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Better processes produce furniture components ‘just in time’

When your customers are ready to make a purchase, the last thing you want to do is keep them waiting. But for products that are made to order, lead times may be inevitable.


For Rockwood, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for continuous improvement. To address a furniture maker’s need for faster turnaround times, we explored ways to make our own processes more efficient.


Keeping the customer in mind

In this case, a company had sought our expertise to produce the curved sections of their sleigh-style beds. They kept no inventory of these components, relying instead on a just-in-time production model.


That means that each sale at a dealer’s showroom would trigger an order to Rockwood. We understood that lengthy lead times could persuade shoppers to take their business to a competitor.


Through ongoing communication with our customer, we identified that it typically took them 3-4 weeks to receive the components they needed to complete a bed.


We saw an opportunity to do better.


Cutting Lead Times In Half

We took immediate action by placing increased attention on the production of this customer’s parts. However, we knew sustainable, long-term improvements would be needed.


First on the list was our purchasing system.


We typically received orders for bed components several times per week. Because the beds are offered in a variety of styles, each one calls for a different combination of parts. This created the potential for confusion or miscommunication.


To make ordering clear and consistent, Rockwood assigned a number to each component and listed it in a catalog made specifically for the customer. The purchasing manager is able to refer to an easy-to-read chart for bed styles, sizes and wood species as well as pricing information.


Rather than product descriptions, purchase orders now consist of part numbers and quantities.


We then turned our attention to our manufacturing processes. By creating shop drawings for each product variation, we reduced the number of engineering steps that took place after orders arrived. Our team can now easily identify the components that are required and simply add them to the production schedule.


The standardization and streamlining of these processes resulted in Rockwood offering the customer a consistent 2-week lead time. The investment has been well worth the effort as orders continue to come in on a regular basis.


In the end, we understand that your customer is our customer. That our success depends on yours. And while our services are highly customized, Rockwood’s commitment to excellent service is standard.





We enjoy solving problems, improving efficiency, and helping you save money. We take the time to understand your specific challenges and work with you through the process.

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