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The Automation Solution Podcast

The Automation Solution Podcast

By Craig Francisco

You're listening to the Automation Solution Podcast where we provide innovative, value added, smart technology solutions that automate and optimize manufacturing processes for customers seeking excellence. Regardless of your role we will share valuable solutions for you to apply within your area of responsibility.

About Us
RōBEX was formed in 2015 as a clean sheet organization with seasoned automation industry leaders, robotic integration specialists, experienced technicians and engineering professionals with outstanding mechanical, electrical and civil/structural skills.
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Your Questions are Answered! Automation in Manufacturing and Warehousing, 3PL.

The Automation Solution PodcastAug 09, 2021

Erik Nieves, CEO and Co-Founder for Plus One Robotics talks about the need for ‘always-on’ logistics. Robots Work. People Rule.

Erik Nieves, CEO and Co-Founder for Plus One Robotics talks about the need for ‘always-on’ logistics. Robots Work. People Rule.

Craig Francisco from RōBEX, talks with Erik Nieves about Plus One's mission of ‘always-on’ logistics. Erik's passion for his business is truly inspirational.  This episode is a must listen for those looking to automate logistics and warehouse product handling.  

Follow Plus One Robotics on LinkedIn!

About Erik:

Erik Nieves, CEO and co-founder Plus One Robotics

Erik Nieves is co-founder and CEO of Plus One Robotics, a software company developing of 3D and AI software for robots in logistics automation. Prior to Plus One, Erik was Technology Director for Yaskawa Motoman Robotics where he was responsible for the technology roadmap and emerging applications. During his 25+ year tenure at Yaskawa, Erik held a variety of leadership positions in the U.S. and abroad.  Erik serves on the board of directors at Robotics Industries Association (RIA) and is a frequent speaker and contributor to public policy on robotics.

Jan 26, 202232:42
Supply Chain and the Future of Automation with Ben Perlson, DHL Innovation Manager

Supply Chain and the Future of Automation with Ben Perlson, DHL Innovation Manager

Ben Perlson and Craig Francisco talk about the current state of the supply chain and the future role of automation.  

  • Current supply chain challenges in the U.S.  Why are we experiencing these delays?
  • Automation and the future of supply chain.
  • Get to know the DHL Innovation Center!  

See below for several links that are referenced in the interview...….

About DHL Innovation Centers:

In our Innovation Centers, we spearhead the future of logistics and drive customer-centric innovation across the world.  We welcome customers, partners, and other innovative thinkers to engage with DHL experts and benefit from a range of tailored activities and services. To truly go beyond potential.  DHL Innovation Center Video 

Free Report:

Logistics Trend Radar, 5th Edition 

About RōBEX


More than a slogan, it is the definition of who we are and the strength we bring to customers’ challenges and opportunities. RōBEX team members have unique talents, skills, knowledge and understanding that--combined with imagination and applied creativity-- result in elegant solutions that safely optimize production processes.

In sync with emerging technology, the scope and scale of our offerings continually expands. But customers count on RōBEX to deliver integrated robotic systems, turnkey installation, maintenance, repair, upgrades, fabrication, custom controls, mechanical and electrical system design, material handling and more.

About DHL:


When Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn founded DHL in 1969, they didn’t know they would revolutionize the world of logistics. Today, DHL is the world’s leading logistics company. Our 400,000 people in over 220 countries and territories work every day to help you cross borders, reach new markets and grow your business. Or simply send a letter to your loved ones.

Oct 05, 202134:01
Your Questions are Answered! Automation in Manufacturing and Warehousing, 3PL.

Your Questions are Answered! Automation in Manufacturing and Warehousing, 3PL.

Craig Francisco and Wes Allen sit down to discuss the following questions you wanted covered in this episode! 

Where do you see autonomous mobile robots being used in manufacturing?

  1. Where are manufactures spending money on automation?
  2. Why are we seeing supply chain lead times extending beyond the norm?
  3. Are you seeing warehousing/distribution facilities installing robots?
  4. What did Covid do for automation in general?

For more information please contact RōBEX at 

More than a slogan, it is the definition of who we are and the strength we bring to customers’ challenges and opportunities. RōBEX team members have unique talents, skills, knowledge and understanding that--combined with imagination and applied creativity-- result in elegant solutions that safely optimize production processes.

In sync with emerging technology, the scope and scale of our offerings continually expands. But customers count on RōBEX to deliver integrated robotic systems, turnkey installation, maintenance, repair, upgrades, fabrication, custom controls, mechanical and electrical system design, material handling and more.

Aug 09, 202109:55
What is RōBEX FLEXX™? - Questions from our Listeners.

What is RōBEX FLEXX™? - Questions from our Listeners.

In this episode, Craig Francisco answers the following questions from our listeners!

  1. What is FLEXX?
  2. Why did you create this program?
  3. Is this different than machine as a service?
  4. This sounds like a lease, is it?
  5. Why not use a lease format?
  6. How much does it cost?
  7. Where do you see this program going?  Will others do it as well?

RōBEX FLEXX™ is an industry-unique program (Patent Pending) that establishes a monthly technology licensing fee which allows customers access to the latest automation technology via our proprietary systems. It promises important productivity benefits, while eliminating upfront capital investment. Not only does this technology licensing program offer tremendous value, it is not considered a capital lease.

Email us at to learn more! 

May 10, 202111:02
The Manufacturing Millennial Talks Automation

The Manufacturing Millennial Talks Automation

Host & RōBEX President Craig Francisco is joined by the founder of The Manufacturing Millennial, Jake Hall. Jake has amassed an incredible social media following through his content, with a simple goal in mind: Expanding the presence of younger generations in the manufacturing space through automation.

This is an impactful, insightful conversation on how crucial automation is to the present and future of industry. Jake's passion for the topic comes through as he tackled the questions laid before him. A great conversation for anyone involved in automation, technology, manufacturing, or has an interest in the innovation trends effecting these fields.


Jake Hall is the Manufacturing Millennial. He talks about the latest technology in the automation and manufacturing industry while making it engaging for all audiences. He is an experienced sales professional with extensive knowledge building lasting business relationships across multiple accounts, designing sales strategies, and creating and accomplishing project goals. 

Jake graduated from Grand Valley State University with his bachelor’s in Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering and a minor in Biomedical Engineering. He worked during college in the automation, furniture and product design industries as well as starting a company after receiving investments and winning business and pitch competitions.

Mar 09, 202133:37
The Future of Material Handling - Autonomous Mobile Robots Lead the Way

The Future of Material Handling - Autonomous Mobile Robots Lead the Way

Van Garrett and Craig Francisco talk about all things AutoGuide!  Listen to this episode if you have an interest in learning more about the AMR technology and where you can expect to see the growth over the coming years.  

About Van:

Master communicator with a passion for developing creative sales and marketing strategy.

For nearly 30 years Van has honed and proven his abilities as an innovative visionary, creator, and driver of market share in the areas of engineering and robotics.

Having successfully started and exited two companies, he is ready to share his vast experience to help your businesses navigate AMR opportunities and pitfalls.  

Mar 03, 202129:54
Automation Trends in 2021

Automation Trends in 2021

Craig Francisco discusses three automation trends he believes will see major growth during 2021.  

  1. AMR
  2. Collaborative Robotics
  3. FLEXX (MaaS)

About Craig:

I help manufacturing and distribution leaders improve safety, increase productivity, and improve overall quality.  This is my passion!

I’ve spent the last 20 years navigating businesses through the tech bubble, financial crisis, 9/11, the great recession, and now the pandemic, I’ve learned what it takes to implement a waste identification process that uncovers automation opportunities no matter the economic circumstances. 

I have a passion for mentoring future leaders, leading teams, and helping companies increase manufacturing and distribution velocity through waste identification and automation. 



I lead an amazing team of highly motivated individuals who specialize in robotic automation.

Check out our website to see our capabilities!


Listen to our podcast to hear experts within the industry! 


🕒  Schedule a 30 minute discovery (ZOOM review) 💻


📣  “Craig is the consummate professional and inspirational leader.  He consistently displays strategic vision and provides unwavering commitment to strategic alliances.” – Sid Adler

📣  “Craig has the reputation for getting things done with above average results.” – Rob Callahan  

📣  “Craig uses a smart analytical approach to breakdown habits and business planning initiatives.  My entire team achieved new personal sales records after working with him.” – Matt Golladay


📩 (Automate your manufacturing)

💬 Send me a private message on LinkedIn 

📞 Text me (419-345-9113)

Close The Gap. 


Jan 05, 202110:36
How to Get Started With Automation - Wes Garrett, FANUC

How to Get Started With Automation - Wes Garrett, FANUC

In this episode, Craig Francisco talks with Wes Garrett about uncovering new opportunities to automate production processes in the packaging and warehouse world.  If you're new to automation or looking to continue the journey, this episode is for you!  

Wes Garrett is an Account Manager in the Authorized System Integrator (ASI) Group responsible for the integrator’s in FANUC’s network whose focus are Packaging and Warehousing applications. Wes has 17 years of experience in the robotics industry and has been with FANUC for 15 years. His career includes turnkey systems engineering, product management, and network sales. As a product manager Wes championed the FANUC’s palletizer robots and software along with supporting highspeed picking and packing champions. Wes has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech University.

Sep 23, 202026:03
Machine as a Service Model to Revolutionize Manufacturing

Machine as a Service Model to Revolutionize Manufacturing

Are you a leader in manufacturing looking to learn more about the Machine as a Service Model?

Craig Francisco and special guest Michael Senske discuss all things MaaS.    

About Michael Senske: 

Michael A. Senske, President & CEO

Mr. Senske joined Pearson Packaging Systems 1997.  During his tenure at Pearson Packaging Systems, he has held a wide variety of positions including Product Manager, Director of Business Development, and Vice President Sales & Marketing.  

Mr. Senske assumed the role of President & CEO in 2005.  Prior to working at Pearson Packaging Systems, he worked in the Product Support Services division of the Consumer Division Unit at Microsoft Corporation.  Mr. Senske graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and he is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program. 

Mr. Senske serves on the board of directors for Colmac Holding Company as well as on the boards of the Association of Washington Business (past chair) and The Washington Round table.

Jul 29, 202044:09
Leverage LinkedIn Video to Drive Brand Awareness

Leverage LinkedIn Video to Drive Brand Awareness

If you're interested in growing your brand on LinkedIn you have to listen to this episode!  Craig Francisco interviews Shay Rowbottom on using video to leverage brand awareness on the LinkedIn platform.

Shay Rowbottom is a LinkedIn influencer and digital marketing entrepreneur, specializing in creating social media video content to attract attention and bring more eyeballs to your business.

“I believe there’s still few people in the world who truly understand social media video marketing and the logic behind it.” -Shay Rowbottom.

Through her unique background working in video licensing, Shay cultivated a specific, but rare, expertise on how and why something is destined to go viral. Her first agency specialized in curating, licensing, editing, and distributing custom video clips, tailored to her client’s audience, and her clients were among the highest performing blogs on Facebook.

Throughout the three years Shay worked on Facebook, she had amassed billions of impressions, aka data, on video content. She forged relationships with over 5,000 content owners across the globe, distributed tens of thousands of video clips throughout the platform, and at her peak she was averaging over 1 Billion views per month on Facebook for her clients.

This led to doing marketing for product companies as well, and utilizing the blog owner’s followings to post more direct ads on consumer products. Her team would then take the data accumulated from organic video content, and run re-targeting campaigns through Facebook ads manager, reaching the right buyers and increasing sales for the product companies.

In May of 2018, Shay decided to take everything she’d learned and apply it to her own personal brand, on LinkedIn, in an attempt to get more leads for her Facebook agency at the time.

What she found was not only leads, but an insanely low competition rate on LinkedIn when it came to creating video content. She quickly realized the opportunity on LinkedIn for organic growth was incomparable to other platforms, and within 6 months of creating videos consistently for her page, had grown to over 25,000+ followers and generated over 2 Million video views on LinkedIn.

It was around that time she decided to call it quits at her first agency. She sold her shares and pivoted completely, to found a new video marketing agency, specializing in helping business owners attract their target market and close more deals through the use of organic video content, specifically on the LinkedIn platform.

You can follow Shay’s company page on LinkedIn for free video marketing tips weekly:
Shay Rowbottom Marketing

Jul 07, 202036:54
Grow your Business with LinkedIn Pages - Michaela Alexis

Grow your Business with LinkedIn Pages - Michaela Alexis

Your business could be leaving thousands or maybe millions on the table by not using LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the biggest business opportunity available today, with over 700 million active users and 2 new members joining every second!

In this episode, Michaela Alexis gives you real life examples on how to dominate the conversation about your industry…. Listen now!

About Michaela:

Hailing from Ottawa, Michaela Alexis is currently one of North America’s most in-demand speakers on topics related to personal branding and LinkedIn. Her journey started in 2016 when an article she wrote about landing her dream job went viral on LinkedIn.

Since then, she has replicated that success, with dozens of articles receiving millions of reads, featured on the likes of CNBC, BuzzFeed,, and INC.

Michaela has garnered over 160,000 followers on her personal brand.

Jun 11, 202048:34
Pandemic Prompts New Urgency for Robotic Automation

Pandemic Prompts New Urgency for Robotic Automation

In this episode we are truly blessed to have a living legend as our special guest.  Jim Cooper has joined us to talk about robotic automation in the face of our current pandemic.  If you are new to automation or an experienced veteran, this episode is for you!  

James Cooper is Executive Director Global Accounts for FANUC America Corporation responsible for developing global relationships with consumer packaged goods, and general industry customers.

Mr. Cooper originally joined FANUC Robotics in 1985 and has spent a total of 26 years in the robotics industry, and has over 38 years’ experience in the automation, robotics & packaging industry, serving the U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rico markets.

Mr. Cooper graduated from Lawrence University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, with a major in marketing.

May 28, 202044:52
Engaging Clients in an upside down world with Kim Kaupe

Engaging Clients in an upside down world with Kim Kaupe

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed with way we interact with customers.  Trade shows, conferences, networking events, one on one in person bonding are all on hold.  How do you plan to meet new prospects, nurture your top customers?  We must take action.  Take risks.  Get off the bleachers and jump into the game.  The new normal will look different.  Kim does an amazing job sharing her expertise and ideas in this exclusive interview with Craig Francisco.

About Kim:

Kim Kaupe is the co-founder and CEO of The Superfan Company, a fan engagement agency focused on creating one-of-a-kind products, programs and strategies for entertainers, brands, and celebrities. Since starting the company, previously called ZinePak, in January 2011 with co-founder Brittany Hodak, her all female team has collaborated with A-list properties such as Oprah, The New York Mets, KISS, Shawn Mendes, ACE Comic Con, Miller Coors, and Paul McCartney.

Kim has been named to Forbes 30 Under 30, Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40, and Inc.’s 35 Under 35 list while ZinePak was hailed as a Top 30 Startup to Watch by Entrepreneur, and dubbed an “overnight success” by Inc. Magazine. She was featured on ABC’s hit prime time show, Shark Tank, securing offers from 4 out of 5 sharks and was most recently seen on Live on FOX judging the 2019 Miss USA pageant. Kim’s contributed articles to numerous media outlets including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes Woman.

Kim is passionate about giving back to the next generation through volunteer work and service on foundation boards. In addition to speaking all over of the world, she partnered with LinkedIn in 2019 to release her first course, Entrepreneurship Foundations. Kim’s ultimate goal is to help people realize and embrace their entrepreneurial spirits and empower future leaders. She enjoys good music, witty banter, and commenting on life and entrepreneurship on her social channels. If you don’t interrupt her during one of her beloved Florida Gator games, she is always up for a conversation, laugh, or figuring out a master plan on how she can meet and hug one of her idols, Harrison Ford.

Say Hi on Instagram: @KimKaupe

May 15, 202053:49
Machine as a service (MaaS) - Accelerating and Transforming Manufacturing

Machine as a service (MaaS) - Accelerating and Transforming Manufacturing

Craig Francisco and Micheal Cromheecke discuss machine as a service (MaaS) and how it can strengthen and simplify relationships between OEMs and end-users.  Win Win.  

Michael Cromheecke has 17 years’ experience at Rockwell Automation. His background includes the acquisition and growth of early-stage robotics technology companies as well as the creation and development of multi-million dollar, cloud-based software platforms. Mike has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

About SteamChain:

Our platform enables the monetization of machine productivity and performance by leveraging real-time equipment data as the foundation for secure agreements and transactions. There’s no complicated software to install; just meaningful value created for both machinery manufacturers and their customers by using existing machinery data to transform their collaboration. SteamChain’s machine-as-a-service platform automates these business processes enabling transformational opportunities for your business.

Built on secure blockchain technology, SteamChain’s machine-as-a-service platform gives original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) the ability to efficiently validate machine data and prove that a process meets contract goals. SteamChain can be deployed alongside your existing Industrial IoT architecture or as a stand alone solution so that any equipment manufacturer or end user can create agreements that ensure transparent contract terms based on machine performance.

Plus, with our equipment-as-a-service cloud-based management utility (built on Microsoft Azure), automated packaging manufacturers can gain greater visibility into their security and flexibility. They can also better visualize performance as well as advanced manufacturing financial metrics.

Apr 15, 202045:30
Identifying automation opportunities using the IPE model

Identifying automation opportunities using the IPE model

Use the IPE model (Identify - Prioritize - Execute) to identify areas of improvement within your manufacturing facility.  Craig Francisco has led over 18 kaizen events in the last decade helping companies understand the 7 forms of waste that exist in every business.


Correction, Over production, movement of material, motion, waiting, inventory, and process.

Listen to the episode to gain insight on a simple but effective way to increase cash flow and improve your bottom line!

Jan 31, 202013:54
Everything you need to know about Collaborative Robots with Greg Buell from Fanuc Corporation

Everything you need to know about Collaborative Robots with Greg Buell from Fanuc Corporation

Interested in learning more about collaborative robots?  This episode covers all things collaborative and will serve as a guide for you to make the right decision as you venture into the collaborative space.  Enjoy the episode and get ready to take notes!  

About Greg

Greg Buell is a senior engineer in the General Industry & Automotive Segment at FANUC America Corporation, and the product manager for collaborative robots and operation. He came to FANUC with a BSEE degree from Tri-State(Trine) University and has made a career of working with robots and automation for over 24 years. His career includes countless hours working hand in hand with customers on engineering, implementation, and successful startup of numerous robots and automated systems which prepared him for his most challenging task yet, introducing human safe collaborative robots to the industry for FANUC. Greg’s work in development and testing helped to bring the first heavy payload industrial collaborative robot to market. For PackExpo2019, Greg developed a collaborative robot system that was used to pack food items into draw string bags as part of the Blessings In a Backpack program at the show. The system successfully packed 1536 backpacks which were distributed to children who needed meals on weekends. Another 1500 backpacks were recently packed at the FANUC America North Campus grand opening ceremony.

Contact Greg directly to learn more about Fanuc's collaborative robot solutions.  Visit to find out where you can meet the team and see collaborative applications in process! 

Jan 07, 202031:47
Leading Successful Change with Rick Houcek
Dec 27, 201935:29
Packaging and Processing Excellence

Packaging and Processing Excellence

Listen to Jorge Izquierdo , VP of Market Development for PMMI, talk about packaging and processing automation and the transformation he’s seen over the last 20+ years! Jorge is a leader in the industry and will provide you tremendous value!

Jorge Izquierdo oversees PMMI’s market development, research and programs for strengthening the competitiveness of North American suppliers of packaging and processing technologies. He is also responsible for industry engagement initiatives for continuous improvement of processing and packaging operations.

PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, represents more than 800 North American manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, components and materials as well as providers of related equipment and services to the packaging and processing industry. We work to advance a variety of industries by connecting consumer goods companies with manufacturing solutions through the world-class PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows, leading trade media and a wide range of resources to empower our members. The PACK EXPO trade shows unite the world of packaging and processing to advance the industries they serve: PACK EXPO International, PACK EXPO Las Vegas, Healthcare Packaging EXPO, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México, EXPO PACK Guadalajara and ProFood Tech.   PMMI Media Group connects manufacturers to the latest solutions, trends and innovations in packaging and processing year-round through brands including Packaging World, Automation World, Healthcare Packaging, Contract Packaging, ProFood World and OEM. PMMI Business Drivers assist members in pursuing operational excellence through workforce development initiatives, deliver actionable business intelligence on economic, market and industry trends to support members'​ growth strategies, and actively connect the supply chain throughout the year.  Learn more at and and

Dec 12, 201935:37
Mobile Industrial Robots - Manufacturing Excellence

Mobile Industrial Robots - Manufacturing Excellence

Matt Charles and Craig Francisco discuss the future of autonomous mobile robots in the manufacturing sector.   

Report estimates global warehouse automation market will more than double from $13 billion in 2018 to $27 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 11.7% between 2019 and 2025.


Our autonomous robots are a new generation of advanced mobile robots which give you a rapid return on investment, often with a payback period of less than a year.

These unique, collaborative robots are now used by manufacturers in a wide range of industries and healthcare sectors to automate their in-house transportation.

As a first mover in the field, we have enjoyed a rapid, worldwide adoption of our unique and innovative robots.

Mobile Industrial Robots is an international and ambitious company, having dedicated employees who are passionate about making a difference and creating success and innovation within the world of robotics.

We are represented worldwide with branch offices and through an extensive distributor network which are dedicated and delighted to receive your inquiry and support you.

Matt Charles can be reached at  

Nov 20, 201931:52
Are you ready? Automation's role in the success of US Manufacturing

Are you ready? Automation's role in the success of US Manufacturing

Listen to Dr. Robert Atkinson and his views on US Manufacturing and the role automation will play in our country's future success.  

Links mentioned in the interview:

Dr. Robert D. Atkinson is one of the country’s foremost thinkers on innovation economics. He has conducted ground-breaking research on technology and innovation and authored three books, including Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Mythology of Small Business (MIT Press, 2018).As founder and president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), recognized as the world’s top think tank for science and technology policy, Atkinson leads a prolific team of policy analysts and fellows that is successfully shaping the debate and setting the agenda on a host of critical issues at the intersection of technological innovation and public policy.

Nov 07, 201934:53