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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – If you ask the team at Remmert & Company how to thrive for 70 years in the woodworking business, they’ll tell you that customer satisfaction and continuous process improvements pave the road to success.
Based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Remmert & Company is a one-stop shop for all commercial architectural woodworking needs that began solely as a residential cabinet shop. The business changed hands when Bill Remmert purchased the company in 1989 and then changed names — from Montgomery Woodworks to Remmert & Company — in 2011, after a tornado laid waste to the company’s site.
“We do all kinds of work in the architectural woodworking industry, including countertops, custom pieces, casework, wall paneling, and moulding,” said Luke Remmert. president. “We try to focus on quality, but what really sets a company apart in our line of work is reliability. We have to plan more in advance than other trades do, and we want our customers to know that they can always count on us.”
Remmert & Company’s growth is spurred entirely by word-of-mouth, as it continues to organically expand without any variety of formal advertising.
“A lot of our work comes from repeat customers who are consistently happy with the quality, reliable work that we do,” said Remmert.
In 2014, Remmert & Company acquired the Cabinet Vision design-to-manufacturing solution, by Vero Software, to program its jobs for CNC manufacturing, as well as to more accurately manage projects. Though the company had previously used a different computer software system, it received little customer support from its former supplier and found that it needed a better service provider to truly thrive.
“We had software for several years, mostly doing custlists and part sizing, but we were never really able to get it to work with our machines and we didn’t receive the support we needed to make that happen,” said Remmert. “We were pretty familiar with what was out there in the industry, and so we decided that Cabinet Vision was the best choice for us.”
Since its implementation, the company has used Cabinet Vision whenever possible to manage jobs, standardize best practices and preferences, and automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks.
Carolyn Hyde, engineer and manager of Cabinet Vision programming for Remmert & Company, uses Cabinet Vision to program a wide range of jobs, including moulding projects. Though many of the company’s jobs are drawn in Cabinet Vision, Remmert also uses the AutoCAD computer-aided-design (CAD) solution, by Autodesk, for some design work.
When AutoCAD is used, Hyde is able to import .dxf AutoCAD files into Cabinet Vision, which allows her trace designs — such as those for mouldings — and program them for CNC manufacturing.
“Some of them are really simple jobs, but it’s a great way to handle mouldings, whether they’re simple or complex,” said Hyde.
The company also takes advantage of the ability to write Cabinet Vision User Created Standards (UCS) which automatically apply custom construction methods designated by users for specified parameters. For instance, if a user prefers a certain construction method for a particular type of material, Cabinet Vision will automatically apply a UCS for that method when the material is used.
While Remmert initially had Cabinet Vision support staff write UCSs for the company, Hyde has found that writing UCSs is simple enough to accomplish using a basic programming language.
“One of the great things about Cabinet Vision is that we’re able to customize it to do things we need it to do automatically, but that it wouldn’t do out of the box,” said Hyde. “UCSs are really unlimited in terms of how we can use them.”
While many of the company’s UCSs are dedicated to counting various materials, one of its most used involves the construction of doors with light rails.
“We’ve set Cabinet Vision up to extend the door down past the light rails automatically,” said Hyde. “When we do something like light rails and apply a custom construction method, all of the machining has to be adjusted, as well, so it’s a big deal to be able to do that automatically.”
The business took its automation a step further by building a library based upon its most-used color schemes. The system will automatically change associated colors when a color change is made by an architect, an automated function that saves the team time in re-selecting colors to complement the new color selection.
Overall, the addition of Cabinet Vision at Remmert & Company has reduced errors and relieved staff of some of the burden of material management, right down to project colors.
“We try to do everything that we can in Cabinet Vision. If it can be drawn in Cabinet Vision, then we draw it in Cabinet Vision,” said Remmert. “It doesn’t place our orders for us, but it does help us to manage quantities so that we’re ordering the correct amount.”
“Cabinet Vision customizes everything for us,” said Hyde. “So we’re spending more time on the front end of a project to set it up the way it should be done because many of the back-end details are already handled.”
The business utilizes Cabinet Vision’s material scheduling capabilities to simplify the entire construction process, as the system includes a master list of parts required for any cabinet type.
The company also takes advantage of the system’s ability to generate bar codes that are assigned to projects and the materials associated with those projects. The bar code system can be an easy means of making sure that all required pieces stay together and are properly organized for assembly, from start to finish.
Hyde uses Cabinet Vision’s strengths to the company’s advantage, as the system helps her to achieve the best possible working “blueprint” of how projects will be manufactured.
“Even though we don’t always necessarily use Cabinet Vision’s 3D feature for our drawings, we do use it to see how the machine interacts with each part, and how the parts interact with each other,” said Hyde. “It helps us to see how the parts fit together.”
Having accomplished 70 successful years in business, Remmert & Company plans to continue doing what it does best, more efficiently than ever before.
“We’re much more accurate in our material requests and much more efficient at producing casework through the shop,” said Remmert. “All of this helps us to better serve our customers.”