Headquartered in Waco, Texas, Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication is a precision light-gauge metal fabrication shop emphasizing superior quality and unparalleled customer service.
Launched in an old barn in 1995 by married couple Steve and Glenda Cheek, the shop quickly became Central Texas’s largest powder coating services provider. After buying a fiber optic laser in 2014, their newly added fabrication services helped them expand to serve customers in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and beyond.
Their concept-to-completion business model has established Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication as a premier source for laser cutting, hardware insertion, forming, welding, design and programming, powder coating, machining, assembly, and regional transportation.
Still family-owned and operated, Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication has grown to a team of nearly 40, with Steve and Glenda’s son, Ryan Cheek, as VP of Operations.
Ryan’s deep knowledge of his family’s business made him the clear choice to take on the shop’s Quoting and Pricing Specialist role as well. Relying on tribal knowledge, a quote sheet, and the shop’s ERP system, Ryan’s work was primarily manual. The cumbersome process introduced numerous opportunities for error as Ryan scrambled to respond to RFQs with timely estimates.
“Our manual quoting process was too complex to hand off to someone else,” Ryan explains. “Accurate estimates are critical to the business’s profitability, and the responsibility for those quotes was all on me.”
Already overwhelmed with RFQs, Ryan’s workload doubled when the shop’s purchaser retired and he stepped in to handle her responsibilities. With no relief in sight, it was clear something had to change.
He’d heard word-of-mouth praise for Paperless Parts, so Ryan reached out for a consultation. Soon after, Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication officially joined the ever-expanding Paperless Parts family of job shops and contract manufacturers.
Ryan was immediately impressed by the improvements and efficiencies Paperless Parts introduced. “Paperless Parts was usable from day one,” he says. “Unlike our ERP provider, who gave us a demo and walked away, Paperless Parts had bettered our business even before they’d finished customizing our interface!”
The most immediate improvement was the speed with which Ryan could generate quotes. “I can turn quotes so much faster,” says Ryan, continuing, “Before, I’d get a 50-part RFQ and dread sitting down to quote that job. Now, I don’t procrastinate because it’s easy to drop the quote details into Paperless Parts, get the info, and send the quote.”
But Ryan’s favorite time-saving feature is the laser calculator. Before Paperless Parts, Ryan manually counted a job’s laser-cut inches, calculating the inches-per-minute to determine the time cost. Now, Paperless Parts does all the work for him—”Instantly!” says Ryan. “I know it’s not magic or anything, but that feature is just so good.”
Paperless Parts implemented additional custom calculators for Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication, streamlining cost calculations for galvanizing, powder coating, plating, and more.
“A lot of our customers come to us for CAD models based on their rudimentary napkin drawings or PDFs, and our programmer would spend a lot of time creating the CAD model, then specifying its dimensions,” Ryan explains. “Now, our programmer’s CAD model goes straight into Paperless Parts for instant dimension calculations and quick quoting. And there’s no time wasted if the project doesn’t move forward.”
For projects that do move forward, Paperless Parts has also made collaboration simple for Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication—internally and externally. Ryan shares, “I love that I can open a CAD file in Paperless Parts and explain any necessary changes to our customer. That type of collaboration within the software is really cool.”
With so many time-saving features, Paperless Parts has convinced Ryan that his family’s shop can continue growing. “The big question has always been, ‘Who’s going to handle the quoting?’ And we’ve tried to train people several times, but it never worked out,” says Ryan. “Now, with Paperless Parts, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication enjoys incredible benefits from their partnership with Paperless Parts, including:
1. 66% faster quote turnaround. The shop set and achieved their goal of slashing per-part quoting time from three minutes down to only one minute.
2. Instant CAD model calculations. Previously, Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication had to calculate CAD model dimensions manually. Now, Paperless Parts instantly performs those calculations, enabling fast and accurate quote turnaround.
3. Easy collaboration. From internal discussions to external conversations, back-and-forth interactions are quick and easy, with Paperless Parts enabling seamless collaboration.
Craftmasters Laser & Fabrication was suffering under the weight of manual processes that posed insurmountable training challenges. Thanks to the many automations and customizations provided by Paperless Parts, this Texan shop is poised to scale in new and exciting ways.
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“I can’t explain how great Paperless Parts is because it’s so self-explanatory to me. Just the fact that it reads a CAD file and calculates all that information instantly—it’s a no-brainer. Shops need Paperless Parts because it makes quoting accurate and fast. That’s it. I love it.”