In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Andrew Schutte, General Manager with Smooth Logics and Counterpart-ERP about “The Challenges of creating accurate BOM and Strategies for BOM Success”. Get the answers to your “Bill of Materials” questions along with Andrew's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!
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ANDREW SCHUTTE'S CONTACT INFORMATION:
Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-schutte-90838919/
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/smoothlogics/
Company Website: COUNTERPART | SOLIDWORKS ERP (counterpart-erp.com)
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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go. All right, you industry heroes from all around the world. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast, you know, this platform right here. As I point to it in the video, it's all about you. It's all dedicated to you. You are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly you innovate. And you're changing the world as we speak, as well as lives. That's why we celebrate you on this particular podcast, because you deserve it. All right, in the hot seat.
We got a gentleman by the name of Andrew study. All right. He is definitely a person who is with a company called smooth logics. He is the general manager. And we're going to be talking a little bit about
bill of materials. boms you're saying to yourself, Scott, that's not sexy? Oh, it's dead sexy. So don't argue with me. Because we're here to celebrate.
Before we get into the interview, just let's let's take care of the business.
All right, you know that this platform, the industrial talk platform is all about the education. It's all about collaboration. It's all about innovation. And it's imperative, that that you hear that as you take action. Because without innovation, you're I mean, you're not moving that what proverbial ball forward, right. And it starts with education. And it starts with the ability to be able to collaborate, collaborate with great people out there and what's really spectacular, especially on the industrial talk podcast, we have great people that are absolutely have a big desire to collaborate with you. Nope, they do. They do they want to collaborate, they want to educate they want to innovate with you. Because right now, I don't even know what we call this time we live in the squiffy pandemic, whatever it is all I know. One is that we don't have all the answers and we're looking for answers. And we've got to be able to survive, rebuild and prosper whatever that future looks like. And to do that, you have to educate, you've got to collaborate with great industry professionals, and innovate not just from a technology perspective, but innovate on how you interact with your market, interact with your team, and really create some high performance solutions. The next business, because I talk all about that, because it is all about that education, you know, collaboration and innovation. I want to be able to highlight an organization at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
connected systems Institute that's an S on that systems and their training,
that that workforce of the future, that digital transformation workforce of the future. They've got an incredible team. Mary Bunzl, the executive director at the connected systems Institute has just put together a rock star team to be able to develop the education that is needed for this incredible, one. Incredible.
You know, training of, of this digital world we live in, we need to do that. Manufacturing depends on that. Okay, I've covered all my business that you need to be aware of.
All right, how are you doing, Andrew? Welcome to the industrial talk podcast, my friend. Thanks. It's a pleasure to be here. Hey, did I get the last name right study? You did? Indeed. All right, you listeners out there. You're gonna say to yourself, Scott, how do you spell Scotty? Yeah, I had to phonetically lay it out. But it's s ch u TT E. That's great.
All right. Okay, for the listeners out there. Give us a little 411 on who you are, Andrew, and then we're gonna start talking a little bit about the challenges with Bill of Materials. Yeah, thanks for the intro. I was born and raised in West Michigan, Zealand, to be specific Not to be confused with the Netherlands, although a lot of people came from the level and
we're on the west side of Michigan, but west side of Michigan seems to be the one of the manufacturing and automation machine capitals. We send a lot we build a lot of parts of the automotive industry office furniture medical, and we ship a lot of equipment and product over to the east side of the state by Detroit. So I grew up my father had a small machine shop and equipment building. Shop for we predominantly did automotive and consumer goods. So
Before I had a driver's license, I was making chips, running a mill lathe welder designing in SolidWorks running CNC programming and CNC wiring and plumbing equipment, mostly to assemble automotive parts or office furniture.
See, you know, that whole area, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, that whole area up there is just this is just rich in manufacturing rich in crafts, and termit the people up there are so proud of what they can accomplish and and what they build. They just there's a lot of energy in building. I love it. I just I love that passion. Yeah, absolutely. We have a
whole support for it to
the local public schools, tech centers, I run a educational department at a local adult technical training school. And there's a lot of companies support for the training in the school systems so that we have the next generations that are able to continue to weld and machine and design and make and make great things is huge. Don't get me wrong, I think that there's, you know, other countries around the world are there they're investing a lot of time energy and, you know, the old money into developing that workforce of the future. And, and I've just, I've been very impressed with that commitment to education, that that trade, education. And and it's, it's not like, like, for me, it's not like my dad's
view of what what we did. It's, it's, it's pretty sophisticated stuff. There's a lot of real incredible innovation that exists today. And it's only getting better. And it requires some really sharp individuals to be able to, you know, build, we need them. We just don't just need them in a big way. And you need to educate them. You can't just throw them on the floor and just say good luck. Have a good time. Figure it out. Nope. This is sophisticated stuff. Now give us a little background on the company that you represent. Yeah. So this created by our
by our need to solve an EMP problem in the industry. I was a automations design engineer for many years and still do a little bit from time to time. And one of the great challenges with designing a machine. To put something together we'll use the quintessential, you know, like a door handle or view mirror or something like that. West Michigan is famous for making those. And as an engineer, I would get a new door handle or a new rearview mirror for a new
vehicle that I've never seen before in my life, right 2023 model of the Chevy Suburban, for example,
I then have to design a machine that's going to put together anywhere from maybe six to 25 parts. And usually the cycle times are, you know, five to six seconds. So it might be a palletized conveyor line, it could be a rotary index dial, it could be any number of things. But every five or six seconds, we need to assemble let's say a Chevy door handle or a Ford f150 door handle or whatever it might be cheese and enemy. And these days, the same door handle fits on multiple platforms. So it's you know, pi Chevy, suburban Tahoe, Yukon, etc. Silverado or whatever it might be. But one of the last machines I did large machines I did for the automotive industry were assembling f150 door handles every five seconds. And it was I can't even I can't even wrap my mind around that. It was five I just can't I'm sorry, I just like that is innovative. I just can't wrap my mind around. Well, it was just spectacular. I mean the statistics as best I can. And this is about a decade ago, but it was only five, five and a half seconds. The most complex version had 36 parts in it. Because between the grip, the pin, the spring, the shock, the dampeners, the bezel, the back frame, the keyhole, the keypad, the retaining pins and springs to hold everything together. And it was all lean manufacturing. So we could do a red door handle for the front right of a four door and then a green door handle for the back left of a four door. And then we could have a right driver side door handle with a keyhole without a keypad. Any combination totally lean quality checks along the way. And then the robots would palletize them accordingly so that the last pallet going on the semi was the first one coming off and it would go right on the final production of the door panel assembly or the line assembly at the Ford plant. See I'm just telling you right now if that doesn't get your skin a little tingly because you've recognized
That, that it is through the ability to be able to collaborate with these, like companies like yours to be able to be able to do this. It is just it's and, and the simple fact that you're creating these things, and you realize the economy and the auto industry, if you create a dork it
Oh, my ears bleeding. Yeah. And it's what happened. And I mean, it's really amazing. We're kind of the the tail on the end of the dog, right? We're taking any, we're taking 50 some parts, not counting colors, uniqueness's and that kind of thing. And we're I mean, we're just simply assembling them, we're not even manufacturing, the components themselves, they come to us. So we take a spring, we take a piece of plastic, we paint, you know, we take a keyhole or lock cylinder or something. And we're just putting them on putting them together and assembling them. There's an entire production line before that, that even manufactures and delivers and ships the product.
Yeah, so getting down to the bills of material, right? Imagine as a mechanical engineer, you're you're responsible for designing a machine that has will will take a guess I don't know that I ever counted but 70 80,000 unique components, right, I'm designing a machine for a part I've never seen before. So I design a nest I've never seen before I design hard to only, you know, robot end of arm tooling, there was presses, there were glue dispensers, there was everything. And it's basically all custom certainly purchase some things and ABB robot, for example, you can purchase some at 20. And kind of doing Erector Set framing and guarding. But we had, you know, torch, or we had plates that were torching out, machining down, lots of fixtures, lots of hard tooling. And all of that has never been before been designed to because it's for an assembly machine that's never been for but built. That's for a part that's never before been, you know, designed or made. And so the the great challenge, when I was a full time design engineer, my boss would come to me and say, you know, to meet deadline, or the shop is slow, or we got to get a jump on this, you designer give me parts so that the shop can make them. And from a designer standpoint, I my response is always well the designs not done. And my boss is like, well, we need some linear. So give them this frame, give them this base plate like is that part gonna change. So then as a designer,
actively designing a machine, I have to keep track of what's on the order, you know, what's on the shop floor, what what has the 10 week lead time that already had to start being maybe made or even bought, right robots have 1012 week lead time sometimes. So we might have bought the robot. So now I can't change the design too much less the robot not fit or not work.
So there's a very, very complex bill of material management problem not only in the design itself, right? How many 12 millimeter proxies Do I need to sense the 17 functions on this machine, in various sub assemblies in various quantities. But so there's there's a very complex build material management challenge, but it gets infinitely more complicated. When you are incrementally ordering a designing right, if I've ordered the frame, then I have a bill of material that has the frame on order, but then the Bill of Material changes. So now I have two bill of materials that don't match the one the bill material from last week when I ordered the frame and other parts and the bill of material from this week that doesn't match so I have to match those up. And then I have to carry over what was ordered and what wasn't so then I have to order more or cancel some or replace some more increased quantities or decreased quantities. And I have to interrupt here because this is all with this particular line. This this analogy this example is of you designing something new to be able to deliver a product at the end and be able to do it efficiently meeting whatever time specifications quality specifications, and in a big probably becomes your flexibility to be able to manipulate that line becomes less flexible as you progress down that road well and be able to and I'm also on that particular project, that f150 door handle project I was also working with four other designers. So right you know, element, right i mean a different designer could change something that affects my components or my bill of material without me knowing about it and then what gets ordered doesn't fit. So I mean there's always reworks there's always oh that part no longer fits I forgot to change something or I changed something and forgot to document or a document and I forgot to tell somebody I told somebody but it was already made. And you add the one of the great challenges of custom automation or custom anything machine building automation or otherwise, is at the end of the day when you start bolting it together, figuring out what parts you don't need that got ordered. What parts you do need that didn't get ordered what parts that did get ordered that were wrong or changed.
And what doesn't bolt together?
And then I've been I've been in this industry my entire life, I've done it. Since, like I said before I had a driver's license. And at the very end of the assembly, do we have the parts? Where are they? Are they correct and do they bolt together is, you know, always two or three weeks before the machine is supposed to be done. And it's all hands on deck. It's a total scramble it's, it's, it's absolutely insane, depending on the size of the project, and how well it's managed, if you don't have a good bill of material management and integration. So with that said, What are the solutions? Man, you my talk is already tight listening to you, and all the challenges that exist associated with pulling this together and getting the right bomb out there. What do you what do you what are the steps, man? Give us some actions here? Yeah, absolutely. So from a designer standpoint, you know, engineers are known for being meticulous and very percent precise and accurate in their trade. And that's all those good qualities. When I when I look back, I'll quick sidebar here just a minute because it's a fun, fun stat. Yeah. But when I look back at the mistakes I made as a mechanical design engineer, when I was in industry full time, most of the mistakes that I made were in managing paperwork, right, like fourth grade math between bills of material and trying to match up quantities and match up bill of material line items. Most of the mistakes I made were were clinical paper processing, book work issues, my design work and have historically always been very good and very accurate. It's just a matter of, are you properly communicating, documenting and managing from a book work standpoint, the design that you have in CAD, and so much of the industry is absolutely backwards, I would have to print off stuff that I wanted to have made and take screenshots of bills material to give to purchasing and say buy these things and give physical paper prints to the shop floor and say manufacturer this component right? You've never seen this block with a hole in it before. Can you make me three of them. So we're counterpart really shines counterpart is our EAP solution counterpart actually comm is we directly integrate with SolidWorks. So we get to explain SolidWorks, which is fine, but what's solid SolidWorks is probably the most prolific 3d CAD software in the world
have more licenses and more users out there. It's the software that I teach at our local adult education trade school for mechanical design. And it's a product from vessel systems. A sister product would be like Katia or x design as a newer variants.
But they're they're an OEM CAD design software. And it's pretty much the number one CAD software in the particular industry that I'm referring to as the automation machine build industry.
So we directly integrate with solver, which is really exciting, because I can design anything I want on SolidWorks. And from inside of SolidWorks never leaving the CAD program, which as an engineer, right, I that's all I ever want to look at. I don't really like looking at my email. I don't I mean, other than emails from you, those are pretty sweet.
Thank you very much appreciate that. But but as an engineer, right, I want to look at cat I want to design I want to be creative, and, and, and, and stretch my abilities and my thinking in what I am good at what I'm passionate about. The rest of it is just unnecessary evil. So Kevin Hart allows the engineers to stay inside of cat stay inside of SolidWorks. And from inside of SolidWorks, create an order request and say I the engineer, I need one of these frames made and then keep designing, I never have to print paper, I never have to talk to another person, which is usually a plus in the engineering world. We're not very eco friendly.
And then as I as I keep designing, I can I can continue to order modify that order. If I change the frame, I can process a revision. And all of that electronically gets communicated in real time downstream to purchasing to manufacturing to assembly to everybody else. So it really eliminates mistakes. We've had customers gain 15 to 20% of engineering efficiency and reduce mistakes. And that's not designed to say so I designed the wrong hole I'm going to get the wrong part. But the accuracy conversion from CAD from SolidWorks down to the shop floor, we've reached high 90th percentile of accuracy using the software correctly and the mistakes have been human error. So it's it's it's a really amazing tool. It drives a lot of innovation and efficiency in communication going mostly paperless because if I have brilliant 3d CAD on computer, why would I reduce that information to a physical paper prints to give to a machinist, a CNC machinist who's then going to go get the 3d
CAD and machine often 3d CAD, right, the paper doesn't really help much anymore in today's society, especially when, with the proliferation of 3d printing and everything else. Right? See, this is interesting because you're, you've created a platform as a system a process that instills a level of discipline, and you're absolutely spot on. If I, if I have to go from system to system to system to system and all of this around it, and everything in between.
There's challenges with that, I doubt about it, I get it, right, like what you're just saying, SolidWorks, boom, I'm there. Yeah, like one of the biggest competitors that we have in our space, I would say most of the companies that we sell to their, their previous product process was require the engineer to log into QuickBooks, and create a purchase order to buy the things that they need. Like that. That's most of what happens when we when we demo or when we are talking to a company. And the business owner is like, you know, I really like it if I could get my seven engineers, if I if I could, if I didn't have to require them to use QuickBooks every day. And you're like, that's just such the wrong tool for the application right?
Now, you don't want them in there, right? Yes, stay stay in your area, stay in your zone, right there, stay in that CAD program and get that thing done, and allow technology to generate what is necessary to fulfill those orders and to make it happen. Now, that's all great. That's all wonderful. But you know that there are roadblocks what what, like what, you know, nothing. Not everything is, you know, pink elephants and, you know, cotton candy. What, what are the challenges here?
I mean, so many of the challenges are discipline and rigor. Without having a direct SolidWorks integration, there's a little bit more flexibility, right, I can have design something and say, I know there's going to be a robot there. But I didn't put the robot my design, just go order a robot. So there's, it kind of raises the bar and it says, What's in SolidWorks, is what you're going to get. So make sure your SolidWorks models are accurate, update your SolidWorks data. And it's kind of a wiziwig product at that point, what you see is what you get, and it it requires a little bit more rigor and discipline on the engineering side to make sure that all the i's are dotted and the T's are crossed, to make sure that you're going to get what you really want in the end.
But they're roadblocks. I mean, what I mean, this sounds great. That sounds perfect. That sounds like the ideal. What's the point? I mean?
Why, why? What are the roadblocks? Why is it just people? Is it like I've, I've got my GRP here, I've got I use this? Can we do this? And I have no problem over here. Yeah, I would imagine that's the case. Most of our customers don't have the RP. A lot of the customers only sell into they're using QuickBooks or Excel. I mean, of course I got you kidding me? No, not it's not a slam on Excel, there's a purpose.
That was probably our is the is the software or we replace the most often.
a lot of these small automation companies, it's an owner that's really good in SolidWorks, or design or control engineer, or somebody like that, who started out designing and building with a three man team, where everybody communicates and you've got Excel and then they grow into a 30 4060 person company. And then pretty soon their old processes don't work.
It just overwhelms it's like this
guy's like walking through probably quicksand. It would be tough. It would be tough and you
just bite the bullet make it happen. Hey, we're gonna have to wrap it up. Here's the deal.
What you were talking about, resonates with me How do I get ahold of you? counterpart dash earpiece comm is our product website where you can email any of the sales team from the links at that domain.
So you don't have any issues with me providing your email address out on industrial talk.com don't mind or the the generic sales email address we can get you connected to the right sales individual or lead directly is no problem at all.
Excellent. I like that. All right, listeners. You got to get a hold of this gentleman. Andrew askcody is his name smooth logics is the company the other website is counterpart dash er p.com. And you know as well as I do, everything will be out at the industrial talk.com so Fear not, do not worry about it. I got I want to get a hold of Andrew but I don't know how just go to industrial talk.com find his
his podcast look at for the lookout for, you know all the contacts that are necessary. Andrew, thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. Thank you, everyone.
It is a real pleasure. Excellent time. All right, listeners, I want you to be bold, brave, dare greatly hang out with people like Andrew who are bold, brave and daring greatly and I'm telling you right now, your view of the world will change and he will be a positive impact to changing lives. But that's what you do anyway. All right, we're gonna be having another great interview like Andrew right around the corner. Thank you very much for joining. We will be back with another great interview shortly.
You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.