Imagine a market area with a 400-mile radius that covers parts of four states; in an area that has the fifth lowest population density in the country; and only one installation crew to cover it all. Oh, and there is no local granite distributor, which means you automatically add a week to your lead times for every job.
“We use digital photos to sell the countertop, since there isn’t a local slab yard,” explains Tim Rausch, head of operations for Rausch Granite Products in Rapid City, SD. “When we bring in the slab the customer has the chance to accept or reject it. But that rarely occurs, because they know it will delay their time frame if they reject the material.”
This is a company that knows granite. Rausch’s great-grandfather, Valentine, was co-owner of a quarry in Minnesota back in the 1930’s. His four sons opened Rausch Brothers Granite, which sawed granite blocks quarried by Steiner-Rausch into slabs. One of those sons, Herman, moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota and opened Rausch Monument Company in 1961. In 1985, Herman’s oldest son, Chuck, assumed ownership of the company. Then, in 2007, Rausch Granite Products began fabricating granite countertops.
“We have 10 employees in the shop on the Granite Products side,” explains Tim Rausch, “one installation crew and five people in the office and templating. There are two employees in the shop on the monument side. We install 8-10 countertops per week.”
Rausch says that several factors combine to drive up the price of a finished countertop in Rapid City, including a small and expensive labor pool and high transportation costs. Perhaps that is one reason why the company goes out of its way to deliver unsurpassed quality to its customers.
“If you look at our pricing compared to Denver or Minneapolis we would be much higher,” explains Rausch. “We want our quality to be the best. All of our counters are book matched. We polish the seams. We will cut a piece right out of the middle of a slab if we have to, to make it look right. It’s all about delivering real value.”
Controlling The Process
With so much territory to cover it is critical that details about each job are communicated through the plant accurately and quickly. For that, Rausch Granite Products relies on JobTracker to organize the work flow. “The fact that we are remote causes issues,” says Tim. “One day we might be doing a job 100 miles to the north and the next day 100 miles to the south. Moraware helps us become more efficient in the way we schedule.”
“Our sales office is in a different location than the shop,” he continues. “Having Moraware online is huge. It saves phone calls and puts everyone on the same page. When someone makes an entry or a change to a job it updates the system automatically, so everyone knows what is going on.”
One might think that after four generations in the granite industry there wouldn’t be that much to learn about the business. Not so, says Tim Rausch. “We are different than what we were in the 80’s, the 90’s or even the 2000’s. The processes are totally different now.”
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo is countertop drawing and estimating software. JobTracker is job scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a free place to buy and sell granite remnants with fabricators near you.