Leedo Cabinetry says it has launched a program to provide real-time field project updates. Written by its IT department, it allows Leedo cabinet installation services teams to get instant status updates on customer projects anywhere in the country.
Houston-based Leedo Cabinetry was founded in 1971 to supply the apartment construction market and now serves builders around the nation, producing and installing cabinets and countertops for multifamily developers, large scale single-family home builders, and military housing developments. Its traditional cabinet and countertop facilities are in East Bernard, TX; its frameless cabinet facility is in El Campo, TX.
Leedo Cabinetry' says the electronic integration for the system gives its corporate office greater visibility on job site conditions, reducing paperwork and speeding order processing, which allows field managers to spend more time with customers.
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The use of technology in the manufacturing process has played a critical role for Leedo's expansion, says Chief Information Officer Darryl Preen.
Tracking the status of a project from the point of order entry through manufacturing, assembly, and distribution is a fundamenal part of the production cycle, says Preen.
“Five years ago, we realized that the same need exists from an installation standpoint," Press says. "We recognized that the information deficit between field conditions and manufacturing was causing serious delays in job completions. It became a corporate priority to improve communication between installation services and project administration.”
Leedo says it has invested heavily in IT infrastructure. It full-time IT software developers and administrators to run its network and operating systems sent programmers to work in the field with Leedo’s installation services department to understand the physical environment and various data collection points and how they affected unit completions and replacement orders.
The resulting software program runs on electronic tablets, which field managers use to input measurements, replacement orders and unit status updates that are uploaded to the company server. This has decreased the time it takes installation to receive unit measurements, status updates and replacements from days to hours. Leedo began beta testing of the tablets in March 2013; by July, the tablets were rolled out to the company’s network of field managers for use around the country.
“The tablet we chose had to bring together the ease of use of our paper system and the intersection of the design systems with the order and manufacturing systems we use," Preen says. "We had many paper hand offs and data translations; building a platform that allows us to capture the data and distribute it throughout our business has had a measurable impact on our efficiency.”
David Burke, Leedo Cabinetry’s Vice President of Installation Services, says the use of the tablets helps focus field managers on core responsibilities. Before implementing the tablet reporting system, Leedo Cabinetry used a three-step process to turn field managers’ notes from the job site into actionable items. Tied up in paperwork, field managers' ability to manage installers and inspect projects was affected - significant considering Leedo is on track to install 50,000 units, or nearly 600,000 cabinets this year.
"Technology like this is critical in allowing us to focus on customer needs, rather than administrative requirements," says Burke. "Now that the data is instantly uploaded to our servers, we can monitor the install status of any given job on any given day."
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