Cairns also recommended cutting down on the batch size
for doors moving through the shop.
Mullet now focuses on smaller lot sizes. Even a larger
order of 100 doors is broken up into smaller jobs of 10 to 15
doors, for example. Martin said that work flows more quickly
through the shop this way.
Another change was getting rid of what employees didn’t
use regularly. The shop shut down completely for one day to
make a major cleanup. The goal was to reduce clutter. They
got rid of excess carts, and employees got rid of objects they
didn’t need in their work area.
“We’re in a good place right now,” Martin said.
Martin said he researched lean carefully, but once he
made the decision he was committed and willing to hand over
control of the process.
In the door shop
They also arranged the new shop layout by using colored
pieces of paper on the kitchen table, then marked the floor
with spaces that the machines would be moved to. Ultimately,
almost everything got moved.
The new layout has space between processes and makes
sense from a flow perspective. The new layout was accompa-
nied by training on one-piece flow.
Mullet makes residential cabinet doors, primarily of solid
wood. Martin said that maple is currently the species most
often used, with alder, cherry and oak also popular. Shaker-style flat panel doors are the most popular style, accounting
Mullet makes cabinet doors in a shop in Abbeville, South Carolina.
The shop has increased door production 30 to 35 percent.
Customers have also benefitted from the improvement in the shop. Mullet can often offer shorter lead times on orders for cabinet doors.