Stepcraft: If You Can Think It, You Can Make It.

USA Headquarters: Torrington, Connecticut
Number of Employees: 50+ ​

Industry: Manufacture and Sell CNC Machines

Apps Implemented: Sales, Purchase, Inventory, Manufacturing, CRM, Website, Discuss, Calendar, Contact, ​Marketing Automation, Notes, Sign, Helpdesk, Repairs, Accounting, B​arcode, Project, Timesheets, Email Marketing, Surveys, Employees, Dashboards, Apps, Settings.

The Machine to Build Everything

What’s the adult version of Legos? The closest thing would probably be a machine that lets you build anything you can imagine. Stepcraft creates that machine.

Stepcraft manufactures desktop to production grade CNC machines. CNC, or Computer Numerical Control, machines take digitized data, which are then controlled using a computer and a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) program that automates and monitors the movements of the machine. These machines have a number of uses, from milling and carving wood and plastics, to laser engraving, drag knife cutting, and rotary machining. Stepcraft’s primary market was hobbyists and home users. They now have products for small business use, educational institutions, and recently developed a new product line specifically for industrial users.

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Stepcraft's most popular sized machine - the D420

Stepcraft's Start

Stepcraft was founded in Germany by Peter Urban & Markus Wedel in 2012. Erick Royer met them in 2014 when they were looking at starting the U.S. division of the company. Royer was looking for a change and Stepcraft’s founders were looking for somebody to manage the company’s U.S. branch. As a result of  Royer’s fortuitous meeting, he started Stepcraft out of the basement of his house in 2014. Stepcraft launched in the U.S. market with a Kickstarter campaign that earned over a half a million dollars in sales.

Since starting in the United States in 2014, Stepcraft has gone through 4 expansions and is now currently manufacturing their new production line of CNC machines here as well as in Germany. As a result, the company quickly needed a way of controlling and tracking their inventory. There was no solid inventory control system to manage hundreds of SKU numbers (they used to have only a few dozen). To add to their mounting headaches, Stepcraft had its CRM and contacts maintained in a Wordpress site’s backend, which was very cumbersome. While the company used Zoho for its business, it became apparent that the software didn’t talk with the rest of the programs resulting in duplicate information. The website soon got slower and slower as the company grew.Royer’s business partner said he needed to find an ERP system for the company, so he started searching around, but the cost of most ERPs was astronomical for the fledgling branch. Royer then discovered Odoo via a blog post that he found on Google, which prompted him to visit Odoo’s website and there he learned Odoo was a much lower cost of entry. The first app he used was Website, then Sales, Contacts, CRM, Inventory, and finally Helpdesk (Stepcraft  used to be on Zoho desk).

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Stepcraft's Demo Facility.

The process of implementation was much more daunting than the actual experience. “The software is so powerful though and there is so much it can do for your company. Everyday we use it.” says Royer, “It cut down on our mistakes, inventory control mistakes, order fulfillment mistakes, the thing is when you have one integrated system it just works incredibly.” Stepcraft now uses the Repairs app to keep track of customer repairs, switched entirely over to Odoo Accounting for finances, and even maintains their website in Odoo (they worked with a developer familiar with the Odoo platform to customize it). Now, aside from email programs, Stepcraft doesn’t use any external software to run the business.

“Odoo always works. There’s never down time, it’s been 100%,” Royer says. There were problems with Stepcraft’s Wordpress site and had sleepless nights trying to get it back up. Royer is very pleased with his support rep at Odoo. “99% of the time when I can’t do something, I go to my customer support rep and she tells me how. I think Odoo has helped us optimize our weekly man hours.” says Erick. Stepcraft has been able to optimize their support department as well as improve efficiencies throughout the company. The company is also using the Helpdesk app now. At this point Erick says, “I can’t even imagine how we would work without Odoo.”

One Machine, Endless Possibilities

Stepcraft’s customers are using their products in so many different ways. One customer makes custom orthotics for shoes, similar to Dr. Scholl’s. This customer gets impressions of the foot and then scans it to create a custom insole for shoes. Another customer, through the use of weather balloons, can take a company’s product or logo and launch it into space for marketing purposes; they use a Stepcraft machine to make lots of parts for that. One couple started a business making custom flip flops. They use CNC manufacturing to make a message or logo that is on the bottom of the flip flop so that it makes impressions in the sand as they walk. Another Stepcraft customer makes custom chocolate bars. She uses logos to make molds and creates promotional chocolate bars. Yet another customer, who used to work for Hasbro, made the point-of-sale displays for toys at toy stores. Now he and his son run their own business from their home creating these custom displays.

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A Stepcraft client used their machine to create the carbon fiber parts for this truck.

Stepcraft’s mission is “Bringing CNC manufacturing capabilities to everyone: Home, business, and schools.” Royer loves his customers and loves teaching people how to use CNC machines. He is excited when he gets to introduce his tech to people that didn’t know it existed. He says, “The best day is when I show them how to make something they’ve always wanted to make.”

Everyone at Stepcraft has the same mission to take care of the customer. Royer says he considers his team at Stepcraft a part of this family, whether or not they are directly related to him. Lots of his immediate family is involved at Stepcraft too. His son has been working with him since he started and helped with assembling the machines in the states.

“Odoo always works. There’s never down time, it’s been 100%.”

Erick Royer, Executive Director of Stepcraft USA

Stepcraft Next Steps

“I see it as a very growth-oriented industry, we’re always trying to find new people to get involved with CNC.” says Royer. CNC is instrumental at making cost of ownership more affordable. If, for example, a couple is interested in scrapbooking or woodworking, Royer can introduce them to a machine they both can use by adding attachments to the machine. This is a machine that you can take a step further than legos; you can make your own lego pieces! If you have children you could buy them a cnc and then they can make whatever they want. Royer says his daughters also love using the machines. There’s even a youtube video of them creating a light up Eiffel tower using Stepcraft.

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Erick’s daughter, Abby, is working on a project to decorate her bedroom. .

In terms of future growth for Stepcraft, they are always trying to expand the product line. The company sticks with educational trends and tries to get people more interested in home manufacturing. It seems there is no end for where Stepcraft could go, especially as they involve younger generations. As Royer says,“This tech is good because CNC is not going away; it’s growing and expanding. Get kids involved and then they’ll have a skillset they can take away with them forever.” 

About Stepcraft

Stepcraft is among the international market leaders in the field of multifunction CNC systems. Beyond that, they  develop, produce and distribute different system-guided tools, such as the HF Spindle, Laser, 3D Printing Head, and the Drag Knife.

Download a free ebook, How to Start a Business Using a Stepcraft, which has been downloaded over 20k times worldwide. Think It, Make It is their company podcast. Check out their Youtube and Facebook.

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