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Loper Machine Leverages StartProto for ITAR Compliant Cloud Manufacturing Software

Loper Machine, an aerospace job shop, started in 2017 as a part-time venture and has since grown into a successful business. Transitioning from basic tools like Google and spreadsheets to a more advanced and organized system with StartProto has significantly streamlined their operations.

ITAR
Enterprise Plan
CNC Machine Shop, ITAR
Edgewood, MD
Loper Machine
The Challenge
  • Managing operations part-time while juggling full-time jobs.
  • Quoting jobs accurately was difficult with basic tools like Google and self-made documents.
  • The growing business demanded more sophisticated technology and better organization to handle increasing workloads and client expectations.

The Solution
  • An organized system to manage quotes, track job statuses, and keep all data in one place.
  • Enhanced support and a smooth transition facilitated by StartProto's team, including on-site training for their staff.
  • Advanced technology to replace outdated methods, ensuring efficiency and scalability.

The Results
  • Improved organization and efficiency in managing shop operations.
  • Enhanced ability to track job statuses and streamline quoting processes.
  • Significant support and training from StartProto, leading to a smooth transition and better utilization of the new system.

Background

Who is Alex Loper?

Alex Loper is a passionate machinist and co-owner of Loper Machine, an aerospace job shop. His journey into the world of machining began at a young age, driven by a love for the craft and a desire for more control over the parts he was creating. Alex’s dedication and hard work have been key factors in his success.

Why Did He Get Into Machining?

Alex’s entry into machining was somewhat serendipitous. At the age of 23, he started working at Stanley Black & Decker, where he quickly fell in love with the industry. "I just loved machining," Alex recalls. The intricate dance of the machines, the precision required, and the satisfaction of creating something tangible captivated him. His early experiences with manual machines, guided by skilled mentors, laid a solid foundation for his future endeavors.

Why Did Alex Start His Own Shop?

Despite enjoying his work at Stanley Black & Decker, Alex felt a ceiling looming over his growth. He wanted more control over the parts he was producing and a greater say in the processes. This desire for autonomy and a chance conversation with his brother-in-law, Kevin Molinsky, sparked the idea of starting their own shop. Kevin’s faith in Alex’s abilities and their shared vision led them to co-found Loper Machine in 2017. "I wanted to have more control over the parts that I was doing and the parts that I was making," Alex explains.

What Kind of Work Does Alex's Shop Do?

Loper Machine specializes in high-precision parts for aerospace and medical applications. From components that travel to space to intricate medical parts, their work requires the highest standards of accuracy and quality. Initially, they handled quoting and operations with basic tools and self-made spreadsheets, but as their business grew, so did the complexity and volume of their work.

What Kind of Team Helped Alex Get to Where He Is Today?

The growth of Loper Machine is a testament to the power of a dedicated team. Alex’s journey has been supported by his co-owner and brother-in-law, Kevin Molinsky, who brought a wealth of experience from his background in construction and facilities engineering. Courtney Loper, Alex’s wife, played a crucial role in managing the business side, supported by her mother and brother. This family-centric team created a strong foundation, complemented by skilled machinists and enthusiastic interns who shared Alex’s vision and dedication.

Why Does Alex Use StartProto?

The turning point for Loper Machine came when they adopted StartProto, a comprehensive manufacturing software solution. Before StartProto, Alex and his team relied on disjointed tools and self-made spreadsheets, which made managing operations and quoting challenging as the business grew. StartProto offered an organized system that brought everything into one place, streamlining their operations and allowing them to track job statuses efficiently. Alex notes, "Just like in machining, we don't want to bring in old technology; we want to bring in new technology for our shop."

The support from StartProto was another critical factor. "The fact that you guys came out here for four days to transition us over and teach our staff has been awesome," Alex says. The hands-on training ensured a smooth transition and maximized the benefits of the new system. With StartProto, Alex could monitor job statuses from his computer, whether he was programming a new job or quoting something new, making his management tasks significantly more efficient.

Conclusion

Alex Loper’s story is one of passion, hard work, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. From a modest beginning in 2017, Loper Machine has grown into a successful aerospace job shop, thanks to Alex’s vision, a dedicated team, and the right tools like StartProto. Their journey underscores the importance of innovation, support, and a strong team in turning dreams into reality. Today, Loper Machine continues to thrive, embodying the values of quality, integrity, and innovation that Alex holds dear.

In the beginning, Loper Machine faced significant challenges due to its part-time nature and reliance on basic software tools. Quoting jobs was done on the fly, and managing operations required considerable effort and time. The transition to StartProto marked a turning point for the business. StartProto provided an affordable and comprehensive solution that streamlined their operations, brought everything into one place, and supported their growth with advanced technology. The on-site training and support from StartProto's team were crucial in ensuring a smooth transition and efficient use of the new system.

Conclusion

Loper Machine's transition to StartProto has been a game-changer, helping them move from disorganized and outdated methods to a streamlined and efficient operation. With StartProto's support, they can now manage their growing business more effectively, ensuring better organization, tracking, and overall efficiency.

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