Blog: Stone Fabrication Software and Business Articles

Buy Stone Direct: StoneTalk Episode 38 with Vinny Tavares and Jesse Miller

In StoneTalk Episode 38, Patrick speaks with Vinny Tavares of Pacific Shore Stones and Jesse Miller of Integrity Enterprises about buying stone direct.

Listen to this episode or read the transcript to discover:

  • The value of buying stone direct from the source
  • The challenges and pitfalls of buying stone direct
  • How to team up on stone buying trips to increase your buying power

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes… and please let us know what you think! You can leave comments for this show on the StoneTalk Facebook page or on this site.

Also, we will be recording new StoneTalk episodes again soon. If you have stories or insights that you’d like to share with other fabricators, please reach out to Patrick.

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Real discussion. Real tools. Real impact.

The folks at Park Industries organized another great Digital Stoneworking Expo (DSE) in Bozeman, MT this month, with talks on everything from evaluating your shop to hiring strategies to meeting the growing demand for mitered edges. Four different fabricators were on hand to give presentations, and attendees were invited to tour two different digital shops in Bozeman.

The Flooring Place, Bozeman, MT

In such a competitive industry, you might think that people would be too guarded to have any useful discussion. Not so! Park managed to foster a positive, open atmosphere where fabricators shared their stories of both success and failure. Because when it comes to improving your business, you need the courage to face the truth, to look at the numbers.

If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

To that end, Park spent some time walking people through a process of establishing and tracking a couple of useful shop metrics: (1) square feet per labor hour, and (2) cost per square foot.

But they didn’t just say, “You should be measuring these things. Shame on you if you’re not!” Nope. They shared the tools, invited people to share their numbers, and the speakers were willing to share how they’ve been able to improve their numbers over the years. Attendees also went home with a spreadsheet they could use to get started – so everyone didn’t have to recreate the wheel!

“We cannot get to where we dream of being tomorrow unless we change our thinking today.”

Park Industries Co-President, Joan Schatz, opened with that challenging quote from Albert Einstein. Again, I think it set the right tone. It takes courage to change our thinking today, and the supportive atmosphere at the DSE helped people summon that courage.

As one of the speakers, Tige Rhoades from Out of the Woods in Layton, Utah explained, “Who you buy from is as important as what you buy. I received a lot of help as I was going digital, so I’m up here now because I want to give back.”

That fearless generosity says a lot about Tige, about the industry and about Park Industries.

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Measuring More Than You Can Imagine

When I talk with our medium-to-large Moraware customers, business efficiency is a topic I frequently discuss. More specifically, I’ll delve into reporting accuracy, capturing metrics consistently, and using those metrics to drive additional efficiencies.

While JobTracker and our reporting features give you a solid look at job performance, we only address part of the overall picture of your business. For the bigger picture, enter BP Metrics. I first learned of BP Metrics when one of our customers had questions about using the JobTracker API to access data via BP Metrics’ data collection interface.

I scheduled a getting-to-know-them call with BP Metrics and talked with Hans Dekker, their CEO. It was an enjoyable, far-ranging call about business, technology, and innovative things they’ve done. He shared some of their experiences working with JobTracker customers & Park Industries customers. He also shared a specific case study from one of their granite shop clients illustrating the breadth of their services.
BP Metrics logo

Hans told me about a professionally run granite shop in Florida who contracted BP Metrics to deliver key shop performance, production data and metrics. The CEO of this operation envisioned an innovative payroll system, in which staff would be compensated based on actual Production Volume & Performance. This unique approach delivered a self-regulating shop dynamic, in which all parties win together. It naturally drove performance, innovation, and efficiencies, increasing staff ownership and satisfaction, and improving the overall shop and staff utilization. The approach demanded detailed metrics and management input, which BP Metrics provided.

So how does BP Metrics work? That was a primary question I asked, so I’ll share Hans’ answer:
BP Metrics has a core data collection and reporting infrastructure. They tightly integrate their code software platform with each fabrication shop’s unique technologies and business processes. Their services address everything from staff activity, machine activity, and staff movements, to integrations with various shop software applications, clocking in/out (face recognition-based), payroll preparation, quote benchmarking, financial period reporting, and more than I can remember with my merely mortal mind.

In short, they’ll start by focusing on: What’s your need? Where’s your pain? How is your bottom-line? BP Metrics immerses into your unique business model and delivers exactly the metrics that allow you to step ahead of your competition.

To learn more or to contact BP Metrics, visit the Moraware Partners page or go directly to BPMetrics.net

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JobTracker Training Echoes: Here to Learn

“I know one thing, that I know nothing.” – Socrates.

For many of us, that phrase pretty much explains how we feel about our grasp of modern technology: We know there are systems out there to help us do our jobs better, we just don’t know what they are. For instance, some countertop fabricators have found a great resource in JobTracker to help them address specific organizational and systemic needs in their organizations, but they may not have a clear vision of all the things that JobTracker can do for them on a larger scale.

That was the case for Laura Ackerman of Granite Concepts in Lewiston, ID, who attended the JobTracker Advanced Users Conference in Houston. “If you don’t know all the great things JobTracker can do, then you don’t realize how it can help you,” she explains. “It was good to see the whole picture, even if we aren’t ready to implement everything at this time.”
Granite Concepts of Lewiston ID

Goal: Better Templating
In fact, Ackerman’s primary goal for attending the conference was pretty specific – learn how to streamline the template process, specifically reducing the paperwork involved. Through the conference sessions, and from one-on-one assistance from the Moraware team, she increased her awareness of how “going paperless” might be achieved. Even though, it turns out, the timing wasn’t right for implementing those changes, Ackerman got a glimpse of the potential JobTracker has for accommodating Granite Concepts’ future growth.

“I was trying to learn as much as I could about JobTracker,” she says. “For me there was definitely information overload, but I don’t think that means they should change how they did the conference, because I think it forces you to evaluate what you are doing in real life.”

Ackerman was intrigued, in particular, with the variety of companies that attended the event. The size of the organizations ranged from small-ish to very large. (“Practically big box size,” she jokes). The extent to which each company utilizes JobTracker was also very telling for her. “It was nice to see that JobTracker works for everybody.”

Specialized Training
A high point of the conference for Ackerman was the break-out sessions, which paired fabricators with Moraware employees and/or third-party vendors, with the purpose of working on the specific needs of each business. “The one-on-one time to work on individual projects was fabulous,” she says. “I was very impressed that Moraware had their engineers sitting down with real life customers and talking about what impacts their lives. Software engineers don’t necessarily understand real-world applications, but these guys were there asking questions and trying to find out what was important to us, the actual users.”

“I’m relatively new at Granite Concepts,” Ackerman says, “I’ve been here two years. By the time I got to the conference I had learned some things about JobTracker, I had a better idea of how it all works than when I first started in countertops. But I didn’t know the full scope of what JobTracker could do – and I probably still don’t have a comprehensive vision of everything, but I have a better understanding of how it can help us. I know that if, and when, we do want to grow, there are options within Moraware to help us out with that process.”

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Advanced Reporting

Last week, I shared a Reporting Overview video. That overview video showed what Reports can and can’t do, but it didn’t get into the specific details of how to create reports.

If you want to dig deeper into creating reports in JobTracker, watch this Advanced Reporting training video. This video explains each of the reporting options and explains how to make some specific Reports that many fabricators find useful.

After watching this training video, you’ll understand the power and flexibility of JobTracker Reporting and be well on your way to making useful Reports of your own in JobTracker.

Training: Advanced Reporting

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