Connect with David Byrley:
Lisa Ryan: Hey, it's Lisa Ryan from the Manufacturers' Network. I'm excited to introduce you to our guest today David Byerly. David has spent more than 30 years in the startup, new business unit, new product, and new business development for multiple industry leaders of industrial cutting tools contractor tools, food processing capital equipment, dental lab tools nanomaterials, and powder powered medical devices and knives. So, welcome to the show, David. It's good to have you here.
DAVID BYRLEY: Thank you for the opportunity.
Lisa Ryan: I read a little bit about your background, but share with us what you did, what brought you into manufacturing, and your journey of what got you to where you are today.
DAVID BYRLEY: Right out of high school, I went to work in industry as a machinist and that was it goes back to 1978. I immediately began to work on my engineering degree and spent the next 11-12 years going from being a machinist to an engineering technician ultimately completed my engineering degree at Cleveland State.
I worked my way into management and found a path in new product development. When you're involved in that process, you're involved in manufacturing, and you're involved in the business side, you're learning product management and marketing and sales. So you get a fully comprehensive view of the business right then. So did that many years and leveraged leading into technical sales, product management, engineering, R&D, and lots of different areas. And so now that's what I do.
I bring all that comprehensive knowledge into working with companies starting up new business units or major new product categories or looking to make some acquisitions and really would like to understand what that acquisition might be in the industry or anything that can leverage that comprehensive understanding early-stage startups.
Lisa Ryan: When you're working with your manufacturing clients, what are some of the things you see now that they're doing well - this can be a specific customer that sticks out in your mind, but it could be about the employees, the workplace culture, they've developed or just some things that our listeners can learn from as far as what they can do to make the workplace better.
DAVID BYRLEY: Industry is getting very efficient and is becoming masters at getting multi-functional teams together to accelerate getting projects done in a much more efficient manner. If I look back 20-25 years ago, there was still a mixture. There are a few people leaving everything and relying on that too to manage the projects. But project management goes much farther down into the organization, narrowing down, but many more people have those skills. Companies are becoming much more comfortable with that. That's one of the things I'm noticing.
Lisa Ryan: That's interesting that you say that because one of the things that we see with the two newest generations in the workplace, the millennials and Gen Z, is they want their input to be heard. They want to be a contributing member of the organization, instead of just in days past where it was like well what the managers do it. That is feeding into exactly how manufacturers need to connect with their new employees is getting them involved. It sounds like what you're seeing is that's really paying off in terms of productivity and just moving the process forward.
DAVID BYRLEY: I'm working with a client right now, in two different business units. I'm impressed by their product managers and how they're way ahead of where we would have been 15-20 years ago.
The product manager would have just been in the corner doing his basic research, but now many people understand how to be successful in commercializing products and things like that. So yeah, I think the new generation that's coming in has much more the breadth of contribution with their talents is growing
Lisa Ryan: So thinking about maybe one or two of clients who are knocking it out of the park, is there one thing that you've seen that they've implemented - besides just the bringing a lot of people into the project's themselves - as far as the way they treat their employees or something in their workplace culture?
DAVID BYRLEY: I'm not too close to a lot of that. But you know what I would say is you have been involved in several different companies and their cross-functional teams. There's much more of a level playing field in terms of the meetings. It's more of an exchange of information ideas than it is sending signals down to the to do this. The awareness is starting to take place that this is a much more efficient way to go.
Lisa Ryan: I like what you said as far as the people being on the same level. If somebody is brand-spanking new With the company, they just got their degree. They may not have experience in your industry, but they see the world differently. Creating a safe environment for people to share ideas and get those ideas on the table and be listened to and taken seriously. Now, that can make a huge difference for keeping The employees because they feel valued.
DAVID BYRLEY: One of the things that are happening is gaining many more examples in industry where out-of-the-box thinking is attributed to success. In the past, it would have been that's blue-sky thinking. Things are changing dramatically and so what some of the younger generations see as possible, is possible. So there's much more of an open mind with that input.
Lisa Ryan: There's no more of that, "We've been doing it this way for 40 years. And there's no reason to change," because with technology coming at us the way it is, this whole new world is opening up. In the last year, we're finding all kinds of new ways to do business when dealing with a pandemic; it's not your grandfather's factory anymore. What are some of the things that you're seeing that are keeping your clients up at night? What are the main things that they're struggling with
DAVID BYRLEY: Everybody's wondering about how technology is going to change the whole paradigm. For example, in the industrial cutting tool business. 80% of cutting tools are sold through industrial supply distribution. We now have Amazon, and we have the younger generation that's buying tools right off their phone, right right next to their machine. Everybody's saying, "Okay, what's new?" It's going to evolve. The industrial supply distributors are thinking about how they can position their business to provide the most value to the manufacturer. The manufacturer is thinking, Well, I don't want to get left behind, so there's a discussion between those two.
Some models that are emerging are working well. One of the new models is that you market directly now to the end-user and sell through distribution and ship direct. A mid-sized distributor or smaller distributor doesn't have the resources to do with the marketing; now we've got this marriage. The mid-size or regional distributor is getting all this good marketing, and they don't feel threatened; that it's an advantage for them. So, there are these new shifts and relationships that are happening. People are less likely to live in denial about what's happening and kind of use influence to keep things as status quo. They now realize that that's a short term play.
Lisa Ryan: It brings me back to the days when I was in the welding industry selling all kinds of welding consumables into the maintenance department. I would never think that 20 years later that Joe could go online to Amazon and buy a box of rod. Personal connections are still meaningful. But again, you have a change in philosophy, a change in that immediate gratification of I don't need to wait till that salesperson makes their monthly visit, I can go online, and with the click of a button, I can add to the cart, and it's here in a day or two.
That brings up another point for sales reps to figure out new ways of doing business. The personal relationships are there, and it's becoming so much more than just the product - it's reaching out.
Tell us about some of the ways that you work with your clients if somebody had some questions or needed some help for you. And then what would be the best way to get ahold of you.
DAVID BYRLEY: Yeah. So I do a lot of work also with private equity companies. So I get a pretty comprehensive view of what's going on within several different industries. Simultaneously, I'm getting a solid pulse on what people are thinking about. There's a lot of these new models emerging, so people are leveraging my background and the fact that I understand manufacturing and understand engineering. I know the marketing side as well as the sales and distribution side. I have extensive experience bringing something from concept through commercialization with over 20 plus major new projects. So the way I'm being leveraged is rather than having to commit to a VP level person for a long term or that you can have all that experience and save to a six-month project or one year project or two-year project. Typically it starts as a three-month project and grows so that that's the way you know I've set up leverage 30 to be leveraged to leverage to 30 years of experience just that way.
Lisa Ryan: Okay, and what's the best way for people to get in touch with you.
DAVID BYRLEY: Well, they can call me at you directly on my phone at 330-715-0562. You can go to my website, www.leverage30.com. There's a portal there to submit a request and get in touch with me but or you can connect with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Ryan: All right. Well, David was an absolute pleasure having you on the show today. I'm Lisa R, and thanks for tuning in to the Manufacturers' Network podcast. See you next time.