Sirois Tool Co. initially specialized in cutting tools and tooling for the bearing industry. Today, Sirois Tool is a leading manufacturer of high-value precision tooling, gages, parts and assemblies, and I.D. grinding quills for several sectors, including the military, aerospace, and medical device industries. Sirois Tool purchased Dow Gage in 2005 and then North American Spring Tool in 2012 on top of solid organic growth. The manufacturer’s capabilities now include milling, turning, honing, EDM, WEDM, CNC, grinding, and inspection.
Sirois Tool Co. is a low-volume manufacturer of high-complexity precision tooling, which means there is no room for error when it comes to production. Alan Ortner, the owner of Sirois Tool Co. and chairman of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), recognized this and, as a result, knew he had to solve his company’s communication and collaboration issues, both internally and externally.
Project details would frequently fall through the cracks, as Sirois’ managers went back and forth between customers and their engineers who generated quotes. In some cases, managers would fail to pass on critical information to engineers that they had clarified with customers in follow-up conversations or long email chains.
Further downstream on the shop floor, production engineers would often have to track down solid models before they could program machines. This meant that time that could have been spent working on customer projects was being wasted searching for information that should have been readily available. As a result, money was left on the table because resources were being spent in areas other than working on new jobs.
Alan and his team tried to implement makeshift solutions to streamline communications, but everything they came up with still required manual data entry or file uploads. Team members didn’t adopt these processes consistently and, consequently, documents and data didn’t always make it into the digital folders where others expected them to be.
Sirois Tool ultimately needed one place for all team members to easily store records, including 3D models, design notes, and project specifications, without creating additional complexity. That way, everyone could refer to a single source of truth and not have to track down information buried in an email chain or find a particular person who held tribal knowledge. The storage solution also had to be secure, as Sirois Tool wanted to ensure the business was ITAR compliant and its processes were aligned with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program, which the company is currently working towards a Level 3 certification. Any new communication platform would need to fulfill those security requirements.
Paperless Parts gave Sirois Tool a purpose-built platform for storing all project information and data in an accessible, secure, and controlled manner. While Alan did find other collaboration software on the market, none were designed specifically for in-context manufacturing collaboration, which involves sharing drawings, solid models, and other project-related documents between departments. This was until Sirois Tool found Paperless Parts.
The Paperless Viewer feature, specifically, makes it easy for Sirois Tool’s engineers, customer managers, and machine programmers to collaborate in real-time from anywhere. Anyone can log into the platform and see all details about a certain order, ensuring the operations team is always aligned.
When Sirois Tool was looking for a software solution to automate the ordering process, it was important to find something that improved operations and provided value for all parties involved. They considered how their employees would use the tool and also took the time to think about their customers’ needs. They chose Paperless Parts because it enables customers to securely upload their RFQs directly, including their drawings. This allows Sirois Tool engineers to respond even quicker with accurate quotes and status updates. Sirois Tool’s engineers have fully embraced the platform’s quoting capabilities.
With this new system, customers can place orders directly, choosing the parts, quantities, and sometimes even the lead times that best fit their needs. Sirois Tool’s customers love that they can evaluate quotes directly alongside their 3D models and select different delivery timelines and purchasing options for the RFQ depending on their needs. It’s a tool that greatly improves customer communication through collaboration.
Having been through several software implementations and ERPs, Sirois Tool was also impressed with how easily Paperless Parts integrated into its existing tech ecosystem. Paperless Parts was tremendously flexible, enabling Sirois Tool to seamlessly integrate the platform to its existing ERP system, E2. The implementation team helped Sirois Tool customize the platform around its unique account management practices so that the company didn’t have to change how it organized data in E2, which would have been a big and tedious undertaking. As a result of the integration, the Sirois Tool team has reduced the time spent on double data entry by 50%.
Using Paperless Parts, Sirois Tool:
- Streamlined internal and external communications: Sirois’ production engineers no longer have to spend time chasing down solid models or asking 2-3 people for answers to questions before programming machines. As a result of cutting down on unnecessary, time-wasting activities, the Sirois Tool sales team, customer managers, and production engineers are saving 10 hours a week, enabling the organization to become more efficient and productive overall.
- Established a single, secure repository for all tribal knowledge and data: Sirois Tool now has one place for keeping all project details and customer information. The sales department, estimating team, and shop floor are all aligned and committed to the document management solution.
- Automated and enhanced the quoting process: Sirois Tool can now get detailed quotes out to customers more quickly, turning around most of their quotes in less than 24 hours. They are also able to provide multiple pricing options for those who want to expedite their orders.
- Integrated quoting seamlessly with its ERP platform: With the help of the Paperless Parts implementation team, Sirois Tool configured the solution to align with how it stored data in E2, avoiding expensive workarounds and potential retraining. With the seamless integration, Sirois Tool reduced the time spent on double data entry by 50%.
Sirois Tool now has a secure and transparent platform for facilitating in-context collaboration across operations teams, enhancing external communication with customers, and storing all data and tribal knowledge in a single place that anyone across the organization can access when they need it. Moving forward, Alan and the rest of the Sirois Tool team are excited about what the future holds given the company’s new and improved collaboration capabilities. Sirois Tool is exploring other ways to leverage the data that Paperless Parts captures to further optimize business operations. Information like how often new customers place orders versus existing customers and which industries the company serves the most will inform where the business should focus its valuable resources in the future.
“With Paperless Parts, when that first RFQ comes in, the first thing we do is put everything in the platform. There’s now a single place people can go for information, whether it’s our CNC programmer or somebody in the grinding department who doesn’t understand the model, or someone who needs to look up a material spec…it’s all right there in one place.” – Alan Ortner, President and Owner
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