ABOUT G.S MACHINE & TOOL
G.S. Machine and Tool (GSM) is a CNC machine shop located in the Niagara region of Ontario Canada. Established in 1993, the company specializes in three and five-axis CNC milling and CNC turning of complex, precision machined parts.
In early 2020, GSMT merged with another shop in the area and David Vuyk joined to manage the front end of the business and grow the company, allowing founder Gabe Stroobach to focus on day-to-day shop operations.
With this new partnership in place, Dave and Jeremy focused on building the systems and foundation for the growth of their shop. However, it soon became clear that tribal knowledge was creating problems: slowing down daily operations and limiting growth.
GSM tried to build a system in-house with several different software packages. But that seemed to make things even more “murky”, according to David. They knew they needed something to solve these immediate issues, but also wanted a solution that would help with the strategic side of their business growth, including ISO-certification, as well as facilitating employee training, capturing tribal knowledge, and much more.
To allow GSM to scale and grow, its management decided it was time to get an ERP system. After many hours of research, David decided to partner with ProShop for its capabilities and the deep industry experience of its team.
GSM operates two CNC lathes, three CNC mills, and a selection of manual equipment. The team comprises five team members who operate a single shift. While its customer base includes repeat clients, a third of its work is low-volume, one-off projects, including prototypes.
At GSM, it was commonplace for just one person, GSM’s President Jeremy, to know the most important details for jobs, alongside paper – filled with tribal knowledge – being lost in filing cabinets. When updates, such as drawing changes, aren’t properly flowed down, it increased the risk of errors, such as ordering the wrong materials.
“We needed to reduce that tribal knowledge and get that information out of their head,” explains David. “It’s not just about improving efficiency for the business, it’s about saving his time, too.”
David continues: “We are definitely a smaller operation to be using an ERP, but we are looking to the future. We needed to have a system and process in place so we can scale and bring new team members on.”
“Since launching ProShop, GSM has seen its average order size increase from 10-20 pieces to 50-100 pieces, thanks to increased machine utilization and new clients who order in larger quantities. A 40% increase in spindle uptime means that the team is now able to produce more chips than ever before. Now, we have a process in place and meet our deadlines better. I see it as a firm foundation we can build on.”
David and his team launched ProShop two months ago and in that short time, it has transformed operations and growth for GSM. The platform provides GSM with the single point of truth necessary for the team to work accurately and efficiently, while successfully managing customer expectations.
Previously, GSM employed a spreadsheet template, manually filled out with information from other systems prior to printing out. A paper-based system like this creates challenges when scheduling work, according to David.
“You can organize this paperwork into a high-priority sequence… until someone comes and mixes them up.”
With GSM, work orders are instantly available to everyone via Scheduled Work Dashboards. Instead of moving between sources, including fellow staff, machinists now have access to jobs – in priority order – complete with the most up-to-date drawings and information.
COMPREHENSIVE, PERSONALIZED SUPPORT
After signing up, David met his Implementation Specialist, Garrison, and the training process began. Meeting for two hours a week via Zoom, David, with Garrison’s help, progressed through training.
I thought How am I going to find the time to learn this system?’. But how Garrison walks you through it meters the learning out really well. Breaks between our sessions gave me an opportunity to poke around the system and engage with my own learning outside of our sessions
“There’s a lot of capability in ProShop. The reality, however, is that we’re a small shop. We’re different from bigger manufacturers as we’re mostly low-volume production. Luckily, Garrison had the understanding and experience to tell me about customers similar to us and how they’ve used the system”.
“Now, I feel confident enough to talk our guys through how the platform works and its capabilities.”
Recalling how their paper-based system worked and its heavy reliance on hands-on management, he stresses: “I don’t ever want to go back to how I was working before. It was so inefficient. Now, even if I’m in a meeting, the guys on the floor can utilize ProShop to grab the next job.”
Initially, GSM’s staff was “apprehensive”, because of ProShop’s time tracking feature. Recognizing their nervousness and worry, David decided to address concerns head-on.
“I explained that we needed to know how profitable we are. It’s about improving our estimating process and that’s crucial to our success. I was trying to get them to understand that their time tracking feeds into the success of our business, which, in turn, secured their positions.”
“We gave the guys on the floor input into the process, explaining how it will help them do their job. We are not micromanaging, just helping them to do their jobs better.
“A couple of months in, they are now seeing repeat work and discovering just how much time it is saving for them, thanks to historical data.”
When repeat work arrives, ProShop provides GSMT’s staff with quick and easy access to previous costings, time tracking, and more. By including details such as work that took longer than expected and the reasons why its team and the system can identify areas for further improvement.
Since introducing ProShop, GSM’s turning work has increased and the company is looking to expand its team. Meeting with prospective clients, David discussed their use of ProShop and has used it as a sales tool to win larger clients.
Our investment in ProShop demonstrates our commitment to working well,” he continues. Customers see our ProShop sticker and they are interested. It’s a competitive advantage. While, on one hand, I want this to be our secret weapon, allowing us to do more work with less people, I’m also committed to helping our local economy and helping businesses work more efficiently. It’s a really neat tool.
Most recently, GSM became an approved vendor for a globally recognized brand. To qualify as a vendor, GSM needed to comply with 15 pages of quality requirements. With his knowledge of ProShop’s capabilities, he studied the documents and recognized the similarities.
After sharing parts of ProShop and the quality reports we can easily generate, the new client took little convincing of GSM’s quality and began sharing drawings. He admits it felt almost “too easy”.
“That was huge,” exclaims David. “I was so excited. I’m trying not to sound like a ProShop fan-boy, but, without ProShop, it wouldn’t have happened.”
The nature of manufacturing is changing,” continues David. “The requirements are changing. How does a small shop like ours remain competitive? The days of just having a room full of filing cabinets with drawings falling out of them are in the past. The reality is you have to be open to new things and be able to adapt.”
GSM has had an “easy transformation”, according to David. “Two months in and we’re working far easier with the platform.
“We’re very excited to see what the future holds. ProShop supports working towards ISO certification, so we hope that will help open up more doors. We’re looking to build up our value stream while remaining open to new opportunities as they arise”.
“The flexibility it provides is such a huge difference to what we had before, and jobs are just flowing much better in the shop, increasing our throughput significantly. I’m really glad that ProShop’s Shift Tie-In feature helps ensure our second shift is just as effective as the first shift!”
Utilizing ProShop has transformed operations at GSM. Since introducing the ERP, GSM has seen numerous benefits, including:
- Accurate order confirmations
- Increased on-time performance
- 5x increase in average order size
- 40% increase in spindle uptime
- More diverse customer base