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Industrial Strength Woodworking | Millworking & Trakware

By: Thomas Cutler

"A lot of woodworking shows we'd attend, you'd hear 'lean' - it was a buzz word," says Vincent Barraza, executive vice president of Architectural Woodworking Co. (AWC). "We started taking some of the classes up in Glendale, CA, to look at lean implementation. We kind of went through and thought how we could fit lean into what we do."

Thus began the journey into the world of lean manufacturing for AWC, a Monterey Park, CA-based premium millwork contractor that specializes in commercial production, such as law firms and corporate offices. The company began going lean by first working with Professional Development Center (PDC), a state-funded workforce training center at Glendale Community College in Glendale, CA, sending employees to classes on lean principles offered by PDC. Barraza says it's important to get upper management involved in the beginning, to see the big picture and to aid in moving the process along more quickly.

"California Leanin'" is a feature article authored by
Wade Vonasek in the current issue of Industrial Strength Woodworking. The article may be read at its entirety at http://www.iswonline.com/...7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=475DBB6CBDE045609E19F1889AF6819F.


In order to implement lean principles, AWC rearranged the layout of its 55,000-square-foot shop. The new information system AWC has integrated exports instructions from engineering, through Ardis software, directly to the saw on the shop floor.

The company recently completed an integration of Trakware job cost reporting software, and Ardis cutting optimization software, which is distributed by Eurosoft. The integration allows the company to execute the materials management component of lean more efficiently. Barraza says AWC is currently working on integrating Microvellum Toolbox software into the mix as well.

"We're taking the output from Ardis, and we've worked with Trakware to build an import function so we can take manual stockbills, as well as Microvellum's output, through Ardis' optimized output and import that back into Trakware" says Barraza. "We're actually taking the true cost of what needs to be cut on a project and assigning that to a particular sheet, not just each job but to a particular sheet. So, I can look back at casework by a specific room or item and see if it is either making money or losing money. We have jobs in Trakware now mining the data so we can adjust our pricing and so forth."

Though the company is excited about the software integration and its possibilities, there are still challenges to its implementation. "I think anytime you try to tie three different softwares together it is a challenge," Barraza says. "The software companies need to be open and receptive to working with another individual and sharing their information. But if you can make the marriage work, I think it gives them a better sales package."

Trakware Systems (www.trakware.com) is the worldwide leader in manufacturing execution system (MES) solutions for engineer-to-order (ETO) and project-based manufacturers maximizing both profitability and productivity. Trakware specializes in lean business-critical functions such as estimating, advanced scheduling, job costing, production management and labor as well as material shop floor data collection. TRAKware software fully integrates with existing ERP systems, as well as major software providers for financials, engineering design, optimization, payroll and wireless interaction for mobile workers. Trakware recognizes ETO manufacturing as a process and includes a wide range of industry sectors including Architectural Woodworking, Cabinets, Store Fixtures, Doors and Windows, Furniture, Oil and Gas Fabrication, Solid Surface, Metal Fabrication, Yachts-building, and Custom Electronics.

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