Capture Process Know-How Before it Retires
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– All right. Hello everyone. I’m Eli Plaskitt, senior associate editor with Modern Machine Shop, and welcome to today’s presentation capture process. Know-How Before it Retires. The presentation will be led by a ProShop ERP founder Paul Van Meer. Paul’s the president of ProShop USA and founder of ProShop Canada Inc, which developed ProShop ERPA web-based paperless E-R-P-M-E-S-Q-M-S system, specifically designed for the metalworking industry. They partner with shops who use technology by going completely paperless, strengthening their ISO or as 9,100 systems, combining all their shop software into one system and building robust business processes to achieve higher rates of growth, profitability, and performance. If you have any questions, type them into the question pane for the webinar interface. We’ll do our best to answer all of them at the end of the presentation. We’ll also be sending a link to a recording in case you miss something or just wanna revisit the topic. Now, with that housekeeping out of the way, let’s get started on our Halloween webinar.

– Thank you, Eli. So this is Brett Michaels. Paul couldn’t actually make it today, so I’m filling in. Hopefully I do. Okay now. Thank you everybody for joining us today. Obviously it’s Halloween, we decided that it was, it was worth just going all out. So here I am in my, my most favorite eighties rocker outfit since the last 20 years. I think I just, growing up in the eighties as a teenager, I just, just feels right to be in this outfit. So thank you again for joining us. I am super grateful and appreciative to be joined by two good customers, Bob and Heidi from Prosper Tech, and Craig from Lang Machine. We will get to know them in a minute, but they’re gonna be sharing how they have been using ProShop and other tools to capture process, know-how before retires. I think everyone can recognize that the, the baby boomer age is getting to the point where there’s, I think the number is about 10,000 a day are retiring. You know this silver tsunami, I’ve heard it called. And it’s affecting our businesses think people are leaving, whether it’s retirement or other reasons, and taken a lot of intellectual property, a lot of process knowhow with them. And it’s difficult on our businesses. So we’re gonna learn about some strategies to mitigate that. So let’s, let’s jump into it. Here, I’ll start. We always start our webinars with our mission statement ’cause we believe so strongly in it. We deliver powerful manufac manufacturing software by deeply understanding our clients’ challenges in order to meaningfully improve their businesses and in turn their communities. And it’s that communities part that really, really drives what we do and what we care about here. So I’d love to start by introducing Bob and Heidi. Thank you again for joining us. Heidi, we wanna say a little bit about Prosper Tech.

– Yes. Prosper Tech started in 2007, Bob and I, my husband on the screen started in our garage and it was the recession when we started, we were doing plastic injection tooling and kind of over time transitioned to, into a precision machine shop. And once we knew we were going to make it, we were really focused on building our systems and just scaling our business. And that’s how we came to know Pro Chat.

– Alright. And if you wanna know more about Prosper Tech and Bob and Heidi’s story, it’s truly an inspiring story. They were guests on my podcast Machine Shop Mastery, so we just put that into the chat. So feel free to grab that link and listen to that later. But just, I love the story. You know, basically, yeah, during the, during the recession, Bob got laid off. They decided to take their life savings and start a business and now they have a thriving shop. So just a great, awesome story. Thank you very much. And Craig, apparently you told us that Lang machine will be 50 years old tomorrow, so happy early birthday. Yeah. And tell us about Lang Machine.

– Thank you, Paul. Yeah, tomorrow we start our 50 years.

– That’s amazing.

– My dad started the garage in this shop, you know, second mortgage of the house. We moved up into our current facility in the late seventies and added on multiple times, getting into the larger work.

– So, and

– We’re doing well.

– Yeah. So just for scale, can you tell, tell the audience like what size your machine travels are, what kind of size and weights of parts you’re dealing with typically?

– So we do medium to large work. We go from 80,000 pounds on down. Our big machine has 12 feet of vertical and 62 feet in between spindles. Oh

– My gosh. Between spindles. What, what does that mean between spindles?

– Oh, it’s a horizontal, a twin column, horizontal barn mill.

– Okay. Wow. That’s a very large machine. Okay. Very exciting. So there’s a lot on the line when you are processing parts of that scale and size and cost, I’m sure. So you gotta make sure you have people that know how to do that. So today’s agenda, we’re gonna talk about just why it’s important to be able to, why it’s important to focus on this as a strategic priority for your company. We’re gonna talk about building a library of skills in your team, some big picture tracking, we’ll give some specific examples. They’ve been kind enough to share some screenshots and some parts and things they’re doing in their systems and their companies today. And we’ll talk about some use cases. So let’s get into why this is important. So as I said earlier, something like 10,000 baby boomers a day are retiring and that is just retirement alone. So people leave for all different reasons. I’m sure all of you know, just better than I do, even how difficult it is to find, you know, people that are skilled machinists, programmers, people that know this industry and trade well, there’s a lot of competition for them. So they’re probably being recruited and and other reasons. And then occasionally unexpected or unforeseen events also have also happen. And so for all of these reasons, it’s important. And I thought maybe if you would be willing, Heidi, I know you shared when we were prepping for this, that a few years ago you guys had sort of a tragic accident with one of your employees in a car accident, which left you kind of high and dry with, with information they had. Can you just share a tiny little bit about that with us?

– So in 2018, we were just just starting to realize that maybe we had to write some processes down. And unfortunately that summer, our shop foreman, which was a great friend of Bob’s, died on the way home. He was on a motorcycle and he got killed on the way home. And it, it just kind of hit home that everything that he knew all the years that he had been working and things that he had been doing for us died with ’em. So it was hard enough to deal with it personally as a tragedy for us and for, for a lot of our employees. But it just really hit home like how important it was to start capturing some of that knowledge after that happened.

– Yeah. Well I’m sorry about your friend Bob, and sorry about the employee. That’s so, so, so difficult. And yeah, that just definitely brings the point home that you never know what’s gonna happen. So it’s always good to prepare and that’s what we’re here to talk about today. So we can categorize knowledge into a, a few different areas and we just have four of them here today in front of you. I’m sure we can think of a dozen more. You know, so general shop processes, you know how to do things in your shop, where to find things. How does your company run, how do you do just the most basic things that are not part number specific. You’ll have of course client specific things. You know, every, every shop knows, every client is unique, they have unique wants and needs and requirements and you need to document those somewhere. You know, oftentimes it’s in people’s head. They know that this customer requires this type of packaging or this type of paperwork, or they want to know about their status updates in this format or whatever it might be. There’s always a a million things related to those. And if you can’t deliver what that client wants in the format they want, they’re not gonna be as happy, right? People want consistency. That’s why McDonald’s is popular. Anyone can go anywhere and get the same thing when a client is working with your shop. They want a consistent experience with communication, with process, with documentation. So documenting things that are client specific. And of course part number based information is super critical, right? You all of, you probably have sh you know, jobs that you do on an ongoing basis or you get a recurring back again. And there are probably people in your companies that know how to set up those parts, know how to run them, know the, the intricacies of how the tooling needs to be or the fixturing. And if you don’t, pros, if you don’t pass that along, you don’t capture that and that knowledge leaves for one reason or another. It’s very difficult sometimes to, to pick that back up, to have to kind of reinvent the wheel, figure it all out, and your customer’s likely to experience a fair bit of friction as you learn that process. And that’s something you just don’t wanna put onto your customer. And then of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about just general machining and machinist skills, as we all know, it’s so hard to find people. So a lot of companies are including on this call are, you know, hiring people with less experience, putting them through training, apprenticeships, their own internal training programs, just to upskill those folks on how to do the very basics, like set up device or dial in a tool or upload a program. So there are things that, that fall into that category as well. Bob, Heidi, Craig, anything you want to add to anything I just mentioned right now before we get into more specifics?

– I think one thing that, oh, go ahead Craig. You go.

– Sorry. I think finding this general machinist skills, finding this people in the skilled trades is extremely important. Right now everybody talks about automation as being the winning ticket, but you still need people to run the automation and even though you need less people, there’s more work getting done. So you still need more people, I think, to run everything.

– Yeah, great point. And Heidi, you wanted to make a point,

– I think when you were mentioning all that, I just was thinking of how, how our progression went from the beginning when, you know, I’d have a tray on my desk with piles and then we involved the clipboards, right? Bob clipboards.

– Oh yeah. Clipboards from one end of the shop to the

– Other. And that, and then, then, you know, we had file folders for the customers and then we had digital files for the customers. But it always was an issue of part, like especially rev level control And people knowing, okay, where is the latest information? And I mean now that I, now that we have an M-E-S-E-R-P, it’s easy to say, why didn’t we get this sooner? But it was always a struggle to keep all of that organized or like you said, the customer that, you know, we have customers that want package a certain way, so if you don’t see the clipboard with a piece of paper on it, how are you gonna know that? Sure. So it, it’s just made it so much better that everybody’s doing the same thing in our shop now.

– Yeah, yeah, no, that’s really good point. And one of the books I always like to share and talk about with people is that a book called the E-Myth, which stands for the Entrepreneurial Myth. And they talk about building your business as if it were gonna be a franchise, right? Alluding back to the McDonald’s reference I made. So even if you’re only ever gonna have one location, if, if it runs like a franchise, as if you could replicate it, you know, hundreds of times over and each location will run the exact same way that will provide the best client experience possible. And so if, if you have a client that has specific packaging requirements, like you said Heidi, you don’t want that to be just on a piece of paper that needs to be in a system that anyone can access at any time. So if they’re get pulled, maybe the shipping person is out sick today and so they get pulled into the shipping department and they wanna do it the right way, it’s gotta be right in front of them on how to do that and what they specifically should do. So great examples. Let’s, let’s keep moving here and hopefully a system will be a repository for training and content and the records themselves, particularly if, if you out there have, you know, ISO certification or ASS 9,100 or 1345 or something where the auditor also needs to see training records. It’s just much more cumbersome and difficult if those are on paper or if they’re just in spreadsheets or Word documents and they’re in a file network. If they’re not in a database, it’s much harder to keep ’em current to make sure people can see what they need to do and get trained in. And so we, you know, just as an example, we have, you know, a training module and then company positions where you can s specifically say, and we’ll share some screenshots later. Like, here’s what you need to do to become a senior level machinist to set up machinist and here’s the things you need to be trained in. So you have people that, you know, come into the company that aren’t as experienced, they can see, but they ha are real go-getters and they have a fire to learn more. They can see what, what they need to learn in order to, you know, move up the, the chain and to take more responsibility, better pay, just a more fun job probably as well. So, so that’s important as well. And so there’s a few places where we can capture this. The org chart is a place, and we’ll share that in just a second here. Our training module, company positions and our user pages are all really tightly sort of linked together. So this is a generic example of a simple small machine shop, how we have, you know, different people in different roles. You can see their names here. The blues are all hyperlinks, oh, excuse me, they’re all hyperlinks into those particular users. Or you can link into the position. And so let’s jump in here next and let, hey, this is a screenshot out of your system. So describing, you know, so for example, the VP of operations, they first need to get you, you believe they should get trained as a shop floor manager and then learn quoting and planning as well. So can you describe a little bit about how you’re using this? Oh, you’re muted I think.

– Okay. Can you hear me now? I can’t see it in front of me. So I’m looking here ’cause I have copy here, but we have the positions that are in blue, but I think you have the names crossed out and then we have like what trainings that they would need. So we have all that tied in, like, you know, what they have to do and it might be like even the pro shop fundamentals to the quality system to something on the shop floor, but they go through and then they’re accountable to someone else. And then once they do the training, then it has to be completed and marked off by their manager. So it’s just a, a nice guide to know. It helps too. Like when we’re hiring, when we’re advertising for positions, it’s so much nicer now when we say, oh, we already have a written job description for this, we don’t have to start from scratch every time and this is where it’s plugged in and this is who they answer to and this is how they’re trained. It has made the onboarding process so much more streamlined it already have this ready to plug into on prom shop for us.

– That’s awesome. Great. Yeah, and these numbers, by the way, next to the, the, the company position or the training number is what we call a proficiency level. And if we actually jump to the next slide, we can see that. So here’s just one example. This is, this is out of our own demo system. It’s not, not one of Heidi’s, this would be a task that describes something in a company that needs to be done. There’s gonna be a training record associated with it that might have a video, might have questions, might have, you know, whatever, whatever the company deems important. Very often it’s on the job training. It’s like, show me you know how to dial in a device, show me you can, you know, upload a tool or touch off a tool. And then when people get trained in those, their name shows up here in the approved column and you can assign a proficiency rating, which our default is basically one to four. One is they have just rudimentary understanding for as they’re a complete expert and can train others. And you can set minimums. So maybe to be a senior level programmer you need to be a four in programming or toolpath simulation or whatever it might be. And then you can also, speaking of tying it back to, you know, ISO or as, or in this case CMMC, we can tie the, the train, the, the task right back to a requirement from the standard itself. And that helps organize things if you want to get your ISO certification or your CMMC or whatnot. So, so obviously

– That’s also too, like during an audit, auditor always asks for records of your employees being trained and how you can prove that they’re trained. So like that really ties in nicely to answer that auditor.

– I love the fact that you said that and that is exactly why we put this little section in because you can do it the opposite. If you, if you’re, you know, let’s say you are eventually going for your CMMC audit and they said, all right, you know, section 1.02 or 1.32 or whatever, you know, show me how you meet those requirements. And, and that will link directly to this task as one of the areas where you can show, show compliance. But it always shows the backlink so you can, it does make auditing really fast. I mean we have you, have you guys actually gone through an AS with ProShop yet?

– No, we’re scheduled to do one in January, so I’ve only done the in internal audited ought be fund.

– Yeah. But

– It should, it should be a lot easier because everything is right at our fingertips.

– Sure, yeah. It’s not uncommon that it takes about half the time. So, alright. And then here’s just a generic example. This is out of one of our demo systems. So a setup machinist, here’s some sort of a job description or essential functions. These are the employees that are currently in training or, or, or mostly trained in the role. And here are the requirements, again, with that proficiency rating, that could be any number of different types of records, whether it be another sub-level position or a procedure or a task. I see we have a comment from Frank. Frank, thank you. You’ve had several audits I think is what he means. So yeah, Frank is a good customer down in the south, so thank you for sharing that. All right. I know I’m a little behind schedule, so I gotta pick up the pace. So here’s just an example as well of, of a, of a, a generic employee we can see, oops, my mouse seems to wanna do that. We can see the, the roles they’re currently in. So in this case, mark is, is fully trained as an entry level operator and he is almost there as an operator and QA and, you know, 83% towards a machinist. So we can see what training he still needs in order to get trained in the, in the roles that you ultimately want him, he or she to, to move into. So just a nice structured way to organize all that. So let’s talk about some other use cases. And in this case, Heidi, we’re gonna ask you again, you, you’re using the equipment module quite a bit to capture some, some, some processes you want to share with us here. What, what you, what you gave us for some screenshots here.

– So is that the eyewash one?

– Yeah, we have the eyewash and then the regulatory, but let’s focus on the eyewash.

– So that was something we had, we had to upgrade our, our system there from having a, my OSHA audit, which is the Michigan OSHA standards. And when we got the equipment, it was just easy to plug it into pro shop and develop the training right then. And then also to have like the, the maintenance module, which you can see like the check due is in orange. Yeah. So I put that on there because it is probably been done by now. But when I submitted the screenshot just to show that when the person that is doing that maintenance, when when his screen pops up orange, that means his check is due. So the training’s tied into it and then also who’s responsible for it and, and how they check it and then they mark it complete. So if you’re a supervisor, it’s easy to go in and see, you know, are they doing what they’re supposed to do or are we behind? Especially if you have an audit coming up and you can see like, okay, are we lapsing anywhere? You know, just keep an eye on it. And then is the other one up there?

– Yeah, no, we’ll talk about the regulatory one a little bit more later.

– Okay. – So let’s, we’ll, we’ll save our comments. So on the, on the eyewash station, prior to having it organized this way, how, how would you have kept up on that? Or did you as much, or was it paper, paper check, check sheets, or how did you do that?

– We had a lot of paper check sheets on a clipboard that our maintenance guy would go around and do. And then before an audit we made sure that we had the sheets in case the auditor pulled, pulled the thing. But it was just, it was cumbersome compared to this or knowing like who the manufacturer was or if we had order parts, you know, you had to find the manual. So it just, it it’s a lot more streamlined having it available and then anybody else can do it too.

– Yeah. You

– Know, if that person goes on vacation or something, it’s, it’s easy to see where they’re at with it.

– Sure. And then here we have another shot of your as 9,100 management review schedule. And so can you speak to that, obviously that’s not a piece of equipment, which it’s, you know, it is being, or you are organizing the, the, the schedule, how often it needs to happen and when it needs to happen using the module. But can you describe a little bit about that?

– Yeah, I chose to put that in the equipment module because of the check dues and it would give me reminders, but then also for the to-do list, like when we, when you have action items in the management review, I just found it was the best place to, to organize it. And then as we complete ’em, I can go in and take ’em off. But that way if there’s carry over, then I just easily carry it over to the next management review. You know, sometimes you don’t always wanna do an action item three months in, but it, it is just really good with the check dues that, that things don’t get lost or they’re not on a paper, on someone’s on someone’s desk and everybody has access to see what their action items are.

– Very good. I like it. And then this is an example of, not from Heidi, but from actually my old shop pro CNC, where we would use this to organize the five s activity. So this was a particular area where we stored mobile equipment. We always wanted to make sure it was back in place and, and ready to be used the next time we needed it. And every 45 days we would go and audit and sort of redo that area to make sure it was, it was good. And so the shop assistant or multiple people would get the alert that, hey, this is coming up due, you gotta come do this and, and just incorporate that into their workflow. And without that, you know, it’s really hard to to know what needs to be done and if if someone that was doing that thing le leaves you kinda lose that, it’s, yeah, it’s maybe on a, on a checklist that they know about that no one else knows about. So you could easily, you know, lapse on your frequency, which if it’s a item that’s required for ISO or as, that could be a big problem on your next audit, let alone the problems that it can cause if whatever it is that you’re supposed to be doing are not being done in a timely manner. And then of course this ties directly into, and this this module was originally designed of course for things like calibration or preventative maintenance or of equipment. So these are some sort of non equipment examples, but you know, imagine the person doing your calibration all of a sudden is gone and you’re not really sure where it’s at or what’s done or what’s not done. So just hopefully sending home the point that capturing this and making it easy for others to, to pick up is just so important. All right, we’re gonna move in and talk about part number based documentation. ’cause that is, we are all in the business of getting paid for delivering parts. So you gotta be able to process those well and consistently with good quality and on time. So Craig, I’d love to have you share a bit here. So obviously this is just a basic job router and so it outlines what’s gonna happen with a part and then we’ll dig into more details of, of within this part number. But can you kick us off here?

– Yeah, so this particular part we have, we have this what stock we need in the part stock and then then below we have an order of operations and the general time it’s supposed to take for your setup breakdown and machining of the part

– Yep.

– Who the planner is. Yep.

– And

– Project manager. So that’s just a general routing.

– Okay. For

– Engineering master.

– Yep. Yep. And we will show some screenshots, but basically with these operation numbers you can click in and drill in into those operations to get much more nuanced information about that. So, and then of course it’s not on the screen, it’s cut off from the top, but the approved drawing, so this is the part we’re talking about. So just for scale, what, what, I can’t read the diameter of this part. How big is this thing, Craig?

– This one’s relatively small. Oh, about 48 inches in diameter by one inch thick.

– Yep.

– And this particular customer is, every part is a hundred percent inspected. Got it. So with the balloon drawing, we import it in and import all the dimensions.

– Yeah. Like we see here in,

– And then how, how they’re to be checked.

– Right. So calipers inside mic depth, mic tool check.

– Correct.

– And then tolerances and, and you have all of them checked in this IPC column or in-process check. So as you said, a hundred percent inspection on every part basically.

– Yep. Every part. Even if we’ve done it 20 times, it’s every part they want a hundred percent inspected.

– Okay. And then let’s jump into the next. So here’s an example of some, some more constructions. So can you share, obviously, so people can see there’s, there’s a program number, there’s some descriptions of what, what to bore, what to do, a roughing print that you’ve attached, and then some photos prior to organizing it this way, how were you communicating all this information to your machinists on the floor?

– Originally it was, Hey, hey Craig, you’ve done this part before, so can you do it again?

– Okay. What if Craig wasn’t there on vacation or had left?

– Right. So that became an issue. So we started taking photos of the part and then there were still questions. So then we started writing down the actual like program number here. We’ve got a program number for the first and second side, a roughing print on what it’s made to before it goes out for stress relieving and then it comes back for finishing. So that way we’ve get, we get a consistent, consistent part part and consistent product to the customer.

– That is what it’s all about, isn’t it? So here’s another example with even more depth, quite a bit of photography here. So I imagine, and in in the prep work for this, we talked about you have obviously you’re more experienced people, you have machinists that are newer, they generally work on smaller, less, less expensive parts. But is this the level of documentation that you provide to, to support those more junior folks to kind of get more experience and move up the, move up the chain into more senior level machinists?

– Yes. So what we’re, this particular part is fairly complex because there’s a lot of, there’s cavity depths we have to check before we start machining on it to know where our zero points are. And some of the tolerances on this are a half thousandth of an inch.

– Wow. – That’s tight for an eight inch Boer on this part. Yeah, it’s pretty, yeah. It’s a, it’s a challenge but all of our parts have documentation as to what, what is required, where to check, especially if it’s a casting like this particular one is

– Now occasionally we hear the, when we’re talking to a company we hear the feedback or the comments that it takes too much time to, to document things and, and what’s the point of doing. So what would you say about the time investment to actually write in some text, takes some pictures compared to not doing that? Is there a good ROI

– Oh yes, for sure. On this particular job we used to spend, I know one time we spent over an hour just having a conversation on how we did it the last time.

– Okay.

– Where here it’s all, it’s, it took us, it, it took us over an hour to do it this, this way, but you only have to do it once

– And

– Now it’s, there’s a step-by-step process on how it’s actually done.

– Sure.

– And just on this part, because we do it about once a year, so our, you know, we kind of get a little forgetful as we get older.

– Sure.

– Where now we can pick right up and go through through it and we know where to start. We know what to look for and it becomes easier.

– Awesome. And I do see a few comments in the chat. Claire says, we use this feature extensively and then Frank says we have so many examples of poor documentation causing scrap parts. Yeah. So what’s, I mean, without sharing any secrets, I imagine this, this casting or this part is a pretty expensive part. So if you, if someone made a mistake because they didn’t have the documentation and scrapped apart, I imagine that’s a fairly expensive proposition compared to spending an hour to document at one time.

– Yes. I mean, we’re out our labor and we have to pay for the casting.

– Right.

– And not to mention the eight to 10 weeks it takes to get the casting.

– Sure, yeah. Eric says lack of process documentation was a serious problem at my previous job. I still get phone calls from them asking about process I developed before I left. That is an incredible comment, Eric, thank you for sharing that. So you no longer work there and you’re still getting phone calls from your old employer asking how something was done. If that’s not a perfect example of what we’re talking about today, I I don’t know what is. So thank you for sharing that Eric. That’s awesome. So this, this shot just shows the workholding page. So this is specifically how you document, you know, workholding. So you can have fixture numbers, you can have vices, you can have all sorts of custom tooling and document that and even where you store and find that in your storage. ’cause I know in many shops the fixture area is, you know, can be very large with lots of racks and lots of shelves. And and you can, I mean I I I’ve certainly heard of shops that have some nice tooling. They spent hours and thousands of dollars building and then they can’t find it again later. They have to remake the fixtures and remake the tooling and probably they finish it right around the time they find the old stuff. So yeah, just another example of the types of things that are really important to capture, even just where something is stored. Right. So, and the bigger a company gets, the bigger the facility, the more likely it is things can go missing. So this one example, Craig, this is not machining, this is a different process. Looks like you are doing some pressure testing here. Is that right?

– Yes. Further down the operation on the same part number we have to, we actually do a multi-step pressure test. One before stress re relieving and then once before impregnation and then after impregnation. So we actually do it three different times. Wow. To make sure we don’t have any leaks.

– Sure, yeah. And then you have a couple of checkpoints for this. So this would be required that someone would sign the actual pressure recorded, not just a dimensional, we’re not talking about a dimension here, we’re talking about a pressure test result. So they’re putting this in and if it’s within the tolerance range of the right pressure, it gives them a green go. And if it’s not, it gives them a red or a yellow.

– Absolutely correct. Yeah.

– Awesome. And is, do you have to report this to your customers as well? The results of the pressure test?

– We do not have to report that to the customer, but if it fails we have to try and correct it or tell the customer that at this point this casting failed pressure testing and we can’t, can or can’t prepare it.

– Got it. Okay. And then you provided this. So this is just an example, a rough drawing of what this thing looks like. That’s so yeah, that’s a complicated part. There’s a lot going on you said with some tight tolerances. So trying to figure that out without a lot of good documentation is a, is a tough job.

– Yes.

– All right. Well thank you for that. And Bob, I’d love to have you share, you’re using similar parts of the system to, to document things. So here’s one we call a run description on a part number of yours. You wanna share what’s going on here?

– Yeah, this is, we have a, a robot hooked to a couple of our five access machines, which it’s an Aurora robot and we have a pallet system. So a lot of our parts run off the pallet system. So this is just basically showing what pallet style we’re using the, you know, where, where it’s at, what, how to put, you know, what, get the, get the right pallet, get it in, get the raw material on it, just kind of basically loading up the robot, getting ready to go. I got a video that’s attached to an A also on how to torque down the, the parts on the, onto the pallet. And it just gets just, you know, it takes all the head knowledge that, you know, like I say, one person has and then if they move to another job or or another person is, is is sick that day, it’s either very easy to pull up and say, here this is how we get this thing started.

– Yeah. And coming back to the point we were talking about earlier with packaging, here it is right here, use customer provided packaging. So if someone doesn’t need to decide to grab some pap cardboard boxes or whatever, like presumably the customer provides this and that’s, that’s how it goes. So if the shipping person is, is on vacation, someone else knows exactly how that, how that works. Right,

– Right, right.

– Awesome. Alright, and then, so let’s get in a little deeper yet, can you wanna talk us through what we’re seeing here on this tool page?

– So this is, this is the tool tools needed to build this particular job with the, the op it’s used in the machine, it goes on,

– Sorry.

– And then you know what the, the tool number is and then every tool number is built into an assembly, which is an RTA rotating tool assembly. And we have a, we have a rotating tool assembly, a rack in our shop where the, these rotating tools will set so the, the guys can or gals can go over and, and cart ’em up and then load the job up. And this is kinda, you know, how it goes through what the cutter is, where the sequence description is, where it gets to where, where that process is happening, What kind of holder is being used on stick out length in case it, for some reason it got tore down. You know, it does happen once in a while where you need a holder and hey it’s, we gotta tear this RTA down and, and get the holder and put another tool in there. So this is the, the tooling side of this system has been a great help for me because my pet peeve is knowing where, you know, or the cutters, you, you, you spend a lot of money with tooling drills and Sure. You know, taps and stuff and, and you know, where, where’s it, where’s it at, where’s it located at? Well it’s, you know, when you build a tool in here, it it, it give, it assigns us a number. You know, we’ve just, and we’ve saved money because we, hey, we know how many tools, how many drills we have and it’s not in some, it’s not in, in in Joe’s box. You know, that’s in Joe’s box. You know, stuff like that, that that’s taking that out of it, you know, now we’re going through Joe’s box and saying, Hey, we gotta build these tools and get ’em into our library now ’cause you can’t keep ’em here. So that’s kind of a, a nice, nice thing. But it’s, it’s really taken a lot of just head knowledge, you know, where these tools are kept in, you know, we have a whole wall right now that we have dedicated for all of our tooling and just makes, makes life easy. When you set up a job

– And prior to organizing this way, were you working off of just something printed off your CAM system? Or, or and then how was the, the, the actual organization done the way it was stored besides Joe’s box?

– It was, it was messy. We had it, we had bins that we used and we just labeled ’em per the, you know what the tool was, the description. So then we, you know, now that we’ve, you know, built a tool and we know where the tool’s at it, the guys can look on the screen to see what we have too. You know, we have a whole inventory that’s kept right in pro shop. You know, you look up the drills, okay, you know, do we have that, you know, 4 37 carbide, you know, through coolant flush drill, you know, look at it, oh maybe we’ve got two different lengths, you know, and then it also tells us what jobs it’s being currently used on in case we’re working on another job and we can go say, Hey, is that, you know, do we need to get some more? ’cause you’re using it over here and it just takes a lot of time out of it. Makes it a lot quicker. Each one of our guys have the computer at their, at their stations. They can look up the tools, you know, instantaneously. And there’s no question, do we have it or don’t we have it.

– And I’m curious, given, you know, all that sort of new organization, does that actually translate into lower setup times or better first pass yield when they are tooling up the exact tool in the right holder, the right extension length, you know, to prove out that program or to or rerun the same program again?

– Oh yeah, it’s taken, it’s, it’s taken a lot of time out of our jobs. We, we’ve probably seen a good 10 to 15% time set up reduction just by wheeling the cart over to the RTAs that are setting there and

– Yep.

– Loading ’em on the thing because now you know where they’re at and locate it. And then if you do need, you know, even in the planning stage when we’re, we’re planning out how we’re gonna do the job, okay, hey do we, do we have that, you know, one size drill or do we gotta get it, you know, ’cause it seems like the tooling size an ever building section ’cause there’s just so many different sizes of everything you can possibly have and brands and,

– And

– All that stuff. So it’s really taking it and put it in a nice little, little little kit where you can do, and you know, if you have a laptop and you’re carrying it around the shop, you can just pull it up right there and find it.

– Awesome, thank you for sharing that. All right, we’re gonna move into the last few points and then get into some q and a. How does process knowhow help with career progression? So Heidi, this is where we’re gonna come back to you and a few things that you shared with us. So I loved what you shared about what you’re doing with your apprentice program. Can you talk about that?

– So we have a, I mean we’re a smaller shop, but we have a pretty good apprentice program here. Some of ’em, I think most of ’em probably have started shop hands. So we have that in the org chart and they do the training there and then once we put ’em into the apprenticeship program, they’ll follow up to the journeyman level and then work with different journeymen here. But it’s fully built out in the, in the org chart gives the milestones and everything. And then I think you have the screen on the rapids Yeah.

– Program.

– ’cause ours is through the US Department of Labor. So it’s an official apprenticeship program that we’re a registered employer for. And that it just makes it real easy to know like how, what steps an apprentice has to take to get to be a journeyman.

– Okay. Yeah, I I had not learned about this before, so thank you for, for teaching me about this program and yeah, certainly if, if this is, if your shop is dealing with this and wanting to, you know, get an apprentice program in place, definitely look this up, the Department of Labor Rapids program and sounds like it’s pretty, pretty comprehensive and very useful. That’s awesome.

– Yes, and, and other things that I’ve done, like just through our local organizations where there might be opportunities to have grants for apprentices, it’s always helpful to be able to prove their education and training, not just their schooling, but on the job training. So a lot of times I’ve had to submit things, you know, just proving their on the job training. So it’s, it’s really easy to do that.

– Fantastic. Alright, and let’s talk a little bit about transferring ownership. I know Bob and Heidi, you guys are on a process right now to, to transition out, have your kids take over the business. Can you share a little bit about that process? We, we have one picture to, to go along with this, but I know there’s a lot more to it than just that. Can you share a little bit about that process with us?

– Bob, did you want to or you want me to? A couple years ago, maybe three years ago now, one, we have four children and, and one of our sons and his and his wife approached us about wanting to come into the family business and we were kinda like shocked and excited and, and they had come from big manufacturing careers in large companies. So it was just personally, it was great. We did set out with the whole family. They have a lot of family discussions on what that would look like if anybody else was interested. Once we started narrowing that down, even got a grant to help us figure out that process and the legalities with it. But now we’re what year in year two into the plan that we have all documented out and which even is more important to capture the, the process knowledge, especially with Bob being out, you know, journeyman mold maker on the, on the shop floor, capturing that knowledge to, to set our business up and what we never thought when we began that, you know, it can continue beyond us. So just trying to, to capture that and, and get these systems in place so that it can scale and, and continue. So, so that’s the plan. We’re, you know, not sure when we’re gonna exit. It’s gonna, it is gonna be several years yet, but I can, I can see like we’re basically working ourselves out of it by documenting everything and, and building out the org chart, putting people, different people in the positions. But it really helps us to look at our company as a whole.

– We have to give some, just some credit to the, I mean actually with, with our son and daughter-in-Law coming into the business, we kind of give some credit to them because they kind of pushed us in this direction to get an ERP system, MES system in place because they came from a, a big shop where they, they did this ton of stuff and it kind of, you know, having that tool and they vetted a lot of other systems. That’s why we ended up picking pro shop. They, it was the easiest fit for our, our machine shop as it is. And then, you know, just, I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have that today, as busy as we are if we didn’t have this pro shop system going because it’d be clipboards lined up around the, around the office hanging. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s saved on the paperwork.

– Sure. No

– Bob’s exactly right. We, we knew we wanted to get a system, but I, I’ll give them credit because they did look at about 10 different and they vetted it, they did a thorough job and pro shop was just the best one for machine shop standup. Sure, sure. They were right. So.

– Well thank you. And I love the fact that you’re, you are very, being very intentional about this transition process. Sounds like you’ve gone on some long vacations and it felt good about not having to, you know, not needing to be totally tied in and you know, on call. You definitely don’t, when you finally do make that transition, you don’t want to be like Eric where you’re getting phone calls a year later while you’re on a Hawaiian cruise and they’re like, Hey, where’s the fixture for this part number? And how did you dial in that boar? So so yeah, important good stuff.

– Oh we would, I was tell telling you a couple weeks ago, we went away for like 10 days and you could pull pro shop up on your phone and you’re like, oh this is cool. The shop is just humming along and working and you know, it’s easy to, even if you wanna work, you can work remotely, but just to have it at your fingertips to know what’s going on makes it, makes it really nice.

– Sure. So I’m gonna go ahead and we’re gonna do this conclusion slide. So, you know, I think hopefully we’ve drilled home the pull point. Get it out of your head, get it out of your people’s heads. It’s gotta be in a system. If it doesn’t exist there, it, in some, in some regards it doesn’t really exist ’cause it’s, you know, at risk of not being passed on to other folks. So we’re gonna get into q and A here. There’s a bunch of questions here already. I’ll go ahead and start at the top. So Hank asked the question, I understand the software is marketed to machine shops given today’s context and conversation, but how applicable is it to other industries or disciplines? If not, are there similar to as you’d recommend that could be integrated into ERPs? So we obviously machine shops is our specialty largely because that was the kind of company that we owned where we built the system. But you know, we provided some examples today of things that were not machining related. You know, Bob, excuse me, Craig shared, you know, the, their process for pressure testing some parts. So, you know, obviously they mach they machined those parts first, but then they were doing other processes unrelated. I will just share, you know, we, even though machine shops make up by far the line share of our client base, we have clients that do fabrication work, we have clients that do cable harness assemblies, we have clients that do injection molding. We have, we even have a client, they’re in Madagascar, the island off of Africa, that they make humanitarian drones that deliver food and medicine to remote areas. And they do composite layups, they do electrical wiring, they build and assemble their, they don’t have ACNC machine, you know, in the building, but they manage the process of building their drones using ProShop. And I even heard recently that they’re starting to use work orders to track their flight tests. So they have a defined process for a, for a test flight and they issue, they have a part master where they have exactly all the steps that need to happen, the quality checks, the flight pre-check, and then they issue a work order to manage and the pilots actually track time to log their hours on different aircraft. So I thought that was a pretty creative use. So clearly it can be done and if you’re interested in talking to our team about that, we, we, we are, we’re, you know, with that said, we are pretty hyper-focused on only selling ProShop to companies that will truly benefit if they have needs that we don’t meet, we are not gonna sell you the system. It’s, it’s not worth our time or your time to start down something that’s not gonna end with success. So, but thank you for that question Hank, Erica asked, do you report a hundred percent through ProShop reports? Maybe that’s for Craig or Heidi or Bob, do you have any reports that, that you have to send to your customers that are not out of

– All the inspection stuff? We do send through ProShop. Okay. So we will print out the first article on IPC and send it. I’ll send it to the customer because that has the purchase order, part number, rev level, and all the inspection points.

– Got it. And Bob and Heidi, how about you? Oh, you’re muted Bob.

– Currently we, we do not report it through the pro shop stuff yet, but we are moving in that direction. Say we are, we’re, you know, we’re about, we’re less than a year into the pro shop right now, so we’re still doing a lot of data dump into the pro into pro shop. We can’t get it in fast enough because we find that it’s much easier once it’s in there to operate the business.

– Right. Very good. Yeah, and I will say, so we have, you know, standardized reports at a pro shop as 91 0 2 reports, you know, some standards we don’t have every single thing under the sun. Obviously pretty much every report in ProShop can easily be exported to CSV or Excel files or PDF files. But additionally two things. We have a team now that builds custom reports for people if they need a very specific format for a client, we can just build that for them. And then we also are just releasing our Power BI integration. So that’s a live sort of API integration. So if you had a specific job and you needed to report it in a certain way, you could extract the data through the API into Power bi, which is an incredible tool at manipulating data and presenting it in different ways. So that could also be a way that a company could create a customer report or a graph or whatever, something that their customer needed just using tools on their own. So, so thank you for that question. Edgar asks a specific 20 times deburring process for a small titanium part used on a variety of part numbers. This process would change as new tools or processes are utilized and optimized. How do you bring a new standard process to all the part numbers? It’s a great question, Edgar. So if, if any of you have an a thought about that, I’d love to hear it. If not, I’ll I’ll answer the question.

– You can go ahead Paul.

– Alright, so when you have something that is common to many, many comp, many part numbers, many, you know, many part numbers, there’s a couple ways that you can do that. Probably the most common way would be to use either the tasks module or possibly the documents module. You can reference, you know, a specific task of how something’s done. If you wanna have people specifically trained in that and certified to be able to do it, then the, the task module would definitely be the place to do that. And then you can link that task into any part number that has that process. So maybe that specific deburring process. And so when you get a new part number that has the same deburring process, rather than describing it out in detail at the part level, you can just link it to the task and say, you know, it’s task number 110 50 and when people click and link to that, it will always be the latest current revision of that. So you don’t need to worry about going and updating a hundred different places, a a hundred different part numbers for if the deburring process changes a little bit. There’s just one place to where it resides and it links to all the part numbers. So that would be my suggestion Edgar. You could also just have a document that has that outlined, you know, in the document module and then link that as well, but that wouldn’t have the training aspect of it as well. Thank you for that question. And then Frank asked specific to CMMC, who is taking care of that initiative at Pro Shop now? It’s a good question. So we have a number of folks working on that. So we have someone leading our own CMMC certification. So we plan to be certified or at least ready for an audit. Who knows if we can get an auditor by sort of Q one Q two next year. So that’s relatively soon. And then we certainly have a whole bunch of developers and project managers and people working internally to build the pro shop features to allow our customers to make it easier to be compliant. And ProShop Safe is one of our, our most recent initiatives for that. So basically it, it adds a really robust layer for CUI management of where they’re stored, who can see them, even even tagging of what type of CY they are or what type of sensitive data they are. So there’s a lot of activities there and that’s just definitely a full team effort. So thanks for that, for that. Frank and Claire says, I wish we had this apprenticeship program in Alberta, Canada. Our apprenticeship program has really fallen apart since Covid. That’s, that’s hard. So what would you, any advice or tips on creating an internal apprenticeship program for a small shop with only one journeyman and a few shop hands? Heidi or Bob, you wanna take that?

– I think I would just model it the same way the U-S-D-L-L one is, is having some related classroom training, you know, using your community college or whatever, whatever you wanna use certain classes. And then on the job training, and it typically takes about four years and the classroom is done first, but, and then they have a sponsor mentor or, you know, they can work with several mentors. But if you just model it the same way, what the US DOL apprenticeship does is allows ’em to go anywhere in the United States to be recognized. But they, I mean, they’ll still probably gain the same skills if you do it that way. Kind of pairing the, the train the classroom with, on the job by someone that’s obviously already a dream.

– Mm.

– Thank you. Alright, I, I think I need to step in now. I think that’s all the time we have for today’s webinar. I hope, well, we hope you all found it valuable. Thanks to all of these great questions. Thanks to everyone for attending. Thanks to all of our presenters. This was a very insightful webinar for me at least.

– Any, yeah. And

– I’m just gonna

– Share the contact info here for these folks, so. Yep. Feel free to reach out to any of them or us.

– Yeah, if, and if anyone has any questions, you can reach out to them directly through all the these, through this contact info. And remember that everyone is going to receive a follow-up email with a link to a recording of this webinar so you can revisit the content at your leisure and look up this contact info to get ahold of these fine people. So thank you all for joining us and enjoy the rest of your day. Happy Halloween.

– Thanks Eli. Happy evening everybody, and thank you Bob, Heidi, and Craig so much. Thank you.

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