Selecting Your Kitchen & Bath Manufacturing Partner
We often receive quality tips from our sponsors that we like to share with you. This week’s tip, on custom versus “manufactured” cabinets, comes from Kevin O’Neill of Wellborn Cabinet Inc.
Even in recent years where information is so abundant given the evolution of electronic media has infiltrated every part of our lives, it still interesting to note the vast misperceptions and myths in our industry regarding local custom versus “manufactured” cabinets.
As a company who owns a high-end custom cabinet company as well as one of the largest, privately owned cabinet manufacturing operations, Wellborn understands and has a great appreciation for both.
When it comes to custom cabinet manufacturing, some of our most successful kitchen & bath dealers also operate a custom cabinet business because that is how they started their family business and it addresses unique market opportunities. They offer a great hybrid approach with a high level of service and capability to meet every client’s needs.
However, there are many shades of grey in defining true custom manufacturing and what the specific benefits these companies offer to remodeling contractors. Conversely, there is an amazing misperception among many contractors as to the capabilities of a manufactured, semi-custom company can offer today. I believe the evolution of cabinet manufacturing over the past decade has dramatically outpaced the understanding of many in our industry. Remember, your past clients are your best reference and leads to new business, and the companies and products you recommend you use in projects are a reflection of your business as well.
I will first state that there are many, very highly skilled and competent local custom manufacturers in our industry that create beautiful, high quality products and have the facilities and resources to service their clients. However, we have also seen many local manufacturers that promote themselves as custom, but are far it in terms of quality, product offerings, finishes and service in today’s markets.
The quality produced from some of these manufactures would not even be acceptable to our entry level lines, and contractors have waited 8-10 weeks for their delivery. Many do not have the finishing systems, expertise or the capability to even approach what most average performing manufacture cabinet companies can do every day, with much short and consistent lead times and far higher quality.
As for manufactured cabinetry, they also come in many variations in terms of their market focus, product range, price versus quality, manufacturing capability, service and delivery levels, etc. For example, Wellborn as well as other selected manufacturers focus the largest portion of our businesses on the remodel contractor market. Wellborn’s product range starts at entry level builder lines all the way to rich custom capabilities plus an extensive closet/storage systems line and furniture bath vanities.
There are more 130,000,000 items and configurations to choose from not including our custom cabinet specifications – hardly restrictive or limited as many contractors are led to believe. With a lead time from order to ship in 13 business days that has not changed in over 10 years, we perform at a 99.97% delivery accuracy as compared to 6-10 weeks often found in custom shops. Our comprehensive manufacturing and finishing processes and systems go far beyond the capabilities of local manufacturers. Even with all this to offer, we are absolutely entrenched in our belief in the need for true custom manufacturing for cabinetry to address the needs of those discerning clients who desire a one of a kind, dream kitchen or bath – it is why we acquired the Rutt and Heritage Luxury Cabinet Company.
As you approach your markets and business strategies in the Kitchen & Bath and related projects, consider whether your manufacturing partner’s strategies and capabilities are aligned with those of your manufacturing partners. Understand how they can help you expand your business in this remodeling segment. Companies like Wellborn offer many marketing and sales programs as well as extensive training. After all, we truly desire to see our contractor partners to be the best and most successful in their markets.