12 ways technology improves profits: WOOD 100 Strategies for Success
Opportunity awaits for those woodworking firms that are willing to invest in their future. Enhancing productivity and quality through new technology, are just a few of the strategies put in place by these 2016 WOOD 100 companies. Read below to find out the investments being made by architectural woodworkers, cabinet manufacturers, furniture producers and component makers to improve their production rates and profits.

Photo: Matt Steeves

Millwork 360, Tampa, FL —  The architectural woodworker’s technology investment has reduced the manufacturing time of its products, while improving capacity and quality, spurring 2015 sales to a 39.9% jump.

Recently installed were three Weinig moulders – two Powermat 600 and a Powermat 1200 with PowerCom Link – to the Electronic Measuring System in the Tool Room. “This has dramatically reduced set-up times, thus reducing downtime and increasing output,” said Jamie Burge, CFO. “Since installing these machines, the learning curve for training new operators has decreased substantially, from three to six months down to one month.”

He added, “The software also allows us to access information such as lineal footage ran per order, production stoppages, as well as optimizing the order to decrease head changes and other manual adjustments. The average daily production of Architectural Grade Mouldings has steadily increased to 22,000 lineal foot per shift.”  
To be added is an Accord 40 FX CNC router for door components, “significantly reducing labor costs and lead times for our custom doors.”

Genesis Products, Elkhart, IN —  This full-service manufacturer of wood and laminate products has a reputation for driving sales and innovation. The wide range of industries served – residential furniture, contract furniture, hospitality, store fixture, cabinetry, manufactured housing and recreational vehicles – ensures the company is up on the latest trends and technology.

Recent investments include a Schelling panel saw, Weeke CNC machining center, CR Onsrud CNC routers and Harlan laminator. “We also just bought a new Wemhoner at IWF,” said Trent Evans, division director. “This gives us entry into the membrane pressing market.”

Genesis Products is solutions oriented, and will continue to expand its capabilities for customers, added Alysha Liljeqvist, director of marketing & communications.

Here's some more examples of technology investments:

Decore-ative Specialties, Monrovia, CA
The custom cabinetry component manufacturer helped develop a Challengers Award-winning CNC shaper sander with Bacci. The unique design significantly increased capacity, and improved consistency and productivity in the cabinet door making process. Decore won a 2016 WMIA Wooden Globe Award for Innovator of the Year.

Deano Hardwoods, Broussard, LA
The moulding manufacturer’s capacity grew following the addition of a Kentwood moulder from Stiles Machinery, said Francis Elder, sales manager.

EuroCabinet, Jonesboro, AR
The cabinet and fixtures firm “Worked smarter to maximize the use of CNC machining,” said Russ White, president. The strategy worked, as sales jumped 65.9% in 2015. New tech included: an Intellistore system, Holzma panel saw,  Weeke router and machining center,  and Homag and SNX edgebanders.

Ramsey Cabinets, Amherst, VA
The custom cabinetry manufacturer upgraded equipment, including a widebelt sander and Cabinet Vision software, said Gary Ramsey, owner. 2015 sales grew 12.5%

Bellmont Cabinet, Sumner, WA
After the cabinet company grew “at an unsustainable rate” between 2011-2014, “In 2015 we deliberately slowed down our sales growth to focus the company on quality and operational improvements,” said Casey Bell, COO. These included the purchase of two Biesse nested-based CNC routers, an Omal dowel inserter, Holzma panel saw, three Homag edgebanders, and an MB brush sander. 2015 sales grew 14.6%

Barnick Wood Design Inc., Grover Beach, CA
The custom cabinet company’s sales grew 5.2%, due in part to increased productivity and its quality employees. “Our panel sizing equipment increased productivity and decreased lead times, while high-quality finish equipment increased the quality of the product as well as our work environment” said Nicholas Barnick, president. 

WB Mfg., Thorp, WI
WB Manufacturing has taken Industry 4.0 to the next level with its fully integrated, lean workcell, including a new Biesse CNC router, material handling system and edgebander. The company manufactures cabinetry and casework for the educational, office, industrial and health markets.

Koch Cabinets, Seneca, KS
Investments in finishing, an optimized chop saw and nested based CNC routers helped improve productivity and quality, and has enabled the cabinet firm to stay price competitive, said Barry Koch, production manager. 2015 sales grew 18.4%

Lewis Wood Products, Grovetown, GA
The door manufacturer relocated to a larger, modern facility and added equipment, including a Butfering sander,  Quincy compressor and PMK end coper, said Kim Lewis, president. Sales grew 33.8%.

Cabinet Component Innovations, Bessemer, AL
“We invested in the development of a new facility, which added 20,000 feet of manufacturing space,” said Wayne Moore, president. The cabinet components maker also added two Thermwood CNC routers, Vorwood edge foilers, a Mecco laser marking system and a Taylor Quick Chop Optimizing Saw. Sales grew 8.2%.

Read more 2016 WOOD 100: Strategies for Success

Marketing Initiatives
Go-to-Market Strategies
Business Strategies
Productivity Enhancements
Technology Integration
Product Innovations
Customer Service
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About the author
Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at [email protected]