Sweetwater Machine Shop, located in Sweetwater, Tennessee, is a small job shop specializing in machining and fabrication for the industrial sector. The company was bought by current President and Owner, Jordan Raper, in 2014. Since the purchase, Sweetwater Machine Shop has substantially grown its capabilities and team to better serve its customers.
After buying Sweetwater Machine Shop, Jordan spent six years quoting parts manually. He would receive blueprints from customers and use guesswork for assigning costs and the time it would take to produce the parts. As the only estimator on the team, all knowledge related to the shop’s quoting resided solely with Jordan. “All I could do for quoting at the time was look at the RFQ and use my tribal knowledge to try to guess it,” Jordan said. “It was all just guesswork.”
For a time, Jordan’s method of quoting was generally sufficient; with the more estimating experience he gained, the stronger his guesswork became and the less time it took. However, there were a number of glaring issues that forced Jordan to realize the problems quoting was creating for the shop. Firstly, with quoting relying entirely on Jordan and his tribal knowledge, there was nobody else on the team who could facilitate the quoting process, meaning that Jordan had to devote much of his energy to quoting which made up only one aspect of the shop’s operations.
Secondly, quoting was an intensive process that took a considerable amount of time out of Jordan’s day. Rather than being able to focus on other dimensions of growing the business, such as expanding the team, engaging with customers, or being out on the shop floor, his time was restricted to inefficiently quoting parts.
Thirdly, the time Jordan was having to spend on each quote was largely the product of not having any clear way of tracking previous quotes. Nobody on the Sweetwater Machine Shop team had an exact reference for how much a part had been quoted for in the past, so both cost and time had to be recreated for each and every quote. This led to inconsistencies between quotes, as well as even more time spent on the quoting process for Jordan.
Jordan knew that in order to grow his business and gain valuable time to focus on other areas of the shop, he had to streamline his quoting process and organize it in a system as opposed to just living within his tribal knowledge. “I knew I had to do something because I was spending too much time in the office when I needed to be in the shop,” Jordan said.
As Jordan began seeking solutions for his quoting process, he found that the ERP systems he came across lacked the focus he needed specifically on quoting. Solutions such as E2 and JobBOSS had important applications for a shop like his, but without the ability to streamline his quoting process, he knew they were of little value to the problem at hand.
When Jordan first learned about Paperless Parts, he recognized right away that its unique software aimed to target the issue of quoting like no other solution on the market. “After discovering Paperless Parts, I didn’t feel the need to research any other solution,” Jordan said. “There just isn’t anything out there that does what Paperless Parts does.”
Sweetwater Machine Shop’s onboarding with Paperless Parts paved the way for Jordan to quickly familiarize himself with the software and start turning quotes around to his customers quicker than ever before. The relationship Jordan formed with the Paperless Parts team gave him the confidence he needed when first starting to use the platform, as well as the indefinite support thereafter. “Everyone that I’ve worked with at Paperless Parts has been wonderful,” Jordan said. “The team is knowledgeable and has been incredibly helpful since the beginning.”
With Paperless Parts, Sweetwater Machine Shop is producing and sending quotes to customers 6x faster than it was before; what used to take Jordan over 30 minutes to quote now only takes him 5 minutes. This pace has been very well received by Sweetwater Machine Shop’s customers, as have the SmartRFQ forms which deliver a highly professional customer experience and give the customers more control over the quotes they are requesting.
Beyond the time saved on quoting itself, the consolidation of data in Paperless Parts has saved Jordan and his team about 10 hours every week. Paperless Parts’ central repository of information means that everyone at Sweetwater Machine Shop can quickly find what they are looking for in just a few clicks, eliminating any unnecessary guesswork and saving everyone on the team valuable time.
In addition to quoting dramatically faster and saving hours every week, Jordan is also excited about the expedited options he is able to easily send out to his customers now, which he had not done prior to Paperless Parts. Jordan is confident that expedite pricing will help him grow his revenue, on top of the revenue growth created by being able to quote faster and more accurately than before.
Jordan credits Sweetwater Machine Shop’s success with Paperless Parts to how customized the platform is to his shop, which is a rarity in the market. “With Paperless Parts, you’re not getting some cookie cutter, generic software,” Jordan said. “Unlike a typical CAD or CAM system, you have the ability to sit down with the Paperless Parts team to fine tune and sculpt the software to fit your shop” This customization enables Jordan and his team to achieve maximum efficiency in their quoting and data organization.
Using Paperless Parts, Sweetwater Machine Shop:
- Decreased quote time six-fold: Jobs that used to take Jordan 30 minutes or more to quote are now down to just 5 minutes. This quoting efficiency allows Jordan to quote and win significantly more jobs than before.
“The software is so specific to each business. I’ve put a lot of thought into how I built it out for Sweetwater, so every detail of the platform feels like it’s meant for our shop.”
- Freed up 10 additional hours per week: Having all of the shop’s quoting information consolidated into one place means that the Sweetwater Machine Shop team no longer has to do any time-consuming guesswork, freeing up valuable time every week for focusing on other areas of the business.
- Utilized expedite pricing: Expedite pricing was not well-established at Sweetwater Machine Shop prior to using Paperless Parts. Today, expedite pricing options for customers enables Jordan to see revenue growth as customers elect to pay higher prices for faster deliveries.
- Consolidated tribal knowledge into a centralized system: Sweetwater Machine Shop’s quoting used to strictly revolve around Jordan and his quoting expertise, with no secure documentation. Paperless Parts allows Jordan’s knowledge to exist well-documented in one location for the entire team at Sweetwater Machine Shop.
- Grew the business and its customer base: Jordan knew that without a solution like Paperless Parts, it was going to be next to impossible to grow Sweetwater Machine Shop at the pace he wanted to. The time saved and efficiency Paperless Parts provides to the Sweetwater Machine Shop team means that Jordan has the ability to concentrate on growing the business internally, as well as increasing its number of customers.
Jordan is confident that Sweetwater Machine Shop’s success with Paperless Parts lies within the software’s ability to be highly customized to each and every shop. When Jordan uses Paperless Parts, he feels that he is using a solution specifically designed for his business and its quoting needs. “The software is so specific to each business,” Jordan said. “I’ve put a lot of thought into how I built it out for Sweetwater, so every detail of the platform feels like it’s meant for our shop.”