The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 year ago

How to Solve the Manufacturing Recruitment Puzzle w/ Patrick O'Rahilly


The industrial sector's labor market has shifted over the past decade. From the emergence and adoption of recruiting technologies by Indeed and LinkedIn to the widening manufacturing skills gap, most manufacturers face stiff challenges on the recruiting and hiring front.

On today's episode, I talk about solving the problems in hiring with Patrick O'Rahilly, Founder at

Here's what we discussed:

  1. Recruiting and hiring mistakes manufacturers make today
  2. What it costs to make a hire
  3. The future of hiring in the manufacturing sector

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

Ultimately hire jury proactive and we're building a typefline for your company. You know exactly where to go and that situation happens. Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that are driving mid size manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to another episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host and a CO founder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla. Seventy six from the emergence and adoption of recruiting technologies by companies like, indeed, Linkedin and others, to the widening manufacturing skills gap, to the more recent disruptions caused by the pandemic, the industrial sector labor market has changed so much over the past decade. There are few manufacturing organizations that I talk to that haven't mentioned their challenges on the recruiting and hiring front, and so today my guest is an expert in this exact space. Patrick o'riley is the founder and CEO of factory fix, recruiting platform built specifically for the manufacturing industry. Previously, Patrick was the cofounder of Compass Automation, a company that built custom automation solutions for manufacturers. Compass was eventually bought by tesla in two thousand and seventeen. Patrick, welcome to the show. Yeah, thanks for ever. You bet well, Patrick. You and I talked a few weeks back to sort of formulate some ideas for this conversation, and I thought that the story of what led you kind of to where you are today, is...

...the founder of factory fix, is one worth telling you. The the bio I just read was doesn't do any it doesn't do justice at all, though, what you've, you know, experienced in your career and what's kind of helped you wind up where you are at this moment in time. So I was hoping you could kind of recap that and give our listeners sort of an idea of who you are and where you came from. Yeah, so factory fix is actually born out of my first company, which was compos automation. I actually started that right out of high school, if right out our college ex used me with two high school friends and you know, we ended up designing and building custom automation solutions for manufacturers and really had no idea what you're doing when we started. But, you know, my partner really smart and we just figured it out over time. But if you have any listeners in that in that business, they know it's just an absolutely like brutal business. You know, every machine you're doings completely custom. You're only doing one of them, giving like, you know, fixed bids anywhere from half a million to a million dollars before you even design like a single component. We never, like actually really made any sort of profit building the actual machines. But what did come of that is, after we install the machine, you know, customers would always called us back for service opportunities or little upgrade projects, programming projects, that sort of thing, and those were really profitable. So basically we got together and said we need more of those jobs. Like how do we do that? So ended up watching a website calling it factory fix one to keep it separate in case like our competitors would potentially use us and...

...that sort of thing. And the idea was kind of automation guy on demand, right, like Uber for Automation Guy. So We'd send customers to this website. They basically fell out a form and say I need a controls engineer for a week or something like that, and I would basically you find someone in my network that did, you know, that type of Gig work and just play matchmaker and, you know, handle the billing and insurance and that sort of thing. And the idea it was going to build this into a more like automated platform that would make the matches, you know, automatically and all that good stuff. But once I got into factory fix full time, you know quickly realize that that's not a super scalable business and that the bigger pain was filling these full time jobs. You know, I talked to customers and they say, you know, the projects of is great when I have it, but you know, can you fill this second shift machinist position for me? So, you know, we were super scrappy and you know, being a start up, we could do pivots and you know, ended up where we are today, which is, you know, most of our businesses is filling full time roles for companies. Yeah, that's really cool. How you, I mean you, you were in your right there in the business. You saw the issue in where the need really was and and sort of build something around it. So okay. So what's of us? The the quick rundown of what factory fix is today for those who aren't familiar. Yeah, so we are a recruiting platform built specifically for manufacturing companies. So you can think about our product as really two components, the first being our network of manufactured professionals. So we've over a hundred and seventyzero workers that have signed...

...up and build profiles and it's like a you know, pseudo linkedin experience, but we're capturing the data that manufacturers like actually care about. You know, for example, if if you're a machinist and you sign up, you're actually telling us like what types of machines you have experienced with, like do you know mills or Laths, even brands? You know, have you worked on hosses or mazed acts industries, like the types of parts you've made, that sort of thing. And you know, with that data we were able to make better matches. And then the second piece of our product is this technology that we've built to one fine people that are the right match for your particular job, but then also when applicants come in, we're able to automatically screen and vet that through, you know, those cold chat that we build that will actually, you know, ask specific questions about that candidates experience and then this algorithm that'll actually like score the candidates resume and then their answers to those questions and determine whether or not they're a good fit for your job, so that customers aren't, you know, wasting time with with applicants that either don't have the right experience or, you know, aren't located close enough to the facility or, you know, want too much money. That then that customers willing to pay that sort of thing. So, yeah, that's what we are today. It sounds like a really great platform. where, Patrick, you see manufacturing companies making mistakes with their recruiting and hiring efforts today? Obviously something led you to say, Hey, there's a gap here, a hole that has to be filled, and what are some of those mistakes that you're...

...seeing? Yeah, I think the biggest thing is that there's a lot of unnecessary friction in the hiring process, with a lot of companies that we talked to. I mean they these are companies that is like unbelievable manufacturing processes. You know, they practice lean manufacturing, there's no wasted effort, and yet in the hiring process they'll have unnecessary steps where, you know, maybe it's a you know, one h our person and there sifting through resumes and then they have to do a phone screen with the candidate and then after that they'll send the resume to the hiring manager on the the production floor, wait for them to give feedback and then try to coordinate with their schedule and then get back to the candidate and try to coordinate with their schedule. And with every or with each unnecessary step, you're going to see like more and more candidates drop off, especially in the tight, way red market that we see today. And so, you know, that's our goal and factory fix. We want to build features that are going to streamline this process and we're really working towards this like ultimate goal of having like the most efficient recruiting process possible where, you know, a company can post a job and then our software will immediately know who's a good fit for that job. Africans will come in, we'll be able to score them and then hopefully schedule the interview right there, so the candidate will just show up ready for their fire at the interview. So that's what we're working towards. Should try to knock out all of those unnecessary steps. Yeah, it's interesting to hear you talk about this because it resembles, you know, a lot of a lot of things that are part...

...of my world, is a marketing agency, where there are, you know, marketing automation, for example. There are elements of the marketing process that should be automated based on, you know, Data and various inputs that somebody provides to help you, you know, kind of screen someone and and help, you know, show maybe who's a fit and who's not. But ultimately you're going to need people to do it. It just streamlines a process, it speeds it up, it eliminates bloat, gives you a process. So it's it's just interesting to hear you kind of talk through what this does. I can see the value. So how do you think? Is there anything you'd comment on that in terms of how you believe that manufacturers should be thinking it differently about recruiting and hiring today? So I think I think today you see a lot of companies be very reactive in their hiring process. Right, like my guy on second shifts quit. I need to show that role and I'm willing to pay whatever it takes to like fill it, which need a machine running. So I think we said that's where you run into paying more than you need to. High cost per higher, but ultimately hire and should be proactive and where you're building a pipeline for your company, you know exactly where to go and that situation happens and ultimately it's just like I mentioned before, eliminating any ways you can throughout that process. Yeah, I'd again make a parallel comparison to marketing. It's like you can't wait to start generating new business when all of a sudden, you know there's a there's you lose five customers. Are some emergency pops up, like you need to be prepared for when that inevitably does happen, have a pipeline ready, and it's really the same thing on the people side of the business, right. Yeah, exactly.

And you know, another comparison to marketing, right, like these companies are, for the most part, good and knowing what their cost is to require a new customer. However, you know, we talked to a lot of companies that don't know what it costs them to make a higher right on the recruiting side. And and you know, I see that. There's a couple of reasons why that is one. You know, they they see it as a necessary evil. When that position opens up, right going back to hiring, being to react active, they'll pay whatever it takes to whether that the you know, job board fees or, you know, paying a recruiter or something like that, just to get that position filled. And then the other things like it's not a super easy metric to calculate, right. You need to you need to add all of the job board spend, any fees paid to staffing firms, any salaries for recruiters, any African tracking software use, and you know, divide that by the number of hires you can make. But, you know, I think that is a metric that company should track, just like, you know, cost to acquire customer. Are there any benchmarks that you guys lean on there or you know something that's established as a way to just sort of guide someone? Yeah, you know, there's there's some things out there. I've seen for the manufacturing industry that, you know, somewhere around five thou costper higher is like the industry standard. But as something that you know, we get factory fixed. Try to show as a tangible metric that we can help you improve on this and are, you know, our pricing and our business model is all, you know, hinge to that very cooled. So, Patrick, and what ways do you think...

...that this world of hiring, and the manufacturing sector specifically, will continue to evolve in the years ahead? You know, I honestly I think we're kind of in in for a world of her care in these coming years. As you know, the skills gap gets more serious and the labor market, you know, tendens even more. You know, we're going to have to figure out how to recruit and attract more talent to manufacturing and you know, obviously you know hang more is easier than it sounds. So I do think like wages are going to have to go up a little bit. But you know, one thing I think we can do better as an industry is, you know, building like career development paths for people getting into the industry. Right just just making it super clear how, okay, you're a machine operator today, here's the steps and the skills that you need to learn in order to make a six figure career and manufacturing in seven years or something like that. You know, it's something that other industries do pretty well and you know it does take intentional effort to map that out. But once we can do that, then we can figure out, okay, how do we actually train those skills? And you know, it's just more attractive for people if they can see, you know, wait at the end of the tunnel and how you can make a really lucrative career in this industry. Yeah, those are all really good points. The sort of painting a picture for someone of what career advancement looks like is probably a a missed opportunity for a lot of businesses. Yeah, I agree. I think it's it's it gets back to that like reactive versus proactive hiring and you know, if you as a as an owner,...

...can kind of map out career pass in your company, I think you're going to have an easier time attracting those entry level positions if they know that they can, you know, get a promotion in two years or that they will get a promotion in two years if they hit the benchmarks necessary. What, if any, impact have you seen over the last year or so? You know, we're recording this right now in January of two thousand and twenty one, but in the middle of this pandemic, are there any observations about how the labor market is changed in manufacturing as a result of any of this? Yeah, it's really, really, really tough right now, you know, especially with you know, the cares act and, you know, unemployed and it benefits obviously increasing temporarily there you're seeing a lot of candidates just stay home rather than, you know, I actively try to find a job and you know, obviously I don't blame them, but it just makes makes it more important for you as an employers just to make your process as efficient as possible. And so yeah, we're seeing a lot of issues with that. A lot of you know, the biggest thing that I didn't realize was such a problem before I started this was interview no shows. You're seeing that as like an all time high. You know, candidates who say they're interested, they apply, they schedule the interview just won't show up and you know, I'm sure covid is thrown a ranch into that and plays into that but you know, I'm sure your listeners have dealt with that and you know, we're trying to figure out ways to, you know, prove that with notifications and acceptance, automated acceptances. And Yeah, it's just a it's just an issue.

That's that's gotten worse in this season. Yeah, it's interesting. It's something I wouldn't I wouldn't have anticipated either. You'd think you know a job interview right, you show up or if you're not interested, you let him know, but not always the case. Yeah, and and sites like indeed and Linkedin, and it's so easy to apply for multiple jobs at once that candidates like they have no idea what they're applying you most of the time. Right, if your machine operator, you apply for a machine operator job, indeed, will like send you a pop up with these, like twenty other machine operator opportunities and you can just like apply all and those companies just think you sought out their job and applied for that. So it's even more critical to do another screening, obviously to confirm they are actually interested in this opportunity, and then following up and then hoping they show to the interview. Wow, yeah, now that's that's interesting. With technology platforms are making the problem worse. They're helping in ways and hurting and others, I suppose. But okay. Well, Patrick, is there anything else you would like to add to this conversation that I didn't ask you about? I don't think so. No, I mean, I loved have your listeners. Manufacturing owners or you know, hr people or whoever you know, feel free to reach out my emails. Patrickty of factory fixcom. We offer free trials of factory fix. You know, we're all about like proving that we can add value to your company before you commit anything. But you know, even companies that want to talk strategy or you know, talk about their hiring process. So I'm open to it. I love talking shop. So No, just appreciate the opportunity. Yeah, I know, that's great. Well, I'd advise anybody listened...

...take Patrick up on the offers. Is a guy who's been through it and he's has seen a lot. So anybody's struggling on in the hiring front, encourage to reach out or to check check out factory fixcom. So really cool platform you've put together, Patrick. Yeah, thanks, I really appreciate it. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you doing this today and for the rest of you listening, I hope to catch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive you've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy, you'll find an ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically for B Tob Manufacturers at Gorilla Seventy sixcom learn thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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