of the team here, but she was very excited and said. You knowthis is she said I would have never expected to see this I'm shocked andfollowed by the statement that I'm sure that there's some work we can dotogether and you know, and from there they've sent us a bunch of art ces. Soit's super powerful. I understand why they didn't source is to work. It makescomplete sense. The audit makes complete sense. We've worked very hardto fix our systems and implement, but also to change the environment of ourshop. You know I always consider myself a supplier, but a customer whenever Igo anywhere and I'm always looking and watching and trying to understandculture and trying to understand how a company runs- and I can tell you whenyou, when you go to any shop floor, you can pre soon pretty early. You can tellhow the company runs or how the performance or other results are. Ifit's dark and dingy and unsafe and smoky and all these kinds of things,I'm pretty sure that I had Hazari, guess that there's some quality issuesand make the safety issues and different things like that, and I meanI know it's not a perfect science but I've found in the past citification. Soback to this lady and her visit it was, it was great for to come back. We thinkwe can grow our business with them again. We learned a great lesson fromthat and we've improved since that time, and I think that that I'm glad she gavethat feed back and a glad she was very open and got a chance to visit us again.Yeah, that's a really cool story and mark her a couple things I sort of takeaway from this example. You know one talk to your customers and listen likeproactively, go to them and not only the ones where you lose. I think it'sgreat that you went back. You talked to somebody, you lost the bid, but youknow your existing customers to do the voice of customer work find out whatfrom there in their or words like what things are we can we be doing betterlike understand their buying process, understand what matters the most tothem, because I think a lot of companies just sort of make assumptionsand all of a sudden something changes in their relationship with the partnerof vendor and they're like well. What...

...happened? I didn't see this coming andI think a lot of those things can be sort of cleaned from just having openconversations and asking custers what they want. But I love that you wentback and talked to this particular woman. We lost a very large bid becauseI think the other thing that happens here is it shows that you, as a newleader in the organization, are interested in making changes, you'reinterested in figuring out what matters to the customers and by making yourselfvulnerable. In that sense, all of a sudden the opportunities back rightlike had you not reached out to her and had that conversation you know youcould probably assume she probably wouldn't have called you and shehappened to be in the area to come back. So I think it's pretty cool good lesson.There you're absolutely right great point you make well, I could go off onthis one forever, but you need to be humble. As a leader you know, in anyorganization, the only way to learn is to listen, ask questions to be humble.You know we often think too much. We know too much. We already know wealready understand. I don't think you know, I would say that's. I challengethat statement. I've spent a great deal of my energy here, focusing on learningfrom the customers we currently have and what's their optics. You know thelong term partners and customers and I realized a lot of what theirexpectations are and we've been working on shoring those up. But to your coin,I've always found that customers are willing to help if you're willing tolisten. If you're arrogant- and you know you don't want to listen and youdon't respond to the customer, will then they'll treat you that way? But ifyou're humble and you listen and you ask for help and the Y'll be fullywilling to help you, you know, BMW is here. I can speak about them. I meanBMW partner plan. Ten is a huge plant here. It's a big important company interms of this community and it's a customer of ours, and I can tell youtheir tough customer. Very tough. The expectations are very high, but they'realso willing to help. You know when we ask for help and we say: Listen, we gota problem. We Wont Understand, do this, they send people over here and and theyhelp us to understand what their expectations are. They spend the energyon their supply base to teach you their high again, they're tough, but they'rewilling to help if you're willing to listen and we've put a lot of energyinto being humble and listening, because we know we've got a lot ofthings we got to fix here, and so we can learn from great companies like BMWand Volvo and others that can help us and teach US selves. Great Point: You,race, cool, mark, Committi, an interesting comment to me in a previousconversation that I want to bring back here. You said one of the first things:You'll do when you you're evaluating a potential vendor or partner for SpartanBerg is you'll go into the bathroom at their facility and you'll immediatelylearn something about the culture just by how it looks in there. I thoughtthat was really smart. Tell me more about that yeah I go into the employeebathroom, so I don't go into the manic grassroots right, because there's adifference. Sometimes it's been my experience going ha been in many manyplants in many countries, and one thing reigns consistent that I found you canyou know to use a loose term? You can put lipstick on a pig so to speak. Youcan make something look good for five minutes or make a clean up your shopfor a customer visit, but really what I look for. Is there a consistency inthat right and oftentimes, the employee,...

...bathroom or the employed change rooms?Tell a story on it: Al If you walk into where the employees go to the bathroomand it's stall, doors are ripped off and there's graffiti on the walls andits filthy dirty. I will make the assumption that that organizationdoesn't take care of their employees too. Well that there's some underlyingcultural issues there I'm pretty sure that that would be true the oppositesquite true as well. You Walk in employee bathrooms and they're cleanorganized. You know respectful right, respectful of the workforce. That sayssomething to me too says: Well that there's some you know that they careright. You know people often say you know the most important asset in anycompany as people, but then you go to the bathrooms and the bathrooms aregood graffiti everywhere and the stall doors are ripped off and workingconditions are poor and lighting is poor, and it's unsafe. I mean it's thatalways that you can say anything you can say in a boardroom. You can make apresentation sound great, but the real rubber hits the road when you walk outand to see the real conditions and that's why I look at Basma becauseagain it's one of those things I just feel like. If you care about youremployees and you'll, do the right thing for them. Big, medium respect isa corner stone of leadership and thinke. You respect this facilities foremployes. I mean you've a couple hundred employes that come to workevery single day. You want to have a nice clean facilities for them. To use.I mean that's that to me says a lot and I think it's super important and- and Idon't discount it- I mean and again having visited facilities and seen verypoor conditions, and the culture was exactly that if the bathrooms were interrible condition and I've seen it stall doors ripped off and graffitithere's a lot of problems underlying in that organization and and by the way itall starts with leadership. It's a great microcosm of sort of what theorganization actually practices. I think like the example, because thatyeah thank you and I had one thing joke. You know I'll go at one step furtherand say I use the employed bathrooms by the way so my office here in the FrontRoom Front office. We have a managing bathroom, but I go use the employeebathrooms and I do that because a I want to make sure that they are the waythey need to be and be I'm not better than anybody else. It always blows mymind that you know leaders and companies. Presidency you'll have aparking at the best parking spot. I I never understand that. Why do I need tobe fifteen feet closer to the door, so I can get in faster or get out faster?I don't need to have a parting spot and I don't need to use an executivebathroom. I mean I can use Employe Bates because again, if the employeebathroom is beneath me, it's not good enough for me. Then it's not goodenough for the people, and so I always would think that way. Right I mean itdoesn't matter. I go and eat in a employee cafetiere I use the micrasthere I mean again all of those things are little things, but they all meansomething and most in particular. It means you know we put the workforce uphere. We say is that that it's that reverse or chart I'm at the bottom andthe employees are at the top right. That's that's where they are becauseagain they are the most important asset of the company and we management needto make them successful. That's our job, so the all of that kind of combined isreally around my beliefs in leadership.

Yeah. The Servant leadership that playright yeah. That's exactly right: Let's stay on this topic of people here for aminute. I've heard you say that engaging people's hearts and minds is acentral piece of SSP strategy. What's this phrase mean to you it's a lot ofthings. It's again, it's kind of tying back together what I've said so far.You you! I believe that, in order for people to give what I calldiscretionary effort so that a hundred and ten percent, it's the extra ten orthe extra twenty percent coming to work every single day, you know beingpositive and contributing when they're here, if they don't believe in theleadership that in the organization you know you- and I are the same- if wework for someone, we don't believe in that- doesn't lead by example thattreats US poorly. You know typically you're not going to give that extra.Ten percent you're going to you're going to do your job, but you're notgoing to go over and above your job, and what I'm trying to do every day isinspire people to really give discretionary effort, because I youknow to go from good to great. You Know Collins Book and it's there's a lot ofit in there to go from good degree that the difference between good and greatcompanies a lot of things, but but the people are the foundation of going fromgood to great. And if you have you know a work force of four hundred of peopleand four hundred to engage people driving hard to read they coming towork every day, especially today joke you know with Ovid and with thesituation in a I mean, I hear it from leaders all the time in the communityhere about the the turn over rate. Is Tremendous people don't want to come towork, etcetera, yeah? We have to go over and above to keep our peopleplugged in and that's that's really the point of gaining people's hearts andminds. I want people to want to come to work and I always say this to the Bebuslist. I'm not a fool. I understand. If you won the lottery tomorrow, you won'tbe here and I get all that, but we have to work. So if we have to work then atleast we can enjoy it. While we're here and we can want to come to work versusgetting up every morning and he having your stomach ache because you know yougot to go back to that place, I don't want that for the people. So really theeffort is to you know, gain their hearts and minds to keep them focusedand make it fun as fun as it can be, make it engaging, and it's a lot ofother things like giving them opportunities to grow in the company toearn more money to do all that stuff right, that they have a voice in theter. Listen to, and that's really what it means. It's super important and Iultimately believe that in any transformation in any world classcompany people are engaged- and that's you know, that's kind of the the priceof intry. If you want to be there, you got to have an engaged workforce andagain I've seen it before I've seen disengaged work forces and they canthey can disengage. Work Force can affect the results of a company veryquickly, because if the people are only eight in the gate they come and theygive you the minimum, the menam effort and they're gone. They don't workovertime, they don't work the week. You know if you're, in a situation whereyou need that, and they don't want to do that- to put yourselves in troublereal quick. So that's that's really what it means, there's a lot to it, butit's it's really all about what the gaining people's their engagement. Howdoes this focus on engaging people's hearts and minds change if, at all, asyou look at Genzo's, or at least the...

...younger generations, entering the Manufaction workforce to question- and I do like there is a difference- I've beenon a panel before where there's some debate about people are people, and weshould treat everybody same in off I'll agree with that, while at the same time,I think we have to be smart enough as leaders and organizations to understandthat there's expectations of our different generations change- and thatis a true fact. I have a twenty two year old and eighteen year old, and Ican tell you that their expectations of work are far different than what minewere of what my fathers were, and so I think it's wise of us to understandthat you know they want more. They want different. They want to be able tocommunicate in different ways that are so. It is important and we are we're onthe custom of that right now. You know we're really developing oursustainability strategy and that's something that you know that is allencompassing as we you know when I first heard of sustainability go back acouple of years, and you know I just assumed at the time. Well, that's youknow waste management, energy consumption, renewable energy, but itis far more than that. I mean it's diversity, inclusion, it's ethics andlegal compliance, it's codes of conduct, that's your suppliers, codes of conduct;it just goes on and on in corporate social responsibility. These are thethings that I believe are super important for the Genz you know, andthose young people, because it matters to them and so having. That is for theright reasons. We need to do it for the right for for all employees, but Ibelieve those things really also are the people of the you know. The newergenerations definitely associate with that more so than my generation, yourgeneration and our parents for example. So I think it's super important andalso creative ways of attracting the younger people, because what we'refinding is the young folks coming out of college they're, not interested inmanufacture, they're, not interested in skill trades, and that's that's aproblem that a number of organizations are realizing as we look forward we,you know, for example, here and we've got a long, tenured work force, whichis Great. At the same time, we've got tool makers and maintenance techniciansthat are in their late is early s and over the next five years I will losesixty percent of the traits. So we are really focusing on developing somepartnerships with the schools in the local area of the technical school. Sowe can start to. You know, engage those people bringing them in, so they can docoops different things like that. That's really important, so we can getthem interested and plugged in because that that's coming at us and reallywe're trying to drive that you know interest of manufacturing, etcetera. IGIVE BMW a plug. I mean they've done an innovation, they they've done a bunchof different things and they're really plugged in with the schools andtechnical, because they see the same thing I mean they need the same thing.We do the trades, the manufacturing professionals, the engineer, themanufacturing, dews and industrial engineers. So there's there's reallysomething coming at us that we got to work on and that's that's a big thing.So you know back to your point I mean, I think, there's a lot of things, aorganizations we have to beaware of and...

...we got to approach things differentlywith the Genz ers and the younger people, because their expectations arefar different than our current work force. Et Cetera, yeah a lot of truthsin there you know I just talked to so many manufacturing leaders between thispodcast and people. I interview, like you, mark between my clients, who areyou know all manufacturing people, and you know it's what everybody's talkingabout. How are we going to get you know the the older generation, leavingespecially in skilled trades and and younger people having a perception ofmanufacturing, is dark, dirty, dangerous working environments. How arewe going to change that? First of all, because that needs to change if, whereit is true and then, secondly, how are we going to engage them? Engage theyouth help them understand that this is there's growth opportunities here,there's interesting technology here, there's so much really cool stuff goingon in manufacturing, so any ways to engage with the community and theschools and to shed a positive light on manufacturing is kind of really whatI'm after, when I, you know kind of doing my job, here's a host of thispodcast. So I like hearing you talk about what SS's doing on that front.You know, on the cost of that, I would say we're just getting going down thatpath. We recognize the need and when we're starting and we're learning, youknow we're parting with with the South Carolina Chamber and the SchoolTechnical Schools Bmws, helping, there's a lot to be learned out. Therego back to this innovation. They you know I attended at mw, I mean they hada lot of. They had clemson there. They had some other schools there. They hadcobo o these collaborative robots. I mean they had AI, so artificialintelligence for training. I an it's really really neat stuff thatabsolutely the Gen zes would be plugged into. So I think that that need forthat a really bringing manufacturing to it. To to your point, it's notsomething that coming out of school, that you know the people today, theyoung, the young people today see as interesting or innovative, but it canbe and in fact, there's a lot of things there, but we just got to be able topromote that and share that and as companies we got to start engaging withthose things, because that's what's going to bring the next generation workforce to us. So I think it's you know it's a great point and I'm sure youcould you could have a podcast with with a conversation about this for fora long time, it's a real real issue coming at us for sure it is absolutelywell mark because there anything else that I didn't ask you about that you'dlike to share with other manufacturing leaders out there before we wrap it up.You know I just summarize that you not regardless, and I have a lot of respectfor a lot of the manufacturers around here. I learn a lot from many of themand, having worked for MAGNA and Margari, I've learned a lot of thingsfrom great companies and appreciate all that at the end of the day, leadershave to lead and leading by example, is not rocket science. It's hard it's hardto do, but it is to my opinion, it's the game, changer, it's the differencebetween getting the results and not necessarily getting the results. Yougot to be leading by example every day and everything we do and I ultimatelygot a strategy, and I you know, I give a lot of credit to this leadership team.We got a great team of people here, I...

...really humbled by them and you knowthey've engaged as two point. Oh they're excited by it. It's interesting,I would add one thing, Joe and all of the customer and I've had quite a fewcustomer visits here and two customers. What I continuously talk about is topoint out and it's interesting how quickly the customers grab to point oimmediately. They start talking about that. You know they really talk. Likewe talk about it, you know we very quickly explain one point: o We talkabout two point, one then the conversation from them to us as well.You know you guys got to do this and to Pinto and make sure that you capturethis, and so it's really interesting, they've really gravitated to it. It's ait's a clean demarcation point where we say we're going from here to here, andI found it very exciting that employees, really they get a kick out of it. Sorryand customers get a kick out of it and they're engaged to it and they ask youabout it. BMW comes here all the time. So where are we have with two point, Oguys what's happening? You know what's the strategy, so I'm really reallyproud about that. So I just again summarized that you know with with allthe respect, lead lead by example and have a strategy and execute yourstrategy, but always make sure that you do what you say. You're going to do isis a foundation well congrats on what you've been able to accomplish. So farmark sounds like you, guys are going in a really great direction, and Iappreciate that thank you, for we are and will keep going, never never it's ajourney, no, not a destination. It is indeed mark. Can you tell our audiencehow they can get in touch with you and also live it where they can learn moreabout sparker steel products yeah? So we just thank you. We just launched ournew websites at Barton, Berg, steel, productos, new website brand new, sowe're still evolving, but you can take a look at there. I'm on Linkedin and myemail addresses and winn at s s Prodom and I'm always willing to share andhelp with. If someone needs perfect will mark thanks again for doing thistoday, thanks you, I appreciate your time. As for the rest of you, I hope tocatch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive. You've been listenning to themanufacturing executive podcast to ensure that you never missed an episodesubscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learnmore about industrial marketing and sales strategy, you'll find an everexpanding collection of articles, videos guides and tools, specificallyfor B to B manufacturers at Grilla, seventy sicot flash a LARNIN. Thank youso much for listening until next time, e.

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