16 tech tips to improve production: WOOD 100 Strategies for Success

New technology gives production a lift by reducing time, labor and improving quality – essential factors in helping these WOOD 100 firms finish first in their field. What follows are some of the methods put in place by the 2018 WOOD 100 class, which includes cabinet manufacturers, residential and office furniture producers, architectural woodworkers, wood component manufacturers, closet companies and more.

Photo: Premier EuroCase

Premier EuroCase, Denver, CO — Investments in new products and technology are already paying off for the full-service panel processor, which specializes in lamination, custom components, store fixtures, and cut-to-size doors. Sales grew 21% in 2017 and look to be even better for 2018 and beyond.

“We invested in a product line expansion for our Roücke HD textured melamine collection,” said Jill Rosenberger, marketing manager. “The four new vintage woodgrains look like they experienced the natural weathering process giving them the perfect farmhouse aesthetic. In tandem with the launch of the new colors, we added barn door styles – Z-frame, I-frame, H-frame and X-frame doors – to our product offerings.

The innovations have not stopped there. This year, Premier EuroCase also invested in two autonomous Homag HPS 320 flexTec saws for batch size one and short-run custom cutting, with unlimited recuts and flexible cutting patterns possible. The HPS 320 flexTec saws will be used in conjunction with the Intellistore automated panel storage and retrieval system.

 “We'll be the first company in North America to acquire two of these robotic saws as we continue to grow our fleet of intelligent technology,” she said. Plans for 2019 include the addition of a fully autonomous Homag laser edgebanding line that will operate along with three existing laser edgebanders.

At the 300,000-square-foot manufacturing campus, in addition to casework and components the vertically integrated company also produces Reflekt, UltraMatte, Ion, Roücke HD, Roücke TFL, and HPL products on-site for a variety of markets including: residential, commercial, multifamily, education, healthcare; hospitality, and retail store fixtures.

Photo: Scane Custom Cabinets

Scane Custom Cabinets, Brea, CA —  Sales continue to grow at the family-owned and operated custom manufacturer which specializes in traditional and modern cabinetry.

“We purchased a new (Biesse) edgeband machine,” said Zach Scane, operations manager. “It increased our efficiency and sales capacity by allowing us to produce frameless cabinetry more effectively, much quicker, and with superior quality. Our previous machine was very old and limited and this new machine represented a major jump in technology,” he said.

It also allowed the firm to incorporate new textured melamine products. “Our new abilities in this area generated an additional source of revenue for our company as we can now take on more frameless cabinetry projects and produce them quickly,” Scane added.

Photo: transFORM

transFORM, New Rochelle, NY —   “This past year all the departments at transFORM came together and placed a strong focus on how we can continue to drive innovation and better serve our clientele. As a result, we acquired state-of-the-art equipment for our manufacturing facility,” said Andreas Messis, co-founder. 

2017 purchases included a Homag Venture 230 L, Homag BHX 200 with return conveyor, Homag Ambition 2480 PUR , and Doucet return conveyor. In 2018, transFORM also added a Homag HPP 300 Power Edition with Schmalz Jumbo Ergo vacuum lift.

“With these new additions, there has been a significant increase in our productivity. By embracing new technology, we have been able to stay ahead of the curve in the woodworking industry,” he added.

2017 sales grew 14.4% at transFORM, whose diverse offerings include closets, European-style wall beds, home offices, wall units, laundry rooms, entertainment centers, garages, mudrooms and pantries.

More Tech Heads

CSD Custom Woodworks, Lindstrom, MN
New equipment plus with more employees helped drive 2017 sales up 35.4% at the custom cabinetry, millwork and fixtures firm, said Chris Dalbec, owner. Recent purchases include a widebelt sander and RazorGage saw system.

Gerber Wood Products, Kidron, OH
“We have embraced as much technology as we can afford to use,” said Steve Gerber, GM. 2017 purchases include a CNC router, beam saw and laser engraver, with an optimizing crosscut saw in 2018. Following growth in 2017, 2018 sales should be even better at the wood components firm. “We seek new opportunities and challenges even if they require change.” 

Knight’s Cabinets LLC, Elko, NV
Sales projections for 2018 and 2019 are good for the custom cabinet manufacturer, said Jed Knight. Investments in technology, including a CNC router in 2017, and a laser  engraver in 2018, will add to the company’s productivity.

Glen Armand Furniture Inc., Alexandria, LA
Adding CNC machinery to the production process has added “to quality excellence and uniformity,” said Glen Armand, president. Sales projections for 2018 and 2019 also look good for the manufacturer of high-quality custom residential furniture and casegoods.

JB Cutting Inc., Mt. Clemens, MI
2017 sales grew 12.5% at JB, which specializes in 3D laminate and 5-piece doors, drawer fronts and accessories for the kitchen, bath, home organization, store fixtures and healthcare furnishing environments, said Christina Relyea, sales and marketing manager. “We added more staff and equipment,” including two CNC routers, Wemhoner press and Hocker dust collection system. Also planned is another 5-piece door machine, flipper, sander and packaging equipment.

Boxwood Cabinetry, Oklahoma City, OK
“We added equipment to speed production and changed the scheduling process of upcoming jobs. This resulted in reduced delivery times and increased profits,” said Doug Allen, president. 2017 sales grew 12.0% at the custom unfinished residential cabinetry manufacturer.

Timberwood Properties Inc, Leesburg, FL
A producer of custom outdoor cabinetry, Timberwood purchased a Thermwood Cut Ready router to spur production. “This reduced labor and material costs to be more profitable,” said Tim Richardson, manager. 2017 sales grew 28.5%.

Concept Millwork Design & Development Inc., Orange, CA
“Our focus was on being able to supply all custom millwork, stone, metal, glass, and special finishes to a hotel construction project and enormous savings. We were successful by expanding and refining our overseas import and logistics division,” said Cindy Gubler, president. The firm also invested in CNC technology, manufacturing software, and an edgebander, to increase productivity.

North American Plywood Corp., Parsippany, NJ
Sales grew 12.1% for the producer of components and architectural panels. “We invested in a direct to substrate digital printer that has completely changed our product offering and continues to grow it at a rapid rate,” said Donald Kuser, GM. Also acquired in 2017 were a Northwood CNC router, Doucet return conveyor and edgebander. A drawer side blank machine and more are planned for 2018.

Jorgensen Carr Ltd, East Orange, NJ
Quality control and attention to detail helped sales at the high-end architectural millwork firm, Kenneth Carr, vice president. Also spurring production was the purchase of a Hess edging machine.

B & W Woodwork, Holland, MI
Sales projections are excellent for the maker of commercial cabinets, counters, desk units, bank lines, laminate and solid surface, said Bruce Kruithoff, president. Along with B & W’s “quality work and service” has been the purchase of a second CNC to aid production.

Hardwood Floors of Hillsboro LLC, Hillsboro, WI
“We increased production while still maintaining our quality,” said Salena Ball, owner. 2017 sales grew 26.5% for the high-end unfinished hardwood flooring maker, which also added an Ultimizer defect saw.

Trimtek Custom Woodwork, Lantana, FL
2017 sales rose 10.8% for the maker of cabinetry and architectural woodwork. Aiding growth was the addition of a larger facility and new machinery, said Shastri Bissessar, president.

The 2018 WOOD 100 is sponsored by Pollmier Inc.

Read more 2018 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]