Wood & Wood Products’ new column, “Best Practices,” features targeted interviews with production managers offering tips and solutions that have helped increase productivity, improve profitability and enhanced quality at their company. For information on being included in a future “Best Practices,” email Associate Editors Matt Warnock at mwarnock@vancepublishing.com or Wade Vonasek at wvonasek@vancpublishing.com.

Bob Lehman, plant manager for Keystone Wood Specialties in Lancaster, PA.

Lancaster, PA-based Keystone Wood Specialties Inc. is a wholesale-only manufacturer of wood components for the cabinet, furniture and refacing industries, employing 60 people at its 60,000-square-foot facility. According to the company, it began making cabinet doors in the 1970s, and over the years has added new products such as dovetailed drawer boxes, cutlery trays, cabinet face frames, moulding and more.

Plant Manager Bob Lehman, a 22-year veteran of Keystone, says the company has improved its productivity and quality through many key improvements to the shop, including a new 20,000-square-foot addition for its rough mill operation, and new machinery from Weinig, Northtech, Taylor and Accu-Systems for its rough mill and fine mill areas.

“We have brought all of our ripping in-house,” Lehman says. “Nothing is brought in straightline ripped.

“We have also added another spray booth in our finishing room, along with a Prime Heat oven to dry the conversion varnish that we spray. We’ve added bar coding to all of the material sheets coming out into production, along with hand-held scanners at several places in the shop to read and/or produce parts from the bar code. We now have a full-time IT person and a full-time person for CAD work as well.”

According to Lehman, these improvements have brought positive changes to the shop floor. “It has given us space to add some key CNC machinery,” Lehman adds. “We’ve improved our quality, our ability to track and manage inventory and our turnaround time on specialty one-of-a-kind items. If needed, our finishing room is now able to ship drawer boxes the same day that they start them. Specialty items are drawn up to scale now, which then receive customer approval for production. Those drawings are then sent to CNC machinery and/or the employees working in those areas.”

Lehman also stresses the importance of keeping up with the new technology and knowing what is available to help a company’s processes. “We’re always planning on adding or improving wherever possible,” he says. “Another addition is in the works for a sanding area between our finishing room and our polish sanding area, with some new machinery being looked at. We’re also in the process of working with Accu-Systems on a 3S machine, to size, shape and sand panels.”

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