Jason Zenger

PRESIDENT — ZENGERS INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY

“I get a lot of inspiration from what I see at IMTS and what I hear from other manufacturing leaders here at IMTS. IMTS does a great job of elevating the manufacturing industry, which is what I am all about. I ask, ‘How do I play a part in elevating the manufacturing leaders so that we all see growth in the manufacturing community?’”

For so many, IMTS is an incredible six-day opportunity to absorb all things manufacturing. A visionary and business owner like Jason Zenger, President of ZENGERS Industrial Supply in Melrose Park, Ill., adds another element to the show; it's an opportunity to absorb all things that could be manufacturing.

Shawn Benham

“We are there to change the way companies are doing business,” says Zenger. “It's not just about selling a commodity product, it's about the process that we put into place in order to meet our client's objectives. So, we're very much there to serve our clients, but we're also there as dreamers, to see how we can do things differently.”

ZENGERS Industrial Supply began over 60 years ago as a hardware store. Jason's uncle and father later transitioned the company to industrial supplies. Jason had a dream to move from a traditional industrial supply company into manufacturing, where he would be able to take his own continuous improvement process and drive cost savings, increase productivity and solve problems for his clients.

“As an example, we are going to be implementing robotics into our offering,” says Zenger. “If you were to ask me five years ago, I would have said ‘Robotics? No way.'” IMTS got Zenger thinking about how to take robots, typically employed at large manufacturing companies in the automotive or aerospace industries, to small and midmarket manufacturers.

“That's the future of our dream,” says Zenger. “It's not only taking tooling to drive continuous improvement, but understanding how to implement robotics and automation to drive continuous improvement for small and midmarket manufacturing leaders.”

The Plan

Zenger will visit his primary partners in the Metal Cutting Pavilion, as well as focus on robotics. For small and mid-sized manufacturers, Zenger will look for flexible, easy-to-program robotic systems.

“I'm looking for something that can move around doing different types of jobs, something that is a ‘plug and play' way for clients to automate their processes,” says Zenger. “Automation is possible in ways job shops never thought of before and in ways that they thought were reserved for larger manufacturing companies. I can bring it back to them and say, ‘let's drive continuous improvement now using this product'.”

While the notion of ‘plug and play' might invoke a fear of robotics, Zenger dispels this human replacement notion based on evidence.

“If you look at the evidence of what robotics does for manufacturing companies, you see that typically their employment goes up,” says Zenger. “Once they start implementing robots, they start growing as a company and start hiring more people. As manufacturing leaders, we need to be concerned with how we drive growth and how we do it in an industry where there are less people to employ.”

IMTS is where Zenger's partners are, too. Zenger is able to network with all of them, see new products and solve problems on the spot. “We're there to serve manufacturing leaders and help them increase their bottom line,” says Zenger.

Zenger looks at the world as a big picture that captures a community of manufacturers, which is the essence of IMTS.

“I get a lot of inspiration from what I see at IMTS and what I hear from other manufacturing leaders here at IMTS,” says Zenger. “IMTS and AMT do a great job of elevating the manufacturing industry, which is what I am all about. I ask, ‘How do I play a part in elevating the manufacturing leaders so that we all see growth in the manufacturing community?'”

Jason Zenger shares his thoughts with the manufacturing community through the podcast he co-hosts with Jim Carr. Learn more about MakingChips, which will broadcast live from IMTS 2018.

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