Kym Wehrle with MxD

On this week's Industrial Talk we're onsite at MxD in Chicago and talking to Kym Wehrle, Director of Engagement/Operations at MxD about “The Positive Manufacturing Impact of Technology for Small to Mid Size Manufacturers “. Get the answers to your “manufacturing” questions along with Kym'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 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 right once again, thank you very much for joining an industrial talk the number one industrial related podcast in the universe, Kym, and it is backed up by data so don't even go there. That's exciting. Congratulations. You know what we do? We celebrate industry professionals all around the world because you are bold, brave, you dare greatly. You are changing lives, solving problems and making the world a better place. Why not celebrate you? We are broadcasting from an incredible What'd you call it an incubator? What do you call it? Innovation Center.


English is tough for me. Innovation Center. MxD is the location it is in Chicago, Illinois. And my gosh, I'm looking at the window because we're on the outside looking in. But then it looks great. And we're going to be talking to Kym.


But engagement director of engagement. Let's get cracking.


Yeah, that's perfect. All right. Let's just wrap it up. How did he get ahold of you? Just kidding. That's that's called podcast comedy. And it's very, very loosey goosey. How are you doing? Good. This is exciting. It's been a great day. Yeah. IMTS kicked off the week. And it's just been really, really busy. So So I go to IMTS. So first time, and and if you've never been to that show, overwhelming. Overwhelming is an understatement. It is the Grand Canyon. Yeah, it's cool of all of this stuff. It's it's it's it's huge. Yeah, massive. So we were


we went into the CNC, which is the south part of the country.


And the CNC was just absolutely massive. But there are a bunch of massive ones. Yeah, just insane. When we arrived there, I went with two of my colleagues. And we all thought that someone else knew where they were.


And so we walked to the opposite part of the facility, then we were supposed to be so we got our workout in Monday morning. And it was wonderful. And we saw plenty of partners and new technology. Oops. Yeah. So you were winded right off the bat. And you know, it's a big show when it when the booths are into the 300,000 range. Yeah, yeah. It's the schematics. You have to otherwise you won't be able to map it out. Yeah. And then you'll get frustrated because you'll say Darn it, I took a left when I should have taken a right and I was like, Okay, I gotta go find a place to eat or change the time in my watch, because now we're in a different time zone. All right, let's talk MST


give the listeners First off, I got your director of engagement. That's one. Yes. What does that mean? That means that I work with our entire ecosystem. So we have over 290 members, ranging from startups, to large manufacturers, to academics, to government partners. And the purpose of NXT is to really solve problems that no one organization can solve on their own. And so those who are in our ecosystem are innovative forward thinkers who want to come together and solve large problems and complicated ones.


Yeah, so because there are some challenges out there. I don't think I think that the spirit of collaboration is even more important today than it I think has ever been. Because I know I get overwhelmed. I know that something's happening out there. I know that this is a brave new


World and everything's all wonderful and hunky dory and all that good stuff. But it's it's, it's it's way over, I might have laid off again, how do you bring it all together? How do you bring it all together. And so that is what our 20 22,000 square foot manufacturing floor does is it brings together artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, and pieces it all together. So we can advance an entire industry. It's not just one organization, if you were to talk to any manufacturer, and ask them, who's who's solving your problems, they're not going to give you a singular name. They're going to give you a handful of organizations that they're working with. And so the partners here at AmEx, see, rock, recognize they're not the only solution to their problem, and they want to collaborate and be open even with their competitors. So how many if you're sitting here, you don't get it? Because we're going to be doing some on the spot interviews at this in marvelous, marvelous location of all of the individuals in the companies that are in there. How many companies are in there? What a great question is a great question. Put me on the spot right there they over around 20, around 20, Oregon, different organizations, probably way more than that, if we were to actually tick through all the hardware that's associated with it. So between hardware and software, we're probably upwards of 5075 different organizations that are represented through the different technology demonstrations. Where did the sort of break How long is MSD? Been around eight years this year? And and how did it what's like the genesis of it? What I mean, you're, let's put it this way.


The digitization of manufacturing has is, is at a feverish pitch. That's right. And so eight years ago, it wasn't like this today. No, it was. So what was the brainchild? Yeah, so eight years ago, the government decided that in order to be a global competitor, in digital manufacturing, they really needed to create a couple of different centers focused on innovation. And so we're one of 11 different Institute's sponsored by the Department of Defense that focuses on bringing together government, so public private partnerships, to really advance technology. So our mission is digital technology, design all the way through sustainment and supply chain.


And so what we do is we bring together different partners to solve kind of larger problems. And you're right, eight years ago, and no one was thinking about it, no one really understood industry for it at all. And so it's been really exciting to be on this side of it. And educating the first three or four years was awareness and education. What are people doing in this space? What are some topics, you need to be thinking about? Focusing on small little pilots to help demonstrate and validate the ideas that are coming about? And now it's practical applications? What's my ROI in which technologies can I use today? To help me advance and which technologies do I need to be considering and beginning to


begin to?


Make it real? What but it's okay, just escaped? Which technologies they need to begin to, like tamper with, right? Like, yeah, figure out like, see, that, to me is really interesting, because so having a finance background, I see all of this is great stuff. Some of it can be shiny objects, and here's just like race and after it, and it might not mean anything within the the marketplace. Does MX D, also provide some sort of financial guidance direction? Because it's all great. I mean, it's wonderful. But is there's got to be a go to market solution for this. For what do you mean, just when you innovate something, right? Sure. So your people looking, I mean, to scale it, you're gonna have to have somebody saying, all right, cool. Yeah. So that that's one of the challenges that a lot of our partners are looking at now is moving from Pilot purgatory to how do I actually scale these technologies across different facilities? And so there is no one singular solution to that, because most global operations have different


manufacturing setups at the different facilities, right, a lot of merger and acquisition in oil and gas, aerospace and defense. And so each one of those facilities are going to have a completely different


ERP system, or you know, the yesterday they are so trying to integrate and merge all of that information together is really difficult. And so scaling is difficult. But when you come here, we can think through that we can develop architectures and


data scheme schemas that help them work through those those challenges. So if I'm a company, I'm listening to what you're saying, and I'm and come to the conclusion that I need help, or I need to work with a team of individuals that can


helped me succeed or, or pull out that knowledge nuggets. So it's becomes real. What's the requirement? Or what's the sort of the


process for MST and companies and all that good stuff? Sure. So we have a range of different membership options. And most small, all small and mid sized organizations $500 $500 they can join. But but to find what is small to midsize revenue wise,


that's defined by the Small Business Association. Yeah, just just all right, Justin, there it is.


Five 100 bucks. And we did that. So as accessible, we develop tons of free rule.


free tools and resources for organizations to really kind of understand what industry for Dotto is, and begin to break down the barriers associated with adopting this technology. And so a couple resources that we've developed is the cyber hiring guide. So as you connect things, they become more at risk, we become more vulnerable, right? The more digital technology that you're adopting, the more risky potentially your business becomes. And so to reach the small midsize manufacturers, there has been a couple of different things that we've developed for them. One is a cyber hiring guide, taking a look at the different roles that are going to be required for the future workforce to prepare and secure operations, digital operations, or using cyber hiring, hiring h I r i n Yeah, hiring guide. So basically, what roles and responsibilities and skill sets are going to be required for the workforce to support a digital operation securely.


Yeah, because everybody's just full steam ahead, digital transformation, this is where I'm going. But those are all just, you know, potentially weak penetration points could be vulnerability, whatever it is, you just, you better be on top of that. I mean, cyber is, is it could turn your digital transformation, Vision upside down relatively quick. Now, you touched on something that I thought was interesting is your members, people, we're talking about resources, we're talking about people, we're talking about bodies, we're talking about training, we're talking about getting the right people at the right time doing the right things.


And that's a challenge. What's MX? D sort of helping helping members do that?


If there's any fill the pipeline? Yeah, so we actually had a workshop today, we're hope we're hoping to help our manufacturers think creatively and differently about accessing the workforce. And so we held a workshop today that focused on diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility, specifically accessibility, how do we take a look at individuals with disabilities, either physical or not, in include them in the workforce discussion? Adam Ola,


from Tao is representative. He's been with the Institute since the very beginning and said a couple of really meaningful things today. One is I really want to give anybody with the willingness to work, the ability to work, and I feel like that is so powerful. It's just good.


I love little snippets, that you could sort of put in your pocket and say, Hey, check this one out. And our other keynote speaker, Bridget from Access Living,


noted that over 60 million individuals in the US in the US are


disabled in one way or another, how do we give them the ability to kind of fill the workforce gaps that we're seeing today in manufacturing, even if we reached a fraction of them? Yeah, there's there's an initiative out there called


15 or 15%. I can't remember what it was. But it says there's a population consists of 15%, disabled individuals various degrees, you know, that that's always conversation. But yeah, that's, that's a significant amount of that's a big population. The the area that is also of major conversation, is


how do we remove and I think, the innovation centers that you have here and others, I think that that is goes a long way of removing a manufacturing stigma. Yeah, like, hey, it's a dirty job. You know, I'm just, you know, whatever it might be, and, and I think we have to do a better job at saying, Oh, no,


it's it's sophisticated work. Yeah. So I don't know, what do you think about that? We're changing the way people interact with the manufacturing operations, right? We're no longer dark, dirty and dingy. Oh, we're leveraging robotics and data analytics and thinking critically about our operations to improve efficiency. So now these workers need to just rescale and upskill. So that's something we talk about a lot. Our Director of Workforce Development lists


I'll see if she's around here tonight, this might be a really great conversation to talk more deeply with her. Yeah. She talks a lot about rescaling and upskilling. And part of her work that she's done has created career pathways. exactly for that. How do you take it professional professionals, and upskill them and create some foundation for OT application for security and understanding some of the implications of going live with the digital technology? I gotta tell you,


you're hitting on all cylinders. Can I use it? Sure. You're hitting on all cylinders? Because I believe that there. Everybody has that whole upskill reskilling is so dark on hot, what do we do? How do we optimize what it you know? Like the robots right? If one person could do multiple things, because you got that robot, right and that's, it's all a part of it. All right. How do people get a hold of you? How do they say hey, I want to get a hold of Kym with water. Sure. Visit em Yep, you can find my contact information on online. Shoot me an email, give me a bad stead card out there on LinkedIn.


I do. Well, so there you go.


confident enough. All right. We're going to have all the contact information for Kym and MX D out on industrial toxic fear night, you will be able to contact her with no problem. So don't come to me and say I can't get ahold of him. Because you're not telling the truth. All right. Once again, we're broadcasting from MX D Innovation Center here in Chicago, Illinois. It's fantastic. Yes, it's fantastic. It's wonderful. All right, don't go away, we're gonna be right back, we're going to have another we're going to just wrap it up on the other side. And I'm going to have all the contact information. 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 us on industrial talk. And thank you very much for your support. Give us your name. MxD is the Innovation Center. And I'm always say it got to innovate. But but one of the big keys to innovation is finding those trusted individuals, those trusted organizations that will help you along with that journey. MxD, no matter where you're at, on your journey, you reach out to MX D. It's all out on industrial I'm telling you, they're smart, they're focused, and they truly have a passion for your success MxD Do not hesitate reaching out to them. All right, as you know, we are building a ecosystem here at industrial talk. By the way, we're getting ready to launch a new website. So be on the lookout for that. And I'm sure that's gonna cause a lot of headache for me, but it doesn't matter. You're that important. Anyway, an ecosystem that is really dedicated to education. Definitely. Collaboration is a must. And of course, innovation. And an MxD definitely embodies all of that. So anyways, that's just where I'm at. Thank you again, we're gonna have another great conversation coming from MxD shortly. So be on the lookout for that and thank you once again for your support. Take care, be safe, and we'll talk soon. Bye

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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