The Ultimate Guide to Streamlining the Processes In Your Countertop Shop

Nov 26, 2019 | Business, CounterGo, Systemize

As your stone fabrication business grows, you’ll start facing new growing pains. In the beginning, it was probably figuring out how to create quotes and job estimates more quickly.

But as you start producing more kitchens with more customers and more employees, the pains evolve into widespread issues. You have communication issues, scheduling headaches, inventory mishaps, and potential leads keep falling through the cracks.

What we’ve found by talking to hundreds of fabrication shops across the United States is that staying organized is the single hardest part of growth. If you’re nodding your head, rest assured that this is 100% normal!

To help you maintain the growth of your countertop fabrication business, you have to get organized. Here are the different areas of your business’ process that you should take a hard look at:

  1. Quoting
  2. Communication
  3. Fabrication scheduling
  4. Installation scheduling
  5. Managing and following up with leads
  6. Tracking inventory
  7. Reviewing your metrics

The software we’ve spent years developing with input from hundreds of fabricators can help with each one of these headaches. Read on to learn more about how Morware can help you get organized to more efficiently grow your countertop business.

1. Provide Better and Faster Countertop Quoting

While booming countertop shops have typically already addressed the quoting bottleneck, it’s one of the first pain points you’re going to feel as a small countertop business.

If you don’t make your quoting process fast, accurate, and appealing, it’s going to be hard to experience any substantial growth. Also, some of the first problems for fabricators are quoting issues like inconsistent pricing or losing too much time to hand drawing.

So, if this might be you, let’s fix it! The simple answer is to embrace technology.

Moraware’s countertop quoting software allows you to draw, layout, and quote a countertop in just 3 minutes. This allows you to present the quote while you’re still in front of the prospect. Can you say instant feedback?!

By utilizing countertop quoting software like CounterGo, you’ll save yourself a ton of time, which ultimately will save you money. Many new countertop fabricators hire someone to take care of quoting, but with quoting software, that’s not necessary.

You can read a lot more about this here: 4 Key Ways Countertop Fabricators Can Give Better Quotes

Better and fasting quoting? Consider it solved.

2. Improve Communication Between Sales and Labor Force

Working for a company in the stone industry, I’ve heard many stories on how a shop’s workflow can get tangled up in miscommunication and disorganization. While that sounds terrifying and can be very stressful, what this means is that you’re growing. And that’s a very, very good thing!

When a client calls in, does your sales team know what stage the production process is in? Did a customer communicate something meaningful with the install crew, but they failed to let the sales team know? 

A lack of communication between sales and the rest of your team can lead to annoyed customers and disgruntled employees.

For Aaron Crowley, a long-time Moraware customer, communication was a massive headache in his shop. When customers called in, they had to wait on hold for someone to find him to know the status of their job. Every time you turn around, something falls through the cracks.

Check out Aaron Crowley’s story here

Study after study has shown that when sales and operations align, customer retention rates are higher, and organizations grow faster.

So, how do you improve communication in your stone fabrication business? Centralize all of your job information.

By using job management software for your countertop shop, the sales team will have a bird’s eye view of what the labor force is working on when, and the production team won’t miss any steps.

Housing all your job information and calendars in one place (and ditching the whiteboards and file folders), gives your team all the information they need at any time with just a few clicks. Imagine no more long hold times, no confused sales teams, and no sloppy mistakes that lead to unmotivated employees.

Since Cache Valley Countertops started using Moraware software, they estimate that they save up to four hours per day on tedious jobs that have been reduced or eliminated by using the new system!

Learn more about Systemize, Morware’s scheduling and job management software for countertop fabricators.

3. Streamline Your Fabrication Scheduling

If you don’t currently have a process in place for fabrication scheduling, activities are probably slipping through the cracks. For example, the templating was completed, but you forgot to schedule the fabrication. 

It’s bound to happen, especially if you’re doing more kitchens than ever before. After all, it’s easy to slip up on one job when you have 20 in the works!

To streamline fabrication scheduling, countertop shops love using Systemize’s AutoSchedule feature.

While there’s no “right” order for scheduling the Activities that make up a Job, most of our customers schedule Templating first. With AutoSchedule, you can set tentative dates for the next steps, such as Fabrication and Install.

Fabrication Dependency

Do you typically need three days after templating before you start on fabrication? Do you generally need three more days before you start on the Install? Should the invoice be sent the day after installation?

All of that can be automatically put on your calendar using AutoSchedule

Having activities added to your calendar for you is a huge time saver, but perhaps more importantly, it ensures no part of the job falls through the cracks. 

Best of all? It can save you hard-earned cash. Streamlining your fabrication scheduling can prevent overbooking and backlog that eats away at profit margins when you end up paying your Install crews overtime to get caught up.

The way we see it, it’s a win-win-win.

4. Streamline Your Installation Scheduling

Making sure all of the in-the-shop tasks are scheduled is one thing – planning the installation in the customer’s home is another.

As your countertop business grows, you might run into efficiency issues.

Here are some questions you want to ask yourself:

  • If you have two installers working, are they going to homes that are close together, or are they driving across town and crossing paths unnecessarily?
  • Did you factor in the time it takes to drive from one installation to another, or is your crew overbooked?
  • What about timeframes? Have you scheduled enough time for the installation or not enough time? 
  • Did you accidentally schedule the installation before the fabrication was even completed?

Again, streamlining your installation schedule is an essential way to grow your business effectively.

Use Systemize to help your scheduling process become smooth and efficient! The AutoSchedule feature will ensure an Install is never scheduled out of order and that there’s enough time to complete the template and the fabrication. 

Job Activities

Also, take advantage of the Mapping Service to make sure your installers aren’t crossing paths all day.

Map view of locations

By putting all of your job information in one place, not only can you make installation scheduling more efficient, but it also goes back to communication. Your sales team can update your customers at any point in time to let them know what’s being worked on and what’s up next.

5. Effectively Manage and Follow Up with Leads

When a qualified lead falls through the cracks, it inspires instantaneous heartburn. That’s money out the door.

If you don’t follow up with leads, statistics tell us that 79% of them will never turn into a sale.

When you take the time to nurture a lead, it pays off. In fact, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than their counterparts. 

If you can effectively manage and nurture your leads, you’ll not only have a higher chance of saving the sale, but that customer is more likely to spend more!

Following up with leads is easier said than done, especially for a growing countertop shop with a limited number of employees that are all juggling several roles. The best solution is to utilize a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system.

We use our scheduling software, Systemize, as our CRM. It has the power to create dates in the calendar for follow-ups, and you can even fine-tune your marketing strategy. You’ll always know when to make a move that will impress potential clients consistently.

sample lead view all active leads

With Systemize, you can create a Sales Lead Process, which can contain activities like calling on the lead, emailing the lead, and even determining where that lead originated.

You can also keep notes about your leads so that eventually, you can look at the history of who you talked to, when, and about what.

While CRMs can be expensive, sales lead tracking is included at no additional charge with your Systemize subscription. High-five!

6. Tracking Your Inventory

Tracking inventory is a huge pain point for growing fabrication businesses. 

First of all, are you even aware of what you already have on hand? Over-ordering colors that are already on your slab yard is likely costing you thousands that you could save with better inventory tracking.

Second, how often do you wish you knew what was in stock, but you either can’t make it to the shop, or you’re always wasting time physically walking out there to check? Knowing what you have without having to look can be a huge time saver for growing business owners.

Finally, if a customer changes their countertop selection, does everyone in the office know about it?

With Systemize Inventory Edition, an upgrade for existing Systemize Standard Edition users, all of these pain points are instantly solved.

Systemize Inventory allows you to:

  • Stay on top of what you need to order
  • Track the material on jobs
  • Use slabs you already have
  • Keep track of the shop from your office – or anywhere

While tracking inventory can be manually managed up to a point, once you start rapidly growing, you’ll need a better long-term solution. That’s where Systemize can really make a difference for your business.

7. Reviewing Your Metrics

If you’re not a numbers guy or gal, reviewing your metrics can sound pretty dull.

However, wouldn’t it be nice to know how many leads turn into sales? What about how efficient your various installers are? What about which crew generated the most repair calls?

You can find out all of these valuable pieces of data using Systemize’s reporting options.

Without reviewing your countertop shop metrics, you don’t have a clear idea of where potential problems are. And if you’re growing, you don’t have time to figure this out manually!

Automating this process and getting organized with powerful scheduling software will help you figure out where there are issues, where you’re excelling, and what you need to focus on to improve.

Additional reports you might want to run include:

  • How many square feet of countertop space have you installed this week? Is it trending up or down?
  • How many installs have you completed per month this year? Are you growing, staying stagnant, or losing momentum?
  • Which customer is sending you the most business?
  • How many phone calls have your sales staff made this month?
  • How long does it typically take you to go from templating to installation?
  • Which salesperson is generating the most customers?

All of this data will help you run your business more effectively. You can thank the people who are helping you grow, and you can pinpoint any employees who aren’t.

Stay Organized with Systemize

All of the pain points we’ve outlined here have informed our development of Systemize. As a growing fabrication business, you need automation to work for you. Gone are the days when you have time to do everything manually.

Forget the post-it notes, messy whiteboards, and scattered Excel spreadsheets! You need serious organization, and your entire staff needs to be in the loop in real time.

Solving bottlenecks is one of our favorite things to do here at Moraware. We love having a conversation with fabricators to examine ways to better their workflow and create solutions for their pain points. These conversations start with a demo of either CounterGo or Systemize depending on your business needs, and basically, they never end. Your business is continually evolving, and we understand that.

If, at any point, you feel like your current process could use a revamp, we’re always eager to schedule a call with you to work out a solution that’s right for this phase of your shop’s growth. 

If you haven’t yet scheduled a demo of Systemize, what are you waiting for?

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