Machine Shops, Reshoring, and Addressing the “Management Gap” with Paperless Parts’ Jason T. Ray

Is there really a manufacturing skills gap? Why is manufacturing moving back to the U.S.? And how can machine shop owners switch to an investment mindset? These are all great questions that we answer in this episode of Manufacturing Happy Hour. 

Jason T. Ray is the Co-Founder and CEO of Paperless Parts and a former Manufacturing Happy Hour guest. He jumps back on the show for a discussion on machine shops, reshoring, the importance of profit and investment, the skills gap, and everything in between. We hear his take on how COVID affected supply chains and led to more shop owners buying from American companies, and the different ways business owners have changed their mindset in the past few years. 

Jason also explains that if we want to solve the skills gap in manufacturing, we need to “look in the mirror” and figure out where we’re going wrong from a management perspective. There’s plenty of food for thought in this episode, so check it out to hear more of Jason’s words of wisdom. 


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. While manufacturing is facing a well-known skills gap, the problem could be that we’re facing a management gap instead. And good management is key to attracting and retaining talent. 
  2. We live in a physical world (not everything is about the digital world) and so manufacturing is essential to innovation in society. 
  3. Business owners need to move from an expense mindset to an investment mindset. Investment is what drives profit and attracts talent. 

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “Now there’s this concept called total ownership cost. And that includes shipping and storage and everything else associated with buying those parts.”
  • “Manufacturers aren’t just showing up to look at the machines and buy equipment. They’re actively coming out and looking for software solutions to solve problems in their business.” 
  • “When shops, rather than having an expense mindset, go in with an investment mindsetwhere they look at dollars out as investments, you start to see a shift in the type of team members they’re attracting.” 

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing every day? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn. 

A3 is the leading global automation trade association of the robotics, machine vision, motion control, and AI industries. Their events are some of the best places to get connected in the industry. Make sure to check out their marquee event Automate taking place in Detroit, MI May 22-25, 2023. Head to to register for free today. 

Interested in generating leads through videos, podcasts, or other digital content? Then make sure to check out our 6 Strategies for Growing Your Manufacturing Business Using Social Media. 

What We Discuss with Jason

  • The state of manufacturing in the U.S. 
  • Why shop owners are increasingly considering “ownership cost” 
  • What’s bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. 
  • How the manufacturing tech stack is evolving 
  • How different generations solve problems 
  • How new tech affects profit and investment 
  • Why we need to shift from an expense mindset to an investment mindset 
  • Why the skills gap is more of a “management gap” 
  • The importance of active over passive management 
  • Why agility and speed in business are down to good systems and processes 
  • Why manufacturing is essential to innovation

Recommended Resources

Connect with Jason and Paperless Parts

LinkedIn | Twitter | Jason T. Ray