Category Archives: Podcast

Swarfcast Ep. 32 – Work Less and Do More, with Ari Meisel

By Noah Graff

Like many people, I get overwhelmed at work. Sometimes I don’t get the work done I want to do, so I stay at the office an hour or two extra. By the time I get home I feel like I don’t have enough free time for relaxation and other activities.

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I have been repeatedly listening to a book called The Art of Less Doing, by Ari Meisel, today’s podcast interviewee, which has had a real positive effect on my life. Meisel, who calls himself an “overwhemologist,” has a mission to cure the inefficiencies of folks like me so we can have more success professionally and have a lot more free time. He preaches that the secret to having the time to run a successful business and having free time to relax is to become “replaceable” through automation and outsourcing. He says that if a business cannot be run without you then you don’t own a business, you have the privilege of owning your own job.

In the book and with his coaching firm, Less Doing, Meisel provides resources for people to automate processes and then outsource tasks when necessary by using a virtual assistant. He says the ideal is to automate a task before giving it to another human being to accomplish. Some automation methods can be simple, such as creating automatic bill payments, having supplies automatically queued to be sent at the same time once a month, or having email automatically sorted between junk and important contacts.

Ari Meisel on Replacing YourselfMeisel also believes in the merits of a virtual assistant. This was something I had not really considered before and felt a little embarrassed to try, but several months ago Graff-Pinkert hired a man in Albania to work for $10 per hour. He looks online for new contacts to add to our database and he advertises our machines on the Web. In addition to speaking Albanian he speaks English, Swedish, and Turkish, which may come in handy for Turkish customers in the near future. This has freed me up to talk to customers and focus on more complicated tasks. I admit that he sometimes does a more complete job than I would on certain tasks because my attention would have been diverted. Meisel says that the brain is not designed to multi-task, so this result makes sense.

In addition to automation and outsourcing advice, Meisel prescribes a scientific approach to working efficiently based on brain research. He says it is important to find one’s personal peak time to work, which can vary significantly among people. Mine seems to be from about 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. He also believes that setting time limits makes a huge impact on productivity. Studies show that people often make work take the exact amount of time they are allotted, which is why many people, such as myself, work the most efficiently right before a deadline. Data also shows that the brain often works better in sprints, so rather than trudge through a to-do list, only stopping when one task is finished, it is best to work in 25 minute increments, taking five minute breaks in-between.

The idea of working less hours and becoming replaceable can be difficult for people to swallow because doing more work makes us feel valuable in our workplaces and society, but Meisel teaches that once you learn to do less, you can accomplish so much more.

Questions:

What tasks do you wish you could do more efficiently?

Are you replaceable at work?

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Swarfcast Ep. 31 – Ken Mandile, Employees Are Buying His Business

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

On today’s podcast we interviewed Ken Mandile, founder of Swissturn, a successful CNC Swiss machine shop in Oxford, Massachusetts. Ken’s children are not interested in taking over Swissturn when he eventually retires, so five years ago Ken began restructuring his company into an employee stock ownership plan or ESOP, in which he will gradually transfer ownership and management to his employees.

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Before going the ESOP route Ken turned down two lucrative buyout offers from private equity firms. Ken reported that after the first year of restructuring as an ESOP, the value of the company increased by 51%.

Question: Would you want to work at an employee-owned business?

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Swarfcast Ep. 30 – Developing a Machining Culture with Victor and Betty DaCruz

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

On today’s podcast, we interviewed Victor and Betty DaCruz, owners of DaCruz Manufacturing in Bristol, Connecticut. Victor and Betty have transformed their company over the last three decades from a multi-spindle screw machine shop with ACMEs and New Britains into a high-tech CNC turning operation. While other companies complain about not being able to find quality employees, DaCruz has created a culture that attracts high level young people to work at the company.

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Question: Is it a good idea for a husband and wife to work together?

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Swarfcast Ep. 29 – Mark Fordyce, Hydromat Maestro

By Noah & Lloyd Graff

On today’s podcast, we interviewed Mark Fordyce, Team Leader of the Hydromat Parts & Rebuild department at Component Bar Products in St. Louis.

Mark is a Hydromat Maestro. He has been working with rotary transfer machines for over 40 years, first as a self-taught setup man in a job shop, followed by working in the engineering department at Hydromat Inc., and then at Component Bar. He is one of the first people Graff-Pinkert calls when we have a question about a Hydromat, and often the machine we are asking for help on was actually originally set up by him.

In the interview, Mark talks about the beauty of the Hydromat machining process and also where he sees the role of Hydromats in the manufacturing industry going forward.

Question: Is it a better business producing high volumes or low volumes of precision parts?

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Swarfcast Ep. 28 – Bryan Batten, Mechanical Psychologist

By Noah Graff

On today’s podcast, I interviewed Bryan Batten, CEO of Palmetto Precision Machining, located in Anderson, South Carolina. Palmetto Machining is a precision machining/fabrication shop specializing in tooling and automation for the automotive industry. Bryan, who jokingly refers to himself as a mechanical psychologist, discusses the difference between working with automotive companies in different countries, his experience purchasing a machining company, and the manufacturing boom in the South.

Question: Do you have a machine that should go to a shrink?

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Swarfcast Ep. 27 – Dave Thuro on Growing a Machining Business (Part 2)

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

Today’s podcast is Part 2 of our interview with Dave Thuro, second-generation owner of Thuro Metal Products. In this episode, Dave discusses his growth philosophies. He believes in aggressively acquiring as many job opportunities as possible, but then saying no to most of them. The company tries to acquire at least two long term accounts per year that will bring in monthly sales of $50,000 to $100,000.

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Dave also discusses his hiring practices. He believes in hiring the majority of his employees at the entry level and training them from within the company. The company’s 56 person workforce happens to be 50% women.

Question: How does your shop go about acquiring new clients?

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Swarfcast Ep. 26 – Dave Thuro on Growing a Machining Business (Part 1)

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

Today’s podcast is part one of a two-part interview with Dave Thuro, second-generation owner of Thuro Metal Products, a successful job shop in Long Island, New York. The business produces parts for a variety of industries, including aerospace, fuel injectors, HVAC, bearing and linear and, more recently, optics and lighting.

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We spoke to Dave about his equipment choices, focusing on Swiss automatics and multi-turret CNC lathes. We also discussed his father’s journey from Yugoslavia, living in an old army barracks in Munich, Germany, as a refugee following World War II. He became a master machinist in Germany, before immigrating to the United States at the age of 23 and finally starting a machine shop of his own.

Question: Which piece of equipment in your shop is your favorite?

 

 

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Swarfcast Ep. 25 – Brett May on Keeping Cam Screw Machines Relevant

By Noah Graff and Rex Magagnotti

We interviewed Brett May of BME Inc. Screw Machine Attachments for today’s podcast. Brett’s mission in business is to make old cam multi-spindle screw machines like National Acmes, Wickmans, and New Britains into productive money makers in today’s competitive machining environment.

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Brett builds unique attachments which eliminate secondary operations that many people would put on a mill-turn CNC to finish, or run on an accurate but achingly slow Swiss-type machine. When he does his magic he turns supposed clunkers into enormously valuable machine tools.

Brett sees an old Acme and visualizes value, where others see a candidate for the scrap heap. As part of the BME value proposition, he also rebuilds multi-spindle machines, particularly National Acmes.

Question: Have you given up on non-CNC equipment? Why?

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Swarfcast Ep. 24 – Albert Lettman on Lean Manufacturing Around the Globe

By Noah Graff

On today’s podcast, I interviewed Albert Lettmen, a Lean Six Sigma and Quality Systems consultant and educator who has worked for decades with prominent manufacturing companies around the world. Albert grew up in Jamaica, studied business in Scotland, and then worked for companies in Europe, China, Canada and the United States. I was surprised when Albert explained to me that a company eliminating waste and boosting efficiency does not necessarily translate to firing a lot of workers. Over the years I have heard many people in the machining business talk about incorporating Lean Manufacturing into their organization, but I must confess that until this interview the concept of “Lean” remained a mystery to me.

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Question: What areas do you think a consultant could help in your business?

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Swarfcast Ep. 23 – Reflections on the Machining Business 2018

By Noah and Lloyd Graff

In today’s podcast, we reflect on the machining world in 2018 through the lens of what went right and what went wrong for Graff-Pinkert’s used machine tool business and Today’s Machining World.

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One key observation from 2018 is that Graff-Pinkert is becoming more reliant on our extensive knowledge of the equipment market rather than the cam machine refurbishing business, which historically has been Graff-Pinkert’s base business. Brokering the sale of modern CNC multi-spindles and consulting with customers on buying and selling machining businesses have become vital revenue streams.

As for Today’s Machining World, Swarfcast is our most exciting addition. The podcast is growing, but we admit it has been more of a challenge than we expected to convert readers to listeners. Many people tell us that they don’t have time to listen to a podcast. To that I reply that the beauty of a podcast is that you don’t have to consume it all in one sitting and you have the opportunity to listen while driving or exercising or doing chores. Also, recorded interviews give us the ability to provide more in-depth stories than blogs.

Sit back enjoy today’s podcast as we reflect on these topics, as well as China, Trump, gratitude and marriage. Happy New Year!

Question: What was the best thing that happened to you in 2018?

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