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Aerospace Forging & Innovation – Clive Cunliffe

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Aerospace NEAP Clive Cunliffe

This week we interview Clive Cunliffe, President of New England Airfoil Products, Inc. (NEAP) is one of the top manufacturers of turbine engine airfoils in the world. Clive shares the 20-year secret to how a 130-year-old company out-innovates its competitors as times and markets change. Also how to get your job without having to apply or interview! Listen and get your 20-year secret free download.

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Show Notes

EPISODE TITLE: Aerospace Forging and How to Innovate for 130 Years


This week we interview Clive Cunliffe, President of New England Airfoil Products, Inc. one of the top manufacturers of turbine engine airfoils in the world. NEAP’s products are used as vanes in commercial jet engines, military vehicles, and power generation turbines around the world. Business is great in the aircraft industry and NEAP is now part of the Pietro Rosa family of turbine manufacturing companies. This privately held, 130-year-old Italian company is the most diverse and progressive forging and machining group in the world. We talk about how a design engineer gets to be President of an aerospace components corporation, what it means to innovate over a 130-year timeline, and how to never have to interview for a job again. Plus, FactoryoftheFuture®.Org has created a free download called “The 20 year Secret” – to help your company thrive in changing markets.

About our Guest Clive Cunliffe: 

President of Pietro-Rosa TBM North America, and New England Airfoil Products, Inc., having several decades of manufacturing experience starting with Rolls Royce engines in England, as both a draftsman and test engineer.  Other work includes international joint ventures and overseeing manufacturing supply chain logistics, and currently running Pietro Rosa’s North American operations. 

About New England Airfoil Products, Inc: 

New England Airfoils Products, Inc (NEAP) is located in Farmington, Connecticut, USA, and provides gas turbine products for air, sea, and land. The company built its reputation on over 60 years of technology innovation and large volume airfoil production supporting the United States aerospace and defense sectors including NASA and USAF.

Link to NEAP homepage: 

About Pietro Rosa, TBM:  

Pietro Rosa TBM has 130 years of experience in metal forming and associated technologies. Based in Maniago, Friuli Venezia Giulia, a Northern region of Italy with a strong metallurgical heritage, tracing back to the 15th Century. In 1887 Pietro Rosa TBM started making and selling agricultural tools. The company soon moved into fine cutlery, which stood as its core business for over half a century. Shortly after World War II Pietro Rosa TBM started developing and manufacturing more complex forgings such as net shape steam and gas turbine blades for major Italian and international OEMs.

Link to Pietro Rosa, TBM page:

Notes from the Show:

The Ability to accept Change and having a “Passion for Innovation” is a trait of long-lived organizations. In fact, better to address and anticipate and create the change, rather than to accept what changes come your way.

Logistics – what’s it all about?

Supply Chain design today and how it changed so much from the 1950s to today – the former having less emphasis on cost and more importance on getting a well-designed, well-crafted product into the marketplace and quality.

What’s in the DNA of a company that has been around for 130 years? And how does a company like that “keep up” with the times?

One of the Keys to Surviving in Today’s Manufacturing Economy: “ One of the things that we have to do, again, like almost every other company, you have to make sure that you’re not backing a dinosaur. And that can be so easily done with technology. “

The main reason 3-d printing has not been used in aerospace castings: is micro-crystal alignment!

How to create a career in aerospace or any field of industry you might find enjoyable.

Think of a Factory as a small town.   There are all sorts of roles and responsibilities from running the machines, to maintaining safety, to keeping supplies coming in, products getting shipped out, and everything else in between like lawyers, accountants, and people who keep the machines and the building in top shape.


Episode 1 – Mitch Kennedy Introduces Factory of the Future®

Clive Cunliffe 0:01
Just recently made President of North American operations.

Mitch Kennedy 0:05
Wow. Congratulations.

Clive Cunliffe 0:15
Thanks. That’s why I’m so busy these days.

Mitch Kennedy 0:23
Right, now I feel guilty for taking up your time.

Welcome to another episode of ‘s podcast. I’m your host Mitch Kennedy, co-founder of FactorytheFuture®.org. And with me in the studio, today is Clive Cunliffe, President of the North American Pietro Rosa Group. Welcome to the studio, Clive.

Clive Cunliffe 0:30
Hi, Mitch, nice to see you again.

Mitch Kennedy 0:32
Clive. One of the things we’re trying to do with this podcast and this particular series of podcasts is to interview people who are “in manufacturing.” And if you say that to most people, they’ll say, “Oh, he must sit at a machine turning metal.”

What we want to show is that, no, there are so many different kinds of jobs, in manufacturing that you can be “in manufacturing” and never even touch a machine. So could you talk to our listeners about your origin story? How you got to where you are?

Clive Cunliffe 1:02
Okay, sure. Well, you’re right, Mitch manufacturing isn’t all about making something. It’s about the methodology that you actually get to produce a product. And I consider myself to be one of the lucky if you want to call it that, or fortunate people, that have had a wealth of background experience that has led me to get the position that I got today.

I tend to think that you can’t be too myopic about the job that you’re looking for, in the future. I certainly never have been. I’ve never really known what I wanted to do, and I probably still don’t know what I really want to do, ultimately, but I think you have to search your inner soul and decide what’s good for you. If you take that to the highest level, it’s Are you a person that’s creative, for me, that is a key. I like creating things. It doesn’t matter whether it’s creating things with my hands, Whether it’s creating things from a business perspective, or whether it’s creating things for the betterment of the outside world, that’s the sort of thing that turns me on. But I didn’t really know that until much later in life.

When I left school I started with Rolls Royce. They sponsored me to become an engineer, qualified engineer, which I am. And I worked in the design department, oddly enough, at the Compressor Vane Forging Mills. And that was fine. I was one of those people who actually liked to go to work every day. And it was hard because most of the people hated going to work. And I really found actually being there an inspiration for me. So much so that throughout virtually all of my career, I’ve been invited to do jobs rather than actually apply for them. That became a little bit of a snowball effect because when you become fairly good at something companies go Through changes in what they’re trying to achieve, and they realize that there are flat spots in organizations.

So in certain functions within organizations, they realize they need to employ some talent that knows something about the manufacturing of products. When I left the engineering group within Rolls Royce, I went running the test sites for defense engines. And that was very interesting. It was very sort of, you know, manly, noisy, smelly, all that kind of stuff. And it was really, really enjoyable to do. But it was actually completely different from sitting at my desk on the drawing board, drawing things, and doing calculations.

And then from there, I moved into logistics and inventory control. Logistics actually is one of the fundamental roles within any manufacturing cycle, and it’s the way that you get a product that’s Literally from out of the ground to something that’s finished to go into end-users and end-users anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can have a logistics activity for baking, you could have a logistics activity for manufacturing, you can have a logistics activity for building a house. So it’s how you manage all the products and materials that go into producing something. Now, that might sound quite easy.

If you’re baking a cake, I’m sure if you do bake cakes, you realize that the mixture has got to be right, the quantities are got to be right, the temperatures have got to be right, right. All that could fall into the boundaries of logistics. So in our case, which would be a manufacturing supply chain, it would be how we get the product in terms of raw material supply into a company that’s going to make it they might want to machine is then going to come out of there in what quantity and what time frame on what vehicle airfreighted train freighted Friday by road, how’s it going to get from A to B.

And then there’s the internal factory logistics of how it’s going to be assembled when it’s going to be assembled, where it’s going to be assembled, how it’s going to be picked up, and Where is the end destination going to. And throughout the lifecycle of the manufacturing of a product that changes it doesn’t change on a daily basis, but because products change in terms of material types, specifications, complexity, or simplicity, those logistics fundamentals are constantly a moving feast.

So it takes a lot of management skills to well manage your logistics activity. And then the logistics activity of course scarfs into a number of other key functions. So it keys into engineering when a product is going to be designed and Keys into manufacturing when machine tools are going to be ready to operate in commissioned tooling when the tooling is going to be there, you name it, it touches every facet of the manufacturing cycle. So logistics is something that it actually sounds quite a boring thing, but it’s not easy. It can keep you awake and a lot of nights.

Mitch Kennedy 6:21
Oh my gosh, I like the phrase. So you did that for a while? With Rolls Royce, which is headquartered in England?

Clive Cunliffe 6:28
Headquartered in Darbyshire. From there, I then moved on to joint ventures, which was great. A number of countries were all pretty successful. So that gave me very much a sort of global feel, and travel, something I enjoy. I enjoy dealing with different cultures. And I think when it comes to trying to put together a business proposition that’s partnering with somebody that has to be a win for both parties, and normally one side has got a stronger argument for needing the other and, it’s a rare occasion that you find a joint venture party where it actually works well for both people.

So there’s an awful lot of work that goes into trying to understand what the key requirements are for both stakeholders and then putting a deal together that can then give the market something that it needs. And I found that probably one of the most interesting times in my life actually because simply because of different cultures, different people, travel, and putting deals together. And it drew on all my previous experiences that I did a lot of supply chain work. So supply chain sort of scarfs together a lot of those key elements. So that was for supply chain selection, supply chain design, actually.

And supply chain design has gone through quite a metamorphosis in the last 20 years. And that metamorphosis has been 20 to 30 years ago, there was much less an emphasis on cost. It was about getting a product that was well done, designed, well crafted, and very reliable into the marketplace. And people were less conscious about things like SFC:

[Specific fuel consumption is the mass of fuel required to sustain 1 lb of net thrust for 1 hour],

…which is fuel consumption. They were less conscious about the price of the thing because they needed these things to fly or for power generation stations or ships.

But now, and for the last many years, the cost is king. I wouldn’t say it’s King alongside quality, quality is always the optimal, right thing in anything in life. And then probably second to that is cost. The world’s gone through huge changes in terms of looking at supply chain design, and the whole geopolitics of the world, something that has changed a lot. People at one point, some years ago, were running to China, and now they are running away from China. At some point, they’ll be running back to China.

I think it depends on which manufacturing environment you’re in. If you’re in something that you’d classify as a super complex manufacturing environment, which would be like gas turbines, then You have to be obviously very selective about the supplier that you go for. They’ve got to meet all the key criteria right and more and meet a lot of things like quality, cost delivery, and have all the certifications that are needed before they can even be considered.

If you’re making garden furniture, it’s really different. You can get them made somewhere you know, in a basic sand foundry. And it’s fine. And its cost is absolutely King. But even that mindset is changing a little bit now, I think so there are huge think-tanks that are going on about mindsets, so mindsets about supply chains of the future, because supply chains of the past, I think go through a radical cycle probably about every 30 years. And we’re now, I think, is pretty much a big change in terms of the way we think about supply change in the future.

Mitch Kennedy 9:57
So now, you’re at a Very large, Italian multinational. Right?

Clive Cunliffe 10:03
Well, medium-sized…

Mitch Kennedy 10:06
Pietro Rosa, TBM home base of Italy. Then what is it that you’re doing for them?

Clive Cunliffe 10:11
Okay, so I now work for a company called Pietro Rosa. And Pietro Rosa group is a company that’s got facilities in the U.S. and Italy. I’ve been working for Pietro for 10 years now, actually. And Pietro Rosa is an interesting company. And also it’s a family-owned company. It’s been in existence now for 132 years, which is quite significant. Any company that survived is heartland if it’s older than it is probably it was older than GE is older than 20 years older than Rolls Royce, who are three of our major customers. Why any company that survives that long has to have a certain DNA. And I think that DNA is as prevalent today as it must have been when it was first founded.

That DNA is the ability to accept change. And I think companies that die in the marketplace, you get a startup company that does great. The enthusiasm goes with the marketplace shifts, and the company can’t move on to the right space, or it can’t move fast enough. Well, there’s not the enthusiasm to move fast enough. Well, this company, and I’m sure, like many others that are, you know, long-lived companies have got ability. And I’m glad to say Pietro has got that ability and abundance. Our tagline is “Passion for Innovation”.

Actually, that is really contained within the DNA of the entire group. And when I say innovation is innovation in terms of where we want to be in the marketplace, it’s where we want to be in terms of what we manufacture and how we manufacture it. And for us, that’s a key differentiator in the award-winning process and this company money’s gone through big changes probably about every 30 or so years, in terms of what it makes and how it makes it.

It’s always been based on one key fundamental thing, which is the company’s excellence, and the excellence is in forging. The foundations of the company are recorded in a place called Maniago, Italy. And we now do finish machining and certain finishing, so we provide engine-ready products and its class called vertical integration. So it’s from forging to machining to finishing to engine-ready product. And not everybody can do that. Because a lot of the time forging is done as an entity in its own right. Machining is done as an entity in your own right. And then it gets finished and then sent off so we can supply a whole package. And for us, that’s been extremely valuable.

We decided to venture into the US just Four years ago, the reason being the aerospace and defense business in North America is so important. It’s going to be boiling for a very long time right we decided to buy New England Airfoil Products is foundations are very old company. It was founded by George Einstein. He was Albert Einstein’s nephew.

Mitch Kennedy:
Really? Yeah, I didn’t know that.

Clive Cunliffe:
Yeah, right here in Connecticut. Absolutely. And they were good friends as well as related. And they used to play the violin together, apparently.

It’s, you know, it’s quite a privilege to have such a brand name that sits behind the company. What we’ve actually done in a very small way, not for any financial gain, but we’ve leveraged on George Einstein’s name as the founder of the company, and that was back in 1945. And it was called something different. And then in 1955, it was called New England Aircraft Products. And then it changed to AirFoil products.

We found that employee engagement has been key for us. We want them to feel a part of a family-owned company. We want them to feel enthusiastic about what they do. We want people to run to work like I used to, and still do, to be honest with you, but I’m more likely to fly to work these days. So we introduced a thing called the George Einstein Award for someone who demonstrates, our key principles that year, then we vote every Christmas. And they get it you know, a small gift, privileged car parking spot, and their name on a plaque in the lobby. And we found that to be very, very good for employee recognition. And that’s the kind of thing that we like to do more.

We’re also finding that the cross-fertilization of skills between Italy and the US has been extremely good for us. It’s been good for Italy and it’s been good for the North American plant here. Largely because the machining techniques are slightly different and New England Airfoil Products have always been geared towards high-volume manufacturing. Whereas Italy’s been more biased in the past towards land-based gas turbine manufacturers, which is a low amount. Okay, so now we’re actually moving more into higher volume in both parts of the world, this cross-fertilization and manufacturing skills are working pretty well.

We also grow a lot. I think with the associations we have. We’re very affiliated with a number of key universities affiliated with key business areas, things as the Aerospace Industries Association, and the ACM, we found that those have been the catalysts for us to get the right connectivity that we need as a great piece.

Mitch Kennedy 15:44
That’s perfect. So Clive, can I ask you to talk a little bit about technology on the shop floor, where things stand now where you see it going for your company?

Clive Cunliffe 15:54
Well, sort of just going back a tiny bit to what I was saying about the company is Having to reinvent themselves. One of the things that we have to do, again, like almost every other company, you have to make sure that you’re not backing a dinosaur. And that can be so easily done with technology. Because technology is moving so fast today, it’s very difficult to know where to place your money, you can place your bets everywhere. And then that will never be money left and one of them will be winning but by fine. Well, you can take a much more cautious approach and decide what you think the market needs now and what it’s going to need in 5-10 and 20 years’ time. And those markets can be very different, certainly in terms of manufacturing.

So there’s a coin a phrase that I quite like I’ve used for lots of years. And that’s really a thing that I call Vision 5 vision, Vision 10, and Vision 20. I know a lot of big companies use that but I think it really works well because vision 5 for me is the near-term horizon in terms of both manufacturing and in terms of what the requirements will be in the marketplace. So you can kind of reach out and touch that and see it and feel it and spend money carefully and well, and get a return on it, but make sure you’re only looking five years out.

And then there is Vision 10. Lots of things can happen in 10 years, lots of things happening in five, and in 10 years, it’s much more speculative. You have to start thinking about new technologies that are going to be deployed and used.

Take, for example, additive manufacturing, which everybody talks about right, clearly something that’s going to be with us in a big way in the future. We’ve looked at additive manufacturing as has is about everybody on the planet, whether it be additive manufacturing for plastic toys or additive manufacturing for gas turbine parts. And the reality is it’s still in its relative infancy. It’s a higher-risk place to put lots of money. I think it is a good place to put money, but how much down now, but it is going to be a game-changer in manufacturing.

There’s a ratio that aircraft aerospace companies use. It’s called a Buy-to-Fly Ratio. And the Buy to Fly Ratio is the amount of metal that you put into creating apart. So you buy a big lump of metal, right? You machine the hell out of it. Yeah. And you end up with something that’s, you know, 100th of the size that it started off. And you’ve put a lot of it in the scrap metal bin, ready for recycling.

Mitch Kennedy:
And you’d be lucky if you get 10 cents on the dollar on that. Exactly, exactly.

So that’s the thing called the Buy to Fly (BtF) Ratio. So for lots of years now, there’s been a measurement within aerospace companies. What was our BtF ratio? How much metal have we bought, to end up making this product? Now, additive manufacturing is of course the perfect antidote to a bad BtF ratio, right? This is why it’s become so prevalent in the marketplace. But the key characteristic of additive manufacturing is What’s going to happen to the grain flow because we forge a product we get an inbuilt grain flow which gives it more residuals, and stronger material.

Mitch Kennedy 19:09
Talk a little bit about grain flow for a second because that’s right. It’s a concept not everybody’s heard and okay. And I think in the context of 3d printing or additive, that’s, that’s where you’re going.

Clive Cunliffe 19:21
Okay, so in very simplistic terms when you extruded a billet or you create a material, so when you look at a piece of steel, it’s in a section, it’s either a rectangular section more often a round section. And that starts off life has a thing called an Ingot, which is where it’s been smelted, it’s turned into steel, it’s then been stretched and banged and formed and it just becomes an ingot. And then that then gets turned into a billet and a billet is the piece of material that you would buy and the grain flow within that billet is linear.

So it’s just like a tree, if you were to cut a section through it and do a micro-section, you’d see basically an end-grain. Because it’s just one linear grain flow. When a product gets forged, then because of the action of the hammer or the press what it’s doing because you deforming that metal, you’re actually creating that grain flow to move up and down along with the shape of the material.

So that increases its strength. If you were to cast product, you would melt the material you’re putting into some form of vessel and then if it’s a sand casting, get rid of the sand, crack it open, then it’s got really no grain form. It’s just pieces of metal that have all been fused together.

As long as history has been making metal, forged material is the strongest material. There are much more exotic things now in the marketplace, of course, but the fundamental rules apply. So when you’re creating metal from the ground upward with powder metrology, which is really what’s happening when it comes to additive manufacturing, there isn’t really a grain. You’re actually almost doing a casting method in reverse if you like. There are lots of things, lots of processes have got to be applied if it’s going to be a structural part to make it as strong as you need it to be. And in many, many, many, many, many cases that can be done, have this stage in the process. But so far additive manufacturing cannot yet compete with forging and machining for aerospace products. So that’s really where differentiation lies in terms of how we create materials.

Mitch Kennedy 21:44
I had always wondered, since it’s been years now, at least five, maybe 10 years that you hear about 3D printing and additive manufacturing. And I go into a lot of factories, I just don’t see the machines there. That is why I think that’s, that’s awesome. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for spending the time to really dive into that because that’s, I don’t think many people know that.

Clive Cunliffe:
I mean, it’s fairly basic stuff. If you’ve been in this industry for a long time, it’s kind of foundational, I guess, to the way products are made.

So I was talking about Vision 5, Vision 10, and Vision 20, and how far out you’re going to go into the manufacturing space or the technology space for what we need, and how we’re going to make products in the future.

The same thing actually applies when it comes to the marketplace of the future. Because it’s no good investing in the most fantastic sexiest technology of the day, if there’s no need for it, 10 to 20 years down the line. I mean, say that if it’s a computer, there’ll be no need for it a year down. So depends on the market space that you’re in.

Gas turbines are here and now, and have been with us for a very long time since you know, since the 1930s. Basically, they’ve evolved and changed, but it’s still basically a gas turbine with its mechanisms. At work about the same way with far more exotic materials far more efficient, far more powerful, far more of everything, but the world’s changing. And now we see electric-powered aircraft. Where’s that going to take the gas turbine?

You know, we saw a massive collapse in the Power-Gen market for gas turbines, this will not recover, probably not anywhere near where it used to be. And part of the reason that the power gen market will not be where it used to be, is the world’s become more energy efficient. So is it using more energy? Not really, it’s actually doing more with the energy that it produces, right, that has worked against the gas turbine industry.

When it comes to the aerospace market, I’m sure there’s a big place for gas turbines for many, many, many years to come. But there’s also going to be a place for electrically powered aircraft, right? And that’s happening now. You can see it now. We were at the Paris Air show and electric propulsion systems were there in everything you see. You know, you can see them in drones that are working very efficiently. They’re going to be probably air transportation that’s going to be very efficient. They’re going to be in the new airship-type space that’s going to become. It sounds like we’ve gone back over the years even!

So all those things are changing the face of what we need for technology for tomorrow. We as a company pride ourselves on being proactive about what we’re going to be doing in the future, in 10 to 20 years. We’re looking at all those different places now, where we need to be, where we need to invest. What kind of business do we want to be in 20 years’ time? Because it’s almost certain that we weren’t exactly the same as we are now.

Right? Right, man.

I think that’s the way the world’s leading us, you know, that was great. I love that.

It’s right on your shoulder. It shows forward-thinking and planning and a deliberate embrace of change,

Clive Cunliffe 25:01
You have to otherwise, you know if you don’t embrace the change you’re dead.

Mitch Kennedy 25:07
I think it’s ginger, we spend some time with somebody like I said,

I think one of one of my favorite quotes, I don’t know if it’s attributed to Churchill, is “Nobody likes change except a wet baby.”

Clive Cunliffe 25:18
Oh, yeah, good baby. But it’s, but it’s necessary, especially these days.

Mitch Kennedy:
Yeah. Like you said the rate is just accelerating. So kudos to you and your company for embracing it as a culture. And that’s, that’s phenomenal. So that said, Do you have automation in your factories?

Clive Cunliffe:
Now we’re using the robots here too. I mean, arguably, you could say almost everything we touch has got some level of robotics that’s associated with it. If you look at something that’s probably the most obviously impressive in terms of robotic technology that we use, it’s in Italy, and it’s the way we put products into and out of furnaces and load them online. Because historically, you have got a poor guy there and asbestos gloves, which he can’t have anymore, but it would have been asbestos and leather gloves, you know, lots and lots and lots of years ago.

And now there are these robots that everybody sees, you know, in car manufacturing plants that are doing spot welding and, you know, linear welding and all that kind of stuff. And we use those same types of robots for loading furnaces, you know, to get the metal up to the right temperature before it can go into a hammer and be pressed into shape or hammered into shape. And that’s really become a big prime mover for us in the last several years. Actually, we were probably one of the earliest people to actually employ the robotic technology within a Forging plant.

And the obvious, I guess the question when people talk about robots is what does that do to manpower? Right? Well, that certainly hasn’t been the case for us. Actually, it’s almost been the reverse. What it’s done, it’s taken away some of the more laborious manpower. Nobody really wants to do it anyway. And it’s changed it to more of a technology frontier. So this is the programming side of it, the machine to the maintenance of it, the way that it’s fixed. There’s a whole host of supporting casts just for that machine. Yeah, it’s like a theatrical production. You know that you’ve seen these, these robotic control machines they’re doing dances, you know, to music. That’s right. Yeah. Well, it’s a bit like that when it comes to some of these robots. But there’s a big supporting cast, that machine can’t do it in its own right. And I prefer to be the person in the sporting cast than the guy that got the asbestos gloves on with leather-clad, putting-in the thing. It’s a change in what people are used to, rather than getting rid of jobs. Right? So for us, it’s enough. It’s not affected us in that way.

Mitch Kennedy 27:54
I gotta say that, you know, I don’t know where this image comes from. You hear in the press that robots are taking your jobs, but every single factory I’ve talked to for this podcast has said exactly the opposite. In fact, some of them are hiring more people. Yeah, for exactly that reason programming is extreme. Yeah. So that’s, that’s one of the things we want to change with this podcast and say, hey, look,

Clive Cunliffe 28:16
I mean, at one end of the spectrum, you’ve got the crudest form of thing that you could do to a piece of metal, which is heated up before you bash it into shape. And we use robotics for the finest form of robotic technology that we’ve got here for getting all this stuff that sits in the middle. It will be the coordinate measuring machines that are now operating. It’s a light source, it doesn’t actually touch the metal, is robotic so controlling that, we measure the intensity of the light as it shines off the machine. That’s the finest sense of robotic technology that we use, and it covers the whole spectrum in between the manufacturing process basically. So yes, we do use robotics They might not be so obvious in the shop here as they are when you see a big yellow machine dancing around.

Mitch Kennedy 29:08
Well, this has been fabulous. Thank you so much. And if you were to give advice to young people, or people transitioning out of one career into another, and they wanted to get into manufacturing, how would you say people should approach that?

Clive Cunliffe 29:24
Well, I think, firstly is one thing I just like to qualify or clarify about what manufacturing is. And I think when we started this chat, I think you said Mitch, that there is a general belief that manufacturing is making something in a factory.

The reality is, that a factory is like a town or a city in its own right because it needs all the key things that it takes to run a city. It needs financial control. So you have a finance department, it needs logistics to get the sewage water away or the water in so it needs infrastructure. can be controlled by logistics for the supply chain. It needs the ability to make things it needs to be the ability to create the models that will produce the product on machines. It needs. The politics that sit outside for funding, interfacing with banks and governments, and all those things. Manufacturing is not just about making something you can think of you can enter manufacturing, in almost any field that you want. Probably, I was going to say not insurance, but actually big companies need insurance. So if you’re a big company, they do have wings that would specialize in how they’re going to lay off insurance risk.

So manufacturing has historically been a bit of a dirty word actually, certainly, many years ago in England, if somebody said they were an engineering manufacturing, they were like a second class citizen years and years ago. And oddly enough, the reverse has always been true in Germany, Germans have treated their Engineers like doctors. And I think that the perception of manufacturing now in Europe has changed a lot. I like to think North America, it’s also changed and changing. But I still think there are pockets that don’t understand it, probably because the families that are involved for the people who are trying to pursue a career in manufacturing or engineering, just don’t understand it, because they probably worked in a different environment.

And I think that’s the whole education process, which is well underway. It’s well underway with universities. It’s been well underway with economic development entities that sit within different states. I know that we’ve got a very good one here in Connecticut. And it’s I think it’s also good to go to some of these job fairs. We always go to the job fair. There’s a host of young people that get through, that it’s like a plague of locusts going through, and their young people in the final year of school trying to decide roughly what they want to do in terms of pay.

And some of those people are so smart. And they have some fantastic questions. And you can almost pick them out. And you could say:

“You’re just the kind of person that we want because you’re asking the right questions.”

So I would encourage anybody that’s young, not sure what they want to do, to go to job fairs and ask the right questions about what their career could look like if it’s in manufacturing.

Mitch Kennedy 32:22
I like that more. “What could my career look like If I were “in manufacturing”? Yeah. I think the answer would be whatever you make it.

Clive Cunliffe 32:28
Yeah, exactly. The thing is, you know, at that age, I’ve got no idea what the future might look like. You have to have somebody that’s old and gray, saying, well, it could look like this if you did that. I also, and this is just a personal hang-up of mine, which is probably a bad hang-up, but it is a hang-up. I think a lot of people today, only want to hold a position for two years, because after two years, it’s time for me to move on and do something else. I think one of the biggest problems is that during a two-year Horizon in a job, you haven’t learned anything, certainly not in manufacturing, because it can take two years for whatever your mistake was on day one to come back and bite you. And then somebody else has to pick up the damage and repair it.

So I think it’s a little bit longer than that. And people, young people these days, and quite rightly so are career hungry. And so they should be. Everybody wants to have a good job and earn good money and do good things. It’s just completely natural. My advice to anybody would be, don’t start trying to leap into another job until you’ve really mastered the one that you’re doing now, become a valuable asset to a company, and then people will seek you out, rather than you having to seek them.

Mitch Kennedy 33:42
Well said, Thank you. Thank you so much for being on our podcast. And thank you all for listening. This was Clive Cunliffe, President of the North American Pietro Rosa Group, and we’ve been talking about all different kinds of interesting things. Thank you, Clive.

Clive Cunliffe
Thanks, Mitch.

Tune in again next week for another episode and thanks for listening!

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