At Paperless Parts, our mission is to help job shops overcome the skills gap by giving you the same tools that large companies are spending millions to build. We help you realize the same value and put you on the same footing, at a fraction of the cost. 

It is impossible to be amazing at everything. Trying to be all things to all people often results in being spread too thin. The New York Times best selling author Tom Rath explains, “If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything.”

The same idea holds true when it comes to software. You may have noticed that Apple announced they are breaking apart iTunes after 10 years into separate applications that can better fulfill their intended purpose. So, why would it be any different when it comes to the manufacturing industry and ERP systems? 

Let’s talk about the history of ERP systems for a moment. These programs were all built before secure cloud-based technology existed. This means that they are often hosted on-premise and sold as packages that the user must spend a great deal of money to acquire upfront, and then pay an annual maintenance fee to upgrade if he or she chooses.  

ERP systems started as work scheduling tools, but evolved into ill-fated efforts to offer software solutions that handled every aspect of a manufacturer’s business – from quote all the way to delivery. 

There are a couple of problems with this. 

First, software can be very expensive to build well and considering that every manufacturer is a little different in how they operate and most do not upgrade their systems yearly, these systems offer minimal recurring revenue. Thus the systems stop evolving when cash runs low and cannot keep pace with newer evolving technologies. Furthermore, as these systems work to span the value chain, they neglected to invest the same innovation into the ends as the core functionality. This lack of detail causes extremities like CRM, estimating/quoting, and accounting to be very feature and technology light causing many people to look for outside solutions like Paperless Parts. 

Second, achieving true job costing has traditionally been more about discipline in an organization than the system it uses. An ERP system suffers from garbage in, garbage out syndrome. This occurs in a couple different ways. Either a user does not maintain discipline in data entry and decides to take short cuts, or your machinists don’t properly log in and out of jobs to kick off time allocations. 

Enter Industry 4.0 – IOT – Machine Monitoring Software (MTConnect)

The industry is taking steps to work around users so that it can deliver better job costing – because we all know that it’s nearly impossible to change a machinist. Through direct links to machines producing the components, companies are now able to unlock features of job costing they dreamed their ERP systems would be capable of when they purchased them in the late 90’s. This data can now be gathered directly from the source, and manufacturers can definitively know the cost to produce a run of components. They can even detect when there is an anomaly in how one of the parts is being run!

This innovation has started to fix the many issues with job costing, but manufacturers are still looking for a way to more effectively leverage that data to power their quoting. This is where Paperless Parts comes into the picture. 

— Jason Ray


Jason Ray is the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Paperless Parts. He drives the company’s product vision, while building relationships with manufacturers and partners. Before Paperless, he served as an officer in the US Navy and led the implementation of additive manufacturing technology. Jason holds a BA (Trinity) and MBA (Babson).

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