EPISODES OF THE MAKING CHIPS PODCAST
The MakingChips podcast is hosted by Jason, Jim and Nick. It is the most widely listened to podcast for the metalworking nation. They aim to connect a community of leaders, to elevate their skills, solve problems and grow businesses. MakingChips is designed to equip and inspire you to succeed in the challenging world of manufacturing.”
- #98 College in the Past, Chips in their Shoes...
- #156 The Risk and Reward of Implementing...
- #187 Applying the Franchise Model to...
- #191 Business Automation for Robust Efficiency
- #242 Wisdom + Technology/ Strategic Ideas for Reducing Machine Set Up Time
- #244 Changing ERPs Will Change Your Company Culture
- #257 Can You Be Successful Running a Small Machine Shop?
College in the Past, Chips in their Shoes, Coolant on their Clothes, and Success in their Future
Hello Metalworking Nation! Today we are excited to bring you another story that we hope will equip and inspire the younger generation of manufacturing leaders. Flying all the way in from Washington State, we are joined by Paul Van Metre, Co-Founder and VP Marketing of Adion Systems, an ERP-based software solutions company.
Paul shares with us his success story of co-founding a machine shop with his friends right out of college. With little money at first, they were able to grow the business to an $11 million dollar company during the tech boom of the late 90’s, by being ahead of the curve and utilizing several key processes including lean manufacturing and SEO. Eventually this led to the development of a web based and completely comprehensive ERP system that would take Paul and the company in a different direction.
The Risk and Reward of Implementing a New ERP System
On this episode of MakingChips, Jim interviews his son Ryan Carr, Operations Manager at CARR Machine and Tool, Inc. along with Paul Van Metre, Co-Founder of ProShop ERP, about the risk and reward of implementing a new ERP system. During the interview, Ryan shares about the decision-making process and how they have been applying the new, full-spectrum ERP called ProShop. Listen as Ryan and Paul explain why an ERP is so important and how you can start the process of implementing one in your business.
Taking the Plunge Into a New ERP System
Prior to purchasing the new ERP system, Ryan explains that there were inefficiencies and redundancies at CARR Machine and Tool, Inc. Data entry required multiple steps with numerous papers being unnecessarily shuffled around the office. Knowing that something had to be done to move the company forward, Jim and Ryan called in Paul Van Metre to explain how ProShop could help them. Hear how implementing the new ERP system is significantly minimizing redundancy and increasing efficiency.
Becoming the Metal-Working Nation’s Premier ERP System
Paul Van Metre was an experienced manufacturer prior to developing ProShop. He ran his own machine shop and experienced great success. His business grew to the point that they needed a better way to manage the company’s data. After searching and trying other ERPs, Paul and his team decided to build their own program. ProShop was originally intended only for internal use, but after a customer asked to purchase their proprietary software, Paul knew they had a product that the metal-working nation needed. Listen to the story of how ProShop became the premier ERP system in the manufacturing market during this episode of MakingChips.
The Benefits of an ERP System in Your Company
Paul Van Metre says, “The economy drives off of taking raw materials and turning them into high-precision, value-added products. You can’t run an economy just making lattes and selling insurance.” Manufacturing is important, but it’s also challenging. An ERP creates a centralized place where all files are stored and easily accessed. Implementing an ERP can help streamline your processes, keep you organized and efficient, and better position you for success in your market.
Assessing the Risk and Reward for Your Company
Running your own manufacturing business can be difficult. Companies need as many tools as possible to help them be successful. Big, expensive decisions aren’t easy, but if you don’t change today, you’re competition will. You have to be willing to adapt and try new things to stay relevant in the market. Jim and Jason encourage you to analyze your company to see where you can reduce redundancies and inefficiencies. Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about how an ERP system can benefit your company.
Here’s The Good Stuff!
- Manufacturing News: The $717 Billion Dollar National Defense Authorization Act and how it impacts manufacturing
- How Zenger’s is working to increase efficiency and throughput utilizing a new ERP system
- Jim introduces his son Ryan Carr, Operations Manager at CARR Machine and Tool, Inc.
- Ryan shares how he approached the idea of changing ERP system after using the previous one for 20 years.
- Introduction of Paul Van Metre, Co-Founder of ProShop ERP
- Paul Van Metre shares how he launched ProShop through an organic process
- Ways the ProShop is helping CARR Machine and Tool, Inc. become more efficient
- How ProShop integrates ISO and AS9100 to organize procedures, certifications and quality systems
- Ryan shares his personal and company goals for utilizing ProShop
Tools & Takeaways
Applying the Franchise Model to Your Manufacturing Business
We often don’t think of a franchise and a manufacturing business as being an easy match, but systematizing your business according to the franchise model can vastly improve the functionality and profitability of your company. Tools such as an ERP system can help you boost efficiency and keep track of everything needed to streamline your business. In this episode, the co-founder and president of ProShop ERP, Paul Van Metre, shares the practical steps to take towards a more refined and systematized set of processes for optimal company performance.
Applying the franchise model vs. becoming a franchise
Paul explains that the goal of modeling your business after a franchise isn’t to become the next Subway or McDonald’s. Instead, the vision is to design a franchise prototype. Creating standardized systems for every process and goal within your company will help you create repeatability and redundancy for every task and will help you pinpoint problems – leading to continual refining. The goal is to have the same and reliable output as a franchise delivers – consistent value, low labor costs, impeccable organization, and documented workflow that produces predictable product.
Whether your company is growing by leaps and bounds or not – establishing systems that streamline your processes and help ground the expectations and values of your business will help take your customer experience and your efficiency to the next level. The goal isn’t to duplicate your business into a thousand perfect replicas. The goal is to run your company in the most efficient and proven method available – with a franchise mindset applied to the small business structure.
Streamlining your processes for optimal customer experience and efficiency
What processes do you apply to the franchise model? Paul says that the answer is all of them. Systems like ERP can help minimize the labor involved in documenting your processes for storing fixtures, programming, job descriptions, hiring, training, company expectations, and procedures for making each and every product. Paul explains that one huge step for his company was standardizing jobs. Making sure that every person in your company is following the same procedures creates reliability.
Jim uses the ERP system in his discussions with new clients, allowing them to view the numbers and procedures used to create the products they need. With a standardized system in place, every operation is itemized and trackable. All the details are available in one place – not scattered across different platforms and mediums. Documenting your systems in one location allows for a higher level of professionalism that makes everything black and white for your customers – and for your employees.
Paul explains that you don’t need to create brand new procedures in order to streamline your business. Begin by bringing your team onboard with the mission to document every process you already have in place. It’s a team effort – unless you are a one-man shop. Each individual is going to have specific knowledge that is vital to the tribe. So much more information can be documented with ease when it is all inserted into one place – such as an ERP system. While it may seem daunting at first, it becomes easier the more your team utilizes it. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for Jim’s story of how implementing an ERP system in Carr Machine & Tool helped him keep a clear and focused approach to company growth.
A systemized approach leads to greater profitability
It’s surprising how many steps you can eliminate when you centralize all of your processes and procedures in one location. Eliminating needless or unprofitable steps creates greater efficiency, which leads to greater profitability. It also helps streamline your customer experience so that they know exactly what to expect and are met with quality time after time.
Paul shares the 80/20 rule of profitability. Once you have the systems in place to track the profitability of each product, order, and customer, then you can begin to see the 80/20 rule take place. 80% of profits are derived by 20% of your jobs, and 20% of your jobs cause 80% of your losses. With a systemized process, you can see which jobs are losers and which are profitable. Having a procedure for killing off the losers will help keep your company moving forward and allow for less wasted time and resources.
Prioritizing and tracking the needs of your company
It’s important to analyze how you define job profitability and how you analyze the urgency of a request within your business. Streamlining your processes and procedures will lead to unearthed problems within your systems. Constant improvement needs to be an understood key-to-success by everyone on the team. Humility and honesty are vital to the improvement of a company, but leaders don’t need to be bogged down and notified of every problem that arises. Know, as a leader, how you will analyze and prioritize what needs to be addressed, when, and by whom. Jason shares his strategy of IDS (Identify, Discuss, and Solve). Encouraging your team to understand why a problem occurred and report it into a centralized system – like ERP – will help minimize the risk of the same problems occurring over and over again. Be sure to listen to the entire episode for more insight into why a franchise model may be the next step you should take with your manufacturing business.
Here’s The Good Stuff!
- Can and should you franchise your machine shop?
- Manufacturing News: USMCA will replace NAFTA.
- Guest speaker: Paul Van Metre – president of ProShop ERP.
- Designing a franchise prototype to optimize your company’s performance.
- Generating consistent and predictable output.
- Streamlining your processes for ease of employee upscaling.
- The key to methodical profit growth.
- Analyzing and prioritizing job profitability.
Tools & Takeaways
Business Automation for Robust Efficiency
Business automation can seem like an intimidating change, but the benefits are massive. Guest speaker, Paul Van Metre – president of Pro Shop ERP, shares how letting go of control can help grow your company and make it vastly more efficient. Automating your systems can help clear up communication, save you and your team energy and time, and help boost your profitability. Change can be daunting, but an automated system is definitely worth the cost.
Embracing the big changes that come with business automation
Some may think that there are too many barriers to push through to make business automation worth it. Paul explains that people fear what they don’t understand and what they don’t know. While such fear is normal, it shouldn’t keep manufacturing leaders from making the switch. The initial expense and time invested in uploading your company’s data may seem like a shock at first, but the efficiency that comes with automation is incredible. Letting go of control could be the best decision you’ve ever made.
The tools you use to automate your business are crucial to your success. Paul gives some examples of automation, including robots for the machine shop floor, apps, and entire manufacturing eco-systems – such as Pro Shop ERP. Paul shares that his company grew out of the need to solve the problems they faced as a start-up. No one offered the software they needed to automate their systems so that they could stay on top of their game and grow with their clients. Pro Shop ERP is the result of Paul’s team’s hard work and innovation. They wanted a way to tie all the details of their business together into one, centralized system. Paul encourages listeners to not be overwhelmed by the nuances of launching an automated system but to rather focus on the big picture: making chips so that you can make more money.
Why Excel simply doesn’t cut it anymore
In every small business, there are going to be people who wear too many hats. Inefficiency isn’t something that growing manufacturing businesses can tolerate for long. Miscommunication, confusion, and extended lead time can all be results of outdated processes and the struggle of having to do everything manually – from customer on-boarding to running machinery. It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday chaos and not realize what could be easily solved through automation.
Excel isn’t always going to cut it for logging your processes and keeping track of customer information and accounting. Before Pro Shop ERP, there was automating software to help with the accounting side of business, but there wasn’t anything that was built from the shop floor perspective. Pro Shop ERP offers that perspective in an automated format so that you can focus on what’s important to the growth of your business.
Streamline everything from redundancy to your vendor supply scores
There are so many details to consider when running a manufacturing business, and tools like Pro Shop ERP help take the busywork out of the picture. Jim shares the improvements made to his company through the implementation of automation.
- Redundancy: Jim explains that with an automated, centralized system, everyone knows where to find the native processes for different operations. Pro Shop is the one-stop shop to everything everyone in his team needs to know about any job within the company and any order a customer has placed. Jim can go find exactly what order was placed, who took it, what tools were used to make it, when it was delivered, how much it cost his company, and what types of inspections were required by the customer. Before, it took him hundreds of manual steps to fulfill an order. Now, everything is automated.
- Vendor Supply Scores: Trying to log and remember which customer was excellent to work with and which ones weren’t can be time-consuming. Jim share that Pro Shop has enabled his company to automatically keep track of everything involving a specific vendor – from packaging to delivery and quality. Paul reminds listeners that while the system is automated, you CAN adjust all the settings and data manually. You define the details of all your processes.
- Customer Information: Customer requirements, credit approval, financial information, preferences, and contact information are all logged by Pro Shop. Jim shares that this automation has saved him and his team incredible amounts of time. The automated system processes the details of how each customer wants each order completed – all the way down to whether the customer wants the paperwork for an order on the outside of the box or inside of it upon delivery.
Create greater impact by applying Pro Shop ERP to your sales processes
You can automate your sales process as well as your manufacturing processes. Jim shares that he uses Pro Shop even in the initial “interview” with new customers. Since quality communication is one of the pillars of Carr Machine & Tool, Jim likes to show new customers how well Pro Shop allows them to communicate as a team – both internally as a company and externally with their customers. He can also establish trust and openness by showing new customers the automated breakdown of pricing with Pro Shop so that there is no guesswork when it comes to quoting a price.
While there is a good bit of front-end work with uploading and customizing all of the data for an automated system, the end-product is invaluable to the efficiency of your manufacturing business.
Here’s The Good Stuff!
- The importance of a consistent routine to help you decompress for the night.
- Automating your manufacturing business through a robust ERP system.
- Manufacturing News: Don’t fear the recession.
- Pro Shop ERP was born out of solving its own problems.
- The fears surrounding beginning the business automation process.
- Clearing up communication and creating a centralized system.
- Jim shares improvements made to his company through Pro Shop ERP.
- Implementing Pro Shop into your sales process.
- Putting in the initial work with automation is well worth it.
Tools & Takeaways
Wisdom + Technology/ Strategic Ideas for Reducing Machine Set Up Time
In this week’s episode, we get a look into Carr Machine’s setup process. Hosts Jim Carr and Nick Goellner invite guests Ryan Carr, Operations Manager at CARR Machine and Tool, Inc., and Paul Van Metre, Co-Founder of ProShop ERP on to discuss the challenges they face with long setup times and explore how ProShop has helped them refine the process while providing measurable analytics for future improvement.
- Jim and Nick talk about manufacturing news (4:26)
- Jim Introduces Paul Van Metre and Ryan Carr (8:40)
- Jim introduces the age-old issue of setup times (10:34)
- Ryan talks about today’s setup process on the shop floor at Carr (14:18)
- Jim and Ryan talk about how their team uses ProShop (15:47)
- Paul Van Metre lays out the pre-processing checklist at ProShop (20:42)
- Paul and Ryan cover the impact of implementing ProShop (26:41)
- Jim addresses the transition of accountability (29:54)
- Nick asks about ROI and measurable results for improvement (31:55)
- Success stories with ProShop (36:05)
- The Boring Bar Newsletter – Text CHIPS to 38470 to subscribe!
Changing ERPs Will Change Your Company Culture
In this week’s podcast, hosts Jim Carr and Jason Zenger invite guests Paul Van Metre, Co-Founder of ProShop ERP, and Matt Gawlik, President of 3D Industries to discuss what it takes to properly implement a new ERP in a machine shop, and how it can change your culture.
- How the ERP revolution shifted our culture (1:47)
- Teasing our special guests (2:56)
- Putting on makeup is fun? IMTS interview (3:33)
- What’s new with Jason: Zengers, Black Industrial (5:00)
- Discussing this week’s manufacturing news (6:20)
- Introducing our guest: Paul Van Metre from ProShop (13:13)
- Introducing our other guest: Matt Gawlik, President of 3D Industries (14:10)
- The origin story of “3D Industries” (15:20)
- How Matt found ProShop (16:45)
- Jim: Using the wrong ERP for 20 years (19:52)
- Matt: Rehabilitating the company to implement the perfect ERP (20:45)
- Jason: What is a Pirate ship company? (27:25)
- Roadblocks when implementing a new ERP (28:00)
- ProShop features that hit the spot for Machine shops (30:45)
- What is your estimator doing all day now? (33:55)
- Matt: Extracting data from the minds of employees is a necessary safeguard (34:45)
- Culture Shift: Before and After ProShop (38:50)
- Paul: Implementing ERPs is a team commitment (43:45)
Can You Be Successful Running a Small Machine Shop?
In this week’s MakingChips podcast, Jim and Jason discuss if you can be successful running a small machine shop, with Jim offering tips based on his own experiences.
0:00 | Jim and Jason talk about the different knowledge centers at IMTS Spark
1:10 | Jim mentions how he used ProShop ERP to extract the necessary data to collect the federal R&D tax credit
5:06 | Jim shares information on the failure rates of new businesses
7:45 | Jason explains why he’s planning on taking a sabbatical from work
13:00 | Jim reads a news articles about the manufacturing economy bouncing back in 2021, and the different factors that will affect it
20:08 | Jim and Jason talk with Dan from Xometry and Vinny from PenCo Precision to discuss their experience with Xometry during the 2020 pandemic
26:22 | Jim asks “what is success in business?”
31:27 | Jim shares his tips for running a successful small machine shop
39:30 | Jim and Jason talk about how they analyze risks before they make business decisions