How does your job shop manage part files and prints? How old is your ERP system? Where do you backup your hard drive and is it done automatically?
If you’re storing customer files on your PC and running an ERP on-premises, have you considered moving to a cloud-based solution? Running your shop in the cloud has some serious benefits.
Access Your Shop Data Anywhere
One of the biggest reasons that cloud-based software tools have taken off over the last 10 years is that users can access their data from any internet-connected device, whether that’s your office PC, a laptop at home, or a phone. We talk to job shop owners all the time whose shops literally can’t quote parts when they go on vacation or can’t make it to the office. With Paperless Parts, you can quickly respond to an RFQ from your couch at home or at the beach. Our data confirms that the sooner you turn around an RFQ, the higher your win rate will be. How many jobs have you lost because the RFQ came in after you left the office and a competitor got a quote out faster?
Keep Your Data Safe
There’s a huge misconception out there that doing IT yourself is safer and more secure than using a cloud-based system. However, it is important to be honest with yourself about your IT security posture:
- Are you running the latest version of your operating system (i.e. Windows)?
- Do you install security updates for all of your software?
- What would happen to your shop if your main PC was infected with ransomware?
- Are you confident your network firewall is set up properly and you are running adequate virus and malware protection on all your computers?
Availability, Uptime, and Data Integrity
Some web applications out there give the cloud a bad reputation. They stop working, leaving users waiting to get their work done. We’ve all been there. But most applications have really impressive uptime. We routinely achieve better than 99.9% uptime months and schedule maintenance and updates during off-hours.
When you run software on your own computers or servers, downtime events might occur less often, but when they strike, they can be catastrophic. Did you know half of all hard drives die within six years? How old are your computers? On how many hard drives have you backed up your critical data? What would you do if your main office PC or your ERP server just didn’t turn on tomorrow? Who would be your first phone call?
These days, data is absolutely critical to your business. Running your business with cloud-based systems is a good way to leave IT problems to the professionals. Picking the right cloud-based tool, like Paperless Parts, will help you run your business with fewer interruptions and more securely, so you can focus on making parts.
The Machine Shop’s Guide to Evaluating the Right Front Office Software
This article was written by Scott Sawyer
Scott Sawyer is Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at Paperless Parts. He is focused on platform security and developing algorithms to quote parts more quickly and accurately, while scaling both the team and architecture. He worked on defense “big data” technology at MIT Lincoln Lab and Lockheed Martin, prior to leading the engineering team at a Boston IoT startup. Scott holds a BSEE (Villanova) and MSEE (UPenn).