MarCraft, Inc. has seen tremendous success in The Home Depot®, Lowes® and other stores – by bringing their custom-made product lines into the retail arena. This family-owned and run company manufactures cultured marble, onyx, and granite vanity tops, tubs, shower bases, wall panels, windowsills, and fireplace hearths.
In order to be more competitive in the retail markets, MarCraft’s management scrapped old theories, built another plant and re-engineered the lines in the existing plants. The re-engineering has been thorough and expensive but the payoff was immediate and well worth it say company officials.
To satisfy on-demand custom orders, MarCraft needed to reduce its cycle times. The footprints of the new lines are 50% smaller than their previous lines, which help MarCraft to minimize cycle times and maximize mold use. “A product stays on our manufacturing floor less than eight hours,” states Gene Chambers, MarCaft Chairman of the Board. “We redesigned our manufacturing flow and also standardized our computerized design and ordering software at the stores to allow us to deliver one unit anywhere in the U.S. within five days from the day it is ordered.” Chambers says the software leads the customer through the design of the product they want. When the customer is satisfied with their choices, the order is placed electronically at MarCraft and within minutes the order could be on the production floor of the appropriate MarCraft business unit.
Their new team management approach at MarCraft has been well received by employees, where turnover is now almost zero. “We have about 20-30 members on each team,” concludes Chambers. “The self-directed teams operate autonomously with their own profit targets and overhead expenses. They are each challenged to grow their business unit and each team member, from the top down, has equal profit incentives. There is tremendous peer pressure to be a successful team member. Our quality is higher than ever and we couldn’t be more satisfied with everyone’s efforts.”