In this first installment of our series, The New Reinventors, we hear from Jarrod Tuxworth from series sponsor Fusion5.
People gravitate towards and identify with different industries for different reasons.
Jarrod Tuxworth trained as an accountant and became fascinated with business systems, then had a moment where he realised his skills were best applied to manufacturing.
“I want to work on the most challenging business system requirements and I want to work on the most difficult businesses to operate, which in my view is by far and away manufacturing businesses,” Tuxworth, currently NetSuite Solution Architect at Fusion5, tells us.
A career highlight as far as challenges go was his second-most recent role, where he headed business operations at NASDAQ-listed EV fast charger specialist Tritium. Among other things, he was responsible for establishing the Brisbane-headquartered company’s Lebanon, Tennessee factory.
The degree of difficulty was amped up by the need to establish a local supply chain to meet the Buy America requirements attached to the Biden Administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program.
“There were no other local manufacturers that existed at the time. And so there was a need to very quickly set up the factory and the supply chain to support that factory, with all new suppliers that are local,” Tuxworth recalls.
“And six months after signing the lease for our building, the first charger rolled off the production line.”
At the moment Tuxworth applies his skills to helping customers implement ERP systems.
He says that a common refrain from manufacturing customers is around the need for agility. They need to answer questions on the fly around what is being made, where and how, if it’s built to order or stock, and what the supply chain and warehouse strategies are.
“The senior leadership team: they want to see opportunities in the market and they want to see threats in the market and they want to be able to act upon those and pivot, but they want to be able to do it yesterday,” he explains.
“So the concern that they have is that ‘my business systems and processes are too rigid and robust’ and they won’t be able to support those changes in strategies quickly enough to take advantage of those opportunities or avoid those threats.”
Agility in response to threats as well as opportunities will be discussed in our October 5 webinar on manufacturers reinventing themselves, held in partnership with Fusion5.
(Book a spot for the free October 5, 11 am AEDT event here)
One unnamed client, for example, realised that their real strength was engineering and design, and that maintaining 650 SKUs was inefficient. They trimmed this down to eight and refocussed on their strengths.
“They were spending 95 per cent of their lives running a complex manufacturing operation. And so they completely changed their sourcing and their manufacturing strategy,” explains Tuxworth.
“They outsourced the vast majority of their production and now they’re able to spend 95 per cent of their time doing the things that they’re good at, where they’re adding value, at the design and engineering portion of production.”
In this episode of @AuManufacturing Conversations with Brent Balinski, Tuxworth tells us about what manufacturers should be looking at if they want to be able to manage a pivot, why the system is everything, and some career lessons, including from his time at Tritium.
0:45 – Career path. Accounting and finance with a transition into more and more in the way of operations.
2:19 — Previous role at Tritium.
3:03 – “There’s nothing more exciting than working for a business that is growing at that kind of rate.”
4:02 – Current role as a Solution Architect and the huge range of possible outcomes when implementing ERP solutions.
5:10 – What manufacturers are seeking at the moment is agility.
6:10 – The challenges of setting up Tritium’s Tennessee factory.
7:50 – A recent client example of a drastic pivot.
8:45 – Changed inventory management and sourcing post-Covid.
9:50 – What companies should be focussing on in case they need to change course. “The system is everything.”
12:20 – Some particular challenges that Australian businesses are facing versus their overseas competitors.