Andrew Johnson is a supply chain innovator, speaker, and the CEO of ShelfAware. After being raised in and working for his family’s industrial business O-Ring Sales and Services, ShelfAware developed out of that company and now provides an RFID-powered solution that gives wireless traceability to a manufacturers’ inventory.
In this episode of Manufacturing Happy Hour, Andrew takes us behind the scenes to look at ShelfAware’s origin story. We hear how much he learned growing up in a family business and what led him to start ShelfAware.
Andrew explains how automation has been key to growing his business and why he uses the idea of “incremental innovation” to scale his company sustainably. We also hear the lessons he learned from the movie Moneyball and some top tips he has to share for other manufacturers.
3 Quick Things from this Episode
- Growing up in a family business can teach you the value of having a solid support network.
- Automation may start as a job killer, but in the long run, it creates jobs and makes them more efficient.
- Incremental innovation is the idea that not all innovation needs to come from a big “aha moment”, but instead can be a series of smaller ideas and changes that bring long-term success.
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- “We have to have fun. In our workplace, we have to take some risks. And we have to be willing to get messy, or we’ll never take that next step in innovation.”
- “I think a lot of manufacturers should throw out all of their experience requirements when they’re hiring new folks for their company.”
- “Look at innovation as a race, a marathon, a long race with huge goals. But you’re going to run your incremental races as a series of sprints to get to that big finish line.”
Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode
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What We Discuss with Andrew
- How growing up in a family business introduced Andrew to entrepreneurialism
- The origin story of ShelfAware
- Why automation can be a great way to boost your competitive advantage
- How the movie Moneyball inspired him
- What incremental innovation is and why it’s the best way forward
- Why manufacturers should focus on developing young talent (even if they lack experience)
- ShelfAware, RFID technology manufacturer that automates supply chains
- ShelfAware’s YouTube channel, short and sweet videos about ShelfAware, manufacturing musings, and hot takes on where the industry is heading
- Jack Stack Barbecue, an upscale Kansas City BBQ chain with several locations across the city
- Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, an old-school BBQ joint set in an old gas station