Last week, I had a chance to visit KAT Fabricators in Dallas, TX and got a tour of their office and shop. They’ve got an amazing operation, geared around the hundreds of big-box stores (primarily Home Depot and Lowe’s) that account for most of their business.
Since they do little walk-in retail work, when you drive up to their office, it’s very modest and unimposing from the street, and there’s no showroom. But, right inside the front door is the heart of the operation – customer service.
Because they do a high volume of fabrication and installation, it’s critical that they’re organized. I really liked seeing the ridiculously large screens that they use for scheduling, inventory, and tracking every aspect of the jobs. Some of the employees in the office have dual 23” monitors aligned vertically. No need to go outside to get a tan. But, when you’re scheduling at least 10 installs every day, this kind of overview is awesome.
Once you walk through the office, there’s the stone shop. Although their roots were in solid surface fabrication originally, about 7 years ago they started fabricating granite and engineered stone. The stone now accounts for the majority of their volume, but offering a large line of products let’s them be a “one stop shop” for dealers and builders.
Although they have a stone CNC machine, it’s only used for cutting sink holes. Where they have invested in shop equipment is a top-of-the line straight-line edger. In the solid surface shop, in addition to two panel saws to do the cutting, most of the work is done by six highly-skilled fabricators.
What surprised me most was that KAT doesn’t compete by being the lowest priced countertop fabricator in the area. Although they are constantly working on becoming more efficient and they have competitive pricing, they offer service and quality beyond what most of the other fabricators in the area can offer.
Many thanks to Deke for showing me around, and to everyone at KAT for giving their time and suggestions.