Using AI & Experience to Optimize Operations

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Dave Crysler, Founder and Principal Consultant at the Crysler Club, discusses the synergy of AI (actual intelligence) and hands-on experience to bring operational excellence to businesses.

In this episode of The Faces of Business, Dave Crysler, Founder and Principal Consultant at the Crysler Club, discusses the synergy of AI (actual intelligence) and hands-on experience to bring operational excellence to businesses.

Dave’s entrepreneurial upbringing, paired with his years in complex manufacturing operations gave him a unique perspective. He’s transformed companies by crafting systems that optimize every business facet. With over three years at the helm of the Crysler Club, Dave’s approach has shifted businesses from feeling like they’re “running in heavy boots” to soaring with custom-made running shoes.

The conversation begins with Damon’s aim to discover how Dave’s insights can help you harness your team’s actual intelligence and experiences to streamline operations, fostering growth and efficiency. Thanking Damon for hosting him, Dave even humorously points at the possibility of a “manufacturing telethon” event where they could delve deep into operations discussions for hours.

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The host sets the stage for a meaningful conversation today, asking the guest to discuss his background and how he is currently helping people.

Dave shares his background, which includes years in a corporate career at a large publicly traded company. He describes himself as a “transition guy” and relates how this experience laid the foundation for his current work.

In his current role, Dave works with leaders to optimize their operations. This involves identifying opportunities for efficiency and profitability while also leveraging existing resources. “It may give you some high-level leadership lessons,” asserts Dave. People often overlook these existing resources and instead focus on new technologies like AI, machine learning, and IoT. For operational excellence, he stresses the significance of process improvement initiatives and harnessing the potential within organizations to drive increased profitability and reinvest in resources.

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Similarly, Dave believes that reinvestment can facilitate additional growth and improvement in human capital and overall business operations. He discusses the significance of process-related aspects in attracting and retaining talented individuals within an organization. Moreover, creating an environment that empowers individuals to drive initiatives and improvements effectively is crucial.

He points out that every dollar saved in costs directly translates into additional profit because these companies are already profitable. In contrast, generating an equivalent dollar in profit from revenue can be much more challenging, as it often requires a significantly higher amount of revenue due to factors like gross margin percentages.

Damon’s next question revolves around whether business owners, especially those in the lower middle market nearing a company sale, thoroughly analyze their end-to-end business processes.
Dave responds with affirmation. He discusses a strategically important idea of the “cycle of improvement.” He suggests that businesses should regularly evaluate their processes and seek key opportunities for periodical optimization.

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Using capital equipment purchases as an example from his corporate experience, Dave discusses the need for a rigorous and strategic approach. He mentions that it’s not just about paying for the equipment but also maximizing its potential. Often, purchasing new equipment doesn’t align with the overall business strategy and financial goals.

The host invites Dave’s comments on AI platforms like ChatGPT, Bing, and Bard and their application in manufacturing and beyond.

In the guest’s view, AI has been around for decades, with the latest iterations being impressive regarding their conversational abilities and knowledge base. However, he firmly believes that AI, particularly generative AI like ChatGPT, cannot replace practical human experience.

While AI is a valuable tool for tasks like data analysis and consolidation, it falls short in areas where human judgment, adaptability, and practical experience are required. He cites the example of handling team members’ concerns in a process change, which AI cannot address comprehensively.

Damon asks Dave about the common process issues hindering manufacturing businesses’ operations day in and day out.

While talking about the typical process issues he encounters in manufacturing businesses, Dave categorizes them into a few key areas. He starts with product quality, mentioning that opportunities for improvement often arise concerning customer defects or internal quality control.

Besides product quality, Dave mentions several aspects, including enterprise management, financial management, IT infrastructure administration, customer development, and operations. He advises considering these aspects through the lenses of planning, people, process, and technology and understanding how these systems interact.

Dave also mentions specific process flows such as order-to-cash, inventory management, and quality management. He points out that these processes have endless possibilities for good optimization work and efficiency improvement, all to enhance profitability.

Damon requests Dave to discuss the balance between optimizing the manufacturing floor and improving business systems and ancillary aspects surrounding manufacturing.

Dave believes that the potential for optimization exists in both manufacturing processes and business systems, and it depends on the maturity of the business. He mentions that during his career spanning several decades, he has encountered very few fully optimized businesses in both areas.

Dave discusses the ever-changing dynamics within businesses, such as employee dynamics, cultural shifts, and constantly changing external events like the pandemic. However, the core principles do not. These fundamentals are crucial for businesses to thrive, regardless of a company’s size or revenue.

In the same manner, Dave draws attention to the transformative power of process optimization, giving examples where companies significantly increased net profitability without changing revenue, decreasing revenue, or altering their workforce or equipment.

Furthermore, the guest points out that cash can be instrumental in business growth, such as seeking loans, purchasing equipment, attracting top talent, or preparing the business for sale.

Damon, interested, wants Dave “to go ahead.”

Obliging Damon, Dave goes on to discuss a typical scenario where businesses consider purchasing new equipment due to perceived capacity. He stresses the need for in-depth analysis and strategic thinking in these situations.
Damon questions Dave about his current excitement and interest in process optimization.

Dave is enthusiastic about helping organizations realize the potential for improvement within their operations rather than constantly seeking external solutions like AI. He finds joy in opportunities to serve more clients and shares his passion for process optimization, which he believes is a dynamic field with unique challenges in the real world.

Before departing, Dave discusses his early leadership experiences and how he transitioned from a family-run business with a different management style to a more effective leader. He shares that the key to his growth was being placed in situations where he had to manage unfamiliar teams, products, and equipment. Dave connects leadership to effective processes, stating that having solid processes, even for tasks as simple as running meetings, is essential for successful leadership.

In this closing section, Damon thanks Dave and the audience for participating in the discussion.

Our Guest
Dave Crysler

Dave, a second-generation entrepreneur, Founder of the Crysler Club, helps manufacturers spot inefficiency and incompetence in complex manufacturing operations. Moreover, he has been a general manager since 2000, rendering valuable services in strategic business planning and evaluating metric reports to support daily efficiencies and business operations.

Dave’s entrepreneurial upbringing, paired with his years in complex manufacturing operations gave him a unique perspective. He’s transformed companies by crafting systems that optimize every business facet. With over three years at the helm of the Crysler Club, Dave’s approach has shifted businesses from feeling like they’re “running in heavy boots” to soaring with custom-made running shoes.

The guest has a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Wayne State University.

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David Crysler, Damon Pistulka

Damon Pistulka 00:03
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am excited today because we have none other than Dave Chrysler from the Chrysler club, and that is Chrysler spelled without an H, I always want to make sure that people know that and we’re going to be talking about using AI and experience to operate our to optimize operations. Dave, thanks for being here today, man.

David Crysler 00:33
Yeah, man, I’m, I’m excited to be on the show with you, Damon. And, you know, we said before we went live, you know, we can probably geek out over stuff like this for the next 10 hours. So you know, we may we maybe we should have like, operations marathon one day or something, you know, like, Yeah, I’m gonna write that down. Yeah, like get curd involved. Let’s see if we can have like our own little manufacturing telethon.

Damon Pistulka 01:00
Yeah, the manufacturing telethon. That would be fun. Yep. That would be fun. Yeah. All right. So we’re gonna have to do that one day. So Dave, let’s familiarize people with who you are, and how you’re helping people by talking about your background, and then jump into how you’re helping people today. Yeah,

David Crysler 01:27
yeah. So, you know, background spent many years in a corporate career working for a large publicly traded company. And, you know, as I say, I was a transition guy. So I think we, you know, we share that, that part of history. And while at the time, I would never tell you how great it was, I can say that looking back, it’s really, you know, it’s what allows me to do what I do today. And it’s kind of ironic, because when I think about all of those stories, and all of those, you know, things that that I was put in place for and to deal with, you know, it’s ironic to me, because it’s the stuff that I have loved and, and, you know, have always loved it. So even though, you know, you get tossed into difficult situations, and you have to figure it out, and you kind of navigate forward, you know, and those, those practice runs help you right to now see things more clearly more quickly. Right. It’s, it’s, you know, the, you know, lots of bruises coming up through there. But yeah, and as far as what I do today, you know, that’s a bit of the background. And, you know, I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. So I’ve always had this spirit around me in terms of doing my own thing. And, you know, so today, the business is really around working with leaders, to help them optimize their operation. And you know, what that really means is looking for opportunities to increase efficiency, looking for opportunities to drive additional profitability, and kind of, you know, leveraging our existing resources, right, everybody wants to talk about, hey, let’s talk about how we can implement AI and machine learning and IoT. And let’s talk about this new tech stack. And let’s talk about, you know, whatever else it is, and the reality of it is for many companies, you know, we’re not leveraging the resources we already have, we’re not leveraging our existing tech stack, we’re not diving in and really tapping into the people doing the thing. And, you know, all of that, through process improvement initiatives, through you know, kind of all of the things that we we talked about and do, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity to tap into, which means increased profitability, which means, you know, additional resources and capital to reinvest, you know, it, the list goes on and on. So,

Damon Pistulka 03:57
yeah, yeah, exactly. Like you said, I wrote it down here, because we get the whatever, it’s the shiny object syndrome. You know, in manufacturing, it’s really easy to think that this new ERP system, are this new piece of equipment or this new training, is what we got to do across the board with everybody because we’re not and really, with some good optimization work, you can get a lot farther and utilize what you’ve got a lot more fully and, and go three quarters of the way maybe you would get with with other large capital expenditures.

David Crysler 04:39
Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s, you want to talk about how can you reinvest in your business, right, and that could be for additional growth that could be for capital B for human capital, right, like, yeah, what better way to do it than what the stuff you’ve already got? Yes. And, and there’s so many conversations around you know, we can you know, return And, you know, find and attract, you know, amazing people? Well, you know, some of that I would argue is going to be process related, right? Yes. systematization like, you know, how are you engaging people in and around the team to be able to drive? You know, not just initiatives and improvements, but but to do their job, right? Like, how are you providing the tools and the necessary bounds and the goals to be able to do that on a consistent basis? Right, that’s the other part is the consistency with which we’re able to deliver. So those are conversations, you know, it’s interesting to me, and I, you have to see the same thing. But it’s interesting to me. Everybody knows that it needs to be done. But nobody likes to really talk about it, you know, about the symptoms that are out there. We talk about, you know, being surrounded by fire all day, you know, but we don’t we don’t generally like to kind of talk about it not, you know, I think it’s probably because it’s not the sexiest part of business. But it is the most fundamental, and it’s where you make the biggest gains. In my experience.

Damon Pistulka 06:04
Yeah. Well, it really, when you’re when you start to talk about if you’re a profitable company, and you can start to save money, in your current sales, your current processes, you just made more profit, because you’re already profitable. And every dollar of costs that you eliminate is one more dollar profit. And $1 of profit that comes through revenue is much harder to get because I might have say, if I’ve got a 40%, gross margin, I’ve actually got to get whatever that is to two and a quarter 2.2 dollars of revenue to make $1 in profit. Well, not necessarily. Knowing math, my maths not good right now, this led me

David Crysler 06:48
I know where you’re going when this Yeah, you know, where I’m going. This is

Damon Pistulka 06:50
water, it’s not. But you know, what I’m saying so dollars in profit, when there’s when that opportunity is there, you can increase your profits quickly, with with those kinds of improvements. And and the other thing that is that is really fundamental to lower middle market business owners that are in the, you know, the 50 sub $50 million revenue range that are even close to considering exiting or selling their company, is that when you sell that company, you have to pay off your equipment debt. And if you’re an equipment junkie, which I used to be, I love to buy new stuff, man, there’s nothing cooler than spending a million bucks and watching that thing come in and big pieces and put in Yeah, good stuff. But then when you get when you go get it, you’re at it, were we call the red zone, in the last couple of years of owning your business and you’re getting ready to, you know, you’re going to be selling eventually, that equipment, that investment has to make money back much, much faster, or you’re just paying that money back. Right? You’re just you’re as paying that off before the new owners take it over. Yeah. And it’s, it’s a big, it’s a big decision. And there’s so many reasons to go back through your entire process. And I really enjoy and I get your input on this too, in what you’re seeing. But how many people really take the time to go and the end? Like from customer contact to buy something to receiving payment? And really look at the whole thing?

David Crysler 08:31
Yeah, I mean, not many, right? That’s the short answer. Yeah. It’s, it’s incredible to me, how few people consider that that process flow, right? The Value Stream Map, you call it whatever you want, right? Like it always, always gets to me when people are, you know, want to be ultra specific. It’s like, Guys, come on, you know, like, if people aren’t even looking at this stuff, so who cares what we call it? Right? Yeah. You know, I mean, but But yeah, to your point, there are so many opportunities when you start to take a look at those things. And the other part, you know, the thing I like to talk about is, you know, the thought process around the cycle of improvement and where that really comes into play as we’re talking about taking a look at your business through that strategic lens. Right. That should be you know, at the very least an annual event, right, that depending on the specific aspect of that we should be talking about that on the quarter on the half and looking for these key opportunities to you know, drive some influence drive some optimization. Yeah, it’s it’s really incredible. I mean, we were talking about capital purchases, right equipment purchases. Well, you know, when, when I, when I had my corporate role, right, I’ll use that as the example we had a very rigorous as you would imagine a very rigorous you know, catbacks process. And so So in that, right, we had to take a look at at kind of what’s the strategic plan? Like what’s the SOP plan, right? Like, what are we going to do with what we’ve got today? What are we think’s going to be coming in the front door? How are we going to execute that today? How is this capital equipment purchase going to fit into that mix? But it was from the forecasting perspective, right? Like, we were already updating hourly rates to understand, what’s the impact? What’s the burden, additional burden gonna be for this new piece of equipment purchase? Can we pay for it? And not just pay for it? You know, but but, you know, really turn up the juice with this. And in so many times, the answer was no. Right? And not know, from the corporate perspective of like, no, it makes no, you know, it was no at the plant level, saying, when I start to peel back all of these onion layers, and I start to look at, you know, what, what the impact is going to be by spending a million plus dollars on this, you know, fill in the blank, like, and it’s just, it’s not there, you know, like, I would have to go out and sell 30% new revenue and a category, we don’t even touch today to be able to do this and to make it make sense. And, you know, again, so back to what you said, you know, like, there’s so much opportunity, whether we’re talking about process, you know, improvement kind of optimization, or whether we’re talking about strategic business planning, and how that can ultimately impact these types of things at, you know, at the plant level. So, yeah, it’s, for me, it’s kind of fundamental and foundational. And so I tried to, you know, shout it from the rooftops, as many as many days that LinkedIn let me

Damon Pistulka 11:43
Yeah, yeah. So we’re, we’re, obviously, seeing a little bit about AI. In the news today, this little thing that they call chat, GPP and Bard and being chat and our you know, they’re changing things a little bit. globat a little bit. I’ve heard of those that heard of them. Yeah. Yeah. So what what you know, it really when we’re talking about optimizing operations you we you know, the title I love what you say on your and I gotta read your, your LinkedIn profile is in this I’m gonna, I’m gonna pull it up here. Well, we got it because I was looking at it earlier, and I closed the window, but you know, sorry, I’m, I’m slow today. Slow design.

David Crysler 12:42
It’s alright. It’s okay. We’re all good.

Damon Pistulka 12:45
Yeah, it was. Good thing. So here we go. Gotta read it. Outsmarting AI in manufacturing, and beyond using actual intelligence and practical expertise. So you, you’ve obviously got some some ideas about AI. And so what are some of the things you think people are doing right now or expecting AI to do that really is not going to help them with right now?

David Crysler 13:18
Yeah, I mean, I think when people think about AI, and interesting, you know, fact about AI, right? Like, it’s been such a hot topic lately. But the reality of it is, it’s been around for decades, right? decades. This stuff has been around for decades. And you know, so yeah, it’s cool. The latest iteration is amazing, right? It’s conversational. It has a lot of knowledge base, there’s many, many things that you can do with it. But I am a firm believer that, you know, AI in kind of any generative AI and and I know there’s Camila, I’m guarantee, there’s gonna be somebody that’s gonna jump into this, you know, with what I say, right? But it’s like, look it, you know, people buy from people at the end of the day, and technology cannot replicate the human connection. We are pack animals at the lowest level of the evolutionary chair, you know, and so when I think about it, I love AI. You know, I’m chat, GBT, you know, power user. And, you know, I’ve got the paid subscription. I use it all the time. But the disconnect that I see for a lot of people and it doesn’t matter, you know, what the kind of genre is right or or who it is. But people think that it’s going to replace, you know, practical experience. And, you know, as smart as chat GBT is and it will never be able to replace the practical experiences and taking those experiences and applying them given new scenarios, right? And what I’m really talking about is, how do you apply that given a new, you know, set of variables, people variables, equipment variable, like all of these things, it does not have the ability to reason in the same manner that we do. And I’m not saying that our reasoning is correct. But But what I am saying is that, you know, humans have this innate ability to take their experiences, and to look at other factors and to bring all of that together in a, you know, kind of a practical sense, right. And I don’t think that I will see that in AI in my lifetime. Maybe I’ll be wrong, you know, I, it’ll certainly be interesting to stay tuned. Yes, the right. But But that’s where I come from, you know, it’s a great tool, there’s a lot of things that you can do with it in terms of, you know, programming or consolidating data, pulling out analytics and taking a look at those types of things. You know, but if you were to jump into chat GPT and say, you know, I need some ideas on how I can optimize my order to cash flow processes, and implement an inventory management system, it would give you the highest level of garbage that you’ve ever gotten. Right, it would tell you, Well, what you should consider is a technology that would allow you to you know, and it’s look that that’s great, right? And yes, at the highest level, that is correct. That’s exactly what you should be doing. Right. But, but it’s kind of glossed over all of the important aspects of it, it’s glossed over. So exactly how should I handle this team member? Who does data entry? Who thinks this new process is crap, and is not going to work? And you know, we should be doing it this other way? Chat UbD does not know how to handle that. Okay. It may give you some high level leadership lessons, but it’s not going to be able to dive into the details and say, I would do this first, I would do that. Next, I would do that, you know, third. So that, for me is the you know, it’s a it’s obviously a big play on words, because it’s such a hot topic for me. And yeah, you know, I’m passionate about the stuff that I do. And I’ve done it for so long. That that’s the real value in it. Right? You know, like, yeah, you when you have all of those lumps from being a leader, you know, in the real world and not in a textbook, you know, there’s things that that you’ve experienced, and that you can apply today that are fundamental, that a tool like aI cannot replicate?

Damon Pistulka 18:06
Yeah, yeah, they can’t, they can’t replicate the human experience, and then apply it into a new situation like you, like you said, I think that’s, that’s a real, real important point. I do. I do see that there’s some there’s some interesting applications, though. We’ve got John, John Molinos, saying hello, listening. But I make

David Crysler 18:29
good sure I don’t get myself into trouble,

Damon Pistulka 18:31
John. Yeah, yeah. But there. But there are some interesting applications. But again, when we talk about AI, I think this is, you know, chat GPT. And what we see as AI today and the press, as you said, you said a while ago, now you said this, it’s been around a long time, we’ve been programming things, you know, go back even just a few years with some of these chat bots that are on these bigger company websites that can walk you through a lot of stuff, that’s a form of AI, right. It’s just not as advanced in the conversational pieces. And I think some of the interesting stuff that I’m hearing now, that that may really take this to another level is to be able to do something. I was talking to a gentleman last week, or two weeks ago that was talking about taking for very large corporation, all of their HR rules, regulations, everything that they have across the globe, and putting that data set into an AI based thing so that now Damon can ask any HR question of this system, and it will answer it and it will answer it correctly. And right now they had people that were trying to look these obscure things up in this huge corporation, but this can bring it right to the forefront. Give it to you, you know, and really, and he said that was around that specific dataset though it can’t go out side that it can’t make up its own its can’t do anything. It’s like using that. And you think about the advancement that that is to be able to reason and go, Okay? This is where Damien’s at this is his position, this is this, this is what’s applicable, because that’s that kind of programming is very hard for us to do now, but those things are really interesting, I think,

David Crysler 20:22
yeah, totally, totally agree. And, you know, like not to get too into the weeds with AI. But, you know, Chechi Beatty just released a pretty interesting feature along those lines, where it will allow you to kind of give some background information, as a behind the scenes input, I forget exactly what they call it. But if you go to your, you know, if you go to your settings, it is in there, as part of that, and, yeah, and so, so that has been implemented for a few weeks now. But the other thing, there are some other kind of standalone that I’ve seen, there’s a guy I’m connected to, this is kind of his world. And he was showing me a tool that he had come across, which will basically allow you to, in a similar contacts, kind of train a AI, you know, bought, but based on all of your input. So, you know, kinda, it’d be like, you know, me sitting there and training them on, you know, the stuff that I do on any given day, you know, to work with a client. So, yeah, super interesting stuff, like I said, you know, it is certainly something to keep an eye on, it is certainly a tool to be used, you know, but to me that that kind of goes to the bigger things I talked about, too, right? Like, how often have you heard the word system and technology be the same thing? You know, and it’s, I just want to shout, you know, it’s no, those two, those are different. And those are different.

Damon Pistulka 21:54
Yes, they are. Yes, sir. Yeah, good, good. Well, I think, you know, there’s there, there are some exciting times for us in in manufacturing and operations around it to be able to see where, where our systems, whether they’re AI driven, or regular systems, or just manual systems for that, for that matter, and are can really help us and then where, you know, where our experience is really going to lead us because manufacturing is changing. I mean, you’re changing from the people that are doing it to the types of products we’re making to the, you know, the supply chains we’re dealing with, and, and where things are manufactured. So, some exciting stuff going on. And when when you talk about you say something on your profile, I really I like it, every time I see it, it’s like running in heavy boots, I believe that you’re talking about when your systems aren’t working right, or your processes aren’t working? Right. That’s a good analogy. So let’s jump off on that a little bit. You you get to help these people do these things? What are some of the typical process things that you see holding these manufacturing businesses up?

David Crysler 23:12
Yeah, I mean, it generally kind of falls into a couple of buckets, you know, an easy spot to start is, you know, product quality, right? There’s, there’s always opportunities in and around that, whether that starts from, you know, kind of customer defects, or whether that’s internal stuff. You know, that’s, that’s always a good spot to start asking questions. You know, and beyond that, then then what I’m really doing is kind of diving into the key business systems. And that’s universal, right, that that applies in manufacturing in and, you know, well beyond that. So we’re talking about, you know, enterprise management, kind of what what’s that, you know, back to that strategy piece, you know, and that can certainly include technology, you know, for talking, you know, sub 20 million, probably not really high level, probably that 20 to about 100 million is going to, you know, most likely have some sort of ERP in place, you know, and then beyond that, it just kind of continues to be more mature. You know, so, but we’re talking about enterprise management, we’re talking about financial management, we’re talking about, you know, IT infrastructure admin, customer development, you know, and operations, right, like, how do we do the thing that we’re actually doing? So, talking about all of those through the lens of, you know, the planning people process technology, and understanding how those systems are interfacing with each other, you know, as we start to talk about specific, you know, process flows, as we’re talking about order to cash, let’s say, as we’re talking about inventory management, as we’re talking about quality management, you know, as we’re talking about, you know, How do we deliver? You know, estimates? How do we, you know, treat our engineering department? How do we, you know, it’s it’s endless, you know, it’s literally endless and limitless, in terms of what we can look for, to, you know, to optimize and to take a look at, you know, what are we doing today? How can we do this more efficiently? And again, all looking for those opportunities to drive, you know, additional profitability back to the bottom? Yeah.

Damon Pistulka 25:30
And and when you’re in businesses, you’re talking about process optimization. Do you think that we’ve, when we look at opportunities, generally, in opportunities? Do you think that we’ve optimized the manufacturing floor to a point that we have more opportunities on business systems and the ancillary things around the manufacturing now? Or do you think they’re still the bigger benefit is still out on the manufacturing floor?

David Crysler 26:02
I think it’s both. Obviously, it depends on kind of, you know, maturity of the business in terms of how would they look at, you know, process improvement, and, you know, kind of generalized like, operational excellence, right, which just fancy fancy words for continuous improvement? You know, so it, I would say, to answer that, effectively, it depends on the maturity of the business. I, I have been into out of my entire career, right. So we’re talking a long time now I have a couple of close to a few decades of businesses that I’ve been into. And I would say that I could count on one hand, the number of those businesses that were fully optimize both on the manufacturing floor and across the organization, that should speak volumes to the question that you just asked, right? Like, we

Damon Pistulka 26:58
just got a lot of stuff, we just need to figure out where the biggest opportunity is. Yeah,

David Crysler 27:02
I mean, it’s, you know, again, it’s kind of never ending, right? Because all of the factors are always changing. All right, 10 years ago, right, was a different set of, you know, kind of employee dynamics, right? That was five years ago, right? Pre pandemic versus post pandemic, two sets of kind of things we’re dealing with, from a culture piece from a hybrid work piece. And that impacts manufacturers, just like it does other types of businesses, right. So the dynamics are always changing, the variables are always changing, what doesn’t change is the fundamentals, you know, the cycle of continuous improvement, the business systems that we need to be successful, those two things do not change. They never, you know, I hate to say they never will, right, but they never have and all these years, those are the things that you need. If you look at 100, a billion dollar business, you will find all of those things, and then you will find levels of maturity from that optimization piece, right? To get to $100 million in revenue, you got to kind of know what you’re doing now. Yeah, some of it, you could kind of fake till you make, because let’s face it, a lot of revenue fixes a lot of inefficiency in the backend. Okay. So but, you know, like, I’ll give you this example. So I was in a conversation earlier this week. And somebody kind of glossed over and said, you know, well, you know, manufacturing, and that’s like, you know, pretty generalized single digit, you know, not profitability. I said, if you don’t know what you’re doing it is I said, but I was routinely in operations that were delivering double digit and high double digit net profitability numbers, in declining product segments, in relatively small businesses, right. Like, my whole point is, it’s possible if that’s what you’re, you know, seeking out, right? And then that just creates cash to go out and do the rest of the cool stuff. You know, so it’s like, yeah, let’s do this.

Damon Pistulka 29:17
I won’t go down that road, because that’s about a different road, because it’s so good, so good. Just listen to your talk. Because there are these preconceived notions we have. And how many times when you’re working with people on process optimization is the biggest challenge, just preconceived notion.

David Crysler 29:39
I’d say it’s the biggest, right, like, it’s, it’s the I think it’s this, but it’s not really this. It’s that, you know, and, and, you know, understanding kind of the work that really gets done, you know, because it’s different than I can buy this piece of equip. meant, and it’s going to do this thing I know how much it costs, I know, you know that when they leave me, it’s going to be able to do this amount of output. All of that’s very, you know, kind of black and white and there’s some gray in and around that, you know that but you know, it’s a little bit more clearly defined than the work and the things that I talk about and and ultimately do for companies, because it’s a bit intangible, you know, so it is more challenging to understand what is the real value of this, and until you’ve seen it through your own eyes, and you’ve seen a single digit 4% net profitability company go to a 24% net profitability company, without changing revenue, sometimes decreasing revenue, and with the same number of employees with the same equipment mix with no change in sales and marketing, when you know, when you until you see that, you’re kind of like, yeah, right. Okay. You know, like, you just don’t believe it, because it doesn’t seem possible, you know, and I would argue that it’s more fun in general to talk about, we grew revenue by, you know, 15%, we did this, but, but, but the reality of it is, when you go to sell your business, when you go to take out a loan on your business, if you want to buy another piece of equipment, if you want to bring in top level talent, like the best way to do it, is by freeing up cash that you already have inside of the four walls of your business. So and I’ve not found any other way to do that, besides optimizing your processes.

Damon Pistulka 31:44
And when you can do it, like you said, I’ve, I’m looking here at this kind of roughing some things out I mean, when you, you basically going from four to 24%, it’s that’s 5x. You know, my math might be up, but it’s 5x, you think 5x on that, you just increase the value of accompany five times by doing that, whatever the multiple was. And it’s to do that, from a revenue standpoint, is pretty crazy. I mean, you too, because you just you simply will run out of capacity or run out of space, you’ll run out of people, you’ll run out of cash to generate that much many sales. So most, I mean, you want to go ahead, go ahead.

David Crysler 32:26
I was gonna say not to cut you off. But I mean, you could say it in a completely different way for people to write, how many times have you been into a business and you start to talk about these types of things? And somebody says something along the lines of, you know, well, I need to bring on this new piece of equipment, because you know, we’re out of capacity. So like you Oh, you guys are running around the clock? No, no, we run one shift. So how, wait a second, you just told me you’re out of capacity. I’m I’m confused now. So you can’t be out of capacity, if you only run eight out of the 24 hours that there aren’t a day. Right? Yeah. And there’s so many different ways to structure, you know, shifts and shift change and, you know, avoid working weekends, and you could do ABCD, you could do, right. But the whole point is, like, even something that simple in terms of how you’re thinking about your business, right? Like, though, that’s a huge, huge cash decision that you’ve just made or committed to, you know, and and so it’s, you know, getting back to that strategy piece, like, how do I how do I know those things? Will because I had to do all the math and work behind the scenes to figure out like, Does this make sense? Does that make sense? Do we just need to expand and work some overtime to cover this thing that we just sold? Or did we really need to go and add? You know, a whole new shift, right? Is this something temporary? Is it long term? Is it like it’s just never ending? You know?

Damon Pistulka 33:56
Exactly, exactly. You make such a great point there too. I want to stop just for a second. We got Yale in here today. He’s talking about yes, AI can help run businesses a lot easier. When it’s utilized properly. There’s going to be some of these things we’re going to see. Like I really think about these confined datasets to help people Yeah, you know, customer service and just, there’s there’s so much in that it’s gonna be fun. So Bob is here.

David Crysler 34:20
Oh, Bob. All right. I think he’s on vacation this week, too. Yeah, I

Damon Pistulka 34:25
saw your legs up the front of the boat was great. He was out getting that going on. And do you know anybody that cooks is good to see those?

David Crysler 34:33
I don’t know. I love to cook and I if I could be half as good of a cook as I’m like, I’d be in good.

Damon Pistulka 34:43
Yeah, yeah. I’m glad I don’t live like two miles from him because I’m right. Or honored bounds. That’d be 400 gay man. It was the ugly but it’s so good. So good. prepares the right stuff. John’s laughing he’s laughing I think he would laugh at that the guy that says hey, we we Hey, we need another agent. They say it with a straight face because they do, right. I wasn’t, hey, it happened to me in the molding industry. We were running in that in that business they want they thought that Monday through Friday 24 hours was good. And and when I said, Well, we have this whole weekend here. And they’re like, well, we don’t run weekends. I said, Why don’t we were on weekends? And then then I said, Well, why don’t we try 12 hour shifts and do like you said, the ABCD. And let’s let people work three days a week and get four days off. Let’s see how that works for a while. And pretty soon you’re reading something that’s really 24/7. And I just added that 20 Some percent capacity because we’re out of capacity, because there’s only so fast you can get the things open and close and you making parts for people. And the the, the utilization, and that that increase in utilization in these industries where you are really tight margin already, like a CNC machining company, same thing. You get that extra output through those same pieces of equipment, that same rent that same, you know, maintenance cost per hour are running that you’re gonna have. You just can’t I don’t know why people don’t do it. Well,

David Crysler 36:26
yeah. Oh, yeah, for sure. It’s a it’s a boatload of work. You know, like, don’t let anybody fool you. Yeah, that’s not easy load of work. Ya know, like, I used to have hair when I started this, you know? I mean, so yeah, it’s a boatload of work. But the again, the, you know, it’s shot. It’s hard to say, right? Because until you see those types of things in life play out in real life, it is hard to kind of wrap your mind around. But it is so cool when it comes together like that. And, you know, and like you said, Okay, so now you know, now you go to the next step, right? So that’s one step. We’re going 24/7 Right, like boom, we’ve got now we’ve got this additional capacity locked in. Now we’re at capacity again. Well, what can we do from a throughput scenario? Right? Like what can we do with cingulum? You know, like the SMAD right, like single minute exchange of dye, what can we do with you know, more efficient changeovers? What can we do with batch production? What can we do with inventory control? What can we do with, you know, order entry optimization? Like, how can we batch incoming work with, you know, work in process, right? Like, you can just go down this, like crazy laundry list and squeeze, like another probably 10%, you know, at least have, you know, real utilization and throughput in that same scenario, you know, like, read the book, the goal I one of the coolest stories of, of that exact exam, you know, situation, right, like, so. Yeah, man, it’s, it’s cool when you see it work itself out in, in, in real life. It is a tremendous accomplishment, you know, to be to be celebrated, but it’s possible. You know, it’s possible. I’ve seen it many times over, in my, in my career, and it’s a lot of fun, and it doesn’t change anytime that I’ve ever seen, you know, big plane like that land. It’s amazing. You know, yeah, it really is.

Damon Pistulka 38:26
So, Dave, what are your What are you excited about? Now? What’s exciting you and process optimization today?

David Crysler 38:32
Ah, you know, I think, in general, I think people with the, let’s call it the resurgence of attracting and, you know, retaining amazing people. I think that the stuff that I do, and that we talk about, and that I love so much, I think it’s going to continue to get more and more interest in attention, because the reality of it is, you know, whatever market we’re talking about, there is a cap to that, there is a a real expense to go after additional market share. And, you know, when you start to look at these either, folks that are transitioning out of their businesses that need to be able to, you know, increase cash and increase value for their businesses. More on the opposite side, you can look at a more mature organization that’s bringing in some maybe new leadership folks that are kind of, you know, living the life I lived for so many years in the middle, between C suite and you know, what’s actually happening out on the floor, right? Even in that scenario, they are looking for those opportunities, because they’re, they’re the ones that are kind of now over leveraged, right, like I just shared an article the other day from Harvard Business Review about, you know, the crisis of middle management, right. Well, that that’s been going on For a long time, it’s not going to, you know, to just mysteriously go away. So, for me, what’s exciting is kind of, you know, I think people are coming around to this realization that we can do more with what we have. And it’s not necessarily about going out. And you know, either a looking for the shiny object with AI or something like that. Now, maybe there’s, you know, an opportunity to leverage a tool like that. But it’s really kind of looking internally and bringing people together. And, you know, so that’s what I’m most excited about, just the opportunity to kind of serve more people get people as excited as I get about this stuff. Because, you know, it’s just, I’ve loved it my whole life, I can talk about it for hours, and it never gets old. Because while there’s so many things that are similar, every situation is unique, because every situation has a different set of personalities, you know, that are at play. Right. And that could be up and down or across the organization. Right? So that’s different. And the other dynamics that go into, you know, a project or, you know, a, some sort of initiative that would that would kind of fall in this realm. There’s going to be some dynamics that are different as well, that could be on the tech stack side that could be you know, process related could be just general ordered stuff. So yeah,

Damon Pistulka 41:25
it’s good stuff, man. Good stuff. And we got some more comments here. I want to go now, boy, before we got Bob, this is something that we’ll we’ll spend some time on the people first approach it really we’ll get back to that, but the king of process is speaking John’s language. There we go. And, and then Bob’s did an optimization again, good stuff, guys. Good stuff.

David Crysler 41:48
We need like one of those confetti buttons or something, you know, every

Damon Pistulka 41:51
Yeah, shouts

David Crysler 41:52

Damon Pistulka 41:54
Oh, man, I gotta, I gotta, I gotta drop my pin. But we got a confetti button. I gotta see, there you go.

David Crysler 42:01
We’ll get that on the telethon. We’ll get that to

Damon Pistulka 42:05
be funny. That’d be fun. So the, you know, the, the thing that I really am enjoying, and it might just be me and and the clients I’m working with now is it seems like the whole people challenge that we’re going through, has really caused companies to go back and look at are we neglecting our people? Or are we really engaging our people. And I think that if there’s anything that comes out of any hope, is we can get more engagement. Because when you talk about taking a company from 4%, to 24%, profit, that doesn’t happen without Damon who’s who’s dumping garbage cans every day, helping us with what Damon knows, because Damon smart, in Damon’s own way, and containment can help us make more money. And if you don’t get those people engaged, you’re not going to get those results. But I think hope, pray that that’s really starting to to help us engage everyone to build better businesses.

David Crysler 43:17
Yeah, I mean, to your point, right. When I was early on in my leadership, career in Germany, you know, I, as I told you, I grew up in a family run business, and that family run business was started in, you know, the 70s. And that was a different type of management style. And, you know, that was the style that I brought with me, because that’s how I learned, you know, and I was, you know, on top of that, I was a young kid that thought he knew a bunch of stuff. And, you know, so like, those two things combined was definitely not great for culture, believe me. Okay. Yeah. And, you know, so we talked about bumps and bruises and bad decisions. And, you know, I did all of that. And for me, as the real unlock for me, and what I, where I saw it firsthand was the fact that, you know, as I continued to kind of grow, and people constantly still saw something inside of me and gave me these opportunities to expand my responsibility in bigger departments, then, you know, facilities and so on and so forth. That for me, was the unlock to say like, Man, I like now I’m in this facility that I don’t know any of these people. I don’t know any of the products. I don’t know, the, you know, the equipment. So it’s like, Well, how am I going to I know what I have to do, right? Like, I have to increase revenue, I have to increase profitability. And I need to do that like yesterday, because this is a plant that was in transition. And if I don’t, this plant is going to close like that was that was what was in Dave’s mind about the reality of the situation. And so yeah, it was a real quick lesson of like, Hey everybody, like, here’s kind of you know why I was why I’m here what I think we can do, like, how can we do this? You know? So for me it was that hands on. But I tell that story because I think it applies to everybody. I think it applies to a business owner who is not like that naturally. Okay. And I tell that story the same way. Because here’s the thing. If there is anything that people appreciate, it is transparency and honesty. And when I was a terrible leader, I would tell people that like, Hey, I’m sorry, I screwed this up. Like, I’m just not that good at this, okay, but I want to be better. I want to change this, I want to, you know, fill in the blank, right? And I was like, what, you know, like, Ah, you shouldn’t say stuff like that. It’s like, yeah, I should, because that’s the reality of the situation. Okay. We’re all people. We’re all trying to figure it out. And yes, some of us have different titles, right. But when you approach leadership from that standpoint, and you’re that candid about it, and you own, you know, the Shi t that you’ve pulled before, what I mean, yeah, people might still like, kind of be, you know, but that will go away, that will break down over time. You know, as long as you continue to show up, as long as you continue to try as long as you continue to ask for feedback. And for me, all of that comes back process, right? It really does. It’s fundamental, it’s foundational. And if you don’t have those processes in place, you know, even to run a meeting, right? Like, if you don’t have a process run an effective meeting, what you should not be meeting with people. Okay, that could be one on one love that can be teamed apartment, you know, that could be, you know, all hands meet, right? Like, I mean, it’s that level of granularity, that you can apply the things that I target, like, Yeah, you don’t need me to create a meeting agenda for you, right. But you could certainly use the things I talk about to think through what is an appropriate process for you to host a meeting for your group, you know, your team, your organization, your department, right? So

Damon Pistulka 47:18
the king of process dropping bombs.

David Crysler 47:22
Get me on my soapbox. Give me a platform like this to just talk about processes and go, you know, off the rails?

Damon Pistulka 47:30
No, but I think it’s, I think it’s good. It’s, it’s an approach that that we have to do get in. And especially now, when we want to engage people, we want to show them so much, you know, include them and in make them feel part of something bigger than than themselves. I mean, that’s, that’s what we really all want to be and how you wove that together with process, and how that can help us is, is fundamental and, and important. Because for a long time we we’ve neglected it. I mean, everything, like it’s a process, and I was just working with a client the other day, well, what’s your onboarding process? How’s it look from the from the, the candidates perspective? Have you gone through it? No. I said, Let’s go through it together. And we want that I said, Okay, when I look at this, and various things, you know, things that we found, and we changed the steps in it and change those things. But we, you look like you’re talking about process process process. And then people don’t think about your recruiting process. Do you just throw a job ad up on on whatever platform and hope that the right person? Does it? Or or, you know, do you have a network of things that go out and find the right people yourself? You know, there’s all this stuff that we can do when we think about it. And when we turn it into a process, and we get even a little bit of documentation. That means that I’ve got a repeatable, more repeatable process that I can do again,

David Crysler 48:59
exactly. I can since consistency is, you know, is key. It’s key internal, it’s key external, right, like you’re talking about employee onboarding, right. Like, I’ll give you a great example of that. You know, how often have you heard from a business owner? You know, and it certainly would apply in a leadership, you know, generalized leadership role as well. But how often have you heard like, oh, you know, Joe over here, he’s, he’s, you know, I don’t think he’s gonna make it you know, he’s not doing what we need them to do. It’s like, okay, we have job description. Oh, yeah. We got a job description. You know, does he understand like, what his roles and responsibilities Yeah. Have you ever told Joe what success looks like from your eyes? Have you given Joe the bounds and the goal to understand what success looks like from your perspective? Right, I’m not talking about job description I’m talking about What does success look like? What are my KPIs? What am I trying to do here? You know? And generally the answer is, huh, I haven’t really thought about that. Yeah. And that’s okay, though, right. Like, that’s okay. Now there’s an opportunity to optimize your process.

Damon Pistulka 50:22
Yes. Oh, awesome, man. Like you said, we can we can probably be here for hours. And I doubt and I just want to I want to ask you one last question. And, and we can move on from there. So do you think the lions are going to have a football team this year?

David Crysler 50:44
Man, I, you know, everybody’s all geeked up because it’s, you know, preseason this weekend. And, you know, last year, we’re coming off the big, you know, a big, great end of the year. It’s the same story every year. You know, call me when they get to the playoffs? I’ll let you know if I’m tuning in or not. So I say they’re always fun to go to. Yeah, no matter how they’re doing.

Damon Pistulka 51:09
That’s true. Well, unless you’re unless you’re a Packers fan, because he’s listening to this. We always have to get backwards in time. So thanks a lot for being here. Dave. Always enjoy when you stop by and talk about process. If somebody wants to reach out to you and talk to you about you know, a process. What’s the best way to get ahold? Yeah.

David Crysler 51:31
Yeah, best way I hang out on LinkedIn quite a bit. So you can always find me there. Shoot me a DM or you can find me on our website, which is just the Chrysler with no H dot club.

Damon Pistulka 51:44
All right. All right, man. Well, thanks for being here today. I want to thank Bob for stopping by. Bob. I hope you’re still on vacation. Yeah, man. Gee, if you were Why the heck are you commenting here today? Unless you’re just having fun doing it? I want to John. Thanks, Dale. Thanks, guys for being here. Thanks, everyone for that was listening but wasn’t commenting. We will be back again with another awesome guest. Dave, hang out just for a moment and we’ll catch up and be done. Thanks, everyone. Thanks, Damon.

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