In this episode, we have our guest Matt Guse from M.R.S. Machining, who discusses the challenges associated with manufacturing complex parts in short runs for a CNC machine shop. He also shares his insights into the process changes he made to his company that resulted in significant quality improvement and growth opportunities. Finally, he shares several stories of where he was able to save significant costs and grow his customers by simply replacing a material or improving the design of a part slightly.
Matt Guse is President of M.R.S. Machining. Matt and his wife Vicki own M.R.S. Machining that was started by his father in 1986 in his garage. Matt has been in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years. In 2007 M.R.S. Machining was named one of American Machinist Magazines Top Ten CNC Machine shops in the nation and most recently was named a 2017 TOP SHOP by Modern Machine Shop Magazine.
Matt has also been very active in his community by serving on his local school board, Chippewa Valley Technical College Machine Tool Advisory board, and his local church board. Matt also was part of the startup of Cardinal Manufacturing at the Eleva-Strum school by donating equipment. He continues to contribute his time and expertise to this excellent educational opportunity regularly. He is keenly interested in developing new talent and ideas for the manufacturing industry and holds two patents for cutting tools that he developed. Matt was also one of the faces in the IMTS 2016 and 2018 ad campaigns.
In his spare time, he enjoys being a Basketball and Football official. He has a passion for cycling and has successfully cycled up Pikes Peaks to an elevation of 14,115 feet. And this past year, he put over 9,000 miles on his bike and is always up for a ride.
Well, I was blown away by when I told my employees that we would give 40% of the profits to our employees. My quality went from 3% down to one and a half percent. My revenue grew 20 to 25% in the first year, and it’s maintained that since then, and as a business owner, that’s kind of a no-brainer.
Growing a business requires a holistic approach that extends beyond sales and marketing. This approach needs alignment among people, processes, and technologies. So if you’re a business owner, operations, or finance leader looking to learn growth strategies from your peers and competitors, you’re tuned into the right podcast. Welcome to the WBS podcast, where scalable growth using business systems is our number one priority. Now, here is your host, Sam Gupta.
Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the WBS podcast. I’m Sam Gupta, your host, and principal consultant at a digital transformation consulting firm, ElevatIQ.
Running manufacturing operations is not easy. But if you’re running a CNC machine shop that produces complex parts in short runs, the switchover time between jobs or additional time spent in bringing material to CNC machines could add significant profitability and growth challenges. Also, the field data collection and entry are primarily manual. You might run into significant operations bottlenecks and might not be able to compete.
What process changes could you make to your operations to improve your quality and reduce costs.
In today’s episode, we have our guest Matt Guse from M.R.S. Machining, who discusses the challenges associated with manufacturing complex parts in short runs. He also shares his insights into the process changes he made to his company that resulted in significant quality improvement and growth opportunities. Finally, he shared several stories of where he was able to save high costs and grow his customers by simply replacing a material or improving the design of a part slightly. Let me introduce Matt to you.
Matt Guse is president of M.R.S. Machining. Matt and his wife Vicki own M.R.S. Machining that was started by his father in 1986 in his garage. Matt has been in the manufacturing industry for over 30 years. In 2017, M.R.S. Machining was named one of American machinist magazines’ top 10 CNC machine shops in the nation, and most recently was named 2017 Top Shop by modern machine shop magazine. Matt has also been very active in his community by serving on his local school board, Chippewa Valley Technical College machine tool advisory board, and his local church board. Matt also was part of the startup of Cardinal manufacturing at the labor from the school by donating equipment. He continues to contribute his time and expertise to this excellent educational opportunity regularly.
He is keenly interested in developing new talent and ideas for the manufacturing industry and holds two patents for cutting tools that he developed. Matt was also one of the faces in the IMTS 2016 and 2018 ad campaigns. In his spare time, he enjoys being a basketball and football official. He has a passion for cycling and has successfully cycled up pikes peaks to an elevation of over 40,000 feet and his past to you. He put over 9000 miles on his bike and was always up for a ride. With that, let’s get to the conversation. Hey Matt, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Sam. I’m delighted to be here today.
Okay, amazing. Just to kick things off, do you want to start with your personal story and your current focus?
Yes, I started machining back in high school, I had a tech ed class, and I got exposed to it. And my dad also was a machinist. So I actually grew up on a farm. And I had that work mentality. So we sold our farm when I was in eighth grade. And when I got exposed to it in high school, I decided, hey, manufacturing is a way for me to still use my hands and my mind. And I basically started working out of my dad’s shop, but my dad’s work at a CNC machine shop, and I just fell in love with machining. It just, you know, I took art classes, and I played sports in high school, and I knew I had that kind of talent. So that’s why I got into it.
Okay, so obviously, we are going to be talking a lot about CNC machines. What’s going to be a good CNC machine versus a bad CNC machine. And obviously, our customers and listeners can take advantage of your machining expertise. But before I do that, we are going to have one standard question that we ask everybody because the focus of this podcast is growth. So what is your perspective on growth? Matt, what does growth mean to you?
Yeah, growth is a big word. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of things. And you really got to define what growth is. Some people think growth is growing your sales, but in order to have grown sales, you got to have the right equipment, but you got to have the right people. I always do the three Ps. You gotta have people process and a product in place for you to have sales growth without one of those three, you really can’t grow.
So when you think of growth, how much do you want to grow? Do you want to grow at 5% a year, 10% a year, 15% a year, or more? And I found over the years, if you’re growing more than 15%, then your year may be getting out of control, and it’s hard to zone in on it, and you start having a lot of waste. So I try to keep my growth under 15% as a goal of growth. And your goal without a plan is called failure. So you need to write down your goals and then execute that plan.
Okay, amazing. So you mentioned the right equipment, right. And one of the things that you mentioned is people’s process and product. So typically, in the ERP world, we talk about people processes and technology, but you are talking about a product, and I completely agree with you that getting the product right is definitely important. And to get the product right, obviously, you need to have the right equipment. So tell me from your experience from any of these stories that you might have, tell me what the right equipment is and what is not the right equipment, and how that might impact the product that manufacturers might be producing.
You got to look at what kind of product you’re making. And if you’re looking at a simple, easy job, a high volume, yeah, no, you’re gonna, you’re gonna lean towards a Swiss CNC machine or screw CNC machine, you’re gonna look at complex short run. And all that we do here is we are high mix short run, we have over 500 active jobs in our system, and we ship over 35 jobs a day out of here. So our equipment got to be real versatile and easy to set up and program.
And when I started out, I wanted that’s kind of what our focus was. And M.R.S. is to be a quick short-run turnaround. So we actually partnered up with a company called Mazek. They’re out of Florence, Kentucky, and their control, their control is really user-friendly, and which makes our guys on my shop floor. I have 32 machinists, and over 80% of my guys are able to set up a program.
That’s because the use of the control is so simple and easy, where most people have one programmer or two programmers in a shop, and they write all the programs, and the people on the floor are allowed to make changes or edit programs.
And for us to grow. At that time, I had to give my people that the control the ownership, put that into their hands, because when you’re on the run in two or three parts, and you see something need to change or tolerance or dimension, they got to have that otherwise, they have to go back to the art camp system update program, download it and just waste I mean, it would take them up to a half-hour to 45 minutes, where if they could just adjust it on the fly within, you know, really, really seconds.
Our volumes are once I implemented that our sales almost grew 20 to 30%, which gave our employees the ownership of doing that. That’s where people come into place in. You got to envision got to build a culture of people. And that’s where growth comes in.
Because when I did three years ago, I was just floating along year by year, our sales were just kind of maintaining, and our quality was we didn’t have a quality problem, we had less than 3% that wastes you’re doing that 35 jobs a day, that’s quite a bit, you know, I thought a lot, that’s not bad, because a lot of setups, short runs, you can make mistakes, but I just know there’s something better.
So what I ended up doing is I ended up putting a profit kind of but not a profit-sharing but incentive plan in place. So I’d give 40% of the profit back to the employees, I didn’t know what to expect. First, I just knew I had to do something better what I was blown away by when I told that my employees that we will give 40% back. My quality went from 3% down to one and a half percent. My revenue grew 20 to 25% in the first year. And it’s maintained that since then, and as a business owner, that’s kind of a no brainer, grow, your company profits and quality went up, quality went up, and profits went up and really did nothing, then my return on my investment of that 40% was well over 20%.
So that’s why I talked about building the culture and let envisioning people, and letting them do their thing. Because really, they’re in the trenches every day doing everything. They’re the best people out there. They see it every day. We’re business owners. You don’t get to see it every day. So you’re probably not the expert in that area. So let them do their thing.
Yeah, I completely agree with your assessment there. If you enable your employees, and you have the incentive plan, and obviously that is going to help, but what I’m really interested in knowing is what were the core reasons why they were not able to maintain the quality before and how the quality improved. And it seems like you improved by almost 100% or 50%. So what were the core reasons why you were not able to accomplish the same quality before? But you were able to do that later on once you have the incentive plan in place.
Everybody has a gift, and you have to empower them to become part of that gift. So by doing that, they had invested interest in it because if they made a mistake, they scrapped the part. So essentially, that was money out of their pocket. And that’s really what I think inspired like the quality. They didn’t want to make bad parts. And so they took that extra second that extra time just to focus on what they’re doing where before they would just punch a number in Oh, it’s a bad part.
But so that, to me, really sparked a lot of interest. They don’t work that just gave them ownership take total ownership. And what I do here at M.R.S. is that I just stay out of the way. I let them run the show because they’re the best at it. And when they have a problem, they come to me, and I try to help as much as I can put this given them. I think the ownership part of it, and it makes it a part that they felt was really good and is what really set it apart.
Great. So I get that you’re taking the ownership. You are probably going to be slightly more driven, slightly more passionate about the part that you’re producing. But I’m still looking for the underlying technical problem, what was the core reason for the quality issues before, and how they resolved that by taking the ownership isn’t just the attention is the drive is that the passion. And because of that, you had quality issues,
I just felt like I guess it came back to a story where my dad passed away in 2013, he passed away, and you go through the emotional stress of your dad, my dad was actually half of myself, and I was struggling for six months. Those people stepped up to the plate and took care of business here to rest without really me being here. My philosophy was I always wanted to give back to them.
Previously, we looked at an employee-owned business. And every time I went down that road, I just kept hitting dead ends. And I knew that wasn’t the relative route to go at the time, not that he stopped or a bad thing. But it just felt like it just wasn’t great for us. So that’s why I came up with an incentive program. I wanted to give back to my boys. And I wanted quality to get better, which wasn’t bad. But just I guess that was a wildcard. The quality thing went down one and a half percent.
So basically, what I’m trying to understand here is from the process perspective, so if the quality is improved, there is going to be an underlying reason, right? Either the engineering improved, or you improved from the machining perspective, or you improved from the operations perspective. So what was the underlying reason for the improvement? Yes, the motivation is there. Yes, the incentive plan is great. But there has to be an underlying reason for the improvement in product quality.
Yeah, the quality was better. As far as dollar-wise, we chart our quality every month, and every course every six months here, we post it so people can see it. Some companies I go into it, you can see all these charts and charts and charts. And they have all this if I don’t do that, because what happens is people stand there looking at it, and they get confused by it.
So I always try to keep things as simple as possible. But, overall, when you’re looking at one and a half percent and quality, you know, we’re about 140 to 150,000 a year in scrap waste, and that’s a lot of money. But when you have a multi-million dollar company, it’s that’s 3% probably what we’re after this we’re down you know, 70%-80% of scrap tell that’s a lot of money. We figure in a scrap percentage because nobody’s perfect. And when you’re setting up a pretty complex job with over 150 dimensions on features under a print, it gets pretty complex, whereas if you’re just making a simple washer with three dimensions on it, that’s a whole different story.
But the driving factor is, you know, I’ve just wanted to I wanted that scrap number to come down. And I wanted to give that number back to my employees as much as I could. And what we did without that money is we actually turned around and invested in our Q.C. department with better tools such as a vision system, which also drove the quality down probably another half a percent, because when we had better tools for our checking our parts. So what we do is we document all our processes, we have computers and all ourselves, we’re trying to be as paperless as much as we can.
So when people we put the incentive plan in, a lot of guys weren’t really filling out their process sheets weren’t taking pictures of the parts as much as they should have. But now, when they took ownership of the process, sheets were filled out to almost every detail where anybody could read it. So we could get actually when you go to set that when a picture’s worth 1000 words, I don’t care what anybody says, because your memory isn’t as good as other people.
But when you see a picture like, oh, yeah, I remember that. So those are getting filled out. The pictures are getting downloaded to your computer. So we have repeat runs. All that information is right there. And we know what tools we have, what the tools are, we know what the picture the part looks like. Because sometimes you get a 2D drawing, it’s hard to envision the part where we got a picture of the finished part.
Okay, that makes a lot more sense. Of course, you get nowadays you get models, and you can take the model, but still, a picture is really worth 1000 words. And then along with that, when are you know we have our inspection sheets for our parts, you know, we blew in our prints but all the dimensions that were also saved, so we weren’t reinventing the wheel there. It was all there documented.
So when people got to quit quality, then we would fill our sheets. You mentioned we had a little bit of problem people knew, they would check the parts, but they weren’t documented. Well. Now, when they would miss something or are not documented, well, then you have a chance of making a bad part. So by them doing that, then we would highlight the really critical tape dimensions, and we put a yellow in our inspection sheet, the one that that’s a tight tolerance. And that all that’s what all came out of this people just took it to the next level. And of course, as a business owner, that makes you happy.
Yep, definitely. And you mentioned one comment about reducing the setup time, and a lot of manufacturing companies are going to have issues with the setup time, as well. So let’s say if they asked you your advice, in terms of how we can reduce the setup time between runs, what would be your recommendation?
First of all, you need to ask yourself the kind of part you’re making? We fell in love with is our 5-axis Mazek integral axis. And the reason we fall in love with them is they have big tool magazines in a standard turret lathe is like 12 tools, or standard V.T.C. is probably you know, 20 tools, if everybody’s going to start a shop, don’t I know, it’s a lot of money to invest in another set of tool magazines, but get the most tools you can in the magazine.
Because without these tools in there, we have a matrix of tools where we know that CNC machine, we have like a family of parts where we use a quarter 20 tap the half-inch half. We leave those we did those tools in there. We don’t touch them. It’s like our personal tool crib right in our CNC machine. And that’s where the integrants do come in nice. And they’re 5-axes.
So you can get at all angles on features, you can have sub-spindle, the part you can pull the part off complete, that’s just, that’s what we excel at, we’re not if you’re going to be running 10s of 1000s of parts. No, that’s not the CNC machine that you really want. You want to get into a fourth axis where you have two-thirds of twin spindle parts coming in. But that’s not who we are. We just never had very good luck doing high-volume parts.
So we just kind of stayed away with not that we can’t do it someday. But so the readers’ setups you just the tools got to be there, you just don’t cut short on tools and don’t cut shorter magazines, we have all our jobs numbered. When you like the lay, if we have pilots, we have it all there, right, and our work, so people don’t have to go searching.
And one of the biggest things we’ve done in our computers where we have in our cells, we have this little thing called A.B. notes. Like for $200. It’s the software you can get, and you can internally email everybody in their cell. So if you’re running apart, and you’re not making the time where you have a quality question, you don’t have to leave yourself and go walk around, find that person to go back to the customer go back there are so many here, we can sit there and keep running production or keep running on another CNC machine.
Until we get that answer, that alone, I’m a kind of a numbers guy. Yeah. And that we reduced our setup down by 25 minutes per job just because of that, because a lot of times the communication wasn’t there. Now the communication is there. And that all gets documented and downloaded into our process files. So if that question comes up again, it’s right there.
You just pull up the job process for the job number, boom, everything’s there. So it’s all that tribal knowledge, save it and keep it in your computers. And everybody has access to that there was another thing that we brought up parts anywhere from eight-inch diameter up to 2000 pounds.
And I was tracking that one day, and I did a little survey, and we found out it was taking us anywhere from a half-hour to 45 minutes to get the material to the CNC machine. Well, that ain’t good enough. So what I did is I hired a valedictorian out of a local high school here was super smart was going to go into computer software, and I gave him an internship, and I told them what to do, here’s what I want you to do.
So he developed the software, well, we can barcode our job travelers, and where it goes back to our shipping people. And also we put computers on our fork trucks. So when they scan that traveler, if someone’s across just we have two buildings here, if someone’s across the street and sees it comes up on your computer, they can grab it, bring it over.
So we went from an average of 30 to 45 minutes to fit in our material to our CNC machines or work cells down to less than five to 10 minutes per job. And you can do the math on that one. That’s a substantial saving. Personally, I haven’t even put a number or percentage or cost savings on that, but for hiring a high school valedictorian for summer, he was a pretty sharp individual. We actually tried to hire him full-time.
But he went on to go work for some big aerospace company. He’s doing really well. I always take no for an answer. And when I was in high school, I was always told that you don’t go to a four-year college, you’re not going to succeed in you know, you’re going to end up, and I know that was never good enough for me.
So I always try to find a way around it. You got to be creative in this today because everything’s changing so fast. So just don’t ever take no for an answer. That’s where the barcoding system came into effect. We had material when we bought a lot of material. We can’t even you know we buy millions of pounds of material a year and we you buy 12 feet, you can’t buy a revenant because the four feet you’ll be paid for anyway, so why not keep it so we just started our shelf and then we tried to do an inventory, and they would take us four days to do inventory, and nobody wanted to do it, and it wasn’t accurate.
So there again, we have to find a better way. So we developed there, but I couldn’t find out. I tried to buy something I couldn’t find it. And so the first problem was if you buy material, you get stickers on the material in our people, you buy it from distributors, they put stickers and tape and ends up falling off, and now you got to pay color-coded whatever distributor has a different color code on their bar ends in the material. So one’s red can be 1045.
And other companies could be red could be 4140. So we ended up storing the wave because you didn’t know what it was. So we found a sticker. And it took us a long time to find the right sticker that actually stuck on the material.
I actually even took it and tried to sandblast it off, and I couldn’t even get it off. So I knew we were set. So then we created our own software or Excel where we can barcode it, or we can tell it the peel number we ordered on under it tells us what type of material it is.
And then it also tells you the damaged material. So now when we put an inventory, we can just scan it, and we have our handheld computer, and we say we got three feet in this storage bin, everything’s numbered alphabetically in A.B.C., and then 123. So we know what the material is.
And we know how much we have it in. And we took that data, and we downloaded it into our ERP system, which is called JobBoss. And that thing is live. And now when you want to go to inventory, you just get your get our gun, we can scan it, and then we basically put a tape measure on it, it’ll take us four days to do inventory.
Now we can do it in four hours and used to try to buy the whole team here try to get people to do what they want to do it now everybody volunteers for it because it’s so simple. to them. It’s like taking half a day off with pay. And you know, we used to be off 10s of 1000s of dollars. Now when we do inventory orders, you’ll shoot in less than $200. And that’s usually just because that’s because you’re down to inches. We measure everything in feet. We don’t measure in inches.
Yep. So what does that do? Well, where we on average, that will save us probably three to $4,000 a month, just material we weren’t scrapping out that we paid for. And I have to say says we implemented it probably five years ago, six years ago, I bet you we save over hundreds of 1000s of dollars, Sam, it’s just it’s amazing.
And I have customers that come in it always aerospace. We’re starting to get a lot of aerospace work. And when they come in, they see that like where did you get that system? Oh, it’s homemade. Or can I buy it? Well, I don’t sell software. I’m not into it works for us. I can tell you how we did it and tell you what we use, and you guys can try doing it.
I have several customers at big companies buy that, but I helped them set up their own system, which I feel more comfortable about just some of the things that we’ve done. Never take no for an answer. You can always get better, and you can always figure it out. So one of the things that we tried to do here also I never asked, as I call it QVS, which stands for quality, value, and service.
And that’s what we’re about. We’re about the quality. We’re about value. We are about service. It was a service that comes in when you call M.R.S. You don’t get voicemail is when someone calls you. They’re not looking for a talk to a CNC machine or looking for an answer. And I’ll be honest with you. Sometimes you call it may not be the answer you want. But it’s an answer. That’s the key eight. Wait for an email 48 hours later. You’re not waiting for someone to call you back a week later.
And that’s what our customers came back to us as they tell us every day Hey, we like when you call M.R.S. we get an answer may not be the answer we want at least we get an answer. And that’s what we love about it. And that’s where the value comes in. There’s not a lot of people that respond that fast these days. It’s just, especially with COVID. It’s hard, but we still hold those Morales.
Okay, and how are you doing product costing? Because your ERP seems to be separate? You have that in a JobBoss, and then you have to collect this data, you have to dump it in your ERP? Are you able to track the cost of each of the parts? The way you are building it? Or do you not have a sense of your parts?
Yeah, we track. Yeah, we tracked across the best we could. The one thing that’s hard for us sometimes is that when we get busy, we can’t always run that specific part on a CNC machine. And so we have to pull it important and undersell just to get the customer out the door. So there is a very answer or be recorded on integrex where you got all the tools there, you know, your setups probably can be less than 30 minutes, where you have to pull it and put it on a four-axis lathe where they had no tools in there, whether you got like tooling less or horsepower, it your setup can go from like get up to two hours.
So it varies a little bit. A lot of all our guys log into their jobs in like everybody else you do make a mistake once in a while where you’re logged into there, you forget to log on, if you get to go home, we have little green slips, we have to manually put the job number down and deduct the hours. But that’s how we cost our parts. We also have an in each operation, we have a part to part-time, or people write down their part to part-time just to make sure that it matches because sometimes if you log on, you can do the math. If it takes three minutes and you make it in 10 parts, that’s 30 minutes. So if you log in 10 hours, well, there’s obviously something wrong.
What are the key factors that came out of there, Sam? We’ve done all our work orders are color-coded. Yeah. And why do you color-code your work orders? Well, a green job, for example, green jobs are brand new jobs we have no programs, we have no processes, we have nothing.
So that tells everybody if a high alert, we have to really document this. We have a white traveler. What is the job we ran before, so everybody knows they see a white traveler? It’s a job; we have everything documented, everything should be there. And then we can get on to Orange traveler is a rep change.
So there are actually some customers who change the dimension or change something on that part. Now, these are all quality things that people don’t think look at as quality, but it is you can keep printing the same print, and you don’t have a visual. How do you know there’s a rep change in that print? You really don’t.
So you can make a part to the wrong row. And usually what happens is our customer will get parts, and you say, hey, you made us the wrong dimension, what happens is that they don’t want to change it in their system.
So we’ve already changed it in our system. And if they do send a P over, we can catch that. Well, they’ll send a P over for a rep B.S.A. and our system saying a rep. See, because we’ve had that orange traveler, and we know our ERP system or flag and say hey, there’s a rep change. So we can call him and say, Hey, you know, you just sent over a P, or it should be rev C.
And another thing we did that helped it was we scanned all our documents. And so we have all our material certs, we have all our inspection sheets, we have all our travelers, we have the print, we scan and under each job, and that also goes in our job file. So our customer can call up and say, hey, this, we have a little problem with this part, or something’s not right, but I get the dimensions within a click of a button, we can email, and we don’t have to go searching for hours or sometimes days looking for all that is all electronic. It’s all simple, quick, easy. That’s where the value comes in. And the quality comes in.
Okay, so when your customers are sending their specs. Are they sending in terms of, let’s say that file a design a spec, and then you are manually entering this data in your system? Or how is that process?
Yeah, well, we have to enter it manually because that’s how JobBoss works because everybody’s got a different peel number. And you have to actually change the peel number and then all the models and the prints, we actually can come in, or we can convert them into the job process file. So when they come on the new job, we’ll put the job number in there. And then we’ll put the latest and greatest print that they sent with us.
And then the models also going there, the models are kind of the thing we get now, and it’s funny about models is you really have to be careful, we have some customers that have great models, and we can use them right to the team. And then we have some models where you can’t trust them because the dimensions change.
And they say we’ll make the print off the model. But it’s hard for us to do that. Because then we have to start. Okay, what’s the tolerance on the part? Or is this a press-fit bore? Is this a location, or that’s where things get a little tricky? So we always ask for a model and also a dimensional print.
But then we can kind of compare apples to apples. And I can’t tell you how many times that we’ve gotten print dimensional print or in the model where they don’t match up, things get changed and don’t get updated. So we like to prevent that kind of stuff before it happens.
So let’s go back to the model. So you talk about model light. And my customers or the listeners may not be familiar with the model. So are these CAD files that you are getting from your customers? What exactly are you getting from your customer when you get their specifications from them in terms of designing the parts?
it’s a 3D model. I don’t know if most people know what a model is. It’s just like a video game or whatever. But you just take it, you could spin it all the way around, you can look at it. And then you can go into a wireframe, and you can click on it and get your points and get your dimensions.
And you can also download it into our computer system, where it’ll program you can use those numbers to create your program. That’s some amazing technology. And that’s just hitting the floor right now. If anybody’s looking to up their game a little bit, I would definitely ask them to look into Mazek because it takes a lot of the human error out of it. But again, it also boils down to the model.
And you got to make sure that model is right. And sometimes model like I said, sometimes models don’t come across that great. But the problem or the problem is schools are there’s so much technology out there, and you go to to your college or for your college. There’s only so much time in the day of the year where you can learn so much. And you learn most you’re starting to feel in the trade.
And I tell kids you know, once you get done with school, you get your diploma, you’re not set for life, you’re set for maybe three to six months, you have to take and go on the internet, learn more, you got to go and trade magazines, it’s continuous improvement. That’s how you advance companies. The more you know, the more you’re going to make, and the more you can devote to just giving it your all. And that’s an aspect of a school that just can’t physically learn it all.
Okay, so when you talk to these customers, let’s say in the aerospace, do you have any stories that you might be able to share about if they need to know anything about the parts and the machining? So do you have any stories which impacted the growth of these companies just because they were not, let’s say, as innovative as you are in terms of streamlining your processes? Do you have any stories that you might be able to share?
Yeah, I actually got several such as DFM, which stands for design for manufacturing. We’re the experts here on how to use a CNC machine and make a part, or sometimes the design people have never made a part. So they just think it miraculously can pop up. I love that. I’m the DFM guy.
I just know there’s always a better way of doing things. And I had a customer come to us, and they were making this part and they they were making 40,000 parts a year, and we started making it, and I just questioned them one day, and on the material, they’re making ETD 150, which is really a double tamper material. That’s why they’re doing that. Well, it’s better machining. And I kind of paused them all better machining, I said, There’s also 4143 are the exact same thing.
It just CNC machines a little different. I said with today’s technology. The CNC machine is not the problem. And I said I’ll tell you what, I’ll make you six free samples, and I’ll have you test them. And I guarantee you that 4143 I wrote last ETD 150 point oh, well, anyway, they have the CNC machine where they have this product, and they test it and they run it through like 50,000 cycles.
And then they pull it under a vision system to look for wear and tear, whatever we’re getting about 30,000 cycles off at 150.
So they wanted out their game, and they said, Okay, we’ll show Matt. So they went up to 70,000 cycles, and they pulled it in the vision system. That thing looks brand new, yet also they got their attention. The materials, half this class was half the price. And we ended up saving them $100,000 a year on that product alone.
And on top of it, they actually got a better product, though, because you have the word factor in 4140, which is a little better than ETD 150. So that’s the kind of stuff that I like to do. That’s where you kind of my goal every day is to learn something new. And if you’re not safe, you’re not growing. You’re dying. Yeah. So you’re learning new things, then.
You can help people with the material problem that you identify. Do you have any other stories that you might be able to share that were not related to material, anything else that you highlighted that could be exciting for our customers that they can learn from there was another product?
This was actually a kind of an automotive aftermarket part where they were welding in their precedent together, and we’re all in it. And they were breaking in the field. And so I kind of looked at it. And I actually reached out to them and said, hey, I think I can make your product a little better, not offending anybody and or you mean so that I took part I said. Can I design something and give it to you? So I took that part and actually made it a solid billet. And they’re like. There’s no way the cost savings can be the same.
So I designed it, we made it, and actually, I was saving them 10% making out of the style of the prusa weldment. Plus, I put in some key factors in there because when they’re out, this product is actually for emergency use kind of away. And in the middle of the night, you can’t take a part that’s painted, it was slipping out of your hand, and it was getting lost in the mud.
So I actually put a neural on it. And now the grip factor was much better, and the paint was chipping off so that I actually chrome got him zinc plated, so though they weren’t rusting and I saved him 10% and all the parts and butter part and now their sales won’t triple just because the part looks better is safer, and they’re happy and all that opened doors for more parts to look at so it was a win-win for everybody.
Okay, I think do you have any other stories that you would like to share? Your stories are definitely very interesting, and I’m really enjoying them.
Yeah, I do a lot of fishing, a ton of sports, and I always think they run hand in hand, and I have several quotes that I just came up with that I could share if it helps or not I can probably maybe put some of them on your on a link to the page in my story that helped me along there’s some of them are kind of long, but you know when someone comes to you and gives you feedback, don’t pick as an insult, but take it as a gift.
One of the things I tried to do here is someone makes a mistake. Some guys are going out there and just start yelling, um, you know, what are you doing? Like your dogs at home are being yelled at and he kind of goes leaping to the corner. But that’s not how you treat people here. I always the first thing in my words is what have you learned by how can we improve it? How can we make it better? So don’t ever put fear into somebody; I always use three Fs fail fast, fix fast, and forget fast.
We all fail. It’s a given. It’s how you how you’re going to fix that and then figure it out, fix it and then forget, you’re gonna sit there and dwell on the mistake you made it just kind of put your head down. That’s just cancer, and you got to get over it and just move on.
Because that’s what happens when you appreciate I made a bad call. I fix it. I clean it up. I go tell the coach. I clean it up, and then I forget about it. Otherwise, it’ll affect your whole day or your week.
On that note, I wanted to thank you for your time, Matt. And my personal takeaway from this conversation is going to fail fast, fix fast and forget fast. That’s very insightful and very deep. Again, I want to thank you for your time. I appreciate your insight. This has been a fun conversation.
I cannot thank our guests enough for coming to the show and sharing their knowledge and journey. I always pick up learnings from our guests, and hopefully, you learned something new today. If you want to learn more about Matt, head over to mrsmachining.com. Links and more information will also be available in the show notes.
If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, you might want to check other related episodes, including the interview with Randy Johnson, who discusses how the metal fabrication industries manufacturing processes differ from generalized manufacturing. Also, the interview with Max Krug who discusses what actions businesses need to take if they don’t have product quality or business performance issues.
Also, don’t forget to subscribe and spread the word among folks with similar backgrounds. If you have any questions or comments about the show, please review and rate us on your favorite podcasting platform or DM me on any social channels. I’ll try my best to respond personally and make sure you get help. Thank you, and I hope to get you on the next episode of the WBS podcast.
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