When it comes to sustainable growth and managing scalability, Carmina Mendez and her team at AMC Countertops in Wisconsin are hard to beat. Their skills in organization and a willingness to keep learning are top qualities in an often fast-paced, time-constrictive industry. So, it seemed like a good time to chat with Carmina and shine the spotlight on our old friends!
Ditching excel and whiteboards
After starting back in 1999, AMC Countertops got their chance to open their own fabrication shop in 2002. Silestone was all the rage, remember? Since then, they’ve grown into a full-time team of about 30 people with additional subcontractors out in the field. They have impressively completed over 36,000 projects for homeowners, K&B dealers, builders, and many more. As one of our oldest customers, we have been thrilled to be a part of each other’s growth over the years!
Carmina accounts their decision in being an early adopter of Moraware to wanting to do things better. I’d argue that she’s a bit of a software visionary for seeing the potential in it to create a system that could increase their growing team’s efficiency. At the time, they were heavily reliant on excel for their workflows. They had racks of file folders and whiteboards, and it seemed obvious that software was a better choice. Especially, for the future.
Establishing a consistent and scalable process
Since their adoption of Moraware over 15 years ago, Carmina says that Moraware has become their “bible” due to it being their “center of operation”. There are no more file folders or whiteboards taking up space. And, she makes a good point that newer employees are more used to software than file folders anyways in this day and age.
It’s true that AMC Countertops was always organized. But, I think their true success here lies in their ability to look forward. They were able to see the potential of software to help keep them organized as they grew in the future. This really helped AMC avoid the common pain points of growth like being at the point when volume increases and things start falling through the cracks. They were able to be prepared for the incoming volume that they knew their new Home Depot account would bring in 2007.
Another impressive foresight was to start small when implementing software. It’s tempting to get excited and overcomplicate things at first. But, they started their job management software journey with a few activities and added more over time. She says that this has kept them organized with growth.
Now, their detailed processes are so ingrained in Systemize that nothing is cut if it isn’t in the software with the appropriate files. Even the president of AMC Countertops can’t cut the line and break the rules!
Good discipline is key for growth
I learned a lot from listening to Carmina talk about their strategy to keep their shop organized and on track using Moraware. When it comes to using Systemize and CounterGo, she says, “the only thing that could make it not user-friendly is human behavior.”
She stresses the importance of entering accurate information into the system. Everybody has their part and they have established a strict understanding of this from the very start. Things could go very wrong if information isn’t entered or is inaccurate. For example, if someone forgets to mark an activity complete, then the job won’t progress correctly. “It all relies on the right person doing their job, and Moraware has helped us shape a discipline for the team,” says Carmina.
You’ve probably heard us say that good data in is good data out. Carmina and her team are the epitome of this in their understanding that software is a tool. The effort you put into it, is the effort you will get out of it.
Always keep improving
Fabricators are amazing at sharing and learning from each other. Carmina’s passion for always improving the way they do things – whether it’s on the shop floor, communication with a customer, or creating a great culture for her employees – is something we could all learn from. Over the years, she has been proactive in asking for advice from “gurus” in the industry. She’s also got a skill of adapting best practices she sees to her team’s own unique processes. And clearly, she is more than happy to share what they have learned along the way with others!
Since COVID forced adaptability on all of us, AMC now has a good amount of remote workers. It’s been a learning process like anything else but Carmina says that it’s been great. Just like any other part of their business, they’ve worked on making their company culture better and better over the years. AMC Countertops sounds like a kind, welcoming place to spend your time where everyone cares about each other and the work they produce. We’re proud to have Carmina and AMC Countertops as one of our amazing customers. A HUGE thank you to Carmina for her time given in sharing her story with me, as well as all her kind words she has shared with everyone on our team over the years. Can’t wait to see what else AMC accomplishes in the years to come!