C&M Precision Tech is a world-class supplier of precision-engineered, designed, and manufactured metal and plastic parts and components and assemblies. As a veteran and family-owned business, the company has worked with leading product manufacturers in a variety of industries to provide services ranging from creating precision prototypes to manufacturing production parts and mechanical assemblies for the past 40 years. With an energetic staff of knowledgeable professionals; a wide range of high-tech, multi-axis production machinery; and an impressive array of quality- and productivity-enhancing features, C&M Precision Tech can handle manufacturing jobs of any volume, while still meeting firm delivery commitments.
Over its four-decade history, the company has leveraged investments in emerging technologies to consistently meet changing customer requirements and expectations. According to President Dan Villemaire, customers have become more demanding, expecting to receive quotes in response to requests for quotes (RFQs) and requests for proposals (RFPs) as quickly as they can buy something online. “Today’s customers have little patience for waiting a few days to a couple weeks to receive a quote for a job,” Villemaire points out. “In this increasingly fast-paced, competitive environment, we simply have to reduce the time and effort required to create and deliver quotes, without negatively impacting the accuracy of our job estimates.”
Until 2019, C&M Precision Tech used a combination of Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheets and the company’s Job Boss® enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to develop quotes, a process that required a good deal of manual and redundant data entry; substantial time and effort demands on the company’s Engineering Department; and delays of days to weeks to deliver a quote. “Our former quote development process was both cumbersome and clunky,” Villemaire explains.
“We’d have to enter all of the job information more than once in our ERP system, and then go to the Engineering Department to calculate cycle time, setup time, tooling requirements, etc.,” Villemaire adds. “In short, we were spending a lot of time engineering a quote rather than estimating a quote, which is a real drag on efficiency when you consider that we win roughly 35 percent of the jobs that we quote. We were spending way too much time on the 65 percent of quotes that we don’t win and needed a solution for streamlining and automating the quote development process so we can deliver accurate quotes promptly.”
C&M Precision Tech’s search for an automated job-shop-quoting software led the company to Paperless Parts, a cloud-based, collaborative quoting solution for manufacturing job shops. C&M Precision Tech chose the Paperless Parts solution because it allows the company to rapidly pinpoint manufacturability issues, automatically create quotes, and quickly process orders, while complying with U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) cybersecurity requirements. “An important metric in our value-stream process is the length of the quote-to-cash cycle. With Paperless Parts, we leverage our data and the data contained in the customer model to automate and improve quoting thus helping us reduce the length of time from quote to cash.”
Turning Around Quotes within 24 Hours
In the first three months of using the Paperless Parts automated quoting solution, C&M Precision Tech is well on its way to meeting its goal of turning around all quotes within 24 hours of receipt and most quotes within hours or on the same day. “The faster that we can create a quote and the more accurate the quote is, the better our shop will perform,” Villemaire stresses. “There will still be situations in which quote development may take a bit longer, such as when we have to go outside to quote things that we don’t do, like heat treatment, plating, or when working with an uncommon material.
“The more that we use the Paperless Parts system, the faster the quoting system will become because we will be adding intelligence,” Villemaire continues. “In the beginning, we still have to enter data related to the job and the part—although we only have to do it once, unlike the redundant data entry required in the past. However, as our database of parts grows we will be able to use the Paperless Parts geometry comparison capability to compare parts that are currently being quoted to previous jobs, and reference actual runtimes to generate more accurate quoting information.”
Increasing Customer Options, Capturing Expedited Revenue
In addition to helping C&M Precision Tech automate and streamline quote development, the Paperless Parts solution allows the company to include other options, such as the use of different materials or expedited delivery times, on a single quote rather than as separate quotes. This capability enables the job shop to include cost increases for expedited delivery dates on its standard quote, an option that more and more of the firm’s customers choose.
“Before we had Paperless Parts, a customer would receive a quote and come back to us saying, I like the price but I need the parts a week sooner,” Villemaire notes. “That situation used to involve an awkward conversation with the customer about how expedited delivery dates would cost more. To avoid that discussion, we’d often honor the price even though completing the job required overtime and additional costs. Now, the customer can see in the quote just what an expedited delivery date will cost. We were surprised by the fact that many customers choose to pay for expedited delivery. In just the first three months of using Paperless Parts, we received $40,000 in additional expedited revenue that we would not have seen in the past.
“With Paperless Parts, we can create more accurate quotes more quickly—increasing the overall volume of quotes and shortening our quote-to-cash cycle—while reducing quoting overhead and boosting the overall efficiency of our shop. Paperless Parts gives us the quoting agility and flexibility that we need to continue to grow our business.”