What percentage of your business goes to reworks?

Feb 7, 2023 | Business

You can talk about reworks and how to reduce them until you’re red in the face. And that’s actually great because we all know they are a major problem. But, in order to reduce your reworks, you first need to understand the what, who, and how that is unique to your shop. What does that mean, though?

Basically it means you need to understand what type of reworks are affecting you the most, who is responsible, and how they are occurring. This information will reveal trends that you can address to lower your rework percentage.

Read on to learn about understanding and reducing your reworks!

What’s a “reasonable” rework percentage?

First things first, it’s time for the question on everyone’s mind: What’s a reasonable expectation for reworks?

Of course, the ideal percentage for reworks is a big beautiful zero. Nobody wants to mess up ever. But unfortunately, that’s simply not possible. We’re human, after all! And mistakes are going to happen.

According to our research, countertop fabricators should aim for 3% or less of sales in reworks.

If you make $100,000 in sales, you should ideally spend only $3,000 in reworks total. That budget should include everything from entire kitchen redos to buffing out minor scratches.

With that being said, it doesn’t mean you’re a complete failure if you’re above 3% reworks. Most countertop fabricators are! We’ve found that the average countertop fabricator has 10% of their business tied up in reworks. If you’re like one of the many with above a 3% rework score, it just means there’s room for improvement. If you immediately thought “FUN!” then you’ve got the right attitude, my friend!

Where do the most common reworks come from?

Okay, here’s where the how, what, who comes back into play…

The most common reworks come from CAD and measuring mistakes. It’s unfortunately easy to mismeasure or even input incorrect measurements into the CAD software, causing a whole heap of issues later on. Plus, wrong measurements are quite expensive to fix!

While measuring issues are the most common, there are plenty of other reasons why you might have to rework a job. These are just a few of the industry favorites:

  • Installation mistakes
  • Customer abuse (inappropriate usage or care)
  • Mistakes during production due to lack of training or care

And of course you can’t forget the plain ol’ “stuff happens”. We’re working with rocks, and they don’t always cooperate. Sometimes problems like chips or a dropped slab happen. If that happens rarely, it’s just a plain accident. If these types of accidents are happening regularly, you should probably look more into the why it’s happening and who is involved.

But where do I start?

It’s one thing to know that you need to start looking into your reworks. It’s definitely another to know where to start. We’ve compiled some tips for you!

Identify the root cause of reworks

As we’ve discussed, the first step to reducing reworks is to identify the root cause of the problem. Every time a rework finds its way into your shop, follow the clues back to the source. Was it the sales department, the installers, the builder, the materials, the vendor, etc., etc.?

Keep track of reworks over time to identify the most common issues. The installers might have slipped on one job, nicking the countertop, but if that was the only time it happened in five months, the installers aren’t really your main problem. It’s all about tracking regular trends.

Use cost codes

Cost codes are a way to group expenses based on their function or nature. For example, you can assign all manufacturing costs to a manufacturing cost code, all sales expenses to a sales cost code, and so on. That way, you can break down the overall costs of a project to see which parts may (or may not) stand out.

As we like to say in the Moraware world, it’s all about putting good data in so you can get good data out. The more detailed you make your cost codes and accounting functions, the easier it’ll be to identify trends in overspending. Typically, where there’s overspending, there’s reworks — making it easy for you to see where you need to put your attention.  

Talk to your team

You don’t have to do all this mystery solving alone. Even Sherlock Holmes has a Watson! There are some other people in your countertop fabrication shop who might know exactly where to find inefficiencies that cause reworks: your team!

We suggest scheduling regular meetings or calls with your team members to discuss reworks. Bring your findings to the meetings and ask your team members what they think. They might be able to explain some of the reworks and even identify ways to reduce them in the future.

With everyone’s eyes and ears searching for reworks and issues, you’ll be sure to find them in no time. Plus, it’ll make implementing solutions that much easier when everyone is on the same page.

And when you do finally start reducing your reworks, remember to celebrate every win with your team — even the small ones. It’s a good way to keep everyone actively engaged and maintain that amazingly productive team atmosphere.

Don’t let reworks eat your profit

Nobody likes redoing something they’ve already done. When it comes to countertop fabrication, reworks can cost you money, time, effort, and productivity.

According to our research, the goal should be for no more than 3% of your total sales to be wrapped up in reworks. To reach that number, get your detective on to identify the root of your reworks, track the right data, and keep your team involved.

Once you know where your reworks are coming from, you can come up with a plan of attack to bring your shop down into the 3% range — or maybe even lower!