Berardino Baratta, CEO at MxD

On this week's Industrial Talk we're onsite at MxD in Chicago and talking to Berardino Baratta, CEO at MxD about “Providing real help and solutions for manufacturers on the Digital Transformation journey”. Get the answers to your “manufacturing” questions along with Berardino's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2022. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge Industry Focus innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go all


right. Once again, welcome to industrial talk the number one industry related podcast in the universe that celebrates industry professionals all around the world because you are bold, yes, brave. You dare greatly. you innovate. You're solving problems. You're making my life better. That's important. And you're making the world a better place to live. Thank you very much. And that's why we celebrate you on this podcast. Once again. You hear it? No noise in the background. Yes, you do. We are broadcasting on site MxD Chicago, Illinois. It is an innovation center. that's second to none. I'm looking at through the window and I can't wait to get in there. And in the hot seat. I was looking at your nametag by the way. And it no no. Berardino Baratta? CEO MxD? Yeah, let's get cracking. We're just gonna talk about anything that we want


to talk about random people.


That guy's got a great head of hair. Because he's just Flo.


Jo. I think we're in the same


hair, hair hair.


My hair. That was long gone. Yeah. As my wife points out, yeah, get over it. It's been a while.


Yeah. So you have a great, great facility here


is a pretty cool spot.


And excellent people.


We have an amazing thing there. You can tell my job. allottees. I


know. I'm telling you right now. They're passionate. They're on point. They're focused. And all the conversations I've had, it's like, yeah, I feel intimidated. And I, I can eat well, that's about it.


Because, you know, years ago, a buddy of mine worked for Microsoft. And he said that he was always told be the dumbest guy in the room. And if you know you're not dumb, you're doing pretty good. I'm like, pretty much the dumbest guy in the room. And I'm okay with it. Because this is an amazingly talented team.


And what you are doing, in that purpose, that mission behind what MX D is doing, is so needed, because I know that I've had these conversations all the time about, hey, we're going down the digital transformation, IoT, AI, cloud, whatever it might be. But it always gets down to the fact that, well, I need to collaborate. I need to talk to somebody, I need a Sherpa of some sort to be able to sort of make sense of this. Is that sort of really see. I mean, that whole MX D in the solution right there.


Yeah. And if you know, we've been around for eight years, the second oldest Institute, in the early days, we focused on the big manufacturers, and a lot of it was that exploration, figuring out ideas doing deciding what you want to do. The bigger manufacturers have started their digital journeys. So for us, what's changed is now 98. and a half percent of manufacturers are considered small and medium. Right? 75% of manufacturers have less than 20 employees. That's kind of this next generation, how do we get them to adopt digital? What's great is that the big manufacturers, they're realizing that too, they're saying, Hey, we've modernized our facility, our operations, we got all this data, we're using AI, we're using analytics, we got all this technology. But if our supply chain doesn't monitor, yes, they don't get the benefit. And so that's a transformation where it's like, look, more and more we're getting asked How are you helping the small manufacturing? Right? And some of that is as simple as get them here and show on the factory floor. Bring them on site, show him with the art of the possible.


So do you do you find that there's some possible pushback when when you because I don't see that there's even there's no debate If I'm a manufacturer, and let's have five, I don't know what the number might be, if I'm not actively engaged in, in collaborating with organizations like MX D, I'm gonna miss the boat.


Yeah, and the biggest challenge that happens is like, you're a small business, you make money when you're producing parts, not producing parts, I'm making money. So one of the biggest things we do is we show them like a playbook. Here's a digital technology you can adopt, here's what it's gonna cost you both in dollars and people. And then here's how long it's gonna take. And more importantly, here's your ROI. So now, all of a sudden, they can go in because some of the some of those small businesses are, you know, they're hand them out. They are a few of them are, they're doing okay, and they're willing to invest in their companies, because they know there's a payback. And so those playbooks, those ROI is showing them technologies that like, look, we built this digitizing legacy equipment, couple of 100 bucks, you can start collecting data off of an old machine, like now all of a sudden, you can show them like, this isn't millions of dollars, this isn't years of innovation, they start seeing what's possible, they don't get that unless they can come in an organization like us, you know, and see that or their manufacturers that they deal with their some of their clients, walk them through that experience.


See, what I would see is that if I was a small manufacturer,


this guy here, I'm gonna give you an MxD.


Thank you very much, but I got it. It's got some. Yeah. Thank you. Now, back to what we were now most now I'm all messed up. Now. I'm a professional, but I'm not that much. I kind of put you off my strategies. Now, I don't know where to go with this. But but if I'm a small manufacturer, sometimes I don't even know I'm struggling. Maybe. But but if I'm a part of, if I'm a part of a supply chain, then there's something there.


carrot and stick. Some cases yes, Shawn, carrot, you can do this. Yeah, in other cases, you know, cybersecurity, or the National Center for cybersecurity manufacturing. Department of Defense has certain cybersecurity requirements, they're up in the game with cmmc, cybersecurity, maturity models, certification. cmmc requires these manufacturers to do a little bit more work to get a little bit external testing, in some cases actually audited by third party. That's the that's the stick in that case, you want to supply the Defense Department, you got to be cmmc compliant. In other cases, digital transformation, people are saying, Listen, the more effective you are, the more effective I am. They're going to their suppliers, and they're trying to say like, look, here's how you can be more effective, you can make more money. And then together, we can actually be more successful, more resilient, or just generally more successful. Let's start there. That's that carrot. We have to deal with both. We get people to come here and they say, Look, I'm a defensive player and spine defense for 20 years. I don't know what cmmc is, is it going to cost me five grand or 500? Grand? Right? We kind of help them understand what makes a real. Again, going back to simple thing solve problems. We released the playbook that says if you're going after cmmc, level one, here's the playbook. MX D is a small business. Today we have 68 employees on staff if my math is correct, will be 70 Something in the next few old audited,


you get to sit 350 Yeah. I can't, but he's chirping out numbers that are.


No, but the beauty as a small business is like we understand what it takes to be Cybersecure as a small business or the National Center, we got to make sure we're cybersecurity. We take our experience, we put it in a playbook. We hand it to people. So now all of a sudden, instead of it being the unknown, the fear of like, well, I don't know what it's gonna take. So I assume the worst, or I just ignore it. Now we give him the real example of this is what we did. This is what it took for us. Here's some little tricks that we learned along the way.


See, I think that that cybersecurity I've, I've tried, I've worked ever so diligently. I work with a company. And yes, we have the cyber conversations. What I find difficult is having a conversation with people or companies that say, Yeah, we're going down this digital transformation journey, and we were hacked. And that wasn't really good. And we corrected it this way that that that correction is always an important component to the conversation, right? But nobody,


nobody wants Well, most people don't even admit they got hacked


yet. See, that's the point. That's the that's the weird conversation around it, but it is vital to digital.


So we'd like to say that the department offense in their wisdom, realize that you can't do digital without cyber. Yep. So we are the digital and cybersecurity Institute. There are other Institute's that are the cybersecurity Institute and digital Institute, right and Department of Energy they have to to in that space. The challenge is like you said, you can't adopt digital with adopting cyber and if you're going to secure your operations, you might as well put all the infrastructure in place so you can adopt it. But yeah, and look, we actually attack our employees. We do phishing attacks against our employees. You know why? I'd rather they fail with us. Yeah, there was a third party and You know so far and I hate to say this because I'm gonna jinx myself. We've we've been attacked, everybody gets attacked. Yeah, most people don't even know they're being Yeah, no, no, we've been attacked, but nothing has ever been compromised. Right? And I just probably Jinx my IT department and my cyber directors going right? Oh my god, I got her hairs on her back are going up like, what did he say? What did he say?


He just said this and I was zipadelli, let's get that text going, Oh my God. But it's but it's true. And we don't know. And, and to, to there's one side of me that says I really don't want to know. Because it's it's sort of scary. However, you need to know. Yeah. And if you want that business, to be secure, but but to benefit from that digital transformation, where you're going and gaining those efficiencies, it's just it's hand in glove, because that gotta be


gotta be. And you know, the thing too is boards are starting to ask about that. So if you're a public company that's going to ask you, what's your cybersecurity posture? What have you done? What do you go? Like, think about it. What large company doesn't have a really well staffed IT department, they also have cybersecurity department, they probably have a seaso, Chief Information Security Officer. This is just part of doing business. Now, let's go back to those small businesses. I think it's 20 person company as an IT department, let alone a CISO. Right. So this is the most this is why as MSD, it's critical that we're out there is, you know, you see all this tech on the floor, it's really impressive. If you go when you go out there, you'll see that there's a label says firewall on one of the boxes on our cyber wall. Somebody asked me one time how do you stick a name a firewall and then you know, that's a firewall and said, most people will walk in here, they don't know that's a file. They don't even know what a firewall is. So the fact that we label it means we can have the conversation. And that's the critical path


she you're Yeah, because a lot of many don't understand or recognize or realize they're just they just, they're too busy trying to manufacture something and do it as efficiently as they possibly can deal with all the real immediate headaches. So I lost somebody I need to bring somebody in whatever might be in it. And that's, that's, that's sucking up bandwidth. Do you find with that? Can a small to midsize company let's let's just deal with the small cannot afford it? I mean, can just like I hear you, but how much is it gonna cost me to really be diligent about my security?


So yes, the answer is yes. Because it doesn't take that much. Okay. So most people, you can start by upgrading your router, they probably have the freebie they got from their internet provider. Yeah, it's 10 years old. It's got no security on it. Like a buddy of mine ran a small manufacturing shop and he had no password on his Wi Fi because get forgetting his I told him to delete the password, right. So these are little things make a huge impact. But you know, we invest in training. We do periodic testing, but we do training. Don't quote me, but there are tons of companies out there for a few bucks a month, right, four or five bucks a month, I believe is what we're paying for employee to do a training program. So then you can roll out a bunch of different courses. I always say that the workforce is your biggest it is risk. It's your biggest asset. You want to improve your cybersecurity posture, train your employees. Do you have any? Yeah, if I think about it, it's a hell of a lot easier to train five people than 500 or 500,000. Right. So


good point. Absolutely. Good point. Did you see people talk about hey, we're remote, we're remote work. And I understand there's the the manufacturing that's, that's gotta be there on site. But then there's this remote component, hey, where the back office we're gonna remote because of and then all of a sudden, they're using their network. Any issues there.


So let's talk about us. And I think it's a good reflection on the industry. So we shut down completely for two weeks, right at the beginning. And then we read laid out the whole building. First off, everybody was working from home for those two, that the building was shut, we relaunched the factory floor, the engineering team was in the building, starting day one after that they were starting to build all the shields to protect employees. So people wanted to come, we then sat down and basically ensured that all of our online systems, you know, video conferencing, all the collaboration tools, ruber. Cyber was already in place. But one thing we did was when people work from home, they got to be on the VPN. So then we started looking like, yeah, you know, the policy was always there. And that's reminders. So it's like you threw a little reminder on the on everybody's calendar, it said log into your VPN, right? So the little reminders. But here's what was really interesting when we saw as most of our members went through the same thing. A lot of members that were challenged with digital transformation, because of the IT ot network infrastructure, getting their back office to talk to the factory floor, when all of a sudden, you can't bring everybody into the building. It's surprising how fast some of that got adopted. And at the time, I said, my biggest fear was that people wouldn't keep this learning, they fall back. And I think now you know, it's been it's been a very rough two years. For a lot of folks. It's been a difficult time. I, but some of these things have just stuck. Right? I heard today there was someone that said they do all their monitoring what used to be people walking around the factory floor for the engineering teams, they do it virtually, they want to come in, they can come in, they can do it from home, they're perfectly equipped now in a secure way, that stream all that data back to their home.


Yeah, it's seen it's worked forever change. And and, you know, we all understand the bad part of COVID. We just got all the news. But then there, there always is neat little stories of how how companies have developed a way of rounded and worked and become positive, and I need to I need to collaborate more, I need to work with people more some way, shape or form. And, and so yeah, there's the negative, but then there's that positive in that adoption and that acceleration of the adoption of whatever it might be.


But the world's changed, let's be honest. Yeah. Yeah. And I think in a good way for exactly what you just said, right. So how do we keep it going? You know, we're going to talk about workforce. And I talked to Liz, but like you think about that. It's like, one of the messages our workforce programs is that manufacturing jobs of tomorrow are not the jobs of today, and they're not the jobs from a decade or two decades ago. But I can say that about every job. They they significantly transformed in the last two years. And it's going to keep transformed because of the foundations that we laid. Right. So how do we start thinking about technology as a way to enable that workforce to make them the most effective whether they're here in New York or in the beach in South America?


Liz was hitting on all cylinders on that conversation. I think that's the best person that it is. And I think that that is such a major topic. Yeah. Major conversation and and sort of that struggle with how do we do this? And and she spouted off a stat that was just, well, mind boggling. 85% of the jobs have not been discovered or in 2020?


I mean, it's a middle school student of today. 85% of their jobs don't exist that don't


exist. Thank you. Yeah. We had this caller on that again, no, ad. It's


crazy. That's crazy. Yeah. But when I joined that next year, I heard the metric of 2 million unfilled jobs by the end of 2030. By the end of the decade, you talked about that? I didn't believe it as like, that's hyperbole. People are making up. It's the scare people, right? We're at close to 800,000. Today, like, think about it, and people are retiring. Oh, yeah, a lot. Yeah. And that's the other side to that we got to be careful is there's a lot of knowledge needed, right? So digital, what's cool about digital is not just all the AI and all this tech, but it's also like, how do we collect that knowledge, and then transform it. So now all of a sudden, someone got one or two years of experience, can have your virtual 30 year experts sitting beside it. That's where it gets interesting.


So if I'm listening to this particular podcast, and I'm a small midsize business, whatever manufacturing, I think the recommendation I would provide, because I don't know where to start. I've got my business over here, and it's spinning and doing the thing. I would highly recommend that that they engage in organizations like yours, NXT, absolutely. start that conversation. begin discussing where to go and laying out the roadmap. I just think it's, it's, it's crucial. And that to me, is, is a clear, it's a clear purpose to to do that as a business. And I think that if you don't, as a manufacturer, you're gonna miss it is and that's sad. All right, how do people get ahold of you?


You can email me at That makes the


We're gonna have his contact information out on industrial talk. So if you're not we will be able you will. I bet you got a good industrial talk stack are not in dust. No, no, not industrial. LinkedIn stack garden. Send me a LinkedIn. Yeah, there you go. All right. Once again, we're broadcasting from Amex D, Chicago, Illinois. You need to if you're up here in this area, can Nikki come on by and say


hey, absolutely. We have open houses, but just reach out and we can do that.


That's a great invitation. All right, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. So do not go away. We will be right back.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


All right. Once again, thank you very much for joining industrial talk and it is absolutely wonderful to be back in the seat after IMTS up in Chicago a must attend event Berardino Baratta, MxD. It is always wonderful to be able to find organizations that you can point to because if you're on this digital transformation journey, which you are which you should be, you can go right to MX D you could call them up you can ask for their opinion, you can ask for their help, if it is what they can do to help you they will if they do not know or they they do know if they say Hey, that's not for us. But this is where you need to go. They'll help you there. It is really the first place I would start because there's a lot of digital transformation cyber conversations happening out there. m x d is your first stop. Plus are great people. Plus are very smart. All right, we're building a platform that is dedicated to education here at industrial talk, dedicated to collaboration, and definitely dedicated to innovation. We truly want you to be successful. So we're going to continue to have great conversations like Berardino and others, because they are absolutely stellar individual. All right, be bold, be brave. We are greatly hanging out with people like Vera Dino, and you're going to change the world. Thank you very much. Once again, for joining the industrial talk. We're going to have another great conversation coming from MX D shortly so stay tuned.

Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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