Top 3 Characteristics of a Successful Manufacturing Team

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Dec 2, 2016 6:00:00 PM

Read Time: 3 Minutes, 30 Seconds

In my last post, I listed the things for which I am most grateful. Included in that list was my Rockstar management team, namely because their effectiveness frees up my time to work ON the business instead of being mired IN the business. They are passionate, engaged, and work hard to live out our Core Values every day. The question I get most often is, how did I cultivate such an amazing team? Below find the top three characteristics needed when building a successful manufacturing team:

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Topics: culture

Gratitude is a Gift

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Nov 18, 2016 6:00:00 PM

Read Time: 2 Minutes

Out of our six Core Values at Fusion OEM, I believe that Show Gratitude is the most important.  Our management team firmly believes that possessing a strong sense of gratitude is the key element to an individual’s pursuit of happiness. Gratitude is a gift, both to possess and to share with others. In today’s blog, I would like to share the things I am grateful for with you.

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Topics: culture, leadership

Great Interview Questions for Manufacturing Talent – Part Three

Posted by Courtney Underwood

Nov 11, 2016 6:37:22 PM

Read Time: 4 Minutes 

What separates the good candidates from the great? In the first and second part of this series, we established that often the dealbreaker is soft skills, traits that enable someone to interact successfully with other people. Now, we’ll discuss the deeper dive into assessing each manufacturing applicant’s character, achieved via our final interview.

The final interview is unique to Fusion and offers an array of insight for several reasons. By bringing in an applicant for a second time, we can ensure that their demeanor is consistent. Were they enthusiastic the first time and reserved the second? Did they emphasize teamwork during the first interview and later reveal a preference to work alone later on? Furthermore, it gives the applicant an opportunity to meet with potential future coworkers, who might pick up on things that you’ve missed in previous interactions.

During this meeting, candidates meet with their prospective Department Manager, team members, and other company leaders. The collective goal ensure that hiring the applicant is a good decision for the company as a whole. Below find a sample of the questions used during this last step of the process:

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Topics: core values, hiring, culture

Great Interview Questions for Manufacturing Talent – Part Two

Posted by Courtney Underwood

Nov 4, 2016 7:19:40 PM

Read Time: 3 Minutes

In the first part of this series, we discussed how we revamped our phone interview questions to identify soft skills, characteristics that enable someone to interact effectively with other people. A majority of the time people are fired from their jobs because of soft skills in manufacturing, rather than hard skills. Manufacturers need to focus more on soft skills since you can always train hard skills, but you cannot train people to have the right outlook. In short, we hire for attitude and train for aptitude.

As a result, we took the redesign of our hiring process even further, and applied this new perspective to the next step: face to face interviews. During this meeting, candidates meet with their prospective Department Manager, whose goal is to get to know the applicant as thoroughly as possible in order to properly assess their soft skills. Below find a sample of the questions used during this portion of the process:  

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Topics: hiring, culture

Great Interview Questions for Manufacturing Talent – Part One

Posted by Courtney Underwood

Oct 28, 2016 6:31:51 PM

Read Time: 2 Minutes, 30 Seconds

In today’s economy, the search for manufacturing talent is more intense than ever. Reports of the widening skills gap – and the resulting competition for qualified applicants - appear in the news practically every day. As a rapidly expanding contract manufacturer, Fusion OEM has successfully addressed this issue by redesigning our hiring process to attract and retain the best and brightest applicants.

Prior to this change, our phone screening processes weren’t as conducive to discovering soft skills, characteristics that enable someone to interact effectively with other people. Instead, we used a series of written tests to measure technical aptitude. This traditional method did not lead to building much-needed conversations to find out who our applicants were. We wanted to know their strengths, their weaknesses, their goals, passions – who they were as people, not a set of scores. We place as much, if not more, emphasis on hiring an applicant that will fit culturally within our organization than hiring an applicant with superior technical skills. Therefore, we revamped our phone screening interview by adding the following questions:

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Topics: hiring, culture

What Makes Good Manufacturing Workers Go Bad

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Oct 21, 2016 5:42:07 PM

Read Time: 3 Minutes

An engaged employee is easy to spot on the Production floor: They are passionate, bright, creative, and just plain pleasant to be around. They are responsive to direction and input from others, take initiative, complete their work in a timely manner, ask appropriate questions, and are willing to volunteer when asked.   But what happens when an effective employee's performance begins to take a tumble? When your formerly close-to-perfect team member turns into a problem? Here are four common culprits that can turn the best apples from good to rotten:

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Topics: oem, culture

Rebalancing the OEM Production Floor

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Oct 14, 2016 6:50:27 PM

Read Time: 4 Minutes

As an industrial original equipment manufacturer (OEM), your goal is to produce high-quality, relevant products for your customers that provide the most efficiency in today’s manufacturing marketplace. This efficiency can be achieved by rebalancing your production floor to achieve Product Line Simplification (PLS) with the 80/20 Rule.

When applying the 80/20 rule for product simplification, you liberate your in-house resources required to produce 80% of the products that are only returning 20% of your revenue. At this percentage ratio, the true cost of manufacturing products that are non-core becomes clear. Although lean manufacturing efforts work to create operational efficiencies that also reduce overall costs, the product line simplification process significantly enhances the impact of a lean plant floor. There’s little benefit to applying lean principles to your products that are creating complexity and hidden costs.

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Topics: oem, original equipment manufacturer, contract manufacturing

7 Reasons You're a Great Leader

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Oct 7, 2016 7:18:05 PM

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Self-inventory is a key component of leadership, and I’m no stranger to it. It’s been proven time and time again that leaders who foster self-awareness develop tools for leveraging their strengths and confronting their weaknesses. As a result, they earn credibility and cultivate relationships based on trust and respect. Furthermore, they remain open to new ideas and constructive criticism.

For all of these reasons, I was inspired to do a self-inventory when reading the article “10 Reasons Why You’re Not a Leader” by Paul Sohn. In it, he discusses many ways leaders can fail their team in their quest for results. While going through the list, I asked myself the following questions:

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Topics: culture

Give Local Manufacturers Their Due

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Oct 3, 2016 6:01:00 PM

I recently wrote a Letter to the Editor of Crain's Chicago Business. It is reposted in its entirety below: 

Micah Maidenberg’s “Made in America” article (Sept. 12) regarding Steve Wang’s industrial empire
 highlights what has gone awry in the world of manufacturing today. MAT Holdings is certainly a successful company, but that success was not manufactured here in the states. As Maidenberg wrote, “the bulk of [MAT’s] production is in lower-cost countries like China, India, Mexico and Vietnam, plus Europe”. Highlighting the achievements of a local company is one thing, but why do it at the expense of American manufacturers?

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Topics: contract manufacturing

Supporting STEM

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Sep 23, 2016 6:00:00 PM

Whenever we hear of other local manufacturers committing to STEM education, it resonates with us. One such company is Inventables, a Chicago-based pioneer in digital fabrication. Their newest product, Carvey, is a tabletop 3D carving machine that is meant to be accessible and affordable compared to other machines currently on the market. Carvey can carve hard and soft wood, carbon fiber, plywood, plastics, cork, circuit boards, linoleum, and soft metals like aluminum, gold, and silver. The ease of use, safety, and quiet makes this an appealing machine for schools, libraries, and even museums. With Carvey, students see a machine that lets them create a finished product, unlike the prototypes generally produced by 3D printing. This accessibility may be just what is needed to make desktop manufacturing a mainstream activity in schools across the country.

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Topics: culture