Top Plant 2012: Masco Cabinetry
Real time, just in time: Masco Cabinetry reduces lead time, waste, energy costs, and downtime.
Just as kitchen cabinets are more than just boxes with doors, manufacturing them requires more than just gluing and nailing pieces of wood together.
One cabinet manufacturer that takes making kitchen cabinets seriously is Masco Cabinetry in Sayre, Pa., the 2012 Plant Engineering Top Plant winner. Masco Cabinetry manufactures kitchen cabinets under the KraftMaid, Merillat, and QualityCabinets brand names. The Sayre facility manufactures fronts and doors for the KraftMaid cabinet line, and plans to soon add the Merillat and QualityCabinets lines. The Sayre facility is one of three component plants among the 12 in the Masco Cabinetry division.
“Being chosen as a Plant Engineering Top Plant is very rewarding and humbling,” said Robert Hawthorne, plant manager of the Masco Cabinetry plant in Sayre. “Most often, we focus only on day-to-day execution and project management, and don’t take a moment to step back and look at how far we have come and the changes we have made. The Sayre facility has come a long way, due mainly to the efforts of our entire 300-employee team. I feel proud and lucky to represent this excellent group.”
Steve White, manager of facilities, maintenance, and engineering, agrees. “We work as a plant, a whole; we’re not segregated,” said White. “We work together to reduce waste and to improve our efficiencies. We work as one.”
Communication is integral to the operation of the Sayre facility. “With about 300 employees here, if we want to win a tug-of-war, we need to have all 300 people on that rope,” said Mark Thurston, manager of continuous improvement. “One of the things that makes us successful is doing our very best to get all 300 people on that rope and pulling in one direction.”
Making cabinet components
Orders that the plant receives are entered immediately and scheduled electronically. This triggers an electronic cut bill, which is routed to the dimensioning department along with the schedule. From rough, dried lumber, the dimensioning department produces the sized sticks, or wood pieces, that will go into the final products. The cut bill contains the dimensions for each stick.
The schedule is also routed to the panel department. “We have three different panel designs,” said Margaret Miller, production supervisor. “Solid center panels are glued into blanks and are profiled downstream. Pressed panels have an MDF (medium density fiberboard) or particle board substrate with veneer pressed on both sides. Flat panels are thinner with veneer also pressed on both sides.”
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.