SPEEDlabel®’s focus will always be developing solutions for our fellow fabricators to provide tools to organize their shops and make them more efficient and profitable. We are all doing what we do everyday….trying to produce the highest quality tops for our customers. We think dropping in on some of our fabricators is a great way to share their experiences from their neck of the woods. Every time we visit a customer we learn something new and we hope to do the same for you.
We had the pleasure of talking with Duan Coqui, from Stoneworld in Nashville, Tennessee. As we have all had to rethink our business strategies in the era of Covid, Duan has had to literally rebuild his company as the Nashville tornado in early March took out his entire shop. Thankfully, no one was in the shop at the time the tornado hit, but he lost everything. Check out this chilling video of the aftermath.
Duan is a great study on how your attitude can elevate you above life’s circumstances. His business would have taken a year to rebuild on its former site but by a stroke of luck, he found a coveted building within the week and began his journey to rebuild his shop. It only took three months to get back up and running. Besides landing the perfect building, he was also able to get important machinery quickly, as many orders were cancelled due to the uncertainty of Covid.
Duan is like talking to a barrel of optimism and you realize quickly why he has created such a loyal team of family-like employees. His warmth and enthusiasm are contagious, and this must have been an integral part of how he leads his employees and rebuilt his shop in such a small amount of time. When he went to the drawing board to create his dream shop, he knew he wanted to make it as efficient as possible. Duan had an opportunity to start from scratch and evaluate all new tools and processes. We are grateful that he incorporated SPEEDlabel® into his new playbook. See why he decided to bring it on board and what he loves most about it.
SL: Where did you implement SPEEDlabel®?
DQ: We have a scheduler who also manages the shop’s drawings. She produces the cut sheets and prints them in the front office. She sends them back to the shop. This makes it easier for the guys on the floor to implement, as they are handed the labels to place on the pieces.
SL: Where do you think they save you the most time or money?
DQ: It definitely helps to minimize remakes. Just making sure the correct edge is on the correct side or ensuring what side needs to be polished. Remakes cost shops both time and money.
SL: What was the biggest surprise benefit of using labeling in your shop?
DQ: We use the dates on the labels to help us prioritize jobs on the floor. We put both the fabrication date as well as the install date. Our guys can look at the dates on the slabs and determine which job to grab next.
SL: How do you use the labels to help with quality control?
DQ: We use them for QC checks in two ways. First, we make sure the measures are correct before we begin to polish. Here we can make sure our machine’s cutting is accurate and also be sure the sides are all correct before we put in more time polishing. We don’t want to waste time polishing a piece that’s not cut correctly.
We also use the piece count to see what pieces are missing. Before, we’d have to measure pieces that are of similar size, but now we can see exactly what piece is missing and have the dimensions to re-cut it.
SL: Has it helped your install team?
DQ: Yes, just to be sure to get all pieces to a job is a huge win. The piece count on the labels helps them load up all of the jobs. Nothing wastes more time than getting to a job that’s far away and find out a part is missing.
We ended our discussion about the countertop business with Duan stating the truth that we all know so well, “No two days are ever the same…it’s never boring.” Although this is what makes our industry fun, the variables and outliers can at times feel menacing. Many moving parts need to be perfectly orchestrated to deliver a stellar product to happy customers. We hope our labels will help mitigate some of the chaos!