Paperless Parts. What is it? What can it do? What advantages does it provide?
Before we get into the tools, let’s give this a little bit of context. We’re exclusively talking about machine shops. This solution is targeted at the costing, quoting, and the bid or proposal process that machine shops go through to win jobs. It can actually can be embedded within the website for a machine shop. Basically this is an interface that people can use to upload their 3D model to that machine shop’s site and request certain quantities and certain delivery dates.
Then Paperless Parts, which refers to that interface embedded in the site, carries out several tasks for the machine shop. It has a costing algorithm that it applies to the 3D parts. It’s fairly comprehensive and it does a full analysis. It looks at what type of machining operations would be involved and what types of equipment would be required. Because machine shops have limited numbers of certain machines, you have to be careful about scheduling. It will develop a proposal for that automatically; a baseline, that the machine shop can go in.
There’s the embedded component that goes on your site, which is where a manufacturer would go to upload their 3D parts as well as request quantities and dates. Then there’s a back-end that the machine shop uses for the rest of the process. This is where they look at the proposal, and tweak it if needed. They can send it back out to the requester as well. But Paperless Parts also includes a whole bunch of other interesting capabilities, including scheduling. There is a discount or an up-charge depending on how quickly the customer needs it, and if whoever is requesting the quote actually wants it faster than what can nominally be provided. That’s tied into the scheduling software. As soon as certain times are taken up, it’s removed from all the other proposals that are being sent out.
Paperless Parts is a way to automate and improve the quality of the process for machine shops. I know the leaders of the company have said that they have improved the profitability and the revenue for a lot of them because today’s process is very ad hoc. Some might call it a little bit broken because it requires so much effort and so much expertise. It’s a novel solution because it combines several of the internal processes that you see within a machine shop for quoting, but it can also leverage a 3D model to automatically do the costing for the job and generate the proposal. Everything can be configured and customized to the processes that a particular machine shop uses. I suggest you check it out if it’s applicable to you as a machine shop.