Production at Windsor Kitchens has become 50 per cent faster, with a near-doubling of overall efficiency, since installing new design and manufacturing software and a flatbed router.
The busy cabinet maker in Moolap, Geelong, was struggling to keep up with a heavy workload, but is now handling the work with ease without an increase in staff numbers.
“The new system has meant no end of improvement for us,” said proprietor Peter Hammond, whose company specialises in kitchen fit-outs for architecturally designed houses. It also undertakes kitchen renovations and supplies flatpacks.
Windsor Kitchens chose Solid Manufacturing software from Planit, connected to a Rhino flatbed router. Previously the company designed its kitchens on CabnetWare, cutting components on a panel saw and drilling with a point-to-point router.
“We chose a new system that we could grow into, instead of buying something that was right for us now but wouldn’t have done the job in the future,” Mr Hammond said.
“Already we’re producing 50 per cent faster, while our overall efficiency is up 80 per cent.
“Through its nesting capabilities, Solid Manufacturing optimises material usage with less wastage. We’re probably getting 10-15 per cent better board utilisation.”
The new system has also eliminated wastage due to operator errors.
“Previously, mistakes could be made by the person drawing the cabinet, the person cutting it, the person drilling and the person assembling. Now, the only one who can possibly make a mistake is the person entering data into the computer – which is me.”
Windsor Kitchens employs four people on its factory floor – the same number as before the upgrade.
“We’re handling more work, upping the batches with the same staff. We were busy before and struggling to keep up with the work. Now we’re on top of it.”
Profitability at Windsor Kitchens is “possibly up by 5-10 per cent” since installing Solid Manufacturing and the flatbed router, he said.
Calculating his return-on-investment, Mr Hammond found that the monthly financing instalments on the Planit software, router and ancillary gear such as air clearing equipment worked out to be the same as the savings produced by the upgrade.
“In effect it’s costing me nothing at all during the repayment period,” he said.
Planit’s trainers came to Windsor Kitchens for two weeks during implementation. “Learning was easy for the operators. They like the new system. It’s better than the old one.
“For me, learning to use the software means getting better and better as I go along. I’ll do further training as I utilise more of the program.”