Month: January 2020

Homestead Cabinet & Furniture Custom, Discovers how to reduce material and labor costs

homestead cabinet and furniture logo

Homestead Cabinet & Furniture

Custom, High-end Cabinet Manufacturer discovers how to reduce material and labor costs using existing design/engineering software and equipment.

Homestead Cabinet & Furniture is a high-end custom cabinet shop located in Hyrum, Utah. Almost everything Homestead sells goes to prestigious interior designers. Homestead jobs are custom and almost every cabinet is different – they don’t produce the same cabinet over and over and over again

homestead finished kitchen

Until last year, Homestead had ongoing challenges keeping everything organized on the production floor along with delivering orders to their dealers without any missing parts.

Homestead uses Microvellum software for cabinet design their manufacturing process uses CNC-based, nested CNC routers to cut out all of a specific job’s parts, nesting them in such a way that it kept all of the parts for a given cabinet near one another

Homestead’s cutout guys would spend a lot of time making sure the parts were organized cabinet by cabinet, and the edge banding guys would do the same thing, trying to keep them organized before passing them on to the assembly guys.

Because Homestead was using nesting for part and job organization vs for material optimization, they were using a lot more material than they actually needed to use. Homestead cutout and edge-banding guys were also spending a lot of extra time just keeping track of parts.

Despite all of their best attempts at staying organized during production, Homestead found that assembly staff still spent anywhere between 40 and 60% of their time just looking for stuff that was missing. They also had a lot of difficulty making sure that all of the products made it onto the right trailer. This caused issues with dealers regarding shipping.

In late 2018, early 2019, Homestead decided to add RSA Solution’s Production Coach software to see if it could improve their production and delivery processes. Here is what Homestead experienced, as told by Caleb Carpenter, a Homestead Cabinet & Furniture manager.

“I’m one of the managers at Homestead Cabinet & Furniture in Hyrum, Utah. My particular role in the company is that I focus on process and facility improvement, which is part of why Production Coach caught my eye in the first place. I first ran into it at a technology conference two years ago.

homestead cabinet and furniture finished kitchen dark wood

We installed Production Coach a little under a year ago and one of the first things we did, is we added a sorting area into our process just ahead of assembly. Now, our cutout and edge-banding guys don’t care at all what order they do the parts, because it actually allows them to organize parts by type instead of by cabinet.

It also means that we can nest parts for material efficiency instead of for job organization and that’s actually saved us on an average job, somewhere between one and two sheets of material which adds up very fast.

The sorting area makes organizing and sorting all the parts really quick and easy. We now make sure that we never start building a cabinet until all the parts are accounted for, and on the rare occasion that parts are missing, it makes it much easier tracking them down because parts are tracked from station to station.

So, it’s easy to look up where a part was last and figure out where it is now. The time our guys spend looking for parts has dropped by over half.

Also, the use of packing lists in our shipping area has made our shipping much more reliable. All those conversations with dealers about things that hadn’t been shipped basically don’t happen anymore because we always have the paperwork, too. We have the system and we have the record of the part being scanned and loaded onto the truck. And, between these two things, particularly the sorting area before assembly and the use of packing lists and shipping, have made a huge difference for Homestead.

homestead cabinet and furnuture kichen with island

Because we’re as complex as we are, we’ve ended up having to ask for a number of development requests from RSA Solutions and in particular, right off the bat, this was because of a particular quirk in how we use Microvellum.

RSA Solutions developed an entirely new feature within Production Coach to allow us to continue using Microvellum the way we always had been which fits the way we work.

Since we installed Production Coach, Homestead has had record-setting months of profitability.

Production Coach - 360 view of facrtory operation

Franklin Building Supply – Keeping Track of Parts

franklin-building-supply-logo

Production Coach Case Study:
Franklin Building Supply Keeping Track of Parts

when some of them are outsourced and need 3rd party processing

Franklin Building Supply was founded in 1976 in Boise, ID and has 17 locations throughout Idaho and Nevada. Franklin is a vertically oriented company, supplying building materials as well as owning and operating two truss plants, a custom door plant along with several design centers, where it designs and manufactures cabinets and offers a number of residential, interior finish products. Franklin processes about 70,000 wood parts per day.

franklin-building-supply-kitchen

Franklin Building Supply was looking for something that would help them keep track of parts, not from a sorting perspective, but rather from a finished part perspective. Franklin’s design business does a lot of panel processing and has a third party do all of the finishing of those parts in addition to doing the finishing on parts that they outsource.

Bryant Jones, General Manager of Franklin’s Cabinet Divisions says, “We move lots of custom parts. We send them out of our facility into another facility, getting them finished and then having them brought back to us, while some outsourced parts are shipped to that same finisher and then brought back to us at the same time so that we can assemble and ship.”

“We were struggling with getting all the parts that needed to be finished, along with the outsourced products that also needed to be finished, to our finishing vendor at the same time and then getting everything back here in time to go through final assembly. That struggle caused problems in our assembly process as well as out into our shipping process, where we prioritize an ‘OTIF’ (On time in Full Delivery) so that installation goes smoothly and customers are happy.”

Franklin found that installers were extremely frustrated because they didn’t have the completed products they needed to do their job and that missing parts was a problem that was creating chaos in their entire organization. They kept hiring extra people, trying – and failing – to manage the chaos, and so Jones and other managers were looking for something to help them. They were looking for a solution that would keep track of all the parts no matter where they originated or happened to be in the manufacturing process. Jones says they were looking for something that would tell them:

  • Did everything make it to our finishing vendor?
  • Did everything make it back, including outsourced parts like crown moulding and cabinet doors?
  • Was assembly completed?
  • Did everything make it on the truck?”

“No matter how many people we had working on this, we couldn’t seem to get it right. This was extremely challenging, especially considering that we were growing really fast as a company.”

Jones and Franklin Building Supply first heard about Production Coach at IWF Atlanta in 2016. They decided to try it out and so moved forward with integration in early 2017.

“Our focus on the initial install was that we just wanted to be able to have a list, scanning when we’re shipping parts out and receiving parts in, and then for loading the truck and making sure that everything shipped when it was supposed to. Within a couple days, it was actually quite impressive.”

Franklin was able to use its Cabinet Vision program to create the list and then use that same list in Production Coach on the front end. Jones says that, “It’s had a huge effect on our ability to really manage all of our parts, all the way down to fast caps and shelf pins – and every item you can imagine – we have figured out how to get all of the parts we use on that list and itemize them as well. It’s had a huge impact on our financial success and our team environment – now everyone knows what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Today, when you look at our system, it’s a rarity that we don’t ship a cabinet job in full.”

Franklin has also seen a tremendous improvement in lead times. Before Production Coach was integrated, Jones says that, “We were running lead times that were eight ten twelve weeks out and then still struggling to have them complete.” After Production Coach was installed, and Franklin experienced such great part-tracking success, they decided to onboard the Calendar feature in Production Coach. “We’ve been able to define capacity and say, here’s the process and this is what everybody should be doing. Today, we’ve got three-week lead times that we can hit with no problem, even at a much higher production volume than when we first started with this software.”

Jones says that Production Coach has not only improved OTIF and shortened lead times, but it’s also allowed Franklin to downsize their production staff while increasing productivity by about 20%. “We were running up to two shifts and 16 hours a day,” says Jones. “In the last 12 months, we’ve been able to shrink that down to eight hours a day and with 20 less people than we had before. And, we’ve done that while growing our business by over 20%.”

Jones ends with, “The effects that integrating Production Coach have had on our organization, on lead times and on the overall picture… there’s no way we could have done that without it. I mean it, Production Coach has had a really huge effect on our business.”

Production Coach - 360 view of facrtory operation