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How 3D Machine Streamlined Engineering Handoff with StartProto's Documentation System

Facing growth-related challenges, 3D Machine employed StartProto's workflow management system. This enabled improved visibility into operations, replacing old methods with efficient platforms. Consequently, efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction increased, allowing the company to manage more jobs and maintain quality service.

Enterprise Plan
Precision 5-axis Machine Shop, Aerospace
Powder Springs, Georgia
3D Machine
The Challenge

As 3D Machine grew, managing inventory, quotes, and orders became challenging. The lack of order visibility hindered operators, impacting delivery times and customer satisfaction. To address these issues, the company adopted StartProto, a system for managing machine shop workflow and scheduling.

The Solution

By providing operators with clear visibility into their workload, replacing outdated spreadsheets, and improving purchasing and materials management, StartProto enabled the company to take on more jobs and grow their business while maintaining high levels of quality and customer service.

The Results
  • 35% capacity increase
  • A centralized platform to tack on time delivery and monitor performance
  • Part history and planning to enable proactive support on Jobs


3D Machine was facing significant challenges as the company continued to grow. Managing inventory, quotes, and orders using traditional methods became increasingly difficult, and the lack of visibility into order information made it nearly impossible for operators to efficiently manage their workload. As a result, the company struggled to meet delivery times and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.That's when 3D Machine turned to StartProto, a dedicated system for managing machine shop workflow and scheduling.

Sam Roberts and Greg Richardson, the owners of the shop based in Powder Springs, Georgia, are true examples of hard work and dedication. They started out as a few manual machinists and continued to improve their skills day by day to become CNC machinists, programmers, and product development consultants. Through their perseverance and resilience, they have transformed their small shop into a place that can handle projects that range from very small to large parts (up to 30,000 lbs). Their work includes tool and dies, fixtures for manufacturing, hydroform blocks, nuclear/hydro power generation, prototypes, medical parts, packaging equipment, and more. Having been around for over 20 years Greg and Sam were ready to take the next step in growing their business.

Ineffective job tracking

The company, a versatile job shop handling diverse tasks like turning, milling, and five-axis machining, grappled with a critical issue: ineffective job tracking. Traditional methods, relying on paper blueprints with minimal information, proved unreliable. Crucial details like due dates and subsequent processes resided solely in the memories of staff, leading to frequent miscommunication. This resulted in lost parts, scheduling delays, and production errors.

Trouble Tacking Assemblies 

Further complicating matters was the company's reliance on a blend of off-the-shelf parts with lead times and in-house manufactured components for the Tool and Die work. While their machining capabilities were efficient, a lack of proactive ordering for external parts created bottlenecks. Even if internal machining was on schedule, delays in acquiring external components stalled the assembly process.

In an attempt to improve the organization, the company experimented with Excel-based systems. However, these efforts proved equally ineffective. Documents were easily misplaced and the ability to track everything neatly was limited, hindering visibility into job progress. Again, crucial information remained siloed, creating communication gaps and halting progress.

Working with StartProto

Recognizing the need for change,  3D Machine turned to StartProto, a manufacturing execution system mixed with material resource planning software that is tailored to address the intricate needs of modern manufacturing environments. StartProto's solution was designed to be intuitive, scalable, and inclusive of features that directly addressed the challenges 3D Machine was experiencing. When the 3D Machine implemented StartProto, they were able to see improvements right away.

It provided a centralized platform for managing all aspects of production, fostering transparency and real-time visibility. From prioritizing tasks based on importance to tracking program completion, material ordering, and receiving, StartProto streamlined the entire workflow.

  • Prioritized Scheduling: With StartProto, 3D Machine could now prioritize job scheduling with ease, ensuring that critical tasks were addressed promptly and efficiently.
  • Material Order Visibility: The platform provided a transparent view into whether materials were ordered, reducing the risk of delays and improving project timelines.
  • Scalability for Growth: Perhaps most importantly, StartProto offered a solution that scaled with the company's growth. It supported the expansion of operations without the previous constraints imposed by outdated systems.
  • Ease of Use: StartProto's user-friendly interface meant that the team could adapt quickly, minimizing the learning curve and enhancing productivity.


With the help of StartProto, the company was able to completely transform its operations and achieve significant improvements in efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. One of the most significant benefits of using StartProto was the ability to provide operators with clear visibility into their workload. Instead of relying on assumptions or constant interruptions to management, operators were able to simply check their kiosk, phone, or iPad for their next assignment. This streamlined the entire process and allowed operators to focus on their work, increasing productivity and throughput.

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