Did you miss episode one of Amplify? Listen in below or read the transcript to hear Brad and Kiannah speak about efficiencies and ergonomics in everyday life, along with why they decided to create this podcast.
Brad Schaefer: [00:00:06] Welcome to Amplify, a podcast created to inspire our listeners to learn about today’s modern workspaces. I’m your host, Brad Schaefer.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:00:13] And I’m your host, Kiannah Vandenberg.
Brad Schaefer: [00:00:19] Since this is a new podcast, I figured
we’d talk a little bit about who we are and why we decided to do this. My name
is Brad. I’m an engineer at BUILT Systems. I’ve been here for a little over
four years. I’m married, I have three kids and a spoiled little Chihuahua. In
my free time, typically on weekends, I enjoy just hanging out with my family. I
enjoy blacksmithing, building things, a lot of home projects. And then on the
weekends, I also focus on being a minister for a small church in our area. What
about you, Kiannah?
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:00:52] Well, my name is Kiannah, and I have been a marketing coordinator at BUILT for two years now. In my free time, I basically just do a lot of volunteering for my local church, a lot of traveling when I can, and then just hiking with some friends. So what is this podcast about and why Amplify?
Brad Schaefer: [00:01:08] This podcast had a focus when we talked about it just to explain what ergonomics and efficiencies are being employed at BUILT Systems. We talk about this a lot and I’ve come to the realization throughout my life and my career that we can do this not just at work, but we can live every day focusing on how to better do things. How our bodies need ergonomics and efficiencies and everything that we do. And we picked the word Amplify as a podcast title because it explains why we want to do this. Typically the word amplify is used in sound. It is the radio waves used to increase the signal. But when we really broke down the definition, there’s a segment that talks about the ability to expand on something by using detail or some very close analysis. And that’s where we really wanted to focus this podcast, Amplify, to really get your brain thinking about what ergonomics are and what efficiencies are. And we will definitely dive deeper into this as we get further into the series.
Brad Schaefer: [00:02:10] But I didn’t want to focus entirely on
that today. I know ergonomics can be kind of a boring topic, not going to lie,
but because of that, we talked about making this a fun type environment and
something interesting to listen to. So to do that, we wanted to start each
podcast with some random questions. Some goofy, silly, interesting questions to
make you really think about it and get your brain working for the day. So what
I picked for the question today is if you could meet anyone for one day,
whether that person is dead or alive, who would it be?
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:02:47] Oh, man, I never know the answer to
this question. I’m going to have you go first with this one. Who would you meet?
Brad Schaefer: [00:02:55] I really want to meet Albert Einstein. I am kind of obsessed with the way he was and the way he did things. His ability to think differently and to do things that just changed the way we know today in the physics world. He’s kind of a role model for me, I look up to the man and I understand how he was. I think he was far beyond his times when he was alive, but that’s the one I’d love to just sit and meet and talk for a day and see how he did things.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:03:30] Yeah, everybody can pretty cool to me,
probably. I don’t know. I think I’m really into all of the peacemakers of
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:03:38] So maybe someone like Nelson Mandela.
Also, like MLK, obviously, all those types of people really intrigue me and
they’re kind of my role models. So anyone like that, I think I’d be interested
in meeting and talking to.
Brad Schaefer: [00:03:54] I think there’s a lot of people out
there that we’d love to just sit and talk to and just understand who they were
as people. And I think it’s kind of a good way to start things.
Brad Schaefer: [00:04:05] As we prepared for this podcast, I had
quite a few thoughts that I wanted to try to run past you and see what your
thoughts and opinions are on these Kiannah. So how often do you think about
human body mechanics?
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:04:17] Um, probably never.
Brad Schaefer: [00:04:20] Never. You don’t think about that when
you pick something up at home? Like, if I do it the wrong way, I’m going to
hurt my back.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:04:26] Um, I don’t know. I mean, being twenty-three years old, I don’t think I really necessarily have to do it now.
Brad Schaefer: [00:04:33] Ok, so I am older. So I do think about
this a little more often because things tend to get hurt easier. And one of the
things I thought about was when you do laundry, is that something that you just
pick up the laundry basket and throw it in the washer? We made a rule, I guess
you could say, a couple of years ago at home. But if you’re going to do
laundry, do it yourself. We don’t want to have to sort things. Like I know some
people do this sort of colors and whites and denim blue jeans and all these
things. I’m not that sophisticated. I throw everything in the washer with the
tide pod and click Start. That’s the way I work. It’s efficient for me to do
that. And I usually do it right before I go to bed. So the washer runs
overnight and I get up in the morning, throw them in the dryer.
Brad Schaefer: [00:05:23] Now, looking back, my grandma, the way she did laundry was totally different. She was one of those sorters. One of those people that spent a day in the basement doing laundry. Oh, man. I remember going there during the summer. I’d spend weeks there. And every Monday that was the routine. We’d get up to breakfast and then go downstairs. And she had a half dozen five-gallon buckets that she had filled with. Hot water or some laundry, some bleach, I don’t know what it was, so that each bucket had its own category. This bucket was white socks, this bucket was blue socks. This bucket was undershirts, you know, and when she would do laundry.
Brad Schaefer: [00:06:07] She would always wash the whites first and reuse the water. She grew up in the Depression, so she was used to using things over again if they needed to, so she would wash white and then pump the water out and then back into her washing machine and then wash Dark’s and wash the next day. And she’d do that multiple times until she deemed the water unclean. Then she would start fresh and clean. Laundry was never an issue. It’s just the way she did things is different today. Obviously, we have much more efficient washers and dryers that use far less water.
Brad Schaefer: [00:06:45] But as we stated, it’s to us. We don’t
spend we don’t have time to spend a day doing laundry. So we pick everything
up, throw it in the washer head start and come back, hopefully when it’s done
in an hour. So what we do talk about this efficiency thing and time, what about
grocery shopping? How often do you think of your time in the grocery store as
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:07:08] Oh, man, I hate grocery shopping and I
am probably the least efficient person doing it.
Brad Schaefer: [00:07:15] Ok, so this is where I have a little
bit of an issue. I don’t like shopping, but I do the majority of it for my
family. And because of that, I usually get a list from my wife that is broken
down into categories, produce, dairy, grocery, wherever else.
Brad Schaefer: [00:07:34] And I have in my head calculated the
most efficient way to walk through the grocery store without going through an
aisle more than once.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:07:43] Oh man. Do you want to share that with me?
Brad Schaefer: [00:07:45] It depends. Obviously, every week is a little different. We don’t buy the same groceries every week, it changes. But minimally. And then they threw this one-way shopping thing, and so I had to kind of rethink the way I did things.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:08:01] Oh yeah, that that messed me up so bad.
I am not a good rule follower there.
Brad Schaefer: [00:08:06] I ninety-nine percent of the time
follow that. But there are times that I’m like, oh, I am like three feet into
the aisle. I need to get that one item and I’ll admit I do it. But my goal
obviously is to be in and out of that grocery store as fast as possible. And
ultimately I try to do it in like 30 minutes or less. That doesn’t always
happen because a lot of times I’m spending the majority of it standing in a
checkout line. So I was watching a video earlier this week and this new thing
that’s happening and some of the larger grocery stores about the scanning go
option. Well, you can walk through the store and instead of going through the
checkout, you scan it on your phone, throw it in your cart, and then when
you’re done, you pay and just walk out without standing at the checkout line.
Talk about efficiency. I could be in and out in 30 minutes without walking
through the checkout line. I love that idea.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:09:03] Oh, yeah, no kidding. Checkout lines,
probably the worst part.
Brad Schaefer: [00:09:07] So this efficiency’s and these
ergonomics, it’s kind of an interesting topic, an interesting way to think of
things and unfortunately, the way my brain works because of what I do as a
career, it’s always in this mode of thinking about what does it mean to be
ergonomic, what does it mean to be efficient.
Brad Schaefer: [00:09:25] And because of that, I try to teach my
kids any time they’re involved in a project or a process how to do it and to
the point where they probably start to dislike me because I critique the way
they do things. But I always want to show them how to do it better with less
effort and less time. Like I said earlier, this life at BUILT has kind of
changed my thinking process, and so we started this podcast for that reason to
simply promote awareness, to think about everything that you do in life,
requires you to be efficient.
Brad Schaefer: [00:10:01] And you should always be thinking about
how you’re doing things with your body mechanics to not hurt yourself. Take
working from home and as an example, I know over the last couple of months,
there’s a lot of people that have transitioned from being every day in the
office from eight to five to now working from home, sometimes much longer hours
and it’s different. Would you agree?
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:10:25] Oh, yeah, it’s been very different. I
mean, these last few months, having to work from home because of all this stuff
that’s going on has been a nightmare almost. I mean, yeah, it’s definitely
different. My work from home office is definitely very different from my actual
Brad Schaefer: [00:10:41] We are fortunate at BUILT to each have
high adjustable standing desks. And let’s face it, I am speaking for you at
this point. We probably don’t use them enough. I think statistics say you’re
supposed to stand every hour for five or six minutes. My Apple Watch tells me
to stand every hour, and I know I don’t. I ignore it and tend to work through
it and then get up when I have to. But when you are working from home, as you
stated a lot of times, we don’t have that option of even just a desk. We work
where we physically can. Sometimes it’s a kitchen table or a dining room table
or a coffee table, which means you’re hunched over.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:11:24] Yeah, I have a height-adjustable desk
at work and I do not have one at home, and working from home for two months or
three months straight without that set height desk for me was a nightmare. It
just hurt my back. I mean, coming back into the office and just being able to
set the desk at my specific sitting height was so much better than just sitting
at my desk at home.
Brad Schaefer: [00:11:45] I totally agree. I even went as far
when this whole thing started. I needed a chair that adjusted because I thought
I was just sitting in a kind of a fixed swivel chair and nothing fancy. But
then I was like, this is killing my back and my arm. I have a height-adjustable
desk at home. I am fortunate to have that, but it still didn’t work, right? So
the combination of the two really made it better. I mean, fewer injuries, less
back and neck pain from hunching over or sitting in a weird position. There was
even a point before all that that I tried to work in my recliner because it was
I thought, well, I can kind of relax and take a. Yeah, it doesn’t work that
way. Tend to fall asleep sitting in that thing.
Brad Schaefer: [00:12:31] And to be honest, not having that that
height-adjustable option or that ergonomic option at home, once you have it,
you miss it. You realize how important it really, truly is to have something
Brad Schaefer: [00:12:50] It’s just a simple adjustment and
you’re in much better shape. Over the period that I’ve worked here, I’ve worked
on hundreds of different projects for some very large prominent corporations
and companies across countless industries around the globe. And to this day,
when we talk to a new customer and we were talking about a new project, we hear
that. Why do we need ergonomics or why do we need to change? If it’s not broke,
don’t fix it. Right? Well, OK. In some aspects of it, I can understand where
they’re thinking. And a lot of times you respond with that. You don’t know you
need ergonomics and efficiencies until you have used them and you go back to
the old way of doing it, you’re going, wow, we’re doing this so much harder
than it truly is. Hmm.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:13:43] Yeah, I would have never thought I
needed a height-adjustable desk until I actually got one and realized, wow,
this is way easier to work on than my other ones.
Brad Schaefer: [00:13:53] I mean, some of the cool things about
it, sometimes it’s hard to explain what efficiency is and what ergonomics mean
and look like. But when we talk to customers, to people that are interested, we
say, if you really want to know, come and see what we have. Come and see what
we’ve set up in our facility and our workplace. And a lot of times people show
up and are amazed. They look at what we have. We have a clean, organized,
efficient work centers that are streamlined to the point where we can process
things from start to finish, sometimes in twenty-four hours from raw materials
all the way to a completed product.
Brad Schaefer: [00:14:32] A lot of times we get customers that
come in and look at this and go, wow, I have we never heard of this company.
Why have we never heard of these options or these ideas before? And actually,
there are times we hear, I wish I knew about this before we invested such and
such dollars and redoing this.
Brad Schaefer: [00:14:47] And it’s something that we want to make people aware that there are a lot of options out there, a lot of ideas and things that we can share we’re willing to help and work with. It’s funny because there are a lot of times I talk to my kids and family about the different projects and the companies that I’m working for and one of them goes, you know, it’s funny, BUILT is the biggest little company that nobody knows about. We’ve worked with hundreds of people, hundreds of customers, that we’re changing some of the ways the manufacturing world works and then nobody knows about us. So the idea behind this podcast to really break down who we are as BUILT, why we’re doing this, what we have, and how we can help.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:15:28] Yeah. And so let’s look at who we are
exactly. I mean, Built Systems is an equipment manufacturer that specializes in
ergonomic workstations and material handling products. With over two hundred
twenty-five thousand square feet of manufacturing floor space, we have
everything we need to manufacture everything in-house, including our own
workstations, carts, and machine bases. Brad, since you’re an engineer, can you
tell our listeners what type of equipment and technology we use to make these
Brad Schaefer: [00:15:54] Sure. So one of the cool things about working that BUILT is we literally take from raw products all the way to finished product. And as it goes through multiple stages, we bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds of raw steel, flat steel tubes, steel, and we use five flatbed lasers and five tube lasers. We’re actually one of the largest laser houses in west Michigan to cut and manipulate those parts. BUILT takes them and they can go through either some Hirko S.A.M., some RuBo drills. There are six C.A.C. brake presses scattered throughout the manufacturing floor. We have multiple types of welding, manual welding, along with robot and laser welding to go with that. We have two in-house paint lines, one is fully automated, everything is barcoded and scanned, and it just goes right through the process, very little manual labor. The other one’s a little bit more manual part hanging one at a time, but we’re able to do much larger parts on that one. BUILT has several different types of assembly. There is a high-speed assembly which we can crank out hundreds of products a day. We have a patent ship, so things that come right off of our patent line get packaged and dropped in boxes that are shipped out to the customer. And then we have very custom one-off assembly as well.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:17:22] So one of the questions is, why are we
the professionals when it comes to modern workspaces needs? I think some of
that boils down to our roots.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:17:29] Now, BUILT originally started as a need
from our parent company. I mean, they’re the ones who originally needed strong
ergonomic assembly line equipment for their plant floor. We originally
developed an industrial product line using our patented ideas. And when the
sales team recognized that need for products like these outside our walls,
that’s when we began offering solutions to other manufacturers in the area.
They quickly caught on and so started the company known as BUILT Systems. So to
answer your question further, we may not know exactly what every modern
workspace needs in every situation. BUILT Systems was able to create our own
modern workspace in our facility. So we’re just here to help you figure out in
your own facilities.
Brad Schaefer: [00:18:11] To kind of summarize where we’re at and why this podcast, why Amplify, once again, we want to go through a little bit of why over the last couple of weeks, almost a month, we’ve kind of I’ve worked on this. We have a lot of thoughts, a lot of different ideas. And we’ve tried to focus this podcast into a single statement, a statement that is used to focus each podcast that we can make sure that we’re in the right direction every time. I guess you could almost call it a vision.
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:18:38] Yeah, I think we would call it a
vision. And that vision is basically to just inspire our listeners and help
them create the next generation of workspace.
Brad Schaefer: [00:18:46] You know, we began as stated earlier,
by doing our own facility, we started from nothing able to manufacture and
create our own workflows, our own focus on ergonomics and efficiency
workstations. And we’re using this podcast to teach and inspire our listeners
with details and statistics and other ideas, but entertainment as well. Let’s
face it, we work with a great group of people. And I think once you get to know
us as a company of belief systems, you guys will enjoy it as well. This is not
designed to be a sales podcast. We will talk a lot about BUILT systems and
BUILT products because that’s what we are and what we do. And we will also
focus on a couple of BUILT customers. We have some customer interviews coming
up later on. But this is where we work. This is our everyday life and what we
do. So, yeah, we’ll come up quite a bit and it’s not a bad thing. We don’t know
exactly what your workspace needs, but we’re able to help. We have the resources
to get you to where you need to go. We have engineering resources. We have the
ability to do workspace evaluation, workspace design, and layout and so much
Kiannah Vandenberg: [00:19:59] Look for our next episode of Amplify where we will be interviewing Joshua Rodriguez, the manager of BUILT Systems, and discussing the past, present, and future trends that are happening in the manufacturing world today.
Learn more about BUILT Systems’ story and mission here.