Mastercam Reseller Profile – Q&A with In-House Solutions

In-House Solutions recently marked 30 years of success as a software solutions provider for manufacturing needs. Since 1988, the company has provided support to Canadian aerospace, mining, tool and die, automotive, maritime, and oil and gas industries.

Joining CNC Software, Inc. President and CEO Meghan West and Regional Sales Manager for North America Doug Nemeth, each of In-House Solutions’ four offices, located in Cambridge, Ontario; Surrey, British Columbia; Mississauga, Ontario; and Montreal, Quebec, took part in the celebrations.

West noted, “In-House Solutions has been one of our strongest, most loyal, and longest partners. They lift us up and push us to do better.”

Since its founding, In-House Solutions has consistently won awards for sales performance including placements in the top 5 and top 10 North American Sales Honor Roll, posting the largest sales increase in North America, placing in the top 5 in International Sales, and winning Dealer of the Year among other accolades.

The company’s excellent reputation results from a strict set of priorities established from the very beginning. Read on to learn how Chairman and Director Ed House, Vice President of Operations Alison House, and Technical Sales Manager Dave Mitchell explain their formula for success.

What Mastercam services do you offer customers?

Alison: Our main services include on-site implementation, training, and technical support. We do have our own training facilities across Canada, but we’ll also go train on-site.

Dave: We offer contract programming and reverse-engineering, too. The contract programming is basically when a customer doesn’t have the capability to make a certain part, so we’ll come in and provide the programming they need to make that part complete in the timeline they have. After the programming is done, we can provide some training and ways to increase the efficiency in their shop. We have full-time support in three of our offices, and we also have several technicians out on the road working out of each office. We can send them out to assist and to do installations and training.

Alison: We have a few application technicians who have been with us for 20 plus years. So, the skill level we have varies from junior all the way up to some of the most senior in the Mastercam community around the world.

Ed: We’ve always been very customer-oriented. We pride ourselves on being problem-solvers in terms of machining and CNC software in general. A lot of the people who work at In-House Solutions are from machine shops and that’s on purpose. They know what’s going on in the shop. I’ve always wanted the CNC machine shops to feel that In-House Solutions was their own CAD/CAM department.

What’s the latest or most exciting customer application you have?

Dave: We have quite a diverse customer base. We have a customer that does reverse-engineering and robotic milling for limestone, marble, and granite architectural features. They’ll scan a hand-carved stone wall, and then they’ll use a robot and Mastercam to mill that profile and reengineer that original surface.

What’s your favorite feature in Mastercam?

Dave: My favorite feature would be Dynamic Motion technology. I was recently working with a cutting tool supplier, and they were having problems machining a part for a customer. They were cutting 13-8 stainless steel 40hrc, and during machining they were having premature failure machining the part conventionally, so they called us in. We used some of the Dynamic toolpaths, and we cut this material with no problem. It’s a pretty unique process that not every CAM package has, so I think Mastercam is definitely the leader there. []

Dynamic is something that you have to prove to a customer. Watching the video, it looks impressive, but if you can go to a shop and demonstrate on their own machines using their own tooling that this will save them time and money and really speed up the efficiency of their shop, then they buy in really quick.

What are you looking forward to?

Dave: Times are really good. Customers are busy, so we’re just continuing to support them as much as we can while this boom lasts.

Alison: We have a lot of existing Mastercam customers across Canada, so it’s just ensuring that they continue to feel supported by us and that we keep training and helping to increase efficiency across the board. Our main focus is supporting our existing customers.

What are some challenges/opportunities you find that are unique to your region?

Dave: Some of the challenge is competing against subscription-based software. To some of the smaller shops, it looks really appetizing, because it doesn’t cost a lot upfront. The opportunity we’re finding, though, with such a skilled tech department, is that we can support our product so much better. We have a support person that’s local for customers to call and get ahold of, and we have techs on the road that we can send out anytime. Some of the other CAM software groups, they just don’t have that presence here.

What are some unique issues that you can solve as a local support hub for Mastercam?

Dave: We can go on-site. We can bring laptops. We can sit down and do training with them right there, hands-on with their parts. We can go out to the machine and do test cuts.

Say the customer has recently purchased a machine and doesn’t have a lot of experience with it. We’ve got specialists with 20 years of experience that can go out there and show them how to set up the machine and how to program their parts.

Also, in Canada, we’re seeing a decline of skilled programmers. So Mastercam’s become more and more important.

The more people we train, the more people are out there in the industry using the product. And there’s a steady flow of people looking for Mastercam programmers here. Twenty years ago, when I was going through my apprenticeship and I wanted to learn a CAM package, Mastercam was really the only option if you wanted to go anywhere in your career.

Alison: From the software side, Mastercam has had a solid reputation in Canada since the beginning. We have partnerships with most of the educational institutions in the area, so a lot of the graduating students are knowledgeable in Mastercam. Just from a hiring perspective, Mastercam is a lot more used and well known.

Do you sell any other products besides Mastercam?

Alison: We develop custom post processors internally and sell direct in Canada and through the Mastercam Reseller channel internationally. We develop training material like Mastercam training tutorials and e-courses that we sell to industry and educational institutions. We also offer CIMCOEdit (CIMCO Integration) and Verisurf (Verisurf Software).

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