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WESTEC 2021: How Sharing Ideas Can Benefit the Manufacturing Industry

WESTEC 2021: How Sharing Ideas Can Benefit the Manufacturing Industry

Paperless Parts attended Westec in November and after some time to reflect, we are sharing some of our key takeaways from the event. Here is a Q&A with Ben Barton, Solutions Engineer at Paperless Parts:

Q: What were you most impressed by at WESTEC 2021?

A: I was most impressed by the machines. Having been on the software side of manufacturing for the past three and a half years, my only exposure to the machines that enable manufacturing has been through brief shop tours with our customers. It was very cool to see the cutting edge technology on display.

Q: What was the biggest surprise for you, it being the first manufacturing trade show you’ve attended?

A: The biggest surprise was how friendly and collaborative everyone was. There definitely seemed to be a collective, communal energy. This was surprising because to date I had been struck by some competitive energy between our customers in similar industries. Seeing the manufacturing community as a whole industry helped dispel this mass competitive notion. Folks seemed to welcome collaboration and encourage sharing ideas to improve capabilities.

Q: What trends did you notice among shops you spoke to? (embracing cloud solutions, seeking estimating/quoting help, looking for other things, etc.)

A: Trying to prepare for the retirement of the Baby-Boomer generation is a trend among the shops I spoke to. There is a lot of tribal knowledge that needs to get passed down to the next generation, particularly around quoting and how to manufacture parts. No one is really sure how to do it, but they know it is a huge problem.

Watch this webinar to learn more about connecting your front office to the shop floor and capturing tribal knowledge in one central location.

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Q: What was your biggest takeaway or learning?

A: It was healthy to talk with people from across the industry and exchange ideas. Rather than just speaking with our prospects and customers, we were able to gain a better understanding of what other folks are thinking about in the industry, and explain a bit about what we do to people that otherwise would never see our software!

People remember how you made them feel. We wanted to make everyone feel excited about Paperless Parts and be impressed by our service, how much fun we were having, and how optimistic we are about the future.

Q: What was it like to speak to an audience at WESTEC?

WESTEC 2021A: Very cool! The audience was eager to learn new ideas. It was amazing to see people interact and share ideas based off of the conversation that was started from the presentation. It clicked for me how important this exchange of ideas is to ensure the growth and innovation of the industry.

Q: How are folks in the industry feeling about the labor shortage? How did they receive your advice/strategies for closing it?

A: Everyone is feeling it, but manufacturing is inherently gritty and knows how to grind. Some tactics and advice that we discussed for addressing the Labor Shortage:

  1. Build an Inspiring Culture that gives people Purpose
  2. Invest in Employee Training
  3. Build a Plan – Be Intentional with addressing your Labor Shortage
  4. Increase Efficiency with Tools

Tactics and advice for implementing Modern Technology and Automation:

  1. Master Your Data
  2. Be Honest With Yourself
  3. Embrace Change / Friction
  4. Own Software Development

Q: What types of shops would you recommend attend WESTEC in the future?

A: Any shop looking for new equipment or to see exciting new software. If you are a shop looking to court new buyers, this show is a great opportunity to do so!