The entire world is in the grip of the second economic slowdown, which has resulted in the crises in business across all fields the world over. This has affected almost all the businesses worldwide and the Woodworking sector is no exception. The market is getting stalled due to shackles of recession and new orders are not an easy game. The problem being that the recession has directly hit the purchasing power or demand of the customers, the impact of which has made running the business a daunting task. The best way to come out of this difficult situation is to think differently and find new methods of working.
Neglecting or overlooking the problem will make the situation worse. It will be imperative to act immediately and think how we can survive and thus come out of this dilemma. All one needs is to look at the situation with a different perspective.
In every country there are shining example of business leaders who have turned this crises into opportunity and have achieved a double-digit growth by adapting strategies best suitable to their enterprise.
Following such examples, we suggest a few tips and winning formulas that would help to overcome the challenges thrown in by the global economic slowdown.
- More efficient production methods and innovative ways to do the work.
- Elimination of unwanted processes
- Ways to cut down overheads/extra costs/wastages.
Let us find out how these can prove beneficial for us.
Efficient Methods And Innovative Ways To Do The Woodwork.
It is observed that in the woodworking industry, some of the typical operations that are a part of the routine work of furniture manufacturing in most factories are cutting, edge banding, drilling, routing, gluing, nailing, gap filling, and sanding etc.
In woodworking the ideal way of cutting is cutting the board without chipping. It is quite common to observe that cutting of the wood / board is fine without chipping when the saw blade or the molding tool is sharp. The blade lasts for a certain period guaranteeing good finish. As soon as the blade is damaged or gets blunt, it starts chipping the edge.
The chipping requires extra work of filling the gaps or sanding operation, etc. It also gives the finished product rather coarse appearance and with patches, indicating shoddy workmanship. This can be avoided by using proper and sharp tools and pressure fins or bars, etc. The tool should be replaced before it is too used up and blunt. The proper pressure on the work piece while processing avoids the chatter marks that is surface imperfections and guarantees a smooth finish and safe operation without any risk. Hence firm holding of the work piece is a must.
These small tips and careful working would give the work piece a fine finish as well as precision. A smooth finish will require less sanding and fillers to achieve an excellent finish.
The next most important operation is joinery of the accurately machined components using appropriate glue. Various types of glue like single-component, two-component, PU and hot melt, etc. are available, which should be used as per the requirement. The quantity of the glue should be appropriate and it should be observed that there is no bleeding of the glue from the joint.
The excess application of the glue not only wastes the glue but also gives the joinery a dirty and shoddy appearance. The excess glue application needs longer time for application- curing and also requires extra work of removing and cleaning operation. However, even after careful cleaning of the excess glue, some traces of the glue are left. These glue marks are seen after final painting of the joinery. If we could avoid this situation, then we are saved from lot of efforts and extra work and a better finish is guaranteed.
Pressurized glue applicators are available that can guarantee appropriate quantity without any excess bleeding. Different nozzles or fingers are also available to suit every need.
One can choose hydraulic clamping instead of mechanical screw clamps. This assures fast clamping and uniform pressure across the joint.
Rotary clamps could prove the best solution in case of higher production capacity requirements. Special clamps are good for specific applications. High Frequency heaters can be used to reduce the clamping time to few seconds. HF generator of 2 KW capacity is suitable for a joinery factory to have clean working systems with shorter work cycle.
Hence one should think and decide accordingly to develop different ways to do the work, and then it is possible to transform the working style of your factory into a totally new and efficient process.
Elimination of Unwanted Process
This is novel way to eliminate the unwanted work and processes that will save lot of energy, time, money and not to forget, rejection, etc. Here are a few processes that can be eliminated and make routine production processes more efficient, cleaner and with a higher value addition.
Mostly nails are used in the furniture joinery, thick solid wood edging, doors and shutters manufacturing, etc. It is assumed that use of nails makes the production faster and easier. However, the use of nails makes the furniture appear rather cheap and full of nails marks. As the time passes the nail marks are seen predominantly. Nailing creates extra work like pushing the nails below the surface, two to three coats of putty filling, sanding, etc. All this requires extra skilled labour, time, skillful sanding, extra material and consumable, etc. In spite of all these efforts the surface is not as smooth as the surface without nails. If we avoid the use of nails we will save all these efforts and get a good product.
There are few factories, which avoid the use of nails to make their products of high quality finish without nail marks.
Cleaning Caused by Slipshod Finishing
Most of the painting rooms are unclean and painters are with grubby clothes and hands. The reason being the painting or finishing workers do believe this is a ‘dirty’ process. But this is not the case in developed countries or even in some advanced factories in Vietnam. It will be surprising to see that the painting rooms and sanding areas are very clean and dust-free. The painting staff is works in clean clothes in an uncluttered workplace. This shows the philosophy of the company and their dedication to work and finish.
Normally, the staining is done to make the surface with uniform colour and shade. If necessary precaution is not taken then the stain will spread on the finished surface and extra work needs to be done to clean the surface. It was surprising to see that some factories consume lot of detergents to clean the surfaces.
It is observed that the product passes many process stages without precision and accuracy. Quality is checked at the final stage only. Mostly, lot of sanding, gap filling, putty filling is done at the painting stage.
The above surface is so uneven that it will need too much effort, man and material, to make it look a better final product. In spite of much effort the final product will be with a very poor appearance and of low quality. This will make it an inferior product with lot of unwanted work, causing inexcusable delay. This will not only reduce the profit margins but also create a bad name for the company.
Ways to Cut Down Overheads/Extra Costs/Wastages
Bad workmanship results in lot of overhead costs to do the rectification which can be avoided in the first place. Wastage is the other most important factor that affects costing. For example, we will study the over spray in the painting room.
Painting is done with spray guns with high-pressure air to do the painting at faster speed. It is observed that the HVLP guns are also used with every high-pressure air. This causes lot of overspray. It is observed that almost 55% of the paint is lost in overspray. Paint material being very expensive it is very high wastage causing higher manufacturing costs.
This can be avoided by use of proper HVLP/LVLP spray systems with appropriate pressure. There are systems, which assure 95% material transfer. This saves lot of money, time and material.
These are some of the typical incorrect practices that creates more rectification work, effort and expenses and wastage of material. Many more faulty practices can be found out and corrected to make the production process more economical in terms of effort and money and with more precision and a better finish.
Remember, in times like these, one cannot afford to spend much on unwanted effort or uncalled-for expenses. The customer would reject work with shoddy workmanship outright, and the competitor is they’re ready waiting to grab the opportunity with a better product and excellent service. It’s high time to mend the ways. Think differently, act smartly and turn the Crisis Into An Opportunity.