What is one clear way to stand out in a market where cabinetmakers, in general, have a reputation for never being on time? Always hit your deadlines, of course. And that is something Twin Oaks Custom Cabinets in Neosho, MO has learned how to do very well.
“One of our biggest selling points is we set a date when we will be there with the cabinets, and we always hit that date,” says TJ Lake, whose father, Tommy, founded Twin Oaks in 1986.
Tommy got his start while working for a local construction company. “He was transferred to a different department within the company and didn’t care for that type of work,” says TJ. “So he decided to start building some cabinets on the side, thinking it would give him something to do until things got better at work. Turns out he never went back to his original job.”
With 50 employees, Twin Oaks Custom Cabinets builds and installs cabinets for a mostly residential market (split fairly evenly between builder/contractor and direct retail customers). The shop, which is supported by a 3,000 sq ft showroom, is fully automated. The market area includes parts of Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.
“We were using a modified Excel spreadsheet to manage scheduling,” TJ explains, “but it was too complicated trying to coordinate so many details over such large distances. That is the reason we turned to Moraware.”
Countertops To Cabinets
TJ was initially introduced to JobTracker by his brother, Shane, who uses the program in his granite fabrication company, Signature Granite. It didn’t take TJ long to see the benefits of using it in his operation as well.
“Basically, JobTracker was designed for a countertop company,” he explains. “We have modified it to match all the different activities in our business. We customized it to follow up on a sales call or collections on a finished job; all the different activities on the shop floor, from cutout to assembly and to finishing. We have production goals the guys work off of, and they can see where they are at any given point. At the end of the day, they can measure if they are on-track, running behind or ahead of schedule.”
And that kind of feedback is what makes it possible for Twin Oaks to always hit their deadlines. “We can predict installation dates three, four and five weeks ahead of time and know for sure when we will be there,” TJ says. “That gives customers a good sense of confidence they are buying from someone who stands behind what they say.”
Tools For Growth
Now that the company has incorporated JobTracker into its operations, it is expanding the market area into Arkansas and Texas. “We have two salesmen that are about 75-80 miles from here and they never come to our showroom,” TJ explains. “They are primarily selling to builders. Anytime you can show a customer the tools you are using to guarantee the product on time it is a big advantage.”
“I currently have 68 different jobs that I’m personally taking care of – measuring and getting the customers’ preferences,” he continues. “A couple of our guys here in the office have over 100 jobs apiece. When you have that many jobs going it is easy to lose track of details – but we manage it in JobTracker. Each day you look at your calendar, and it tells you the 10-20 things you need to accomplish. If you can’t do it that day, you can carry it over to the next day or a week out, whatever. But the best part is that all the information is right at your fingertips.”
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo is countertop drawing, layout, and estimating software. JobTracker is 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.