Industry 4.0 is a trend dominating media conversations, but what does it look like when applied on the ground? According to many job shops, it’s less of a discussed buzzword and more of a mindset: making necessary changes that move the company forward. The pressure for job shops to digitize and modernize is mounting, especially as the new generation of buyers ushers in different expectations and skillsets.
Paperless Parts helps Century-Tywood to adopt this mindset and modernize their shop to meet the changing demands of buyers.
Seasoned Pros Solve for New-Age Expectations
Century-Tywood Manufacturing, Inc., has been providing OEMs and contract manufacturers with fabricated sheet metal, machined components, stampings and electro-mechanical assemblies for more than 70 years. The company prides itself on being forward-thinking in every facet, from the first look to the finishing touches.
As a long-standing business, Century-Tywood was confronted by the same change that disrupts most job shops: a new generation of buyers purchasing the product. In the past, Century-Tywood would work with commodity managers in purchasing groups who practically knew how to make the part they were ordering by memory. However, today’s emerging buyers are more report-driven and less versed in the technical side of purchasing decisions. Regardless of the product being quoted, they often expect Amazon-like gratification – one-day quotes, instant ordering and on-time delivery – rather than considering what is required of job shops. Knowing the seasoned buyers would retire within the next 5-10 years, Century-Tywood needed to equip itself to deliver on these new-age expectations.
For the last 17 years, Century-Tywood had relied on an Excel-based system to work on about 2,500 quotes per year. One employee – Peter Marcoux, Estimating Manager and Sales Manager – was responsible for $15-17 million in sales. Despite Peter’s deep well of experience, this system did not support quick response times by today’s emerging standards. Peter had to manually input all quoting data – from metal size to laser cut time – into an Excel spreadsheet formula, which linked to another Excel spreadsheet that populated pricing. What’s more, he had to make an individual spreadsheet for every component – if there were 20 components, he had to complete 20 spreadsheets. As a result, quoting could take up to a week.
Additionally, when quoting from PDFs, Peter wasn’t able to see any potential model violations. He would quote the job, send it to engineering (once won), and then have to contact the customer to let them know about any interference after the fact. To do this, he would have to print the PDF, redline and highlight the issues, scan it and then send it. This lengthy, inefficient process delayed getting jobs to the floor. It also made Century-Tywood seem disorganized with customers, which had the potential to harm trust.
As a company that prioritizes being cutting-edge, Century-Tywood wanted to invest in technology to speed up its quoting processes and response times to customers. It knew it would be especially critical as technology adoption became standard in the industry, and competitors inevitably followed.
Investing in the Future: Modern Quoting Software for Job Shops
Peter met with Paperless Parts to learn about the cloud-based, ITAR-compliant paperless quoting platform, and immediately recommended that Century-Tywood invest in it. According to Peter, Paperless Parts transformed Century-Tywood’s business by making quoting easier. When Peter receives a STEP file from a buyer, he can upload it to Paperless Quoting and a quote is automatically created and 80% complete. Not only does this relieve Peter of excess data entry, but the accuracy of the quote is improved. Using the Paperless Parts geometry engine, Century-Tywood can capture the real cost of manufacturing with part-level operations and pricing templates – even factoring in markups and overhead costs. While quotes used to be tens of dollars off the actual cost, with Paperless Parts, they are always nickels or dimes within range.
With this new capability, Century-Tywood is able to deliver quotes to customers within one to two days, beating its three-day goal. In fact, when quotes don’t depend on outside finishers, Peter can turn them around within 10 minutes for same-day quoting. This immediacy not only impresses customers but also beats out most, if not all, of Century-Tywood’s competitors.
“Trust in the Paperless Parts quoting software has been transformative,” said Peter. “The more information we have up front, the more we can speed up the process – and when you wear a lot of hats, it makes the biggest difference for your business.”
With Paperless Parts, Century-Tywood was able to retire its Excel-based system. Using the quoting software, Peter can view analytics on each job and every customer – from when individuals looked at a quote to when he should follow up. He was able to build a library of historic data, comprising all quotes for any purchased product. Rather than re-quoting the same purchase, Paperless Parts remembers the previous quote details, saving Peter time and improving quoting precision.
The Paperless Parts geometry engine also makes it simple to identify exceptions or violations to the quote up front. When Peter is quoting, he can spot potential issues, such as tight corners or deep holes, and reach out to the customer within seconds, rather than waiting for an engineering review. This modern, proactive approach reduces the time it takes to get jobs to the floor and makes the company look as smart as it is.
Paperless Parts also offers digital quotes, so Peter’s customers receive digital PDFs and see 3D visuals of what parts are being quoted. Century-Tywood has received ample positive feedback from both experienced and new buyers – setting their shop apart from the competition.
By implementing Paperless Parts, Century-Tywood has been able to modernize their end-to-end quoting. Because the process is simpler, junior staff are now able to quote, freeing up Peter to focus on his other role as Sales Manager. Whenever Peter or his employees do need help, they know the Paperless Parts customer support team is just a text and real-time response away. As a result, the shop has been able to maximize its resources, delivering the high-quality products and customer service it strives for.