How an Industrial Manufacturer Partners with Startups to Unlock New Revenue Streams

Episode 187

June 7, 2022

Flexfab is an industrial B2B manufacturer who designs and manufactures highly-engineered products in a wide variety of materials and designs for the aerospace, automotive, rail, and heavy-duty truck industries. In this episode of The Kula Ring, Ryan Knox, Director of Marketing & Innovation at Flexfab, talks about the company’s initiative to connect innovative startups with industrial companies to leverage emerging technologies within their manufacturing processes. Ryan talks about how Flexfab draws on existing relationships and industry connections to establish new revenue streams and foster innovation within industrial industries that are often overlooked.

How an Industrial Manufacturer Partners with Startups to Unlock New Revenue Streams Transcript:

This episode is another great podcast from The Kula Ring vault.

Announcer: You’re listening to The Kula Ring, a podcast made for manufacturing marketers. Here are Carman Pirie and Jeff White. 

Jeff White: Welcome to The Kula Ring, a podcast for manufacturing marketers brought to you by Kula Partners. My name is Jeff White and joining me today as always is Carman Pirie. Carman, how are you doing, sir? 

Carman Pirie: Look, doing great, and you know Jeff, I think it’s just a fantastic episode that we have coming up. I’m really excited for today’s conversation. 

Jeff White: Yeah. I think it’s pretty interesting. An interesting career path and way of thinking about doing business. I’m really intrigued. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. Let’s dive in. I think it’s gonna be fun. 

Jeff White: Yeah. I think better to let our guest explain what he’s doing than for us to try to recap-

Carman Pirie: Exactly. We don’t want to mess this up. 

Jeff White: Absolutely. So, joining us today is Ryan Knox. Ryan is the Director of Marketing and Innovation, and it’s the innovation part that I think is particularly interesting here, and he’s with Flexfab. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Ryan. 

Ryan Knox: Hey, thanks. Thanks, Jeff and Carman. Happy to be here. 

Carman Pirie: Ryan, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. It’s always good to get a chance to chat with interesting people doing interesting things, and I think you fit both of those quite nicely. Let’s just jump right into it. Can we introduce our listeners to Flexfab and tell us about you? 

Ryan Knox: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Flexfab was founded in 1961, so it’s a 60-year-old industrial manufacturing company and has really focused on manufacturing components for the transportation industry. We really got our feet wet in aerospace. I always like to tell the origin story. Real quick, our founder, Doug DeCamp, was making some silicone hoses for a couple of industrial markets, and some people from Boeing came to us and said, “Hey, we heard you can make a silicone hose. We’ve been working on trying to make something for a couple of years that meets this performance requirement. What do you think, can you give it a shot?” 

And the next day, our founder had a working prototype and ever since then, we’ve had a great relationship with companies like Boeing, companies like Daimler, and PACCAR, Navistar. We’ve enjoyed a lot of success in the truck, auto, aerospace markets for a number of years. 

Carman Pirie: Really cool, really cool, and how long have you been with the firm? 

Ryan Knox: I started in 2017, and we didn’t have a lot of focus on marketing. I came on as the Marketing Director, didn’t have a lot of focus on marketing for the first 50 or so years, and when they brought me on, my primary goal was to figure out how to do some new and different things. And which is kind of right up my alley. Pretty exciting stuff, at least for me. It’s pretty easy for me to get excited, and so it’s been a fun ride so far. 

Jeff White: I think it’s pretty interesting to go from 55 odd years of not really having a marketing function, to bringing someone in like yourself and then decide that you’re really going to go about this in a very different way. 

Ryan Knox: Yeah. I’ve been pretty lucky. You know, I think people like me, I don’t know if there are people that can relate to this who are listening, but having that ability, that autonomy to do what I think is right, that’s kind of… That came along with the job description when I got started. And it’s been pretty cool to have a lot of flexibility, let’s say, to figure out what’s next, and you gotta give credit obviously to our ownership and whatnot for thinking outside the box, and there’s a lot of industrial companies, and I imagine there’s people listening to this, where they feel stuck and they don’t know how to get out of where they’re at. Their products are dying. Their products are becoming commoditized and they’re trying to figure out do we move from China to another low-cost manufacturing country. We want to innovate, but man, we’re so stuck in the whirlwind, and so I can definitely sympathize or empathize with all of those out there struggling with that. 

Thankfully, our culture is such that the story I started with about Doug solving a problem for Boeing, we’ve always been about solving problems, engineering solutions, and so I was able to kind of jump on that and try to take advantage of some new spaces. 

Carman Pirie: Let’s talk more about that and how you’ve done that with an initiative that you call Flexfab Digital, so please introduce us to it and then we’ll go from there. 

Ryan Knox: You know, you think back 200 years ago, we had the industrial revolution, right? And it was a process. I think some people say that we’re in the fourth industrial revolution. We kind of see what’s happening right now as a… We like to call it the industrial evolution and that might not be the terminology that everyone agrees on, but for us, you think about email coming into manufacturing, and you think about robotic automation coming to manufacturing, and now with the movement is AI, machine learning, additive manufacturing, using those types of advanced technologies to be a better manufacturer. Whether that’s automating extremely manual processes, or driving out costs, or gaining insights, or whatever that looks like. 

We saw this as a really obvious mega trend and the funny thing is if you go to Silicon Valley, or you go to some of these places, they’re so far beyond what’s real today in manufacturing in a place like Michigan. It’s really hard for us to catch up with how far ahead they are, and so we just saw this as an opportunity, regardless of if it’s our OEM customers or it’s companies like Flexfab, manufacturing components, how can we be a part of the process, the evolution process of bringing some of these new technologies? It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of if we’re involved or not. 

That started within Flexfab and we’re trying to jump on with this initiative we call Flexfab Digital. 

Jeff White: Tell us, Ryan, as you were looking at what’s going on in the world from a startup perspective, from a technology perspective, obviously you didn’t dive in immediately with the Flexfab Digital side of things. What were some of the early learnings that you had and things that piqued your interest and made you realize that there might be something else out there that we could be doing in addition to manufacturing some of the best silicone hose products out there, you know? 

Ryan Knox: Jeff, you’re talking about what I’m really passionate about, which is strategic planning, strategic analysis, pivot planning and analyzing what else can we do, adjacencies, so on and so forth. It’s hard for me to answer succinctly that question, but I can tell you the process that we tried to go through. Number one, we had to look at it and say, “What do we have today? What do we have today?” Because it’s really, really easy when you’re getting beat up in the market, either by commoditization, or whatever is challenging you, it’s really easy to get focused on those problems and just kind of lose all of your focus on new and different and solving problems. 

You’re just in firefighting mode. Thankfully, like I said, I was able to break apart from some of that firefighting and basically I started asking questions like, “Who are we as an organization?” We engineer solutions and we’ve been doing that for a really long time. First, we looked at that. Then we said, “Okay, what kind of organization do we want to be?” And we said, “Well, not only do we want to engineer solutions, but we want to bring value solutions to the market.” We want to bring solutions that actually solve problems and not only problems that we think are problems, but our customers know are problems and are affecting their lives. 

I said, “Okay, what do we have to offer?” And I said, “Man, we got a lot of experience making silicone hoses. We make thermoplastics. We make other plastics and foams.” But we’ve really capitalized on a lot of the opportunities we could see in the market. Of course, we’re doing some of those things, as well, but what we looked at is we said there’s a market inefficiency here, clear problems of digital products need to be used in things that we understand, and they’re not, so that’s a clear problem. It fits who we are as an organization because they’re engineered solutions to valued problems, so we looked at that. 

Then we said, “Okay, well, what do we know?” Well, we know all these OEMs, we have these global partners with all these OEMs, and we understand our business. We said, “Okay, that’s what we know. That’s who we are.” And then the next step was to get into the field. We went to some essentially like speed dating type meet and greet, where you sit down with some startups and you talk to them about their technology. That was kind of the early process, the thinking process, the strategic process that we went through to try to get to the point where we’re at today, where we have a defined direction that we’re moving into. 

Carman Pirie: You began to meet with these startups, getting a sense of the technology offering, beginning to try to see the connection with what they’re talking about and how Flexfab and Flexfab’s customers can bring that to life. And then you begin basically incubating that technology within Flexfab, correct? 

Ryan Knox: Right. Yeah. We had to eat our own food, right? If you really want to know, my wife’s a vegetarian and she’s always saying, “I have no idea if what I just made’s good, because everyone else in the house eats meat.” Sometimes you have to eat your own food and you have to say, “Okay, do we understand what we’re trying to sell? Do we understand how good it tastes? Does it need some salt and pepper?” 

But I want to go back to the market inefficiencies, because the reason why I’m doing this podcast right now is to hopefully help other people that were in a similar situation to me, feeling like they gotta find solutions to evolve into new spaces. And so, for me it was about market inefficiencies, and like I said before, we understood the problems. We’re clear. Now, we gotta look at the other side of the spectrum, now we gotta look at the startups. And when I sat down with these startups, what I realized is there are thousands and thousands and thousands of these startups with really, really cool existing technologies, and nine times out of 10 they had some really, really common problems. Number one, they didn’t have access to the market. Number two, sometimes they didn’t know the problem that they could solve in our market. People aren’t focused on Midwest manufacturers a lot of times when they’re thinking about developing new startup technologies. They’re thinking about apps and they’re thinking about changing the world and social media and things like this. 

Sometimes we had to identify the technology and say, “Hey, did you know that your technology could be used in manufacturing? And we would love to help you take it there.” It was access to the market, it was understanding of the market, and in some cases, there were some funding issues. We don’t focus on that. There’s a huge amount of companies out there that are willing to write you a check to help you keep things going. We love to invest in things that make sense to us and things where we can add value, and so if we see a technology that just needs a bump to be able to get to a place where it solves a problem that we understand, then we can invest in that, but otherwise what we’re investing in, and most of the time the companies that we’re working with, all they need is that access, understanding of the use case that they can solve for us, and they need a partner to help with the sales and marketing. That’s what we brought. 

Carman Pirie: I love this notion of not having access to the problem. You got a solution without access to the problem. 

Jeff White: Or you have a tangentially related technology solution, not realizing that it’s applicable to something you don’t even necessarily know about. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Ryan Knox: Exactly. Exactly. 

Jeff White: Helping them realize that, hey, did you realize that your technology could benefit manufacturers the world over if you just did this one little thing to think about there? It is interesting how people in the technology and startup space aren’t often thinking about how real products come to life in the manufacturing space. 

Ryan Knox: Yeah, and I don’t want to leave you and the listeners with the wrong impression. These guys, nine times out of 10 they have a successful business. They’re just not in this space yet and they have some scaling opportunity. And I also don’t want to minimize sometimes they just need some bandwidth, some sales and marketing bandwidth. A lot of times these people are really, really awesome at the products that they make, and they can do things that there is not one person on my team that’s capable of doing, developing a technology and whatnot, and I’m happy to share more about what technologies we’re getting into. 

But we can add what we do well, which is sales and marketing. They already did the hard work of developing a product that’s awesome. I love tagging on. I love when their eyes light up when you value what they’ve done. That’s probably one of my favorite things. 

Carman Pirie: It’s not lost on me that an organization that went 50 some odd years without marketing is all of a sudden helping others market. 

Ryan Knox: Yeah, that’s… I know we’re not focusing here on marketing, but from my perspective, I think everyone’s doing marketing. It’s just a matter of how efficiently and how defined your marketing initiatives are. I mean, we’re doing stuff at Flexfab now with digital marketing efforts that we weren’t doing prior, and you need marketing skillsets to do that stuff. But Flexfab didn’t get to the point that it’s at, and these startups didn’t get to the point that they’re at because some marketing jabroni like me came in with the flashy catalog and whatnot. They developed great customer service. They developed an excellent product that solves problems. And that’s all marketing. 

It’s just a matter of if you have somebody with a title or not. 

Jeff White: One of the things that I think is most interesting about it is just the way that Flexfab and the people that you’re working with, whose idea was this? Was this something that you brought in? Or was it something they said, “You know, Ryan, we’re gonna bring you in to do marketing, but then we want you to go out and find companies we’ve never heard of before and help them commercialize their product.” 

Ryan Knox: Well, like I said, I’m a very blessed man. I have the backing of a global company that says, “Hey, we trust you to try to figure out what are the best avenues for us to deploy some resources to move into some different spaces.” And I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts where I get frustrated because I don’t have this or I don’t have that, so if you’re listening to this and you feel like, “Man, I wish my company would let me do that,” sometimes these types of ideas are really difficult to understand. If you’re in my type of seat, you have to find a way to communicate in a way that people can consume. And that’s really the beautiful part. You guys have brought it up a couple times. The fact that we ate our own food, the fact that we validated within Flexfab, that was a big deal for us to start moving forward on this project. 

I don’t want to leave the impression that we have had a huge amount of success in this area. We’re pretty early in our launch. But we believe that we’re in a position to be successful with this launch. 

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Carman Pirie: Well, let’s jump into some of the technologies that you’re helping to bring to life here. You mentioned you’d be willing to share with our listeners a few examples and help bring this to life. I’d love to hear that. 

Ryan Knox: Yeah. Yeah. I brought three products that I wanted to share a little bit about. I think I have some stories behind them that maybe might resonate for some of the listeners. So, the first product that I wanted to talk about that we’re working with, a company out of Australia. They developed an AI technology and it’s kind of funny to take a sidebar here, even in manufacturing, AI and machine learning and all this stuff, it’s become such a buzzword. It’s like innovation was. I remember walking through trade shows 10 years ago or whatever and you couldn’t walk past a booth that didn’t say innovative, you know, on their booth wall. 

I think we’re probably headed in that same direction with AI and machine learning, but let me tell you how we’re using this stuff. And kind of get away from the buzzwords. But Remi, what it does is it takes, in our case, in manufacturing, let’s specifically talk about automotive component suppliers. That’s one of the things that we do. One of the challenges, I don’t know if you guys know this, but there’s a really, really huge supply chain issue globally right now, especially in China, where people can’t  get their stuff out of China because there’s just a logjam there because of things shut down, and then they restarted, and all this caused supply chain issues. There’s really, really major issues right now with manufacturing components in China and getting them to the U.S. or other places, as well. 

A manufacturing company, they have a couple options when they get demand forecasts from their customers. They can look at the demand forecast, and they can say, “All right, I’m gonna believe this for what it is and I’m gonna say all right, I need to make this amount of products, and I’m going to deliver on this date.” But anybody listening to this that’s in this industry knows that that’s a really silly approach to have, and the reason why is because you’re gonna end up either with way too many products or not enough products. 

What happens is most companies will overbuild for the demand. They’ll make too much product, which is gonna cause your inventory to skyrocket. It’s gonna cause all kinds of issues with cash flow and whatnot. It’s also gonna cause a bunch of issues with operations because now they’re in this peaks and valley type of environment. You’re having to do a lot of turnover with your operations. Now you have training issues. All these things. Now you have expedite fees, you’re air freighting stuff. All because you have bad data on the demand forecasting side. 

What we did was we applied this AI technology to all the historical data we had. We went back three years and we gave it this data and what it does is it’ll actually go through on the product level. We have something like 5,000 SKUs at Flexfab. It’ll go through one at a time and it will analyze every single SKU against 15 or so world-class demand forecasting algorithms. It’ll analyze that. It’ll see how it would have performed over time. And it’ll optimize both statistical analysis and supply chain algorithms so that you can better demand forecast. 

Now, what it does from there is what we saw in actual results. The results for us, specifically for the demand forecasting, was a 60% improvement on demand forecasting from our current methods, which our current methods were basically taking what the customer gave us, learning from that, applying some formulas to it, and applying some tribal knowledge to it. 60% improvement on demand forecasting, meaning you’re 60% more accurate on how many products your customer is actually going to buy from you eight weeks prior, it will amount to millions and millions of dollars, of cash flow, and inventory improvement over the course of a year. 

Carman Pirie: That’s incredible. And that technology was originally being used in ecommerce, I believe, wasn’t it? 

Ryan Knox: That’s right. Yeah. Exactly. They’re using it in ecommerce, which is awesome. Those guys need this technology too. But very few manufacturing people realize this exists, and I’m not talking about just smallish companies like Flexfab, smallish global companies like Flexfab. I’m talking about, you can look at some of the largest suppliers in the automotive industry and they have this problem. This is a problem to be solved in this industry and people don’t know… They get overwhelmed. That’s the other thing that we learned. People get so overwhelmed by all of the options of Silicon Valley. I’m using Silicon Valley kind of generically, but all the options that they’ll find when they do a Google search. 

You know, “Help me with demand forecasting.” Just hundreds and hundreds of options and you’re like, “Where do I start? What actually works?” And that’s what we’re doing. We’re actually validating it. We go through all that crazy amount of options. We validate it. We prove that it works. And then we take it to companies like us. 

Jeff White: Well, and I have to think too, being a global manufacturer and backing a tool like this brings a certain amount of prestige and validation that hey, this tool actually works. It works in our industry and we can show you and we can prove it. And we’d really like to help this company bring that to market and that’s going to be a major benefit to the companies you’re working with I have to think. 

Ryan Knox: Yeah. That’s the problem, Jeff, is that AI and machine learning have become such buzzwords that it doesn’t even resonate with people anymore, how it could bring value. That’s why it’s so important that we can bring an example. Hey, we did it. We’re happy to answer any questions. We can show you exactly the model that we used. And that resonates well with target customers. 

Carman Pirie: Ryan, I don’t want to put too much pressure on you, but if you’re next two examples are half as good as this one, it’s gonna be really cool. 

Ryan Knox: Well, you know, I’m pretty excited about the Remi product, but the other two products are pretty cool too, I think. The next product uses robotic process automation, also known as RPA. What robotic process automation is, is it takes a manual process that you do on your computer, and everyone has them, and it automates it. It’s really, really that simple. The Remi product is kind of the sexy one because you can talk a lot about supply chain and whatnot, but this is the one that everyone needs. 

And basically, what it does, it’s they’ve historically primarily used it for testing and validation of websites and software. That’s a really important use case for it, but we looked at it and the problem to be solved within Flexfab was we’re talking to our customer care team, and they had what they called portal fatigue, and portal fatigue is where you’re doing a bunch of data entry and you’re jumping from portal to portal to portal to portal, trying to check all the boxes and provide all the data for all of our OEM customers. We have dozens and dozens of customers, and when you have to meet all of their specific needs, it becomes really, really overwhelming. 

Some of it is very, very repetitive, and so the question that we asked was can we free up our people to do a job that a robot can’t do? Can we free up our people to make decisions? Can we free up our people to help the customers? To follow up with customers? To find out how we can help them more? To find problems that need to be solved? To go talk with their other departments to learn and to provide feedback? That stuff doesn’t happen in manufacturing today, not because people don’t want to do it, but because they simply don’t have the time to do it. 

We actually found in our first validation period with this technology, we actually found 1,500 hours of process time that we could automate for five customers. We have something like 50 major customers, and we have thousands of total customers that all take a lot of time. And every single department, every single business, every person listening to this, their company has manual processes that could be automated. 

Carman Pirie: That’s very cool. Well, look, you didn’t disappoint. Now we’re gonna really put you on the spot. Third example. 

Ryan Knox: The third example. Actually, I didn’t tell the whole story, but this is actually the reason why I got into this concept was because of this technology. I actually met the owner of this company at a class that we were both taking, and the professor stood up and said, “Hey, we’re gonna talk about AI, but I’m actually gonna have Bob explain it to you instead of myself.” And Bob got up and he talked so elegantly about it, and I had to talk to him afterwards, because I had ideas for how we could use this technology. 

The company is called Weaviate, and basically what they do is they make all of our data useful. Basically what’s happened in manufacturing in a lot of different companies is they have data everywhere. Remember how I was talking about the industrial evolution? Part of the industrial evolution was people creating an ungodly amount of data, so manufacturing has data, and quality has data, and testing has data, and purchasing has data, and we have the CRM over here, and we have all this data and none of it talks to one another. 

We’re collecting all of this data and we’re not getting any of the benefits of the insights from it. The other thing that happens is there’s many companies that spend a lot of time in merger and acquisition, and so they have all of these ERP systems all over the place and they don’t talk to one another. Regardless if you’re talking about an ERP system, if you’re talking about testing data, if you’re talking about engineering files, what this does, and this is a little bit less firm use case, Carman, but what this does is it takes all that data and it makes it useful. And how we started using this was with a quick quoting process, so everything we make is custom, and everything that we quote is custom, and so we have decades of quoting information, quoting data, and we a lot of times will start over kind of from scratch, and you have to have tribal knowledge to pull from your past data. 

This can take all of that data, it uses the same type of semantic search, kind of like a Google search, where there’s meaning. It connects the dots between data points, and it will give you insights. Not only will it make the data where you can see it all in one platform and use it, but it’ll also give you insights into the data, and so it’s a little bit more ambiguous. It’s definitely this use case and nothing else because every company is different in what they need for this type of application. 

Jeff White: Well, and I have to imagine too, simply being able to look at all of this data… I mean, we’re awash with data and completely missing all the insights, just like you were saying. 

Ryan Knox: Exactly, Jeff. Exactly. 

Jeff White: Having something that can kind of surface those insights and help you to provide better quotes, or faster quotes, or more accurate quotes, I mean that is of interest to so many manufacturers and I’m sure it’s bringing great dividends to you folks, as well. 

Ryan Knox: Yeah. Yep. 

Carman Pirie: And it’s just the beginning use case, I’m assuming. I mean, get it honed in there and then it’ll find other applications for the technology across the enterprise, I’m sure. 

Ryan Knox: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, we have a number of different ways to use it. And I had a use case with one of the companies I talked to, they create a huge amount of data when they’re doing their R&D testing, and basically if you don’t find some way of using a technology like what I just talked about, like with the knowledge graph and something that can connect the dots between data, basically what you’re working with is an extremely manual process of somebody, and in some cases it’s dozens of people, digging through data to try to navigate their way to find insights. And what this does is it automates that. Any of us, if we’re looking through a huge data set, our eyes will go crossed and eventually you get to a point where there’s no return and you’re like, “Well, I think I just lost everything. That was just a waste of time. I didn’t learn anything.” 

If you have that type of data set, which we all do, all of the companies we work with have those types of huge data sets, you need something like this to make the data useful and to make connections where you can actually get insights from the data. 

Jeff White: It’s fascinating. And as I said off the top, that your title is Director of Marketing and Innovation, and as you said, it’s become a bit of an empty word, but I think in this case we’re actually doing innovative things. And not just that, as marketers you’re thinking in an innovative way about how to bring your skillset to expand the opportunity for an organization like Flexfab, and I think there’s an awful lot of marketers who could be trying to do the same kind of thing. 

I have to ask as we close out the show here, what are you most excited about and what’s coming next?

Ryan Knox: Yeah. What I’m most excited about is to continue to talk to startups with cool technologies that solve real problems and continuing to get these products in the hands of real world applications. Because like I said at the beginning, if you want to go to one of these events, kind of a Silicon Valley event, there is basically no end to new technology that’s being used to solve problems, but it’s not happening in manufacturing. And what I want, guys, is I want the U.S. manufacturing efficiency, I want jobs back in the U.S., where we can be… I guess in Canada, as well. Let’s get jobs back to North America. And the way that we do that is by using technology, the same way that we’re using robotics, we can use AI, we can use machine learning to become more competitive, to learn, to do things in our market that you can’t just apply low labor to. To use technology in a way where you can be empowering your people to excel, empowering people to do the things that they never have time to do. 

You talk about innovation, Jeff, you want a company to innovate? You gotta find a way to give them the time to innovate. Now, people will try to set aside 10%, 15% here, or whatever, and it never works out because people get caught up in the whirlwind. People want to innovate. They just don’t feel equipped to do so. And so, how do you do that? That’s probably a whole other podcast, but how do you instill that innovative mindset in your organization so people are looking for these problems to be solved? And then they can work on the things they want to work on, like I was talking about with our customer care, where all of a sudden they have more time to talk to customers. They have more time to talk with their coworkers. They have more time to make important decisions versus data entry. 

And that’s what I want. That’s what I want, hopefully my little impact or our little impact on manufacturing in our area. 

Carman Pirie: Well, Ryan, I thank you for bringing this vision of kind of connecting the dots, if you will, between startup technology and manufacturing, and having that real world impact. I think it’s a powerful one. I thank you for sharing it on the show and thank you for leading the way with it, frankly. It’s fantastic. 

Ryan Knox: Yeah. Yeah. Carman, could I direct people, They can learn about some of our products. They can see there. They can book demos. Once again, we’re gonna continue to grow our product offering and we would love to talk to them about their specific needs and I think they’ll find a company they can relate to and a company that understands their problems, and it’ll probably feel a little different than some of the large software companies, but that’s what we’re looking for. So, we’re excited to hear from startups and from those that can use our services. 

Carman Pirie: Well, look, we’ll be sure to link that up in the show notes, as well. Thank you so much, Ryan. It’s been a pleasure. 

Ryan Knox: Thank you. Thank you, guys. 

Jeff White: All right. Cheers. Thanks. 

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Ryan Knox

Director of Marketing & Innovation

Ryan Knox is the Director of Marketing & Innovation at Flexfab in Hastings, Michigan. He has spent his career in Marketing, Product Development, and Business Development in the Transportation and Construction industries. His studies include Marketing at Indiana University of South Bend, Mergers & Acquisitions at Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, and Product Innovation at Harvard Business School. Ryan is passionate about growth, team-oriented execution, and solving challenging problems. Ryan plans to continue leading initiatives to solve real-world problems and enter new and exciting spaces at Flexfab.

The Kula Ring is a podcast for manufacturing marketers who care about evolving their strategy to gain a competitive edge.

Listen to conversations with North America’s top manufacturing marketing executives and get actionable advice for success in a rapidly transforming industry.

About Kula

Kula Partners is an agency that specializes in maximizing revenue potential for B2B manufacturers.

Our clients sell within complex, technical environments and we help them take a more targeted, account-focused approach to drive revenue growth within niche markets.


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