by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC

What do manufacturing and cooking have in common? Answer: Recipes for success! And NWIRC is spooning into the secret sauce of regional manufacturing companies for our brand new podcast.

Most working inside the industry and in the community know that manufacturing is an economic engine for Pennsylvania. According to the PA Manufacturing Playbook, it’s the largest economic sector in terms of contributing to the Commonwealth’s GDP (gross domestic product) – in 2021 it was roughly $113.2 billion (13% of economic output). NWIRC is always looking for new and more ways to strengthen manufacturing in our regional footprint of northwest and north central PA. We know from experience with our various programs, such as Lean Together, that manufacturers truly value sharing strategies, best practices, and tools of their companies’ success. They have a genuine interest in collaborating, not only for the good of their own companies, but also for the good of the region as a whole and giving back to the community. Our podcast is an extension of that philosophy by putting a spotlight on the industry in our region, and more specifically, allowing peers to listen and learn.

I’ve been interviewed on numerous podcasts, radio, and TV shows as a guest over the years and now I’ll have the opportunity to be on the other side of the microphone, along with my sidekick, NWIRC’s Robin Keller. But this won’t be your typical manufacturing podcast. We’ll have fun going into the shop (and the kitchen) to talk with leaders and doers at local manufacturing companies – small and large – different sectors – within a 13-county region of northern PA. We’re certainly going to talk manufacturing shop to better understand their ingredients, recipes for success, and their techniques and the tips that can really make a difference. We’ll stir up conversation on a menu of topics that will be very interesting for our listeners. We’re going to be looking at the attraction and retention of their employees. We’ll add sizzle talking about advanced manufacturing technologies like robotics and automation. We’ll discuss their strategies for achieving profitable sales growth, and other spicy entrees. Did I mention fun? We’re not going to just talk shop, because we want to take a few minutes to ask our guests about that special dish or recipe that they love to make at home.

Manufacturing actually has much more in common with cooking than just ‘recipes’. As I reflect on some of my past when I worked washing dishes during college in a very busy restaurant and also as a short order cook at my dad and mom’s small family-owned restaurant – in both cases I remember many things going on at once. We had pots on the stove boiling with pasta, some on the back burner simmering with different sauces, and food on the grill, in the broiler and the oven – a lot of things happening with timing being critical – just like in a manufacturing facility. In the shop you have equipment running with production lines, forklifts moving products and materials, robots doing their thing, and people focused on their tasks. Ultimately, in both the shop floor and the kitchen, you need a process or recipe for quality and efficiency.

Stay tuned for NWIRC’s new podcast starting in July, with new episodes released on the first and third Mondays of each month. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Use the QR Code to hear (and see) the podcast trailer for Recipes for Manufacturing Success. And, listen on July 3rd to hear who our first guest will be!