Focused on Machining (FOM) is a Colorado CNC machine shop that manufactures and ships precision-machined parts. The company is well-known for delivering the most precise machining in the Denver metropolitan area, serving customers in all manufacturing segments, including aerospace, agricultural equipment, food and beverage processing equipment, and a host of other industries. Equipped with three lathe and seven CNC milling machines, FOM has the capacity to take on machining jobs of all types and sizes, from high-volume production parts to custom components for prototypes.
Until 2019, FOM relied on paper prints of 2D engineering drawings received from customers as PDF files to develop quotes. While that approach was successful for many years, relying on paper prints became burdensome in terms of the time and effort required to develop quotes, and manual quoting decreased his shop’s efficiency, according to President Justin Quinn. “For a long time, we quoted the same way as many other Colorado CNC machine shops, using paper prints, on which we’d write notes on all of the factors needed to develop a quote, such as setup times, run times, material costs, etc.,” Quinn says.
“We then would enter the information in our E2® (enterprise resource planning) system, before sending the quote back to the customer in an email,” Quinn explains. “That process resulted in an average quote turnaround time of 5-10 business days, which in today’s fast-paced digital world – with customers increasingly demanding faster quote turnaround times and digital quotes – is simply too long to remain competitive. After losing work from long-standing customers due to excessive quote lead times, we knew that we had to change something. We had always thought there could and should be a way to digitize and automate this process to save time from all of the administrative work.”
FOM found a solution to automate and digitize its quoting process when Quinn saw an advertisement for Paperless Parts in Modern Machine Shop magazine. “Paperless Parts is a digital quoting platform that automates and streamlines the quoting process,” Quinn notes. “It analyzes 3D CAD geometry and automatically estimates setups, setup times, and run times. This is exactly what we were looking for.”
Turning Quotes Around More Quickly
With Paperless Parts, FOM has fully digitized its quoting process and now responds to Request-for-Quotes (RFQs) with high-quality, interactive digital quotes containing all potential buying options within 1-3 business days, with the ultimate goal of delivering quotes within 24 hours of receiving an RFQ. “The new, more efficient process supported by Paperless Parts has increased the speed at which we respond to our customers,” Quinn stresses.
“Our machining customers have benefitted from our new process in the time it takes for them to receive their quote,” Quinn adds. “Customers can now get back to their customers or managers more quickly – with a range of options such as delivery date and price – so they can make faster, better decisions. For our customers, we often see that price is less of a factor than time, and digital quoting with Paperless Parts is helping us better meet customer needs.”
Getting Rid of Printing Costs, Improving Communication
An added benefit that FOM has realized from using Paperless Parts for quoting automation is the complete elimination of costs and extra steps associated with a reliance on engineering prints for quote development, including paper and printing costs. “Because Paperless Parts creates a digital quote from 2D or 3D CAD files, we no longer need to print anything, which saves us time and money,” Quinn points out.
“The built-in Paperless Parts 3D CAD viewer also makes communication with the customer during the quoting process quick and easy,” Quinn continues. “With Paperless Parts we can identify, highlight, and comment on a feature of the part in question and send a link to the customer through which they can view the identical feature, highlight, and my comments about it. This helps us more easily deal with potential manufacturing issues during the quoting process, such as showing the customer how a feature like a sharp corner that increases machining costs can be modified to reduce the price.”
Increasing Throughput/Revenue, Capturing Expedited Delivery Costs
Since implementing Paperless Parts at the beginning of 2019, FOM has realized productivity gains that have made the relatively small shop of nine employees more efficient, enabling the company to increase both its throughput and revenue by 15 to 20 percent in 2019. “Our shop is running much more efficiently with Paperless Parts, allowing us to run more jobs than we have in the past,” Quinn says.
“In addition to boosting throughput, we’re capturing expedited delivery revenue that we never saw before,” Quinn adds. “Before implementing Paperless Parts, we never charged an expedited delivery fee. Now, with automation, our quotes include an expanded set of options, including expedited delivery. Some of our customers are willing to pay more to get parts sooner. In 2019, we realized 3.5% in additional expected delivery revenue on orders. That’s money that we would have left on the table without the level of quoting automation and options afforded by Paperless Parts.”