The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 year ago

Start With the Problem, Not the Technology w/ Jonathon Hensley


From Industry 4.0 to 3D printing to wearable technology, there are so many advancements happening in manufacturing.

But it's easy to get sidetracked by these shiny objects.

We need to focus on the problem or goal at hand first. And then APPLY the right-fit technology accordingly.

On this episode of the podcast, I invited Jonathan Hensley, co-founder and CEO of Emerge Interactive, a digital product consulting firm that works with companies to improve operational agility and customer experience.

Jonathon and I talked about:

  1. Digital products and services that might be applied in the industrial sector
  2. Customer experience in the data
  3. Changing operations, supply chain disruption, and labor retention in the manufacturing space

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

The lack of these tools is reallyholding them back when it comes to the customer experience the dataside it'sholding them back in their goals, with kind of moving into industial or Planoand advancement. You know manufacturing practices and really how can theystreamline and reinvent parts of their business to drive long term success. Welcome to the manufacturing executivepodcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that aredriving midsize manufacturers Florwad here you'll discover new insights frompassionate manufacturing leagers, who have compelling stories to share abouttheir successes and struggles and youwill learn from btob 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. This show is being brought to you by oursponsor cadinus part solutions, I'm Joe Sullivan your host and a cofounder ofthe Industrial Marketing Agency Garilla, seventy six. So it's really easy to getexcited about technology for you as a manufacturer, it's particularly an ITparticularly interesting time. Right now. You think industry, four point OuIot, thd, printing wearabout technology. There are so many incredibleadvancements that have taken shape of the last decade and even over the lastfew years, but like with any new technological advancement that's evercome about. We can also get really easily sidetracked by that Shiny ObjectSyndrome, and the reality is that technology is there to help us solve aproblem or do achieve a goal, and we really need to start with that problemor goal and then apply the right fit technology to it, so as opposed toforcing a fit where the technology can actually lead us off course, andsometimes, let's start with the issue at hand, and so that brings us to ourguest for this week's episode. Today, I'm talking with Jonathan HensleyCofounder and CEO of emerge interactive, a digital product, consulting firm thatworks with companies to improve operational agility and customerexperience for more than two decades. Jonathan has helped organizationstransform their businesses by turning strategy. User needs an newtechnologies into valuable digital products and services. JonathanWrightes, and speaks about his experiences and insights from hiscareer and regularly hosts in depth interviews with business leaders andindustry insiders. He lives in the Pacific northwest with his wife and twoboys originally from Silicon Valley, Jonathan got into digital productbudigital product space, inspired by the incredible people, developing newtechnologies, all around him and the possibilities they unlocked. Thisfueled his curiosity to understand how technology transforms the way in whichpeople live in work. Not Curiosity continues to drive him today, as heworks to help businesses harness technology. Jonathan's work focuses onhelping leaders define the value they want to create in a sustinct andtangible way where to focus. Why and what it'll take to achieve that outcome?His favorite part is going beyond the idea and mapping how you bring togetherpeople, Data and processes so that clients can succeed. Jonathan welcometo the manufacturing executive. Thank you so much for having me Joe Awesome. Well, Jonathan, turning newtechnologies into valuable digital products and services, as stated inyour bile, could mean a whole lot of things. So could you give thismanufacturing audience a better sense for what exactly we're talking abouthere or what are examples of digital products or services that might beapplied in the industrial sector? Sure so, when we think of digitalproducts or services, you can think of everything from your website that hasmoved beyond. Just a marketing tool is now part of the way that you deliveryour products or services or Ernhancing the value you're bringing to the market.You can think of internal business...

...applications that need to be built thatare replacing Oldor, antiquated technologies or physical processes, andthat can extend from web mobile or IOT technologies. As you look to inivateinto streamline our operations, okay, great- and I heard you talkrecently on another manufacturing podcast, and it's something you saidthat sort of stuck with me and really fueled. My introduction to this episodewas that you need to start with the problem, not the technology, and Icompletely agree with you here. It applies to really so many differentparts of running a business knoas, a marketing guy. I hear things all thetime like I need a new website. I want to implement a software like hub, spotor whatever it might be, and I always respond by simply asking why right andthen another y and you kind of dig deeper there, but what you're reallytrying to get to is what's the problem that this organization is trying tosolve, that has led them to this conclusion that they need thistechnology or this, let's look at what you're trying to achieve. First thenfigure out if a new website or help spot implimentation, O whatever is thebest solution. So in your World Jonathan. Can you give a tangibleexample of say a common problem that you've seen a manufacturer experiencethat you've helped helped hem break down before saying, okay and here's thetechnology fit to apply to that problem? Absolutely so a lot of times what wesee is they've, you know lets you just Ese a website, because everybody canrelate to that is t. They have an existing website and most people'swebsites are significantly underperforming. Unfortunately, and thereason for that can be a combination of things, it might have a problem withproper positioning or marketing the types of things that you're helpingyour client solve. But then it might go beyond that once it thos site goes into.How does it facilitate the actual delivery or services that amanufacturers providing? So how is the website helping you get order intakes?How are you educating a prospect? How are you differenciating between thebuyer of your product, and maybe the user of your product in some inoftentimes- are very different and or there's a very complex or differentbuying process, depending on what type of product they're avaluating? And sowhen we come in and we look at that, we're really breaking down thoseproblems into detail and tying them back about how they're impacting you know, revenue how theyre drivingcost that they shouldn't be incurring and those that are in charge of thosewebsites are typically dealing with their own frustrations and not only thelack of performance but those websites. Now don't have the flexibility or thescalability to adapt to the new strategies and things that they'retrying to do to drive those results because they haven't been architecteccorrectly, because the technology wasn' thought through in advance to allowthem to develop that skill and resilience. I think one example that I think asbeen really good is John deer did a good job with their mobile presence,specifically of trying to extend what's on their website and providing a sweetinformation and access points to their product offering and they were able tocreate a hub. They brought it al together as a unified experience andwhat we've seen is a lot of manufacturers when they start to moveinto that space. They start to have a lot of one off digital properties,whether it be, and you know, and all of a sudden. Now they have a Suede of APSand it becomes overwhelming to manage that and it starts to amplify issuesthat may have been underlined before. They've even made that investment,where maybe now they have information living in different places across theorganization stortup. Instead of a single source of truth- and so I thinkJohn Dear- did a really good job of thinking that, through an advance andapplying a solution that could help them an Ebiliby scaling manage of thecouse of operating that... Jonathan when you- and I weretalking recently, you mentioned that there were two specific challenges thattend to hold a lot of companies back and those were one and incompletepicture of the customer journey and then to data accessibility. Can Youunpack those two challenges for us? A little bit absolutely go so the first one aroundcustomer experience. A lot of organizations, especially inmanufacturing today, are having to look at how they're going to reinvent theirbusiness or modernize their business, and that's got to start with looking atconsumer expectations, whether theiare manufacturing products that are fordirect consumers or there a be to be manufacture and focusin like even onindustrial level. You know products and services. So what we see a lot is that there is a now an expectation at alllevels for having a consumer, great experience, and so that is challengingmanufacturers to think about much much more indept levels of design, thinkingand broadening their understanding of what customer experience is and meansin their organizations, and we see some of the most advanced manufacturers outthere or I shouldn't shouldn't, say advanced manufactoring, but those thatare really you know driving. You know ther their markets to be pushing thoseboundaries of what that looks like for their space. I think g health is agreat example. They really embrace the the patient experience and driving thatwhen they think about the innovation of their technologi and what they'rebuilding for their customers and so organizations today have a couple ofreally big things. They need to do the first one is they need to come to aunderstanding at all levels from the C suite down to the front line of whatdoes customer experience me, and we find that a lot of times there that'spretty fragmented, and so it's really important to come to a consensus onwhat that means for their organization and what being customer centric is. Thesecond part is, then mapping that customer journey, what Dos that buyersjourney, look like whether it's direct purchase or maybe through a distributeddealer or other channels that they might have global markets that they'reconsidering they need to start to understand what is the buyerpath,especially for organizations that have been predominantly driven by you know.Sales or traditional kind of you know, boots on the ground approach, and now,during these times, they're having to look at what we can't travel, we can'tdo hands on. We can't get people into show rooms or demos way that we used toso now. We've got to think about technology and the way that we can usethat to educate perspective buyers enable people that are already activeconsumers of our product or service. How do we, you know, get them throughthat funnel and allow them to self serve or address issues as we goforward, and so understanding that total picture is really critical. Thesecond thing that it does that we find around customer experience is thatthey're asking now more than ever teams across the organization to participatein how non only can we increase the overall experience for our customers.But how do we manage our costs and when you need people to start collaboratingeverybody requires that total picture. So they can really understand the scopeof that customers. Experience of what needs to be considered, and so bymapping that out and having that understanding organizations arebasically unlocking huge potential and identifying areas of where they canfocus. It will make the most significant impact on their revenue andthe bottom line. The next piece to that is what you talked about on the daside,and so we see a lot of organizations really struggling with this right now.This is both an issue and delivering on the customer experience as it much asit is on how they operate internally, and it's there's a lot of just olderprocesses that are now in place that are being challenged. So some Specifiexamples of that is they might have...

...distributed tools across theorganization, but they all need the same set of information or theyrehaving duplicate work, taking place across multiple parts and across teams,and if they had a better tool, a better piece of software, they might be ableto do that. Work once increase their efficiency and have those peopleworking on other things that are more important, and so without that sharedcomponents, and that data they're really locked into thes silods that areholding theur organization back from from performing I'll, give a veryspecific example where both of these issues are holding back a previousclient. They we had a client who was you know they h their globalmanufacture. They produce industrial goods. They were really looking at likehow do we put new tools in the hands of our justdistribution partners and their systems, the way that they could manage thatinformation was so fragmented. There were so many versions of it that it wasgoing to take two years just to bring that together before they could putthose tools in the hands of those Di. Now those distributors are saying. Well,if you can't get me what I need to sell your product, my business is at risk asa distributor. I nead now to push on other product lines that might becompetitive to yours, and so there was this huge point of friction. The senseof urgency of we need to get our house in order internally, so that we have.We can capitalize on the opportunity an the needs of our distributors, who aredriving our sales that we've spent so many years building his relationshipsand that really got amplified when people had to start working from homeand dealers have to start closing doors to to their customers. So I think thatyou know we see in many many cases that this is an issue. It also shows up inother areas both on the customer side of the dataside is when you don't havethese things working together, you have, you might have ten versions of a quote,or you know multiple versions of something that's floating out there andhow do you clearly know which one is the right one, or maybe you of twopeople working on the same thing at the same time, but there's no way for themto collaborate or know unless they're physically, you know, or virtually youknow talking to each other and do you have a system that supports that and wefind in a lot of cases. Those processes are not in place and they're followingkind of older models running around with you know, excel spread sheets oreven clipboard, still o to an extent and following come of their old, youknow standard operating procedures and these the lack of these tools is reallyholding them back. When it comes to the customer experience the dataside, it'sholding them back in their goals, with kind of moving into industial or Planoand advancement, you know manufacturing practices and really, how can theystreamline and reinvent parts of their business to drive long term success?We're going to take a thirty second breather here for a word from oursponsor cadinus part solutions. Let's talk real quick about getting specified.Are you a component manufacturer? Maybe you sell architectural products toparks or large facilities, engineers and architects need models of yourproducts to test fit in their designs. That's where cadinus comes in to helpyou create a dynamic, sharable, cad catalogue. You put on your website.Designers can preview the product from any angle and download it in the formatthey prefer. They get the data they need for their design and you get afresh lead to add. O Your Marketing Pipeline to get one of your productsturned into an online thredmodel for free use. The code executive at part,Solutionscom, executive God, examples there. So in order to support a deliver on thecustomer, experience that you know s...

...sort of expected. What do you, whatkind of things do companies need to be thinking about internally? Sointernally, we see a lot of interesting conversations that I think are prettycommon right now happening around changing operations, supply chaindisruption, Labor retension. These are all really big issues that a lot ofmanufacturers are being faced with those manufacturers that are luckyenough to be in high demand right now or also looking at capacity issues, andhow do they support that and then others are looking at on demand youknow manufacturing and how they can. You know streamline that process to bemore efficient and effective, so they can do smaller runs of product as wellpotentially. So what we see happening internally right now is the need forthat. In order to deliver on the customer experience, they ind thatdatalayer. If it's fragmented, they start, they need to start to haveinitiatives and start building tools that start consolidating those things,and so we've seen organizations make huge investments into building.Basically what we would call sources of truth, thereare solutions that you knoware allowing you to bring the information al together in one place.So that no matter where you sit in the organization, you know you know, what'sa customer doing with your products, what you know. Well, it's the actualpropensity for a crossseller upsell opportunity. How can I increase theeffect that this is my marketing? You know how do I I drive. You know morereturn on investment for spend when I'm looking. So I, where I can get a morecomplete picture of how perspective customers are engaging with us on the employee side, we're seeing alot of focus around employe safety right now. How can you use things likemobile technologies, or you know, employee portals things like that toactually drive that retension, that feeling of safety and trust, an theOrganization d being able to distribute benefits and other things? Containineducation is a good example that will increase that retention and engagementof your workforce and keeping them. You know in you know and committed to whatyou're doing and driving he organization forward when we thinkabout like supply chain disruption, we're looking at how you know. How doyou buy and you know, move raw materials into your manufacturingprocess? What does that look like? Are you engaging with suppliers that haveare going through that modernization themselves? We've talked to a lot, forexample, buyers who are looking at ways of you know. How can I do moreselfservice, the traditional, maybe pick up the phone or shoot an email gothrough the you know the product catalogue, virtual or not, is just notenough anymore. They want complete autonomy, selfservice capabilities, andthis is forcing you know, manufacturers, and you know, material providers toreally think about. How are we going to create an exchange, and how do Iunderstand in a real time what my leat? You know, what leads are to gettingthese materials through and his's? You know, obviously, I'm focused on the onthe operation and the software side and thinking about the cupsomer experience,but these conversations usually quickly turn into also. This is a way for us tomitigate much bigger risks around. You know political concerns. You knowresource scarcity issues, you know tax and tariffs that are as removingproducts globally. So these become very, very important for larger manufacturers.The stakes are even higher right now I mean we have one client as an example.They have they work with contract manufacturers to support their supplychain all over the world. They have a little O red thousand contractmanufacturing facilities that they work with at different stage, is fomdifferent products that they produced and so understanding how to managesuppliers a e more effectively and have that transparency and how they engagein information. So they know where to...

...invest. What partners are the best toinvest into to pliforate new technologies, to inovate untheirproducts in our they able to deliver and meet that customer prop, you knowproblem: Are they able to deliver on their brand promises? Those arebecoming. You know, more difficult and more complex than ever, and technologyis become the backbone of helping solt those problems. Now that's good you're,hitting on a lot of things there that you know issues that everybody I talkedto Wis experiencing. You know Labor to supply chain. These are these: AreCommon struggles for manufacturers? What Jonathan? What else would you liketo add to this conversation that I haven't asked you about? If anythingwell, I think that one thing that comes up a lot is just just really simplequestion of: Where do I start yeah or you know, we've got a lot of things inflight. How do we know we're doing the right things, and I think those are theright questions to be asking right now and hthere's, two things that I wouldlove to add to that which we see from the technology side. One is, if youhaven't really detail, mapped your current state of Your Business. Youneed to those that are actual. If you have anidea and you're just moving forward with it. You know the statistic show.Eighty four percent of digital transformation initiatives fail, andthat means either they completely fail or they miss expectations and usuallythat's because Thereis, a stratetgic foundation, that's missing and thatfoundation needs to start with mappping the current state of Your Business, andyou need to really understand that, and so a lot of the work that we do issometimes just that foundational steff to set up organizations for success.When you do that, you're able to prioritize and see theinterdependencies of your initiatives and understand how that's going toimpact the bigger organization strategy and goals that you've set, whether thatbe still for two thousand and twenty or moving into you know next year. So thisis tried and true it's you know. You see companies like to Yoota that arefamous for it with their. You know, focus on you know, customer experienceand how they model and map current state to future state, and then youknow really being extremely disciplined and understanding. What is the idealstate that they want to end in as a manufacturing, and that's why the wholeToota, you know lean manufacturing process as been embraced by so manymanufacturers, and this is so well studied- is because they understandcustomer experience and operational agility come from from that process.It's that deep understanding of the challenges and then applying yourefforts and resources to the rigt things so that that would be the firstone. The second one is there are, I think, in technology. There's thispromise a lot or this kind of unspoken promise thattechnology is the solution, but technology is only as good as thepeople and the processes that support it. So we going back to the websiteexample. You know a website is only as good as the people that are running outbebside in the process is there to support them, and so this is where Ithink the it's really important. Thatorganizations understand that when they building these things like a website,these, maybe a client portal or a something to support employeeengagement and safety that they're really treating these as prots, wherethere's a continued investment into making sure they their performance isat their very best. You're continuously driving, discovering improvement tomake these things. You know anchors in your business that will drive. You knowlong term botiability, and so we see a lot of that thats conversationshappening right now, but there's not enough people who have the experienceto support that work, and so it's a really important manufacturers find theright people to support those processes... that they're set up for success.Yeah Great, I think, that's a really great point, a good way to put a bow onit to Jonathan. So can you tell listeners a little bit about where anwhere they can learn more about emergein eractive connect with youonline? You know if they'd be interested in talking how that startsabsolutely so best way to learn a little bit of more about Amergeinmyself is go to Amerge interactivecom. We've got tons of free resources therefor listeners in Ur, our blog about developing digital solutions andproducts that I I encourage everyone to go check out if they like to from there.If they like to schedule, we offer a free consultation for anybody, that'slooking to engage to developing a digital product or service orpotentially, maybe they have one, and it's just underperforming and they're,trying to figure out why or what they could do next and they're looking forthat sounding border that opportunity and how they can move forward. You knowI encourage everybody to reach out to us, we'd love to spend the time andtalk about how we might be able to help. It sounds like a no brainer if Youre,if this is the stuff. That's on your mind which for a lot of our listeners,I know it will be so d encourage everybody go, take a look at whatemerge is doing and take Jonathan up on that. So before we wrap this up, I want to saythank you once again to our sponsor cadinus part solutions for helping makethis episode, AF reality and Jonathan thanks ton for being a guest. Today, you so much for having me Jo. It wasgreat you bettn. As for the rest of you, I hope to catch you on the next episodeof the Manufacturing Executive. You've been listening 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 sale strategy, you'll find an everexpanding collection of articles, videos guides and tools specificallyfor btob manufacturers at Gerilla. Seventy SIXCOM flashalarn. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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