Focused on Machining is a quick turn, precision CNC job shop located south of Denver Colorado. Since 2016 it has been owned by Justin Quinn, who acquired the shop from its original owner. Since that acquisition, Justin has been investing heavily in the company with new equipment, software, employees and business processes, growing FOM considerably in the past 5 years.
As the company has grown under his guidance, they have outgrown some of the original tools they started with, including their legacy ERP system, E2.
“The shop had very little information to go on, when jobs hit the shop and they had to fill in all the blanks. It was causing issues in the shop including low throughput and lack of visibility. It would often take over one week before the paper travelers would arrive in the grid of bins on the wall of the shop. Machinists didn’t know a job was coming and couldn’t start thinking about programming, fixturing, tooling until it was very late. That led to us getting behind schedule, causing lots of stress, and having to spend thousands of dollars per year in expedite fees to our processors to catch up. We have always maintained good on-time delivery performance for clients, but it was stressful, a ton of work, and expensive!”
Justin decided that a new ERP system was essential for their growth. After doing research and paring it down from several options, it became clear that ProShop was the only logical solution for a shop like his. All the other systems worked about the same as E2 (still paper based) and didn’t actually solve the problems they were trying to solve. After signing up for ProShop, Justin got paired up with his Implementation Specialist, Lacey and the training process began. They met over Zoom calls a couple of times per week for several weeks, progressing through the structured training process outlined in his own ProShop system. All the sessions were recorded and provided for further review or sharing with employees at a later date.
Justin and his team started processing new client orders and new work orders in ProShop. The improvements in their workflow were immediate and obvious. Work orders were instantly available to everyone, including machinists, because the work order would show up on their Scheduled Work Dashboards. Justin started noticing that even within 10 minutes, he would have machinists looking at new jobs and starting to think about how they would attack the job. Another surprising improvement was ProShop’s “Must Leave By Date” which is an auto-calculated date for when a job needs to leave for an outside process. Because that was instantly and always available to everyone, the focus became that date, so that scrambling at the last minute was virtually eliminated. FOM is also cutting thousands of dollars per year from their expediting fees to their outside processing vendors, a benefit Justin was not anticipating. It also reduced the stress of scrambling at the last minute.
“The machinists have so much more information now, compared to what they had before. And with the built-in Pre-Processing Checklist, we get for every work order, ProShop walks us through all the necessary steps to ensure that a job is ready for the machines, which also reduces last-minute mistakes or scrambling. We have even customized that checklist 5 or 6 times to really dial it into what we want.” Justin explained, “In addition to those checklists, the built-in checklist for contract review helps ensure all the front end details are covered. It was these features and all the built-in QMS modules that gave me the confidence to sign up for getting AS9100 certified within just 45 days of getting ProShop. We had purchased the Flying Start QMS package, so we could tell that it would be very easy for us to pass that audit.”
(Editor’s note: The Flying Start Package is a complete QMS template built into ProShop’s QMS modules which allow for a very rapid, thorough, and low cost way to pass an ISO-9001, AS9100, or ISO-13485 audit.)
As their work orders began to ship out of the system, Justin noticed that he got automated system alerts in the messaging module about the profitability of the work orders. Those summaries were also available on the Sales and Finance Dashboards, and he started looking at them every time.
“With E2, job costing was not very accurate, and the time and effort it took to go look at it was burdensome enough that I just didn’t do it. With ProShop, I get instant and accurate job costing alerts. With one click I can see the net profit of any job, and dig into the details very easily. The shop is also giving me more accurate time tracking, as ProShop’s time tracking is much more robust.. That accurate time tracking not only helps give us better job costing, but it provides me with real data to update future estimates with. We can really dial in our pricing to clients, which has been instrumental in helping us grow more than 41% in 2020 – the middle of a global pandemic.”
With the Purchasing Dashboard, I can easily see all the raw materials that are needed, so I can combine orders and place larger orders with my vendors, allowing us to get a better price on all the material. When we finish implementing the Tooling module, I expect we’ll also save money on cutting tools as well. Combined with the savings in expedite fees I mentioned earlier, ProShop has definitely helped us save money in a few areas.
A number of other things have also improved in their process. FOM also recently purchased Inspection Manager from High QA, which auto-bloons their PDF drawings, and allows for seamless importing of inspection plans into ProShop, which has streamlined their FAI and In-Process inspection processes. “That all happens within 1 day of getting a new order, so it’s really helped us be more proactive and efficient with our inspection processes.” explained Justin, “With the Approved Drawing linked directly to the jobs, machinists can, with one click, always have the drawing right in front of them, and be certain it’s the correct version. That capability, along with the integrated inspection, has really matured our quality processes and gotten rid of lots of paper.”
The FOM team is using other modules to make improvements across the company. Justin and his team are using the messaging module to communicate with employees about training. They are using the built-in Company Positions, and Training documents that were included in the Flying Start Package to get their employees fully trained according to what the Company Positions list as training requirements. By doing this, they’re not only upgrading their skills, but they can be certain they’ll pass that AS9100 audit when the time comes.
Justin just recently achieved his goal of starting a second shift, something he didn’t consider possible before with E2. “We had so much tribal knowledge before, getting enough information conveyed to a second shift so they can be effective with their time would have been so difficult,” Justin explained. “Now that we’re winning more production work, and have just bought a horizontal cell system in 2020, we really needed to start that second shift to keep the spindles turning more often, as well as moving away from one machinist, one machine mentality. With ProShop’s ability to display visual work instructions, we started an initiative to incentivize the employees to document all our repeat jobs. “I offered a $400 cash prize to the machinist who did the best job documenting jobs over a 6 week period. The guys all jumped into the competition and did an amazing job. I just gave the cash prize recently but ended up giving everyone some cash.” It really did wonders in kick-starting our new culture of digitally documenting our repeat jobs, which has the added benefit of allowing nearly any machinist to walk up to any job and set it up successfully. This was an essential part of being able to have a productive second shift.
Focused on Machining made enormous improvements to their shop. Here are some ways that ProShop has helped them: