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Cris Young, Damon Pistulka
Damon Pistulka 00:04
All right, everyone, welcome once again, to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And today we’re going to be talking about improving the customer experience with products or, and I have Chris Young, here to talk about that with me. Welcome, Chris. Hey, thanks, Damon.
Cris Young 00:23
Glad to be on.
Damon Pistulka 00:25
And I am really excited about this. Chris, we met a while ago, we talked a couple times now about about e commerce and products sort and you showed me some products, exciting products you’re developing. But it’s, it’s great to get someone with your experience in manufacturing and the fastener industry on today. So I’m excited to talk.
Cris Young 00:48
Yes, let’s do it. Alright,
Damon Pistulka 00:50
so without further ado, Chris, let’s, let’s talk a little bit about your background, kind of, I mean, when you say you’ve been, when I say you’ve been in the fastener industry for a while, you’ve been in the fastener industry for a bit, because you started out really young at this.
Cris Young 01:05
I did, I did, I started out actually, in a hardware store with my dad, for packing for, you know, the customer’s orders. So that just led me into the world of industrial supplies. And from there, I’ve I’ve worked for UPS, I’ve worked for small distributors. And I really like the small distributor, atmosphere and culture. And that’s where I, you know, got to hone my technology, skills and appetite for for, you know, just learning how to take a problem that was that exists in the manufacturing distribution world, and, you know, solve it.
Damon Pistulka 01:53
Yeah, yeah. And you got, I mean, we talked, we’re talking about fasteners, but I mean, you’ve got a wide ranging background, because you have worked for the SBDC, helping consult companies that wanted help with the SBDC. Correct.
Cris Young 02:11
I did. That was a, just an enlightening experience. For me, I got to work with other small business owners that were having issues with, you know, you name it from hiring to exporting. And that just just opened up my eyes to so many more, you know, avenues and opportunities out there and in the small business world. So I was really happy to be able to do that. I’ve worked as you know, not worked as but volunteered and served on the women in manufacturing, out of Ohio.
That, again, was another great opportunity for me. I’ve worked for the women’s Chamber of Commerce and the American small business Chamber of Commerce, and I got to, for 20 years, got to meet with small business owners in Washington, DC, and help them achieve their goals when it came to procurement with the US government. So that I mean, that was just I’ve lived in had some amazing experiences, I tell you, yeah,
Damon Pistulka 03:13
no doubt, because it because the wide ranging businesses you get to touch in those roles really allows you to bring a lot of things that you see working well into your own business and in the business that you support. So I bet that had to be interesting. So if you go back to those, what are some of them? What are a couple things that were really interesting to you to pick out that you go man, I still remember and that was really cool that we were able to work on that or we accomplished or something like that?
Cris Young 03:44
Well, as far as working with the government, in the in the procurement area, you know, we took and worked with companies that were literally startup companies that and we mainly work with women owned, or minority owned companies. That’s the mission of both of the, the, the, the platforms, and just a small little, you know, one person company turned into a multimillion dollar, you know, 500 employee company, wow, through through the connections that were made.
And, you know, I’ll tell you one of the biggest things I learned, I can tell you who really runs this, this, this this country as far as procurement is concerned, and you’d be surprised, just the people I met down there in Washington DC and and the the opportunities that are available for people who want to put in the time and effort. It’s definitely something that any business owner should consider. The government is, is I think, something like the fifth largest, you know, buyer of goods In the world, yeah. In the world. Yeah. Yeah. It’s just crazy. So you want to make money that’s, you know, something you should think about.
Damon Pistulka 05:07
Yeah, that’s, that’s really that’s really great points. And it is it is cool. It’s such, I can imagine it’s very, very rewarding to be able to see those businesses start up with starting businesses, people really going, what what should I do next? And then you help them through that. And then the next phase, the next phase, and like you said, if you go from a single person to 500 employees and millions of dollars, that’s quite a change.
Cris Young 05:35
Yep. The connections were the connections were just amazing in that in that opportunity. And in in again, and that extended to at the SBDC. You know, you take a company, excuse me, who had little export experience, and bring them into a free trade zone. Yeah. Which we were in Ohio have that opportunity. And, you know, you see this company just blossom out there. It’s just, you know, it makes you feel so good inside to know that you’re able to be a part of something that makes somebody else so happy. Yeah. so rewarding. Yes.
Damon Pistulka 06:15
Yes. That’s, that’s so cool, Chris. So I just want to I just want to recognize a few people here. We’ve got Kenneth in here. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Kenneth and we got Nick Dorsey’s with us this afternoon. And Mike Asha, Bronner, I can never say my last name. I don’t know why I’ve gotten my last name for soccer. You think I could say just about anything after that.
But that is that what you’re talking about right there, just like you said, it’s so satisfying to see those businesses just be able to enjoy the successes in that then, like you said, free trade zones. And the other things, I just don’t think that enough people think about and look towards the SBDCs, or sometimes the manufacturing extension partnerships, and other places that or what’s what’s the other one? The
Cris Young 07:09
there’s also score score,
Damon Pistulka 07:11
and the it’s P tack is the O
Cris Young 07:15
P tax? Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 07:18
You know, as some of these co funding opportunities in the free training and the score the SBDC. I mean, there’s just so many things if you if you need to find something, and you can’t find it, and it’s not someone in your in your network, or you haven’t found it, I think those are great places to start.
Cris Young 07:38
And all free. Yeah. All right. Yeah. So I mean, people should definitely take the opportunity to look into them. I think every state has, you know, some sort, whether it’s the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the P tech centers, they have women’s centers, if you’re a woman owned business, just definitely take advantage of those things. They have free, they help get your business to the level you want it to be at.
Damon Pistulka 08:07
Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that is cool. That is cool. Because I’m glad we got to talk about that a little bit. Because it’s so it I mean, because especially today, right, there’s a lot of people as, as you look across the business landscape, now, there’s a lot of people that are choosing to start their own businesses now. And I think at a even higher rate, yes, somewhere in the gig economy and other things, but I think there’s a lot of other businesses being started as well. And these are some good resources for those people.
Cris Young 08:35
Definitely, definitely. You know, you got to take advantage of this stuff, especially when you’re starting out and you don’t know you don’t have your own network. That’s another thing that that each one of those agencies that we mentioned, are also very good at networking and connecting with you, connecting you to other people that are like minded that are in the same situation as you that can partner up with you for whatever your needs are. You definitely need to check out those resources.
Damon Pistulka 09:02
Yeah, yeah. Cuz those peer those peer opportunities to meet people that are, you know, in the trenches with you fighting the same fight is so important, because that, you know, there are people that talk to you, how did you go through this before? What have you dealt with this or not, you know, there’s just a lot of things. And that network is is invaluable at that point.
Cris Young 09:22
Yeah, they have it, I’ll tell you, why not another thing that really, I found very helpful in my journey. The small business development, no, the SBA, Small Business Administration. Yeah, has a program called Emerging Leaders. And for small business owners, in their awesome qualifications, you have to be earning are driving so much revenue and you know, have a limited amount of employees and stuff. So there are some criteria that you have to follow but they are Have a program or emerging leaders that I think it’s seven months, wow. Two nights a week, or at least a class that I went to. And basically, you get an executive MBA out
of it. Wow. That’s crazy. Cool. That’s crazy. Cool.
Cris Young 10:19
And, yeah, you know, you learn the ins and outs of every aspect of your business from legal to accounting to importing and exporting. I mean, just the whole gamut. And it was really, really a great experience. I don’t have a college education. I started when I was, you know, a teenager working and just continued my career through through that through that avenue. For me, it really gave me a lot of the, you know, background stuff that I hadn’t gotten through college education, and invaluable stuff.
Damon Pistulka 10:56
Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, because it gives you it probably was a nice practical education. Because honestly, a lot of colleges is not practical education. And it? I mean, it may help you get in some place because of the degree but it’s not, in many times, not practical education. Yeah.
So, yes. But so I got, I want to talk a little bit about women in manufacturing, because you’ve been involved in women in manufacturing, the Small Business Association, women in small business, too, but women in manufacturing. So let’s let’s just talk about it in generalities. And I don’t know, you know, you know, in specifics, but do you think that we’re making progress, and we’re really starting to, or have been turning a corner and more women are being invited into manufacturing and finding good roles? And manufacturing?
Cris Young 11:55
Yes, I definitely think that, and I don’t necessarily think that they’re being invited, I think that they are stepping up, and they are the leaders good, not waiting for the invitations. They’re moving forward. Good. And moving in. And I think 3d additive manufacturing is a huge, you know, reason why that is, is being is happening. I think you see, I just mean, I read a lot. And I report on the news a lot.
And just the stories I see out there women being involved and taking leadership roles in that. Just that one, you know, industry is amazing. Yeah. And I just think that, you know, it can’t, it can’t go anywhere, but up. Good forward. So I’m really happy to see all that. And, you know, in an industry like my industry, which is the fastener industry. We are got a little work to do. Yeah, you know, but, but other industries are just there. It’s going gangbusters. And it’s amazing to say,
Damon Pistulka 13:14
yeah, that’s, that’s cool. I mean, for me, on honestly, the smart. I look back at that I was so fortunate to work with some of the smartest and best leader, women in manufacturing ice. I’m just, I’m, I’m always flabbergasted and just just so happy to be in the room because honestly, it sucks because in like you said in the fastener industry or something like that, where it’s male dominated, there’s a lot of people that, you know, the, the women have to work harder, potentially to get into positions and other things like that.
And that sucks. First of all, I’ve just put that right out there blows a shoe that’s not right. In in all the other things that go along with it, right. I’ve just been so fortunate, that’s all say, yeah, yeah, it’s really
Cris Young 14:08
cool. I know, it’s I you know, I don’t, I don’t take first of all, I personally don’t let any of that see me or, or, or get in my way. If something’s in my way, I find a way around it, threw it out over it, whatever the case may be. I’m not gonna, you know, I was raised by my dad. And that’s, you know, that’s just the way he taught me. You know, he, he had a company, it was a, it was a young and sons. It was a painting company. And I was his only employee. Yeah, you know, I mean, I’m going to do whatever I have to do.
So for me personally, that’s not an issue. But you know, there’s a lot of young women out there that exactly at this, you know, they see the injustice of this and they then it stopped them in their tracks and you just you just can’t do that. I would say find a mentor that’s going to guide you and show you that, you know, that’s nothing to let get in your way. There’s there’s always a way around it. And really, you know, we’re in 2022. Now, I mean, is that even legitimate?
It’s not. It’s not. I mean, should should not
Cris Young 15:17
be that make what you’re what you’re you know is not anything?
Damon Pistulka 15:22
Yeah, anything right anything doesn’t it shouldn’t make a difference is do you? Do you come up? And can you? Can you show up? And can you perform? And that’s exactly that’s the thing. Yeah, exactly. And when it comes down to that, that’s the thing that I really do. Love what I’m seeing what I’m hearing, you see it, you see it in, in practice in the business.
Now you see it in, in, you know, on on platforms like LinkedIn, women in ERP, I know Chris Harrington, and Sarah. And I can’t remember names now. But there’s three or four people that are doing that. And I just so happy to see that. And like you said, stepping up as leaders, and getting out there on video and talking and the other things they’re doing and, and running companies, leading companies, whatever they want to do. I mean, like you said, it’s like, I’m doing it.
Cris Young 16:11
Yeah, the most important thing is to have a voice out there. And I’ve noticed more and more on LinkedIn, that women are just out there speaking up, and, you know, creating the content and the and the conversations that need to be said regardless of what sex you are, you know, and and they’re and they’re actually, you know, being listened to, and thought of as as leaders. So yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s just amazing. Hey, women are like coaching football. I know, baseball, and there’s a there’s a woman going to be in the Super Bowl.
I mean, come on. Yeah, you know, it’s just, it’s just so amazing to watch. It’s so different from when I was when I was 13 years old, and wanted to play in the Babe Ruth league. And they were like, but your girl? Yeah, yeah. But I’m better than, you know, how did you get out there? So, you know, it’s just so different. And so glad to see just had a baby granddaughter, and I just know that her life is going to be so different. And so more fulfilling as far as opportunities to concerned in in manufacturing and industry. And just in in general? Yeah, really happy to see that.
Damon Pistulka 17:27
That’s so cool. I’m glad we got to spend some time on it. Because I really, I like I said, I think it’s I think it’s cool to see and, and, yeah, they’re just, I just, I’m just thinking there’s so many people that I know now that are just really making a difference. And it’s, it’s awesome to see.
Cris Young 17:43
So as if I may, if you just yeah, just as you said, there’s so many people out there making a difference. And I’ll say thank you to people like you and Kurt and all of the others that are out there, you know, putting the putting the word out there that hey, you know, if the if the people can perform, and they can live up to you know, the goals and the expectations of the of the job in front of them? What difference does it make what they look like, and it’s people like, like I said, like you guys who really we need those voices out there. And we’re grateful for them. So thank you.
Well, it needs to be done. I’m glad to be able to spread what I can. The the
Damon Pistulka 18:31
thing that we’re going to talk about a little bit though, is in the fastener industry, you’ve seen quite a change over the years in the way that the fastener industry and how the products are sold. I bet Oh,
Cris Young 18:45
yeah. Yeah. Used to be, you know, your grandfather would pull up in his pickup truck. And he would, you know, ask you what you needed and fill up your bins in you in your little shop out there and in a drive off, and it show up the next week and do the same thing again, well, it’s not that way anymore. You know, now it’s everybody wants things instantly, and they want to be able to do it themselves self serve.
So everything’s moving online. And that’s, that’s, that was a huge problem in our industry. And we started back in 1999 dealing with this. I worked for a small distributor, as I said, and we went through every software application that we could come across, that told us that they would be able to help us sell online. And when I mean, we went through it, we actually signed up for a few of them.
So I’ve seen them all I’ve I’ve experienced them all. I’ve used a few of them, but none of them could solve the problem and solve the problem is that you have a complex product category with hundreds of attributes hundreds of products and Hundreds of attributes, and you jamming that into a filtered faceted search on the left hand side of your website. That just does it. I mean, how can you be on a job site and be looking for, you know, a fastener and have to search and sort through, you know, 12 different different filters in order to find that one little thing by the time you figure that out? Okay, the day is over.
Yeah, you haven’t done you haven’t any needed? This is a critical piece, right? Yeah, you still haven’t found it. And so that was our issue with with what we saw out there as far as E commerce and customer experience. And for us, it all boiled down to customer experience, how is the customer going to be able to do to get the product that they need, in a easy to understand and manage? Application? Yeah, what we did was we came up with the protein use technology, which simplifies the search, sort and display of those complex product categories, all on one page. And it all happens in milliseconds.
And it’s just like, you know, we solve, we solve so many different issues in that one application, one is, you know, you can get to see the whole product category, all at all, at once on one page, you can buy what you want, ignore the rest, you know, and go on to the next product category. And you can do this all in, you know, online, whether it’s mobile, or desktop or laptop, whatever you using. And you can get that order that took, you know, three or four hours to figure out or if you were going to a regular search thing, you know, having your procurement department buy one item at a time.
That was, you know, real issue and we solve that. Now, you know, there’s there’s programs out there today where you can, you know, remembers your last order and stuff. But we also have those capabilities. So, you know, that doesn’t scare us. But it’s for the guy out there on the field who who’s coming up with a job, he needs something right away, he needs to find it right away. He’s going to go to his, you know, his suppliers website, and he’s going to look for it, he’s not going to be able to find it because of that long, tedious system that’s in use currently today. Yeah, that’s what we’re trying to change.
Damon Pistulka 22:27
Yeah, that’s cool. I mean, I remember I limited purchasing experience, I’ll just say that right now. But, but you know, even in the limited that I did, when you’re buying fasteners, or in the sheetmetal industry, where you’re buying inserts that go in, you know, that you’re buying, it has to be a quarter 20 Insert, and it’s got a certain finish and a certain length and, and, you know, so there’s so many different things that go into that one thing, by the time you get down to it, and even, I think probably the first time I bought like that online was in the early 2000s. And, you know, it’s just, it’s just so it still is in a lot of places. It’s just really clunky.
It’s really clunky. If I wanted a quarter 20 socket head cap screw that was a great eight, and and two and a half inches long, it might take you a long time to find that stupid thing.
Cris Young 23:23
Yeah, well, it’s gonna it’s let’s put it this way, it’s gonna take you like at the minimum, you know, 90 seconds to figure it out. And that’s it. That’s even if you put it in the search box, and you know, you type it into the search box, you’re going to come up with a list of stuff. And I bet you bet you that five out of the six items that show up aren’t even related to what you put into that search box.
Damon Pistulka 23:44
That’s that is such a great great thing I’m sure you’re right the
Cris Young 23:48
search out there is just terrible for industrial industrial products. Our process lists you list the product category and step one, you list all the variations of that product and step one, you click on you click on the radio button step two shows you the graph everything that’s available in there and then you add it to your cart boom boom boom you’re done.
You’re on to the next thing you’re not you know you know Joe’s not out this standing there waiting to try to figure out where is he going to get that item from you know he’s going to be able to do it he’s going to have it in he’s going to know he has it on order within 30 seconds and that’s the end of that now we can move on to you know what what he really needs to do is which is get on with his his regular job. That’s one aspect of it the other side of it is for your for your internal sales reps. Okay, you hired them to sell okay not to show you know shout out or or have to type out specifications to your customers.
Yeah, okay. You bought you you’re paying them to sell and Our technology provides all that information all right there in that compact, little, you know, space online, so that the salesperson just types it in or tells the customer to type it in. And boom, there it is. All of that pertinent information is right there. And your salesman can say, you know, what, how many you want? How many should I put on hold for, you? Know, let’s talk about, you know, if you need this, you also need that. So he’s actually doing the selling, not the technical part of the searching. Yeah, searching, not the technical part of it. So so as you go into this,
Damon Pistulka 25:39
this is i this, and I’ve seen the technology with it, we’ve gone through it, it’s cool as heck, first of all, the the thing that I really think, and I was talking to Ken Novak, this week, and we got off on this, somehow he started talking about search and Product Search, and how horrible most b2b product searches. And then I read an article last week about someone was or a post or something, somebody was talking about b2b websites that don’t even list all their products. And I was thinking to myself, Well, they probably do, but you just can’t find them.
Because the because the data is not right. So how, how how, I mean, compared to where you need to be, be in perfect be in 100? How bad are most people’s data sets on the backside of these things before they get started? I mean, are we 10? We 20? We 50% of the way there? I mean, because you have to have this stuff, right? Otherwise, you can’t tell the computer how to show it to people, right? Correct.
Cris Young 26:42
Some people are actually negative, I hate to say, yeah. So you know, data is my data for boy, we could go on and on about data. It’s a key,
Damon Pistulka 26:55
it’s a key, if you have your data, all right. Everything else comes just comes out so nicely, because if I know this is this is this product category. And you go down these lists, because I’ve got clients where we’ve got, you know, we’re running 200,000 different skews, right. And it’s different suppliers, different skews. And the the manufacturers that have their stuff together, their categories are really nice. And when you want to go through and look at things as sword meat gets much better. But yeah, it’s not right. Like you said, they’re, they’re negative. So what are some of the things you typically run into when you’re looking at this?
Cris Young 27:35
Everything, everything from misspelling, duplicate, you know, for instance, on one on one product catalog that, that we were working on a hex cap screws, we had one vendor that had the same what should have been the same description for the same product, spelled and written out? 11 different ways? Yes, I mean, you can’t have that. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about e commerce, price information, or digital assets or content management, you need to have clean data. So I would say for anybody out there looking to get online, make sure that your data is 100%. Accurate.
Yeah, if you have to pay somebody to clean it, then do it. Because I’m telling you, in the long run, you’re going to save 1000s of dollars in wasted time and effort. Because here’s what happens. And I know because I’ve done this personally. You hire a company, you’re going to get they’re going to put you online, okay, I’m going to put you online, they get all your data, and the minute they tried to enter it into the E commerce system or ERP or CMS system CRM system skews me you know, nothing matches up.
Nothing’s nothing’s matching up. You pick is don’t match your technical information is not matching. You have one item that’s listed six different ways. You just and all that costs money and it costs money not only in you having to redo it, redo it, it costs money in because your customers can’t find the products. Yes, and that’s that’s the big thing right there. The customers can’t find it. They can’t buy it.
Damon Pistulka 29:32
Yes. And and and whether we like it or not, and b2b. You’re being measured on how good are you compared to a b2c experience, and they’re used to buy in exactly what they want. Getting it very quickly make it easy to find it. Yep, exactly what you want very quickly, and if they don’t like it, they want to send it back. And that
Cris Young 29:56
goes someplace else, or they’ll go somewhere else. Yeah, can’t find it on your own. website, I guarantee you they’ve gone someplace else to find it. Yeah, that means you lost a customer. And you lost a customer on that one item. And he buys 10 Other items, guess where he’s going for those other 10 other items? Yeah. So it’s a, it’s a big deal, you must have that data accurate. And my suggestion is you get it done from the start, even if it cost you to do it. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 30:24
it is, it is well worth it in the beginning, because what will happen to that I’ve seen is if my data is wrong, and Damon goes and Damon buys a, bla bla bla, and, you know, we, there’s listening, b2b, there’s a lot of $500 $1,000 items, they’re buying every single minute of every single day. So I bought five of these things, because this is what I needed in my factory or whatever. And your data was wrong. And you sent me a different model. Now, I’ve got to $3,000 worth of equipment just sitting there. I can’t use it. I want to send it back.
Cris Young 31:01
Yep. And which all costs more money and company?
Damon Pistulka 31:06
Yeah, yeah, the freight companies, the only ones that make money off it, and you never get it back in the original condition as much as you try. And, and you’re gonna lose damage everything else and hassle from your, your customer service people having to deal with it. And that customer may never come to you again. You take them because you made you made it you made a mistake.
Cris Young 31:27
This, this is all about trust. If they can’t trust the information that you’re providing them to solve their issues. They’re going to go someplace else. The End of story. Yeah, I don’t care what business you’re in.
Damon Pistulka 31:39
That’s for sure. That’s for sure. And it’s it is as as you said, it’s you got to have that trust, and you only have a second to do it. And it’s a it’s a second establish. You got to keep it all the way through the process in a second to lose it. Yep. Yep. And
Cris Young 31:59
that’s the way the world goes.
Damon Pistulka 32:03
Yeah, yeah. So when you look at the fastener, well, let’s talk a little bit about about fastener news. You’re involved in fastener news to the industry?
Cris Young 32:14
Yes. That was so how did that come about? We had to, as a small fastener distributor, we had to find a way to amplify our voice, amplify, you know, our ideas, all of this technology we were coming up with, we had to find a way to to make ourselves heard. So we started doing some, you know, just brief newsletters and getting online as far as social media is concerned. And nobody else was doing it the regular fastener publications, weren’t. They just weren’t seizing the opportunities for concern. Yeah. So we made it bigger.
We, you know, we went out there. And we started talking to people and getting stories and publishing them. And the newsletter became bigger than we, you know, we went and did a website. And to this day, we’re still the only online media source that is purely online. You know, you can get news on a daily basis there. And every week we do a audio, podcast, whatever. Yep. Yes. And we tell everybody what’s going on, whether it’s events or acquisitions or whatever kind of news there is in the industry. And that’s important, because in today’s business world, things have just been moving so fast. Yes.
You know, you can sit around and wait to read the publication’s in our industry. They come out quarterly. You know, by the time you get that story out there, in your quarterly publication, you know, the people that are fashion a new says, Follow us have heard it for the past three months. So it’s kind of old news. And we’re pretty proud of that we’re pretty, we’re pretty happy with the fact that we provide our industry with up to date accurate, you know, trusted news for the industry.
And we’ve also brought in other industries along with that. So we talk about manufacturing, we talk about 3d printing. You know, we talk about whatever industry impacts our fastener industry, we talk about it and for that, for us, that’s just, it’s been a great learning experience. I mean, I know so many more things about the companies within the fastener industry. The companies that buy from the fastener industry. And just, it’s just been a great experience. We love it.
Damon Pistulka 35:08
No kidding. That’s cool. I didn’t I didn’t realize that it was, it was all online. And it’s Yeah. And even it’s been 11 years now or over 10 years now.
Cris Young 35:19
Yeah. We started out on Twitter, we just we were Twitter freaks, you know, going out? Yeah, pumping out a little, little, little way at the time. 140 character statements that I’m, you know, talking to people within our industry. And now it’s, you know, thankfully the industry has, you know, adopted, you know, a more open, you know, reaching out and talking to other people interactive community. Yeah. And, you know, that’s been a good thing for the industry, it’s really helped, I think, strengthen relationships, and the communication is good.
And we think it’s really helped. I mean, especially when you had the trade shows having to not be No, not be available, because of COVID. In the past couple of years. Because of that community was there, people were still able, able to, you know, communicate with their vendors and their in their customers. And you know, that I think all of these little steps are all making for a better community and industry. Communication. So we think all positive things happening.
Damon Pistulka 36:41
Yeah, that is so cool. Like, it’s, I didn’t realize the history of it. And that is, that’s even more exciting as, as you think about it, because I’ve seen some other people to Dan vigors, and some others started the USA manufacturing our Twitter chat on Thursdays. And that’s an incredible when you get on that there’s like, there might be 100 companies, they’re talking about the topics and they’re, you know, it’s crazy, fast paced thing.
But the community that you can build around something like that the fastener news desk like that, is, is so beneficial, because everybody has challenges in these businesses. And like you saw when you’re in the SBDC, and the other place is helping the companies, having others in your industry around you that you know, and trust and can talk to about these things is so important. That’s just another way to, to do it.
Cris Young 37:34
Yeah, most of our trade associations in within the industry are regional, right? So what we have with faster newsdesk, because we’re able to talk to all of those people. So people on the East Coast are having an issue. You know, they get to alert and discuss with people on the West Coast, through social media and through, you know, just know, just the quickness of the fact that the information is out there. Right. It’s not held back, like I said, for quarterly, you know, publications that come out, you actually know about it when it’s happening.
So if there’s a supply chain issue on the east coast, the West Coast knows about it, you know, within an hour, and they can, they can then get ready for it prevented on their end or you know, be prepared for whatever situation might come up. And that is not okay, what industry you’re in, that makes you a better business owner, by knowing the information, having it readily at your fingertips and be able to do something about it and be prepared for it.
Damon Pistulka 38:46
Yeah, that’s so cool. That’s so cool, because I hadn’t thought about that though. But if you’re the fastener industry right and there’s something happening and just you see it and you know it’s going to affect you because you saw that like you said in minutes rather than waiting for a publication to come out you can then prevent the problem from happening to your end customers and help them be more successful by going hey, we need you need to buy more of this I’m bringing more in because we’re gonna be short for a while especially with the supply chain challenges that are kicking everybody especially
Cris Young 39:16
especially right now I mean yeah is key that you know what’s going on and just be in the only way to be able to do that is to be up to date and you know not everybody’s gonna be sitting in front of their their computer or on their phone you know, reading everything that comes through but when it’s important you know about it because everybody’s talking about it. And that’s key that’s key
Damon Pistulka 39:42
that is that’s so cool so cool. We got Joseph step key stopped by a Joseph Oh, yeah, check the spelling are in Chris’s name but thanks for stopping by Joseph. I know Joseph like give a bad dive. But but the yeah That’s super cool. I mean, especially now because I mean, you don’t you don’t plan these things, right? You don’t plan these things like our, in our company we got, we got, quite honestly, we had no pre thoughts about COVID or anything like this, we started going virtual in 2019, because we wanted to be able to service clients nationally.
And it’s like, I didn’t want to be on the plane as much as I was for most of my career. And I said this week, we had to figure out how would we do what we do virtually. And if I can do it with my neighbor, I can do it with anyone across the United States. And that’s what we did. And like yours, with the supply chain challenges, I think you got to probably be hitting some of that, because now you can react and get the information out so quickly.
Cris Young 40:44
Yeah, so most of our, the fastener supplies come in through the West Coast, right? So if you wait to find out about that, you know, a week or two weeks or whatever, you on the East Coast, your customer is going to be screaming, because now it’s three weeks later. Exactly. And he still doesn’t have his product. Alright, if you knew about that, right away, you could reach out to other vendors that are in that, you know, similar.
Damon Pistulka 41:17
Yeah, the same stock, it could be pulling around you
Cris Young 41:21
pulling stock from wherever you need to pull it in. So waiting around it to find out, you know, oh, you know, does this the supplies not coming in it didn’t it didn’t get in off the ship, or the ship is sitting in the dock, or it’s out to sea or whatever the case may be, or it’s gonna cost you another 20,000? That’s a big thing that we’ve been having. Industry. Yeah, now is the amount is the cost of getting freight over here. Or, or, you know, or even getting a container. We one thing we did through fastener news desk was we started when, when this COVID first hit. And we knew we weren’t going to be able to have trade shows and whatever.
We started a monthly zoom. We call it we call it phys fastener industry zoom. And we met every month, and the issues and the people be able to be able to talk about their issues about workforce, about supply chain, just about you know, the PPE and being able to get it or, you know, whether it was, you know, whether they needed to have it, whatever the situation may be.
We worked all, you know, we worked through that, throughout throughout the whole year. Yes, people were able to, you know, large companies were talking to people with smaller companies, and vice versa, and helping each other out and getting each other through it to keep everything moving. And that was just it was just a, you know, a benefit to the industry. And for me, it was a great experience. I mean, no kidding. I just I’m loving it. Just, I’m soaking it all up.
Damon Pistulka 43:01
Yeah, yeah. Oh, that’s so cool. I so glad I asked more about it. Because it’s so interesting, and beneficial for your industry overall, like you said, because I think a lot of people now realize that collaboration is, is key, even if you you might sell the same product to some of the same people. But it’s, that’s not the thought of biggest deal as big a deal as it ever was before. I don’t think in the in the world today.
Cris Young 43:29
Yeah. And if you if you tend to be a regionalized industry, I mean, when you open it up to the whole, you know, the whole country in one shot, and they’re like, you know, hey, you know, the guy in New Jersey is talking to the guy from you know, Colorado. Yeah. And he never had that opportunity before unless you went to a trade show, which happens once a year. Yes.
Damon Pistulka 43:55
And then once a year, you’re not going to build a relationship. And by seeing somebody through your community multiple times you can you talk to them more than once you get this comfortable comfort around them, and they actually understand who they are and what they do. And they do the same with you, which is so much cooler.
Cris Young 44:12
Yeah, so just there’s just a lot more opportunity available through that. So that just that, you know, interaction, networking, whatever you want to refer to it as just that opportunity is there and available. And people should you know, take advantage of it.
Damon Pistulka 44:25
Yes, yes. So with it with product genius. Now, I gotta I gotta ask, you know, you’ve radically changed the search for complex one. You know, let’s see one too many attributes, kinds of items, you know, with items, a lot of attributes like screws, nuts, bolts, whatever you want to think there’s so many different kinds of industries, this goes into products. Yeah.
But when you look at the fastener industry, and I think product genius is is a great place to start because you look at those kinds of items. And it’s such a huge number of SKUs. And just subtle variations that make a huge difference in the end products that they make. How much have they really embraced? Overall, the industry has embraced e commerce, do you think it’s it’s still half of the industry? Or is everyone pretty much doing some of it? Or? Or what? What do you really see in the industry?
Cris Young 45:28
Well, my personal opinion is they have not embraced it as much as they should. Yeah. But I think that we are an older generational industry. Mm hmm. And I think that is part of part of it, although there’s huge turnover going on right now.
That’s, and I think that that’s going to catapult it, you know, I just think I read that somewhere recently that, you know, companies are expecting to spend, you know, upwards of a quarter of a million dollars on new technology within the next year or two. I’ll assume that that’s also including my fastener industry. And I think just think that’s a great thing. The other thing is, I think that manufacturers tend to think that they don’t need ecommerce.
And that is a huge mistake in the aspect that even if you just want to do a quote, you still need a ecommerce based platform in order to be able to do that. Yes. And then we go back to the data again. So yeah, you know, for whatever you are manufacturer, or distributor, and whatever industry, you’re in you, you need to you know, take a look at your technology stack, where you’re at right now where you want to go. And, again, I’ll emphasize the day to day to data.
Damon Pistulka 47:03
Yes, yes. Well, it’s Chris, it is so cool to get to talk to you today. And I’m, you know, like I said, when I saw the product genius technology, I’m like, Man, this makes it simple, because I can remember back when I couldn’t find a lot of stuff. And still the day you go on websites, you can’t find stuff when you need it. And how the product genius just simplifies the process makes it easy. Like you said, if I, if I’m doing something, and I need to find it quickly, and I need to get it ordered and get get on to the next thing, I think that’s it really is solving a need for the industry.
Cris Young 47:38
One click behind amazon. But other than that, we’re pretty we’re pretty happy with what we’ve got and what we’ve developed. And, you know, we hope to be able to expand it very soon beyond the fastener industry that we started there, because that’s where we have our you know, our knowledge and our experience. But as you mentioned, it can be used in many different industrial supply, and other retail industry. So we’re looking forward to the future where everybody gets to see a whole product category on one page, and be able to buy from it, you know, as often as they need. So
Damon Pistulka 48:15
yeah, that’s great. That’s great. Well, I just wanted to say thank you, Chris, for being here today. Again, we had Chris Young, product, product genius technology with a certain day she’s talking about the fastener industry, her experience in the fastener industry, women in manufacturing, which was awesome, by the way, we got to talk about that. We talked about the fastener news desk is online organization that a news organization that you guys started 11 years ago. And that’s so great, because we talked about that, but just thanks. Thanks so much for being here today, Chris.
Cris Young 48:51
I really appreciate the opportunity. David, thank you very much. You’ve had
Damon Pistulka 48:54
the vet just thank you so much. Thanks, everyone, for listening. We’ll be back again next week with more interesting guests talking about life in business, on the faces of business, talk to you soon. Go