Digital measuring and technology solutions company implements lean manufacturing and Kaizen business philosophies to meet increasing demand.
In order to keep up with high customer demand while maintaining stringent quality requirements, Laser Products Industries (LPI) has implemented strategic processes that have increased its manufacturing capacity by 40%.
LPI created cross-functional teams and incorporated various aspects of lean manufacturing and Kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvements as a collective whole. Each team evaluated and identified process improvements and manufacturing enhancements from inventory management to final product assembly, including advanced forecasting and streamlined production methods.
Edward Rangle started digital measuring in 2005 in the kitchen countertop industry. When he realized the capabilities of laser measuring, he opened his own company and measured for fabricators on a wide variety of commercial and residential jobsites.
“I love measuring with the laser because it gives me the flexibility to measure jobs that I could never have done the old-fashioned way,” he says. “I show up to a jobsite looking professional, carrying high tech equipment and the customers are impressed. It sets me apart from my competition, something that every company must now focus on. It’s so fast that the customers love that I can spend more time with them talking about the details of the job and working on designs.”
“The fabricators love it too because there is virtually no rework during installation. Everything fits like a glove. They save so much time and money on the installs because they have accurate measurements when they are fabricating each piece.”
“Building on my own extensive experience I have gained over the years, I was asked to manage all measurers and CNC operators at the Countertop Factory in Addison, IL, an offer I couldn’t pass up. ”
The Countertop Factory is one of the state’s largest countertop fabricators. In 2016, the company made a large investment to expand their woodworking capabilities to include architectural millworking which has quickly become a large percentage of their work.
The internal debate at Cain Millwork, about whether to replace their original laser system with the newer 3D model was decided when a job came in to design and build a stairwell for Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
“It was a pretty complicated job,” says Charles Watson, Project Manager. “We felt like we needed some of the features of the newer system. As it turned out, we were able to map the stairwell to under 1/16” including the turns. We did so well with he
measuring that the installer was able to put the stairwell in without having to do any work on-site.”
In another job, the new system was equally valuable in measuring a countertop that went in and out of several areas, had crevices to allow for walls, went around a column, went into a transaction window, and had odd, 135° angles.
“To measure it by hand would have required an angle finder, a tape measure, and would have taken hours,” says Watson. “With the new laser system, we were able to measure and make the template much quicker. Plus we were able to cut it on the router table instead of having to pay the installer to hand-notch it on-site. It has saved us a lot of time and money.”
Cain Millwork is an AWI QCP certified, full-service architectural woodwork business located in Rochelle, IL, that has a portfolio of high profile projects including the United Center, Ronald McDonald House, American Airlines Admiral Club, and the Writers’ Theatre.
The Countertop Factory
Geoffery Gran, The Countertop Factory, Addison, IL
In 2011, Geoffrey Gran, owner of The Countertop Factory, decided to go digital with his first Laser Templator from LPI. The results have been so good the company purchased six more.
“Since teaming up with LPI, we have seen a growth rate of 25% per year and a productivity increase of 30%. At the same time, we have seen a dramatic improvement in accuracy and have totally eliminated the cost of templating supplies. The result is more customers and a better bottom line.”
Jimmy Roth, Austin Countertops, Austin, TX
Austin Countertops used to figure that 85% of the time, they’d get the job right. That’s a high scrap rate compared to the national average. Now, with the purchase of their third Laser Templator, they see less than 5% of jobs with mistakes and never because of measurement errors.
“You can’t be afraid to embrace technology and change and that means going from manual to digital,” says Jimmy Roth, president, Austin Countertops. “Our turnaround time is dramatically reduced for customers. We can measure without removing the countertops, or calling in a plumber twice. For the customer, that’s a big deal. It builds customer confidence that they’re with the right company.”
“I did the math and I estimate that it took me two-and-a-half to three months to pay for my lasers. There’s less waste in materials, the savings in the guys’ time, the amount of time driving around, the increased number of templates, and the decrease in turnaround time which gives me the ability to get more jobs. It’s a no-brainer.”