For the past 3 decades, InterPRO has helped companies use additive manufacturing to reduce the time and cost to engineer, test, and manufacture new products. Based in Deep River, CT, InterPRO boasts a full suite of services: 3D printing, low-volume product with cast urethane and silicone parts, CNC Machining, Fabrication, customer painting, and premier quality presentation models.
Spreadsheets Causing Slow, Inconsistent Quotes
InterPRO prides itself on its pricing accuracy. For the previous decade, the InterPRO team used a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to build quotes. This process produced an accurate quote, but was subject to inconsistency from one estimator to the next. In mid-2015, Dan Straka, President of InterPRO, noticed that the time required to produce an accurate quote was beginning to compromise their turnaround time. This incurred extra administrative costs and hurt their chance to win some jobs. Furthermore, as the additive manufacturing industry began to bloom, InterPRO saw a 15% increase in RFQs. These jobs needed quotes, and fast. Dan realized that his current quoting process simply wouldn’t enable his team to scale.
“Manually figuring our pricing was killing our response time. In the 3D printing business, everything has to be fast,” says Dan Straka, President of InterPRO.
When Dan first looked for a quoting solution on the market, there were not many options to choose from. Like many shop owners eager to adopt better technology but unsure where to look, he decided to invest in a custom solution. Unfortunately, the company that built this solution ultimately went out of business. This left Dan and his team with an outdated solution. To make matters worse, InterPRO’s customers didn’t like the solution’s digital interface.
“I was getting worried that the clumsiness of the interface was driving away business,” reports Dan.
Rather than submitting information through InterPRO’s portal, they went around the system and submitted project notes and RFQs directly to InterPRO employees via email. This meant valuable customer information was siloed in different parts of the business, effectively making it useless. After another attempt with a different developer, the team reluctantly returned to their Microsoft Excel sheet.
However, Dan did not stop looking for a quoting solution: “One system we looked at simply didn’t work with our client base. We work with large engineering firms and OEM’s, who often buy more than just SLAs on an order. We needed the flexibility to add secondary operations and clearly define what we were actually quoting. Thankfully, we started talking to Jason Ray, and learned about a new outfit he was putting together: Paperless Parts.” InterPRO became Paperless Parts’ first customer, and Dan’s incredible foresight has transformed InterPRO’s business forever.
Reduced Friction in the Buying Process
“With Paperless Parts, we have cut our quote-to-order time by 75%, from 1/2 hour to 7 minutes.”
Paperless Parts quickly achieved powerful results for InterPRO. Customers now submit an RFQ online through a secure, simple-to-use form on InterPRO’s website. The quote is automatically drafted in Paperless Parts, with all the critical information already filled out. Then, Paperless Parts’ geometric-based pricing models and customizable workflows automatically price the job based on the team’s pricing formulas. This enables InterPRO to simply review the project information, and quickly build a quote that accurately captures the manufacturing cost.
The modern interface makes it easy for customers to review a digital quote, view a 3D model of their parts, accept the quote, and pay for it – all through a secure online portal. Internally, Paperless Parts streamlined InterPRO’s quoting process and freed up its estimators and sales personnel to spend more time on preparing jobs for production, and less time on redundant administrative tasks. Externally, this workflow has drastically reduced InterPRO’s back and forth with customers, mitigated the risk of missing important project details, and reduced the friction in the buying process. “With Paperless Parts, we have cut our quote-to-order time by 75%, from ½ hour to 7 minutes. It helps us look professional and gives our clients confidence that they are working with a professional organization”, said Dan.
Easy-to-Learn Quoting Process
Dan noted that an unexpected benefit of Paperless Parts was its ability to create a consistent quoting process across his entire estimating team. Prior to Paperless Parts, InterPRO estimators all had their own way of quoting. Experience was their guide. This inconsistency made it difficult for Dan to feel confident in every quote that left his shop. Furthermore, the process made it difficult to onboard new estimators.
Now, Dan has a quoting process he trusts anyone on his team to use. All of the tribal knowledge from his experienced quoters is captured in Paperless Parts. This enabled Dan to bring junior estimators into the quoting process and feel confident that an accurate quote would be built. Dan could simply review and approve the quote, and send it to the customer. This reserves the team’s time and focus on client needs, and for Dan to support them on opportunities that require his unique ability.
“When I started at InterPRO, we had two resins: white and clear. Now we have over twelve additive manufacturing machines over four different processes and over twenty materials. Each has its own nuances. Paperless helped compress the learning required to support complex projects.”
Paperless Parts also allows InterPRO to define granular details in each quote. Many of InterPRO’s clients are in the aerospace industry, and require a great level of detail on each project. Paperless Parts makes it easy for InterPRO’s estimators to add standard operations like Admin, Post Processing, or First Article Inspection, and quickly revise pricing to ensure each quote accurately captures the cost of the project.
“As a company, we’re swimming in deeper waters, and need software platforms that better support our internal customers, as well as our paying clients,” says Dan Straka.
Paperless Parts has changed the way that InterPRO quotes, allowing them to turn around quotes faster and more accurately, and drastically reduced the friction in the buying process for their customers. Paperless Parts enabled the team to handle increases in RFQ volume without having to hire additional staff, improved their customers’ experience, and prepared InterPRO to confidently tackle the next wave of growth.