Mastercam Reseller Profile – Q&A with CAD/CAM CONSULTING SERVICES
Since 1993, CAD/CAM CONSULTING SERVICES, INC. (CCCS), has been a trusted Mastercam Reseller, providing reliable technical support to the aerospace and automotive component manufacturers, and general job shops in Southern California. The company once held the position of number one ranked Reseller in America for a streak of ten consecutive years.
Except for administrative staff, each of the support employees comes from a machining background and has the real-world experience that makes CCCS’s services valuable to programmers. In the following Q&A with CCCS founder Tom Shelar, you will gain valuable insight into the company’s long-term success.
Q. What Mastercam services do you offer customers?
A. We do sales support and training. On the support side, we obviously do phone calls, but we also use GoToMeeting software and do on-site visits so we can interact with the customers and their machines.
Our training program is given in either of our two locations: the corporate office in Newbury Park, California, or the branch office in Anaheim, California. We’re training anywhere from 20 to 30 students every week, but we break up our training cycle to one day a week for about five weeks. We want to get people up to speed on a system without pulling them away from their business for three days in a row. This also gives them a chance to retain what they’ve been taught and put it into practice before they come back for the next session. We don’t want them to be overwhelmed.
Of all the training we provide, the core classes are really the ones that shine. We try to teach our students to understand what the software is thinking, what the software is looking for. Those fundamentals give them the ability to attack any problems. The capabilities of the product have opened doors for them.
Q. What’s the latest or most exciting customer application you have?
A. Recently, we’ve been helping a large Aerospace company with subcontract programming. The biggest problem we saw with them was converting them from a different system to Mastercam. Our capabilities are the biggest thing that sets us apart from our competitors. We have hands-on people that are from machine shops. Every person on staff that has anything to do with product support and/or service has come from a machining background. They know the pain that the programmers go through and they know how to use the software to solve real-world problems.
Q. What’s your favorite feature in Mastercam?
A. Probably the one I like the most is Port Expert because I deal a lot with the automotive and racing industries for cylinder head work. Its ease of use allows the creation of complex 5 axis toolpaths faster and easier than any other product that I have seen. It delivers toolpaths that I know are safe and accurate within tight constraints.
Q. What are you looking forward to?
A. We’ve got the new product release rolling out within the next 30 days. It’s enhancing the product and putting in more and more automation. With the improvements in model-based definitions, external or internal design data will present and Mastercam will understand if a hole is just drilled, or drilled and tapped, or if it also requires other operations to satisfy the design specifications. It will basically allow Mastercam to automatically know what those holes need to meet the design specifications allowing the creation of the toolpaths required to manufacture the part.
Q. What are some challenges/opportunities you find that are unique to your region?
A. The challenge of this region is the competitiveness. We have three developers of competitive products within 20 minutes of our corporate office, but over the years we’ve outsold them two to one in our area because of our product and the abilities of our staff. Mastercam is the most widely taught and used product in the industry. These capabilities have allowed us to handle anything that’s thrown at us. Other companies offer software that will cost customers more money in the long run. Our company motto is, “What do you want to make today?” Mastercam is the reason we can make that happen for our customers.
Q. What are some unique issues that you can solve as a local support hub for Mastercam?
A. Logistics is one of them. We sell in a fairly large territory with lots of people. With two locations we are able to go out and service customers personally this makes a huge difference. We constantly have new companies coming into our territory and trying to erode our market, but we hold onto our market share with the way we provide support.
Q. Do you sell any other products besides Mastercam?
A. We do sell other products in the sense that they’re auxiliary products to Mastercam. NC SIMUL Machine, simulation software is something we picked up recently to help customers verify their g-code directly. We also have the Verisurf product which runs inside the Mastercam environment for inspection. We have Moldlus® for Mastercam which allows you to process mold-based work. Those are the main ones, but Mastercam is definitely our core product and our main focus. We don’t stray very far from it.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like people to know about your company?
A. It really comes down to the people that you surround yourself with— your staff and their ability to interact with customers. My staff and I know how to do basically any type of machining. If there’s one person that’s struggling, there’s usually someone on staff that knows what’s going on with it. It’s made a big difference for me and our customers.
We are sad to report that since this interview, Tom passed away. The leadership of CCCS is now in the capable hands of his son, Patrick Shelar. Our Mastercam family lost a legend, but we are thrilled to see such a promising leader come on board and take the helm at his family business. Patrick stepped up earlier than anticipated, in difficult circumstances—all while completing his Ph.D. in molecular biology and expanding the company’s territory in Southern California to include San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Patrick shared the following with us about these changes and the very bright future of the company his father started:
“My dad started CAD/CAM CONSULTING twenty-seven years ago. He understood the value of making real connections with people and running a family business. Since coming on board, I’ve received wonderful support from Mastercam, from the incredibly knowledgeable and hardworking people working here at CCCS, and from our amazing customers and contacts in the manufacturing industry.
When we discussed the possibility of me coming to work for my dad, he told me that when the time came, I would be welcomed with open arms. Everyone in this industry has proven him exactly right.
From day one, the staff at CAD/CAM CONSULTING, took me under their wing. They’ve been very generous with their time and with their knowledge. The same can be said for the people at Mastercam corporate. Like CCCS, Mastercam is a family business from the ground up—our whole network exists from making real connections and sharing a passion for what we do.
It was great for me to visit Mastercam headquarters. I got the opportunity to tour the campus and meet a lot of people that knew my dad for a very long time. I received some truly incredible guidance, got to spend time with some great people, and heard some nice stories about my dad—a lot of which I had never heard before.
It means everything to connect with people on a personal level and continue the work that my dad was so passionate about. Manufacturing in California is diverse and exciting, and this industry has in fact welcomed me with open arms. I’m lucky to have such a strong team around me as we sustain and build everything my dad started. The support has been tremendous.”
We expect continued success for the incredible team of people at CCCS and the manufacturing community they support in Southern California. For more information about the company, visit www.cad-cam.com.
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