From Showroom to Shop with Precision Countertops

From Showroom to Shop with Precision Countertops

Steve Mast, Director of Sales at Precision Countertops in Portland, Oregon, was kind enough to walk us through his entire facility, from the showroom to the shop. We even get a sneak peek at the breakroom, which features a convenience store honor system – super cool stuff!

Precision Countertops has done over 100,000 quotes in CounterGo and has a dream tech stack, which we’ll be learning about as Steve gives us the full tour.

Without further ado, let’s turn it over to Steve!

The Precision Countertop Showroom

Our facility is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and the showroom is about 2,000 square feet. We welcome most of our clients here from various channels, including contractors, direct, and big box.

We use the showroom to feature all the different services we offer. We do all products – laminate, solid surface, and stone. We also install tile backsplash, sinks, and plumbing services – all the things we think people will need.

We have display walls of quartz, and the natural stone we have in slabs outside. We design things in our shop by hue. So we have white quartz on one wall, for example, which has been very popular.

How do you decide what to feature in your showroom?

Generally, we try to find things from suppliers we have good relationships with that we know can support us and will provide product in a timely manner. That’s not always easy for all suppliers.

We want to feature a supplier that will back us up if there’s a warranty issue or if we need support. We also try to find something that has a beautiful look to it and also different price points so that we have a value offering.

For example, we have a Cambria but also a simple white quartz. It’s a matter of looking at price, the offering, and your suppliers.

What software do you use in your showroom?

We have CounterGo that we started using in 2014. We’ve done over 100,000 quotes in it, and it’s a really powerful tool for us.

To be able to create a quote, email it to a customer, one designer can start a quote, another one can pick it up… it’s really where the whole process starts.

We’re doing more virtual appointments during the coronavirus, and we can have CounterGo up while we’re working with a client.

The Precision Countertop Shop

What’s your full tech stack in the shop?

We use a combination of CounterGo, Systemize, Slabsmith, and SPEEDLabel.

In the front, we start out with CounterGo. Then, we use Moraware (Systemize) for our scheduling and activities. We have Slabsmith for our digital layouts and inventory, and we use SPEEDLabel to remove paperwork in the shop.

A couple years ago, we eliminated our paperwork in the shop by adding terminals throughout. We weren’t familiar with the shop user function in Moraware, but this allows the operator to start and stop activities in Moraware.

We then print labels from the SPEEDLabel software at the saws, and we apply those labels before we take the pieces off. So, we don’t have any paperwork other than the labels.

Moraware and SPEEDLabel side-by-side at a shop terminal, allowing Precision Countertops to have a paperless facility

We used to print paperwork in the office, take that paperwork for the day to the guys, and they’d work off that. You might have to update it or write on it, and the paperwork would get wet.

Each and every piece has all the information with a label now. That’s been a big help for us with communication. 

Slabsmith lets us inventory all of our material by taking a picture of it, and our designers can pull up those granite slabs online. 

Normally, when we receive inventory, we take photos here of our slabs.

All the material in our shop may not be available – some of it may be sold – but we can tell that quickly and easily with Slabsmith. Rather than thumbing through slabs in the shop, we can show the pictures in Slabsmith.

I would encourage getting as many terminals as you can throughout the shop. We have Moraware on the shop floor and we have Slabsmith layouts on the screen next to that.

You can get the information people need right to them when it’s easily accessible in the shop.

Did you struggle when introducing new technology?

Technology seems to be one of the most difficult changes. But technology isn’t the only thing. For example, we got these new green pods, and our guys didn’t want to use them.

Once they actually started using them every day, they found a bunch of added benefits. They were lighter, and they didn’t chip and damage like the other ones. They loved them! 

Now, they want to transition the rest of them. But you have to get that full adoption to get the full effect and appreciate whatever the change is.

With the SPEEDLabels for example, we simply added them to the existing paperwork for a while. We didn’t have anyone stop what they were doing or how they were doing it. They eventually transitioned to where they removed the paperwork from the process themselves.

It’s easier to get adoption when you can get buy-in for change. If they find it’s easier for themselves, it’s easier.

As we implement a CRM for our sales team, we’re keeping it simple. We’re not using all the functionality yet – we’re taking it one step at a time so they don’t reject it, and hopefully, we can get adoption. Change is difficult in any industry, but especially this one.

Could you do all of this without technology?

No, you couldn’t. Unless you have a centralized form of technology, it’s just impossible. People need information, and our customers need answers. With our current setup, everyone can be connected no matter where they are in real-time. That’s impossible to do without technology.

When we had packets of information, it was really hard, because you had to have the paperwork or the folder, and things would get lost.

How many jobs are you currently doing?

We are doing about 1500 square feet per day, which is about 30 jobs per day. Normally, we’d be closer to 40-50 jobs per day.

It’s giving us a chance to breathe and to focus on training. We’ve been doing a lot of videos of our processes and finding new ways to be more efficient. When things come back to normal, we hope to be in better shape.

The Precision Countertop Breakroom

We have a self-serve convenience store on an honor system for everyone. It saves the guys time from having to go get lunch, and they just scan their card and pay for it as they go. That’s been really nice.

We’ve also had to modify our breakroom during the coronavirus to be able to maintain social distancing.

The Precision Countertop Offices

Normally, the office area would be full, but most of our team is working from home these days. We have some people coming in, but most of our team is working from home.

We have a voiceover IP system as well as dashboards that monitor answer rates and customer service scores. We’re big on dashboarding and metrics. We have customer service surveys, and we try to monitor number of orders.

Do you think the changes you’re making during COVID will stick?

I think virtual meetings, like our in-homes, will stay. Meetings through Zoom are going to stay. I feel like some things will just be a little bit different in the future.

Conclusion

The last couple of months have been tough for everyone in different ways. I encourage everyone to hang on. 

I’m a part of an organization called ISFA, which is a great fabricator-driven organization. Every Monday, we’ve been doing shop tours. It’s been nice to have camaraderie and to talk about all the challenges we’re facing and are overcoming.

It’s nice to feel like you’re a part of something.


Steve Mast is the Director of Sales at Precision Countertops in Portland, Oregon. Mast has over 25 years of experience in the fabrication industry and is Vice President of the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA), a countertop organization.

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