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Paul Van Metre on Manufacturing Mavericks
Episode #007

If It Wasn’t For A Car Magazine…

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Paul Van Metre is the co-founder of ProShop ERP and a true Manufacturing Maverick. Listen in as he talks with Greg McHale about some of the serendipitous moments that completely changed the course of his life and fueled his passion for manufacturing. Some examples include how his Mom saving a car magazine got him into machining, how a random lab partner assignment on his first day of school turned into a 30+ year collaboration, and why a customer’s dream of building a basketball court for his kids helped launched ProShop ERP. Paul’s love of manufacturing and the people who work in it drives him to help make “the hardest business in the world” a little easier. It shows in the hashtag he started #ThankaMachinist

In this episode, you’ll learn: 

  • Reading an article in a car magazine sparked Paul’s love for manufacturing and a move across the country (3:39) 
  • Trying to start a car company right out of college that turned into a machine shop (10:03) 
  • Advice for finding customers. Hint, it starts with a nice shirt (15:14) 
  • Diversification helped Paul’s machine shop thrive for 17 years (17:37) 
  • 9/11 and finding a path from being days away from bankruptcy back to triple-digit growth (19:52)
  • Trying to go paperless on the shop floor when monitors weighed 50 pounds (22:03) 
  • A customer’s desire to build a basketball court in his backyard plays a pivotal role in the creation of ProShop ERP (30:59) 
  • The first software customer in 2009 was able to transform their late order list from 10 pages to less than one and turn off the old ERP after 3 weeks. (33:26) 
  • The book Paul recommends to everyone who is good at something and wants to start their own business (38:49) 
  • Why he started #ThankaMachinist (46:33) 
  • The advice he gives his younger self (49:45)

“Little did we realize that the machining business is the hardest business in the world, it is the most complicated, the most cash intensive, the most slim margins, with a million things that can go wrong, and everything has to go right to make your quoted margin on a job.”

—Paul Van Metre, Proshop Co-Founders

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