2012 WOOD 100 Strategies for Success: Customer Service
By Karen Koenig | Posted: 09/06/2012 2:22PM
A reputation for good and reliable service can open doors to new opportunities, while cementing relationships with established customers. Quality control, fast turnaround, lean and green machining and custom craftsmanship are all key ingredients.
Decore-ative Specialties Inc., Monrovia, CA
Quality workmanship, lean and green production, a large product range and responsive customer service are among the reasons behind the cabinet component manufacturer’s success, says Joel Boyles, director of marketing.
Components offered include: doors, drawer fronts, drawer boxes, RTA components, mouldings and accessories; hardware also is available. In addition to its headquarters in Monrovia, CA, Decore-ative Specialties has four manufacturing facilities: two in southern California, another in northern California and one in North Carolina, to better serve customers on the East Coast. Total manufacturing space is approximately 500,000 square feet.
Lean and green initiatives play an integral role in the company’s production. Kaizen events are held regularly throughout the company as Decore-ative Specialties continually looks for ways to streamline its processes. “We have a continued commitment to lean manufacturing,” Boyles says.
The lean process has led to other capabilities being put in place at the company, including custom finishing. In addition to glazes and specialty finishing options, Decore-ative Specialties offers environmentally friendly finishes. The company’s Pure Colors finishing program emit little to no VOCs, says the company, making them ideal for use in schools, healthcare, residential and commercial interiors. And in order to ensure quality control, each order is checked throughout the day to ensure color and product consistency.
“[We] remain focused on providing our customers’ with high-quality, custom cabinet components, shipped in 6-9 working days,” Boyles says. And, he adds, as a service to customers, “We will continue to expand our free, easy-to-use online ordering platforms.” The company’s Streamline design software offers a simplified process for ordering RTA frameless components online.
Bernhard Woodwork Bernhard Woodwork Ltd., Northbrook, IL
The architectural woodwork firm combines project management skills, European craftsmanship with state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities — and customers have embraced it, says Mark Bernhard, president. The company says it “selectively recruits employees who love woodwork, take pride in a quality finished product and train them in a European style apprenticeship program.”
The attention to detail begins with the project development and extends through machining, assembly and installation. The company hand selects and lays up the veneer in-house and offers a variety of production capabilities, including CNC machining, sanding, moulding, pressing, edgebanding and finishing. And while it offers full-scale production runs, the company says it is the “personal service that is the hallmark of the Bernhard approach.”
More Top Service Providers
Dlugosh & Associates LLC, Pleasanton, CA
Sales at the fixtures firm grew 12.0%. Already offering a range of services, from design to development and procurement, President J. Dlugosh says the firm will continue “expanding in new markets and services.”
Carolina Drawers Inc., Lexington, NC
The drawer components firm enhanced production with new moulders and ripsaws. “[We want to] become as efficient as possible and service the customers,” says Brian Lancaster, sales manager.
Exact Furniture, Woodbridge, ON
CEO Jim Fulton says the AV, educational and corporate furniture maker builds to order and offers an extensive list of options and finishes.
Adams Wood Products, Morristown, TN
With sales steady for the solid wood components maker, Sales Manager Doug Myers says the company will continue to focus on customer relations in 2012.
Garneau & Borne Inc., Beauport, QUE
Sales at the cabinet company grew 8.3%, due in part to its high-quality, after-sales service and expanded production capabilities, says President Louis Borne.
K&L Woodworking, Reading, PA
Customer service, including installation, plus a “stay positive” attitude is keeping business steady for the custom millwork firm, says Kevin Hartman, vice president.
Locklear Cabinet & Woodwork Inc., Rowland, NC
“Reliability, integrity and a proven reputation for quality,” is helping the cabinet and closet firm drive sales, says Owner Harold Locklear.
Luxeme Kitchens, Vaughan, ON
President Kamyar Shamohamadi attributes the cabinetry firm’s 33.3% sales growth to its commitment to service while providing quality cabinets at affordable prices.
MTC (Maui Trading Co.), Kula, HI
Customer service helped drive sales up 7.8%, says President Greg Davidge. The firm makes custom doors, cabinetry and furniture from salvaged Hawaiian hardwoods.
California Designers Choice Custom Cabinetry, Camarillo, CA
Customer service throughout all phases of the project helps drive business, says Russell Leavitt, co-owner.
Main Door Corp., Gardena, CA
Through its factory in Brazil, the wood entry door firm’s website says, it “can offer our customers a top-of-the-line product that is priced far below our competition.
North Forty Fine Furniture Ltd., Regina, SK
President Roly Thibault says customer service, including the use of custom delivery trucks, is helping drive sales for the commercial millwork firm.
Old World Door, San Ysidro, CA
The firm says it excels at fast turnaround in the production of its high-end, custom exterior wood doors.
Sieling and Jones Inc., New Freedom, PA
Complete CNC machining, sustainability and service are the hallmark of the architectural woodwork firm, whose sales grew 5.0%, says Tony Tirocchi, controller. The company also says it recycles more than 95% of its offal.
Woodtronics Inc., Yorktown Heights, NY
The architectural woodwork firm says it offers a total solution for woodworking projects, with a wide range of capabilities. 2011 sales grew 63.4%, according to President Jan Efraimsen.
Smart Closet Solution, Brooklyn, NY
At the custom closet firm, designers are also the installers, says Ben Aviram. He adds, “While we apply the standard 32mm format, we are always finding innovative uses for the system, which can yield impressive results.” 2011 sales rose 19.8%.
Tony Hayden Furniture & Design, Monterey, CA
Owner Tony Hayden says on his website he works with clients to design furniture with an heirloom look “that evolves on what the client wants and loves.”
Roseburg Forest Products, Roseburg, OR
With its diverse range of offerings, including lumber and value-added panel products, sales for the firm grew in 2011, says Rick Troxel.
Woodlife Custom Craft Inc., Albuquerque, NM
Owner/President Gorky Pacha attributes the custom furniture and cabinet firm’s 28.0%, growth to “surpassing any of my competitors in service and product quality.”
Urban Architectural Interiors Inc., Bronx, NY
The architectural woodwork firm combines handcraftsmanship with quality machining in its 30,000-square-foot plant to ensure products “meet our customers’ demands for quality,” according to President Nelson Salamanca.
Viking Log Furniture, St. Joseph, MN
Sales for the rustic log furniture firm rose 4.8%, says President Mike Legatt. Immediate shipment is offered on stock items, with custom orders available. All manufactured products come with a lifetime warranty.
Links to 2012 WOOD 100: Strategies for Success stories
More Wood 100 ideas will be detailed in an upcoming webcast on Nov. 14. Register at WoodworkingNetwork.com/webcasts.
About the Author
Karen M. KoenigKaren M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Wood Products (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory (RedBookOnline.com). She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Google+.