|Home » Forums » Cabinetmaking » Message||Login|
You are not logged in. Consider these WOODWEB Member advantages:
An open letter to door companies1/29
I don't know about you, but I consider door companies to be an extension of my shop. Therefore, I want to be able to communicate with you in the same manner that I communicate with my own shop. You are not retail, you are wholesale. What you provide is technical in nature and always, always custom. Communication therefore requires technical terms, not arbitrary names that are meaningless.
Architects do not communicate to me the door style they want by calling it a name, they provide section details.
If I want one of my employees to make a door, I don't give him a door name, I give him section details.
If the door needs a midrail, it is communicated to him in the information he just received. He makes no assumptions.
Does it make sense to you that I can create the same exact door from your catalog using 10 different door names? No, it doesn't. That's absurd.
Do you think I use your door names with my customers? Don't flatter yourself, my customers don't even know you exist, which is how it's supposed to be.
I'm sure I'm all alone in my feelings about this. I'm sure most cabinetmakers around the country select their door company by whoever's brochure is the most glossy, has the prettiest pictures and the most creative door names. I'm sure none of the other cabinetmakers in this country know anything about wood or wood movement, and therefore it is your responsibility to save us from ourselves by adding midrails and midstiles where we "forgot" to order them.
You're in my office all the time wondering why I use the local guy who only provides me with a 3 ring binder with simple sketches and names his raised panel door (gasp!) RP. That's because he's a woodworker building wood cabinet doors. That's how woodworkers talk to other woodworkers.
It would serve you well to understand who your customer is. My customer is not your customer. I'm your customer. I need cabinet doors. The combination of stile and rail size, outside edge detail, inside edge detail, panel detail, and whether or not there is a midrail or midstile and where that midrail or midstile is located cannot possibly be communicated to you with a door name. Start talking and acting like woodworkers and our relationship will be lot smoother.
You are correct in your overall view on the industry. The cabinet makers assembly the final product. The door/drawer guys are the parts guys. Akin to making air bags for cars.
We chose companies by quality of products, availability, price in that order.
Catalogs and creative names are for salespeople. Answer all of my questions with something reasonable and we will get along fine.
(Not so) Dumb: You have pointed out correctly that the goals of the BigCo door maker are different from that of LocalBoy door maker.
Understanding how those goals are different and how it affects your business is important. Understanding the next step - how they might affect your company is also important.
And no matter what they say or do, those companies will not - can not - have the same goals - or path to success - that you do.
No one cares about your work as much as you do. Period.
How about putting a damned sticker on the door saying what line item it is, or what cabinet number it is, or what the door dimensions are?
It frustrates me to no end at how long it takes to receive, inspect, and verify dimensions on a half-pallet of doors. On any given job there may be 1 door that's inaccurate or damaged, so we can't just shoved the freight into the spray booth and hope it all comes out right.
You get a pallet of doors and a packing list/check-in document, but good luck figuring out which is which. You get out the tape and start looking for dimensions on 5 pages of small font print.
I'm embarrassed that we haven't found a simpler way of doing this, I'm sure it exists, but when most of your big-dog door vendors just ship you a pallet of "doors, random sizes", you dont' have much of a choice.
You hit the nail on the head Matt. At one point we looking into outsourcing doors. Cost to buy vs. cost to produce was close - a little higher on the produce side. So the increase in capacity by buying out the doors looked like a winner. Until I had the owner receive a large order - grain matched fronts, many of them very similar sizes. 4 hours later and less than halfway through the order he gave me the paperwork back. "We are close cost wise you said?" "Yessir." "Make every door you can then. We'll buy them if we don't have time."
We outsource as much as we can with a few exceptions. Our shop simply doesn't have the manpower to put door production into full swing.
The last multiple job order that came in on the same pallet was divided in layers by job number, I was shocked! Completely expecting to have someone there for half a day sorting it out.
But when it comes to any door over 48" tall or wide wainscot panels they get made in house, it gets to expensive to buy them
I order my doors online like most of you, I'm sure. Its amazing to me I'm able to label the specific door online, but that doesnt translate to the actual product. Your more than halfway there bundling my doors with labels and tiny font!
For the love of Pete, add some glue to the joint. They're starving.
It wouldnt hurt to change your abrasive belts every once in awhile. The door grain is glossy and burnished.
The line that caught my eye and made me chuckle was "Do you think I use your door names with my customers? Don't flatter yourself, my customers don't even know you exist, which is how it's supposed to be."
Too funny. Is this because people represent to their customers that they are actually building doors?
When we build residential cabinets (rarely) our customers ask specifically what we make. I know its not the norm, and its not profitable, but for us at least we are expected to "make" the product for those customers. I would have ZERO problem having a handfull of door vendors products displayed with their names, their door style names, and a clear statement to the customer of the reasons, pro/con, for opting for a purchased door in direct comparison to the pros and cons of me building the doors.
I completely understand the frustrations and just had a conversation with another shop very frustrated with a small special order from one of the biggest names out there. I can only imagine the headache when its a skid or multi skid order.