In 2017, the Cabinet Makers As- sociation (CMA) held a regional event in northern California that included a tour at Mission
Bell, a company that specializes in
quality architectural woodwork, millwork and custom casework.
CMA member Dave Keck, president
of Komponents Laminated Products
in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, reoports
this visit led to an epiphany that has improved the efficiency and flexibility of
his operation. Komponents, established
in 1969, produces commercial cabinets,
office furniture and components, and
laminated panels for other companies.
“Although we had a few machines on
wheels, I was struck by how many things
they had on wheels at Mission Bell –
large waste bins carts, edgebanding
inventory carts, virtually all WIP (work
in process), and work tables,” Keck
recalls. “It makes for great flexibility.
Many of us are job shops, and flexibility
in manufacturing is important.”
Keck began applying Mission Bell’s
example at his company. The Kompo-
nents team took a gradual approach,
adding wheels to more of their equip-
ment as time allowed.
“Virtually all of our workstations
and non-CNC equipment are now on
wheels,” he says. “We can move little-areas of our plant to accommodate the
Making as much of the plant as mobile as possible adds versatility to a custom job shop.
CABINET SHOP TIPS
A close-up of the wheels Keck chose (available at McMaster Carr); they can be
locked and unlocked without bending over.
Keck also wanted to pass along another productivity “hack” – the ergonomic lifting
pallet jack. “In training for a 30-mile ski race, I learned that minimizing energy
burned over the course of many hours has lasting effects and results,” he said.
“Eliminating the need to bend over 100 times during the course of the day to pick up
parts translates into less exhausted employees who feel better at the end of the day.
This isn’t a new idea, but I wonder how many companies really put it into practice?” Continued...