EDITOR’S NOTE: This information was presented in the webcast “The Case for Outsourcing Wood Components,” which broadcast in March 2014. The full webcast can be heard on-demand at WoodworkingNetwork.com/webcasts.
Outsourcing components offers numerous benefits for manufacturers of all sizes, including cost savings, inventory reduction as well as improving lead time in the production process.
Steve Harmon, president and CEO of Drawer Connection, and Lary Skow, president of Northern Contours, discussed how working with a components supplier also can lead to a boost in quality and product diversity.
Based in Minnesota, Northern Contours specializes in manufacturing cabinet door and drawer fronts. Drawer Connection, which is based in Arizona, builds drawer boxes with various materials and joint construction techniques.
By focusing on the job of components manufacturing and honing their expertise, each company said it is better able to follow industry trends and diversify in regards to design, construction techniques and materials.
“We do one thing and we do it very well,” said Harmon. Also, when companies utilize the expertise provided by a dedicated components supplier, it creates a win-win situation for both companies, and an opportunity to grow.
Skow noted that it can be much more challenging for a company that makes everything internally to devote the resources, personnel and equipment, needed to stay ahead of trends.
Outsourcing parts enables companies to become more lean - adding the capabilities without adding people - while focusing on their core competencies, which is building and installing jobs. Other pros of outsourcing, Skow said, include zero waste for the company also less inventory needed, thereby freeing up cash and space. There is also the fact that the outsourced products are guaranteed to be usable — because the component manufacturer provides the expertise, the cabinet producer eliminates the learning curve from its own manufacturing process, when introducing a new product or feature.
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