11 ways technology improves profits: WOOD 100 Strategies for Success

New technology gives helps these WOOD 100 companies finish first by reducing time, labor and improving quality. What follows are some of the methods put in place by the 2019 WOOD 100 class, which includes cabinet manufacturers, residential and office furniture producers, architectural woodworkers, wood component manufacturers, closet companies and more.

Now in its 30th year, the WOOD 100: Strategies for Success highlights the innovative as well as tried-and-true initiatives put in place by 100 North American wood products manufacturers to grow their businesses. Here's what some of them had to share for technology integration:

Conestoga Wood Specialties, East Earl, PA —  Recent investments in new technology, including a state-of-the-art flatline finishing line and edgebanders, have helped the company improve productivity and increase profits.

“Consistency and dependability have been the main factors to our company’s success for the past two-plus decades,” said Jeffery Eichenseer, director of Marketing & Product Development. “It’s our quality, our on-time complete delivery, our willingness to stand behind our products, the accuracy of our literature and our willingness to continually seek out what is new and provide it to our customers.”

Conestoga manufactures doors plus a wide array of cabinetry components, including wood, MDF, Decorative Laminate Veneers (DLV) and Thermally Textured Surfaces (TTS/TFL). Priming, painting and staining services are also offered.

Premier EuroCase, Denver, CO —  The full-service panel processor is the first in the U.S. with two Homag HPS 320 flexTec robotic saws. It recently added the KAL 370 profiLine, which communicates with the saw to automatically feed pieces for laser edgebanding. Premier EuroCase specializes in lamination, components, store fixtures and cut-to-size doors.

“Our autonomous production line goes from inventory to finished components without any human interaction necessary. This increased efficiency facilitated a 50% reduction in lead time in 2019 - from 10 days to 5,” said Jill Rosenberger, marketing manager.

“We also expanded our Reflekt high-gloss and UltraMatte acrylic collections by adding blue and sage colors to both. This prepared us for the blue and green trends happening in 2019. We also added metallics to the UltraMatte line.”

More Tech Heads

Pinelli Universal, Atlanta, GA

A manufacturer of millwork products for the 2-step distributor market of the U.S., the company invested recently in new cut and rip lines to improve production. “We offer a high-quality product with highly mixed loads and deliver in shorter delivery times,” said Andres Sosa, sales director. Sales at the multi-million dollar firm grew 4.2%.

Our Country Home Enterprises Inc., Harlan, IN

To help further speed production and reduce delivery times, “We built a 30,000-square-foot robotic cutting facility adding 4 CNC machines, a robotic beam saw, and a laser bander, with other automatic support machines,” said Thom Blake. Also added was a membrane press. Planned for 2019 is a CNC upgrade for plant 1, wood grinders and robotic material handlers. Sales grew 3.7% for the store fixtures and props manufacturer.

PT Signature Cabinetry LLC, Lebanon, MO

Sales projections are “excellent” for the custom residential and commercial cabinet and closets firm. Along with customer service, Owner Abe Penner cited the purchase in 2018 of a CNC router, automated edgebander and straightline ripsaw, for helping productivity and quality. 2019 purchases include a RazorGage automatic saw system.

EFC Kitchens Inc., Concord, ON

A manufacturer of high-end kitchen cabinetry and vanities for the custom housing market, the company focused on increasing productivity and customer services, a successful strategy that has led to sales growth, said Nick Amiri, CEO. Investments in new technology, including a Biesse CNC router, also helped improve production.

Deas Millwork, Semmes, AL

“We have invested in technology and equipment that helps us be more efficient,” said Zach Deas, president. “With a very tight labor market these investments have paid off.” Sales grew over 100% for the architectural casework and millwork manufacturer. Aiding its production are the 2018 purchases of a flatline finishing system, IR curing, and project management software, and in 2019, solid wood processing equipment.

Eco Relics, Jacksonville, FL

Sales grew 20.0% for the producer of river tables, farm tables, barn doors and custom furniture. The vertically integrated company “invested heavily to start  a sawmill, dry kiln and milling operation. We also invested heavily in more equipment for our custom wood shop,” said Michael Murphy, CEO. “The majority of our products are made from the urban reclaimed hardwoods we process, from log to finished products.”

Foggy Bottom Woodworks, Muscoda, WI

The cabinetry, millwork and prefinishing company posted a sales gain of 8.4%, with growth prospects “excellent” for 2019 and 2020, said Rick Tisdale, owner. Helping to improve productivity, and profitability was the move to a larger location and the investment in technology, including a new edgebander.

Hollywood Cabinets, Shelby Township, MI

The residential kitchen and bath cabinetry manufacturer looks to improve efficiency and productivity with investments this year in technology, including a CNC  dovetailer and 3-head sander, said Tony Pacella, vice president. The company’s products are targeted for the new construction and remodeling markets. Hollywood also offers cabinetry for commercial businesses, as well as home offices and entertainment centers.

H&H Architectural Woodwork, College Point, NY

The custom cabinet fabricator and millwork producer added a CNC router to the shop to improve the production process and enhance quality control, said Patrick Ho, CEO.

The 2019 WOOD 100 is sponsored by Pollmeier Inc.

Read more 2019 WOOD 100: Strategies for Success

Marketing Initiatives

Business Strategies

Productivity Enhancements

Technology Integration

Product Innovations

Customer Service

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