Mastercam Reseller Profile – Q&A with Axsys Incorporated (Part 2)

This is part two of a Reseller Q&A with Axsys, Inc. To read the first installment of this conversation click here.

What is your favorite feature in Mastercam?
To me, the biggest valued-added feature is Dynamic Motion technology. It shows leadership in the market and proves that technology is advancing, not stagnant. With this technology, not only can you increase production and reduce cost, a customer does not necessarily have to invest in new equipment. Customers can use their current equipment with Mastercam and see a minimum of a 10 to 20 percent increase in efficiency—the typical increase a shop owner wants to see to justify an investment in his or her business. That’s an exciting feature for me.

What are you looking forward to?
It would be completion of comprehensive Mill-Turn software for complex mill-turn machines. This opens up a new market for us. As we move forward, we see a saturation the market in terms of traditional milling and turning solutions. As a result, to achieve significant growth we’ve got to look for something new that enables us to pursue an application or market that we previously haven’t been able to penetrate. That’s the biggest thing I’m looking forward to. Outside of that, I’d love to see core technology advancements to allow faster processing and simplification of the user experience.

What are some challenges that are unique to your region?

I don’t think Michigan is any different than other places from the standpoint of how we generate sales, but our challenge is trying to find more applications. Serving automotive companies means we have to present solutions that are effective in a variety of manifesting disciplines such as: mold, dies, fixtures, and discrete parts utilizing a host of different machine tools.

For example, if an automaker wants to build a door panel, the completed panel also needs a variety of molds, fabric, switches, electrical components, etc. The automotive company may give its production, as a “package” to another company or do all or part of it themselves.

In the case of a plastic part, like a door panel, the door panel goes to a plastic company (customer molder) that builds or buys molds from a tool builder, acquires material, paints, assembles, and inspects the door. The molds may be outsourced depending on size to one or more mold shops. The door panel gets parted out. For its next project, the automaker might do it all and use its own suppliers.

The real challenge is that suppliers have disappeared, because in the last 12 or so years, they’ve lost automotive business. They have either gone out of business or moved their operations south or out of the country. The resultant work was absorbed by large suppliers who then had excess capacity. This results in less opportunities with many competitive software distributors and direct sales forces vying for the business.

Another side-effect of the loss of automotive-related manufacturing is the decision of community colleges and other institutions to scale back or eliminate manufacturing programs which presents a challenge as when the current favorable economic conditions present new sales opportunities (as we are experiencing today), we find it difficult (and sometimes impossible) to fully capitalize on the opportunity. This is because much of the experienced labor force has relocated out of state with little “new blood” coming out of school as replacements to operate newly purchased machines and software.

One of the largest opportunities in our market is in mold and die shops that do large intricate work and currently have many seats of competitive CAM software (often more than one) to address their large 3- to 5-axis, 2 dimensional, EDM, and lathe operations. Many of these shops, have funds and are looking to reduce operating costs and standardize on one or two CAD/CAM applications. These businesses would potentially purchase many seats of software presenting a large software, training, and service revenue opportunity for us.

We have a challenge to grow our presence and our revenue in this vertical market by addressing their large, complex work. That’s what is exciting about going into these new opportunities and introducing them to Dynamic Motion technology. The challenge is to get them off their current system and show them that they can get a significant performance and resulting profitability increase with Mastercam while enjoying the benefits of a large pool of programmers to choose from—likely at a significantly lower cost per hour. The challenge being our ability to effectively manage and process large data sets and provide the surface finishes and editing capabilities they are enjoying with their current solutions.

Join us for the conclusion of this Reseller Q&A.