Several years ago, one group of General Motors’ engineers attempted to fix a problem with their faulty ignition switches by having the car switch off its engine as a safety control. Meanwhile, another team had designed the airbags not to deploy if the engine was off. The simultaneous existence of these features resulted in dozens of deaths.
Working in silos is dangerous. And while the negative consequences of disconnected departments are usually less calamitous, nobody wants to work inefficiently, make avoidable mistakes, or leave money on the table.
At Consolidated Machine & Tool (CMT), we have 11 sites and counting. As the company was rapidly scaling, I was brought on to centralize our sales, estimating, and marketing efforts. Using Paperless Parts’ ITAR-registered centralized machine shop software has been a critical piece of that effort.
Map of CMT’s 11 site locations.
Daily RFQ Standups with Our Machine Shop Software
Getting an entire enterprise machine shop on board with new technology is no small task – especially when our industry is notoriously resistant to change.
I knew that in order to get the most out of our investment in Paperless Parts, everyone had to be actively engaged. If one site receives a quote that they don’t have the resources to fulfill, another one likely does – but the only way to know that is to have frequent, open, and centralized lines of communication.
A few months ago, we started holding daily “RFQ standups” as a way to ensure there are no blind spots. Every morning, teams from each site block an hour off to open up Paperless Parts and discuss our pipeline as one team. We’ll start by pulling up an opportunity, showing it in the 3D viewer, and asking “who wants it?”
Our daily Paperless Parts standups help us:
- Not lose out on jobs that we’re equipped for. If one site isn’t able to handle a new order, there’s almost always another one that can. We’re seeing many sites sign up for jobs they would have never historically signed up for because they can see the upstream and downstream dependencies.
- Our prices are accurate and consistent. We now have a single source of truth and can make smarter, more holistic pricing decisions for the enterprise. Data drives our decisions, which takes out the guesswork and eliminates the risk of upsetting a customer.
- We’re using our resources as efficiently as possible. Maybe one site can start a job, but doesn’t have the right machine to finish it. Our standups reveal who has capacity to pick up slack when and where, allowing us to take on more work and increase revenue.
- Providing a positive customer experience. By collaborating every day, everyone knows who is following up with who and when (and the spiffy digital quotes we’re sending out don’t hurt our win rate, either).
With a smart, centralized machine shop software like Paperless Parts, we win more jobs, spend money intentionally, and focus on doing more with what we have.
My advice for other machine shops looking to drive adoption of Paperless Parts:
Standardize where you can. Having one hour blocked off each day to dive into the platform eliminates the option for people to ignore it. Without this standardization, we’d likely still have people operating out of Excel, throwing off our consistency and slowing us down.
My advice for other machine shops looking to drive adoption of any new software:
Never underestimate the danger of working in silos. Every job starts with a quote, and when your quoting process is scattered across various platforms like an ERP, Excel, and pen and paper, you’re likely to miss opportunities. Push back on the pushback – make a strong business case for the importance of technology that eliminates the risk of missing out on deals.
Our organization is now more informed than ever, and I’ve noticed quite a change in employee mentality. It’s no surprise that working more efficiently, engaging with others more frequently, and having a greater impact on revenue makes work less painful and more meaningful.
Learn how to drive revenue at your shop today using “offensive” and “defensive” pricing strategies in our Job Shop Pricing Playbook.
Robert Koenigsman is the Director of Business Development at Consolidated Machine & Tool (CMT). He is responsible for developing and implementing a centralized sales, marketing, and estimating team to increase revenues and profits for all CMT sites.