by Karl D. Forth
Production scheduling system
cuts lead time, inefficiency
Both standard and custom furniture are built using a
variety of joinery methods and tools.
Dutch Design honors the past but gets the most out of the present with lean manufacturing techniques
and a software program that helped
them organize and streamline their
The company, located in Amish country in Mount Hope, Ohio, makes custom
and standard dining tables, cocktail
tables, consoles, desks, bedroom furniture, living room furniture, hospitality
furniture and wall display units. The
company serves the hospitality, commercial and residential markets.
Dutch Design is a 40,000-square foot-manufacturing plant providing furniture
through its Abner Henry design center
and the Homestead furniture retail outlet.
The Dutch Design model is a little dif-
ferent than most furniture makers. Their
drafting department draws the prints
and components. Then they source
furniture parts from the many different
craftsmen in the surrounding, mainly
Amish, community. Then they hand-
craft, assemble, and finish. For example,
doors, drawers, solid panel and engi-
neered panel sides and tops are sourced
from outside vendors.
Both standard and custom furniture
are built using a variety of joinery methods
and tools depending on the application.
“Other lean principals used are
Kanban, pull systems, 5S, continuous
improvement ideas and waste identifica-
tion from all employees weekly, metrics-
based process mapping, one piece flow,
and daily morning lean meetings with
all team members, cross-training, and
buffers between work centers,” said Joel
Kurtz, lean facilitator, Dutch Design.
Scheduling and organization
Previously, Dutch Design used Quick-
Books for accounting and order entry, Top
Solid for drafting and Excel for purchasing
and tracking, but they also needed a new
system for scheduling and organization.
“One of our requirements was that
the new system utilize our custom-built
Excel interface for the initial data input,”
Kurtz said. “This insured immediate
adoption, eliminated the need for ad-
ditional training and support for data
entry, plus accommodated our plan to
split apart the weekly product scheduling
task into two parts.
“The basic, weekly schedule was to
be input and automatically generated by
The company makes custom and standard dining tables, consoles, desks, bedroom, living room furniture, and hospitality furniture.
Who: Dutch Design
Where: Mount Hope, Ohio
What: Residential, commercial
At a glance