While studying aerospace engineering at the University of Southern California, Ryan Olliges was stunned to learn that millions of pounds of carbon fiber scrap and waste are dumped in landfills each year.
Eager to solve the waste problem generated by the aerospace and space flight industries, Ryan first created a line of upcycled carbon fiber skate decks, selling over 2,000 of the environmentally friendly boards in three successful Kickstarter campaigns. But he wanted to achieve an even greater impact.
Ryan and co-founder Jaysen Harris started Elevated Materials in Los Angeles with a singular mission: to eliminate carbon fiber waste. To date, Elevated Materials has diverted nearly 200,000 pounds of carbon fiber away from landfills and into their carbon fiber manufacturing shop.
Through CNC machining and waterjet cutting, the space-grade carbon fiber lives on in flat sheets and custom parts made for industries including defense, aerospace, medical, robotics, and more.
There was no denying that Elevated Materials’ had an exceptional purpose and product. But the company’s VP of Business Development, Aneel Kabir, encountered immediate pain points in the shop’s day-to-day functioning.
“Elevated Materials was growing, and I had to find a way to make it quicker and more efficient,” says Aneel. From taking measurements to drawing models and estimating cut times, the process was rudimentary, inaccurate, and entirely too manual—and it was inhibiting growth.
Due to the hands-on nature of Elevated Materials’ quoting process, hiring estimators wasn’t a cost-effective option. “At the time, only another machine operator could be expected to understand and implement our quoting system,” Aneel explains. “We needed a scalable way to get quotes out quicker, get more organized, and establish more accurate pricing so we could grow.”
First at an industry trade show, then via a discovery call, Aneel connected with the team at Paperless Parts. But he was skeptical. Could a quoting software handle the unique needs of a carbon fiber machine shop?
“Paperless Parts dove right in with us to see how far we could push the software,” says Aneel. “Carbon fiber was a different material and a new process, but we were able to get it done.”
The solution was customization—a familiar demand among Paperless Parts’ clients, but one made more complicated by Elevated Materials’ complex quoting requirements. “The process was pretty involved,” Aneel admits, “but ultimately, we got a product that’s truly tailor-made for us.”
With Paperless Parts, each new quote request is an opportunity, not an interruption. “Before, I’d sometimes have to delay a quote because I didn’t have time,” Aneel laments. “Now, a quote comes in, I do a quick review, and I send it out.”
Elevated Materials also has plans to add team members in the near future, an option that simply didn’t exist before implementing Paperless Parts.
“Paperless Parts will enable us to train new team members quickly so they can hit the ground running,” explains Aneel. “The learning curve is a lot less steep.”
Three months after launching Paperless Parts, Elevated Materials is enjoying these impactful workflow improvements:
- 66% faster quote turnaround time. Aneel estimates that Paperless Parts currently saves the shop 10 hours each week in quoting time. “Even for complex parts, a quote only takes me three minutes,” says Aneel. Paperless Parts has also streamlined communications between operations and machining, transforming a middleman-heavy process into a collaborative one.
- Attractive interface with easy expedite options. Even Elevated Materials’ biggest customers have commented on the shop’s beautiful, new quoting interface. With the ability to add expedite options, Elevated Materials has generated extra income from a surprising number of the shop’s orders. Elevated Materials creates open quotes that allow repeat buyers to reorder without submitting a new RFQ or even sending an email.
- Investing in a zero-waste future. Paperless Parts enables Elevated Materials to keep their overhead low by automating work that would otherwise rob time from other projects that further their zero-waste mission. Aneel explains, “Paperless Parts allows us to get the same amount of work done in less time.”
With help from Paperless Parts, Elevated Materials is optimizing their time, embracing new growth, and staying focused on what matters most to them: reducing waste.
“Along with eliminating carbon fiber waste, Elevated Materials wants to be known for our great communication, quick turnaround times, and flexibility. Paperless Parts enables all of that. It’s good for our business, and it’s good for our customers.”