Ms. Fran Brunelle with Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers talks about Manufacturing Transition Strategies

In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Fran Brunelle, President at Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers, Inc. about “Manufacturing Continuity by Transition Ownership to Next Generation Entrepreneurs”.  Get the answers to your “Manufacturing Transition” questions along with Fran's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

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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 focused 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 once again, thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast where we celebrate industry heroes such as yourself, you're always curious, solving problems, you always say why not? What if I love that energy? You are the miracle, the future? You are the hope the future, you are definitely the dreams of the future. That's why we celebrate you. How about that man? You can tell I'm a big fan of industry heroes such as yourself, thank you very much for what you're doing in the industry of hot tea. Her name is Francis Brunelle. Now she goes by Fran. And because I'm a friend and a friend, and you will be a friend of friend, you can call her friend. So she is the President at accelerated manufacturing brokers. And she's going to be dropping some manufacturing selling cool stuff, bombs on this particular interview. Let's get going. Yeah, so so it's an interesting time out there. And there's no doubt about it. If you've been watching the news, and if you've been sort of engaged out there, which you are, because you're an industry hero, why wouldn't you, you will notice that there's a lot of interesting challenges that exist now, Fran, and what she brings to the table, and why this is such a great conversation is the fact that if you're if you're looking to transition, either sell your manufacturing business transition, whatever it might be, you need Fran, and and team accelerated manufacturing brokers because they've got a gazillion years of experience. Now Fran only has 20, close to 28 years old. That's wisdom, baby. That's wisdom. And that's, that's major, major skills. So you need to reach out to somebody like girlfriend, if you're looking into that, because she'll make your life easier, and really much better in that in our interviews, a lot of fun. All right, let's get out the calendar. You got to get out the calendar, because I'm going to continue to harp on this because you industry pro need to get your life back. Now. This is Barcelona, you've heard me talk about it a number of times. This is October 5, through the seventh. It's the IoT solutions World Congress, brought to you by the industrial internet consortium and fair Barcelona, great people. great venue. Great, great everything. Check it out. It's at industrial talk. COMM find out more. All right, the next the next event. This is in Cleveland, Ohio, which is a fantastic location for an event called the manufacturing and technology show. Yep, it is November 9 through the 11th. great people. Great location, Northeast Ohio is absolutely wonderful. And because I'm a commit, I'm really committed to food. It's another great place for food. Yep. All three of things working in your corner. The manufacturing and technology show November 9 through the 11th. All right, back to front. Yeah, it's interesting, because I don't know what this market has. But I know that if you have a business, a manufacturing business, you need people like Fran and team accelerator to figure out how to navigate those waters, and she'll make your life easier, because she's got close to 28 years of experience. That's an expert for you. By the way, that's an expert. All right. Enjoy the interview with Fran. Fran. Welcome to the industrial talk podcast. I'm looking forward to this conversation. I think there is so much to begin gained from talking about manufacturing, what role you play. Before we get into that. Give us a little background for the industrial talk listeners of who Fran is.


Hey, you got it. Thanks for having me. So Fran Brunelle. I am the founder of accelerated manufacturing brokers Inc. Were affirmed that specializes in the sale of manufacturing companies throughout the United States. Generally, our clients have between two and 20 million in revenue. We are one of the only firms of our kind, there are plenty of other people that sell manufacturing companies. They don't specialize in it and they don't do it nationally usually. So that makes us a little bit unique.


And, you know, the the topic I think that is of relevance in our conversation today is, is let's say we've been slapped all around by the pandemic. It has impacted manufacturers not just not just in New Jersey, where you're from but everywhere around the world global pandemic. Give us a little Have a summation of the impact that you've seen in manufacturing as a result of that pandemic.


So it really depends on what sector manufacturer is in. Some of them have been hit hard. So think about companies that make components for commercial aerospace. Yeah, they got hit hard. Another client that does, instruments used in elective surgery, they got slammed, right. other sectors were doing incredibly well. So what I can tell you now is that if there's one thing COVID taught us is that we need to have sources of manufactured goods within the United States. As a result of this, the m&a activity within the m&a sector is through the roof. So think about, you know, private equities that invest in all different types of companies, some of them have never invested in manufacturing. They they're seeking manufacturing companies now, because manufacturing was deemed essential. They were not shut down during COVID. And everybody wants a COVID proof business manufacturing fits that fellow.


I'm gonna write that COVID proof business, I think you're spot on on that one, because I know that, that my conversations that I've had with other individuals, the the term resiliency has always been popping up here and there. And that to me, says COVID proof business. And so if a pandemic decides that it wants to rear its ugly head, well, I'm resilient, I'm COVID proof, I've got my my sources locally, and we're all just having a grand old time. So So from an m&a perspective, you're seeing an uptick because they want these COVID proof businesses.


Oh, absolutely. And just the sheer competition, we just, you know, this week, we have a very recent listing. Just in April of this year, we're at the end of the man, man, we're fielding five different offers on this business. Wow. Yeah.


So that's, that's good for you. I mean, that's good for it.


It's good for me, it's good for my client, because they're going to it's going to fund their retirement. And the sheer competition has raised the price.


That she that is an unusual result of this whole pandemic world we live in. Because I, I look at it strictly and correct me if I'm wrong, I've got supply and demand, right supply and demand. If I could get my supply and the demand is there, my manufacturer, right, who sits in the middle is doing just fine and dandy. But for me, I'm having a hard time making sure that my supply stable. My demand, it's all over the place. I don't know, things change. How do you draw some some confidence with that whole supply and demand?


conundrum? Yeah. So listen, there's there's still a lot of work that has to be done with with supply chain. Right.


Everybody's a supply chain expert now.


Sure. And you know what, there's even more problem with supply chain right now than there was in the middle of COVID. Last year. talk to anybody buying steel right now.


Steel. Exactly. Yep. Why is that the case? I mean, look at the demand. I don't know why is that the case? Why am I trying to why am I trying to figure it out there? And when when we've got you friend? I have no idea. Why is that the case?


I'm not sure I'm you know, a lot of people a lot smarter than they are trying to figure out what's going on with supply chain. But you know, Yes, a lot. So supply and demand. Do you think about everybody staying home for a year? And and Gee, we might have to stay home for the rest of our lives. And so hey, let's let's improve our house. Right? Let's do a little construction and the whole nation is doing that little supply and demand issue going on? Well, Hell, I


missed that. I've just been sitting in the salt mine right here. The old podcast, industrial talk podcast, salt mine. I haven't done anything. I might have painted something. But I did gain weight. Let's put it that way. I did. I went right past COVID-19 and on into COVID 25. That's my weight gain. Anyway, so. So this is interesting. You as a broker you as a if I came to you as a manufacturer, and I thought into that great category, do you go down that road of trying to ensure that or create a value proposition that is a COVID proof business? Like, Hi, I'm an investor? And I'm a I'm looking for do


you do that? Well, listen, there are some businesses that are not COVID proof, right? When you're when when someone comes to us, the first thing that we're going to do for a manufacturer is do a valuation on the business. Many manufacturers there, they're absolutely fabulous at what they do, but they have no idea how m&a works, there are a lot of firms that are going to charge them an arm and a leg or their firstborn to do evaluation, we're gonna walk them through a process. And we're not going to charge them for it. We don't we we we do not believe in doing that


shot up front door at that front door.


You know, what it's most of our clients are founder LED, or family run organizations, like we've got a fourth generation manufacturing company, it's been around for 75 years right now that we're working with. point is there's most of the people that we sell, there's never been institutional funds into the manufacturing company. So, so founder led family run. They don't take too kindly to give me some money, but I haven't produced any quality work for you yet. We're working on building a relationship with these manufacturers, to take them through an entire lengthy process to sell them. So that's, that's step one is to do evaluation. Well, I


would imagine here if I was a founder, and I have this is my baby, my sweat, my equity, my my, my, I can understand the reluctance of saying, oh, who the heck is friend? What's Fran going to be all about? And, and, and making the decision that maybe I should retire or transition or whatever? Those are? big emotional decisions? Today? sure


are. That's one of the things that we that for when we're looking at clients and and drive questions to help them understand whether or not they're actually ready to pull the trigger. Because nothing is worse than going down a path. And you get to the 11th hour and they go, I really don't want to sell my baby. Yeah, we don't you know, we don't want to see that happen. We want to push them upfront so that they understand whether or not they're ready. Yeah, one of the best stories I've ever heard. So years ago, we sold a manufacturer up in New England. And before he reached out to me, he and his wife went through a process to determine whether or not they were ready to retire. They bought this absolutely beautiful high end motorhome. And they went on a three months cross country. When they got back, I got the phone call. And they said well, we did it for three months and we're both still alive. We haven't killed each other. So I think I'm ready to sell Wow,


isn't that an interesting approach? It's solid. I'm telling you it's solid. You're right. If you're in a motorhome that beautiful get out of town motorhome I got it. But you're still in a motorhome traveling around? Yeah, you're in close proximity to each other. Yeah, I understand that. Part Seven. Yeah, absolutely. I like that approach. And I think that so let's say I have a manufacturer, dealer. So for clarification, you got people that want to sell and then you got people that want to buy come to you, right? Like, hey Fran I want to buy I've for whatever reason I got a I'm This is my desire I want to buy and I'm looking for companies that look like this. And then you say, hey, that's great. Scott, we've got these, you know, companies that fall into that category and then you try to really attempt to broker the deal. Is that the process?


A little bit. Yeah, my firm represents the seller. Although we have a lot of buyers come to us we do not represent them. And the specific reason for that is so again, dealing with founder led family run companies, they need help getting through the process unscathed. Many times the buyers are come You know, they have multiple companies. They might be a large private equity firm. They have to of attorneys, you know, all of these things, and, you know, most of my clients, they want the jobs to remain in the community. They don't want a company chopped up. And so, you know, with the buyers, there's a strict vetting process that we go through. And but we want to represent the manufacturer, because nine times out of 10, it's incredibly important to them, that the staff be well taken care of that the jobs remain in the community, because often they're not retiring to Florida, they're staying in the same community, and they're gonna run into these families, at the grocery store at the church. You know, they want to be able to look their employees in the eye and say, Hey, I made this decision, because I had nobody to pass the baton to. But I made a good decision that I'm proud of, and that that is going to be good for you.


So how does somebody I get it so that that's a beautiful thing that you represent the manufacturers you represent their interests? And and I would imagine that that's an important conversation that that makes sense. How do people in from Iowa find you? How do they How do they how do you do that? What do you do?


I, so my firm, we have been providing information, blog articles, all kinds of different things to the manufacturing community for years and years and years. And, you know, we as an organization, we try to provide valuable information that will help who our target market is, the thing that comes to mind is, you know, what, what makes a manufacturing company successful? also makes them very easy to sell. So what are those things? speaking into them writing about them to keep in conversation on social media channels? You know, I started my career as an industrial auctioneer. So we were helping,


did you speak fast? Most of it was online. Never mind.


Never mind. Yeah. Now we were selling internationally equipment. So a lot of our work was helping companies get their machines to port, get it shipped overseas, etc. But anyway, so, you know, at the behest of some of our longtime buyers, we started the m&a journey. Yeah, companies looking to retire themselves or make acquisition to help them grow. I want to say I have a passion for I want to see manufacturers exit, not at auction, I want to see them successful enough to sell in a quality m&a transaction, because it's going to affect their quality of life in retirement.


Yeah. Yeah. And if you were in that position, Fran, and you saw that somebody has to sell has to liquidate has to get rid of the stuff, after years and years of trying to make this business a success. That's, that's a sad story. And that's a whole nother conversation to have, if you're fine. If you're struggling, there might be ways of being able to turn that business around. And that's another conversation of try to find the right people to do that too, as well.


It is well, and you know, compliments to you for what you do for a living. Let me tell you what, the most. The The, the thing most lacking in founder led manufacturing organizations is a marketing capability. You know, you think about these guys, they're retiring. They're maybe in their 70s. And they, you know, back when they started their business, there was no fax machines, there was no email there. Like it was a different way of doing business. It was word of mouth, it was an old boys network. Well, that has changed. And so a lot of companies that are auctioned off, they have not changed with the times they haven't learned the more modern ways of doing business. And so, you know, companies that can help them in that regard, will will you could be responsible, in part for saving manufacturing in the United States, having these companies not go to auction.


The See that's interesting. I would imagine, and correct me if I'm Wrong friend. Did you see an uptick on manufacturers that have been going to auction as a result of COVID?


Oh, I haven't I haven't played in the in the auction field in many, many years. Don't good. Well,


yeah. Good. I don't want to hear that story anyway.


And you know what? I'm sure that there have been, yeah. You know, he survived it. Right.




you know, I'm sure that there's some that didn't,


well, I'm a big, big, I resist legacy thinking. Because I think today, especially today, I think that there's a lot of innovation, a lot of creativity, a lot of energy out there that can truly turn that business around, I add up at a fraction of the cost. And, and as a result, find organizations like your own right, to be able to leave a legacy, whatever, retirement whatever it might be, whatever the objective is, I think today, more than ever, we can find ourselves in a position to be able to turn businesses around. Yeah, that's how I, that's how I look at it. I'm just telling you, that's just me. Maybe sky


back back in the years where I was doing auction, this was a common occurrence. we would we would start the process and give someone a contract. And they'd go, Okay, great. But listen, I just want to reach out to my customers to let them know that I'm going to go out of business and see if they need anything else. And inevitably, like, Oh, my gosh, you proactively reached out to your customers orders would fly in, and then they'd go, Wow, it's like, yeah, cupcake. What if you were doing this the whole time. And this is what your factors need to learn


studying. That is I, I just honestly, I come across that all the time, still to this day. And that is a brilliant, real life example of how easy it is just to reach out and turn hopefully Turn, turn things around. Because I would imagine that many of the the customers are saying, I felt comfortable with you. I don't I don't want to go anywhere that now you're screwing up my business. And I don't want that.


And I love what you said to about there are there are, you know, modern marketing methods available that are so inexpensive?


I mean, it's dirt cheap. It's like, really 25 bucks a month? Really? Yeah, I'll do that. It's stunning. I mean, it's and what's interesting with the the new way of thinking, the new way of marketing, the the way you're thinking to go forward and build your business, is that many of these providers of technologies of providers of solution, understand that it's a guy like Scott MacKenzie, who struggles maybe with technology, so they've got to make it, but I'm a customer, they got to make it as easy as they possibly can. And it's a beautiful thing. Really, all I have to do is drag and drop, and I'm rolling. Fantastic. And that's what that's, yeah, yeah, I love what you do. And I love that service that you provide. I love the focus that you bring to the table of transitioning, you know, manufacturers wherever they want to go but really, truly represent because the other side of that equation. There's there's some interesting people out there and that the truth is that true? Really want to take it. Alright, we got to wrap it up. How do I get ahold of you their friend?


Well, people can reach out via our website. www accelerated Mfg. brokers calm. Our phone number is 908-387-1000.


You got to 1000 Well, that is excellent. Now, listeners we're not. You know, I'm gonna have all the contact information with Fran Brunelle and the wonderful team at accelerated manufacturing brokers at the industrial talk podcast on industrial if that's if you want anything industrial, I'm just gonna lay this out. Go to industrial talk. COMM I leave it right right there. Let it percolate a little bit. You absolutely were wonderful their friends here in the light. Thank you for having me. That's right listeners. I'm a delight. To not come to me and say Scott, you're not a delight. I'm a delight, Fran says so. All right. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast their friend. Thank you so much for having me. All right, listeners. You know, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. All the contact information for Fran. The accelerated manufacturing brokers will be on that side as well as industrial You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


All right, a big shout out to Fran Brunelle president at accelerated manufacturing brokerage. Yep. She was good. She has great insights. She's fantastic. She will get that job done. And she will do it to make sure that you achieve whatever goals you're trying to achieve. That's that sprint right there. I'm looking at our stat card out on LinkedIn. Yeah, reach out to her. All right, again, let's wrap it up here. We've got two events, October 5 through the seventh. And that's in Barcelona. Gotta make that that's the IoT solutions World Congress. So next one is, of course, November 9 to the 11th. And this is in Cleveland, Ohio. And this is the manufacturing and technology show. Let's get our life back in order again. I'm not overselling. You're the miracle, you're the whole. You are creators of dreams. That's an important component. You need to hang out with people who are bold, brave and daring greatly. You're going to change the world. If you hang out with people who are bold, brave and daring. To change the world. industry can do that. We're going to have a great interview right around the corner. So stay tuned for the next industrial talk.

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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