Reformatting to meet market demand
For a company that was formed to take on the commercial sector in greater Louisville, KY, the owners of TruRock LLC, Cory Lay and Jamie Watts, have had to shift gears to better position themselves in the marketplace. “Basically, our original business plan was to specialize in commercial and multi-family projects,” said Watts. “With the current state of the economy, we have used the same high-production and efficiency techniques we use for commercial work and translated them into our residential offerings.”
With those principles in mind, the company has found much of its success stemming from the machinery it has invested in. “What we’ve tried to do because of the way the market is, is to eliminate as much overhead as possible,” said Watts. “Our machinery has allowed us to become more efficient and more creative.”
The shopThe 18,000-square-foot shop houses a Northwood CNC and a Northwood SawJet - both from Northwood Machine Manufacturing Co. of Louisville, KY, and the SawJet utilizes a waterjet pump and cutting nozzle from KMT Waterjet Systems of Baxter Springs, KS.
“They’re the cornerstone of our production,” said Lay. “The capacity we’ve raised up to, there’s no way we could’ve done it without those machines. We essentially have five to six employees producing. Without the machines, we’d need 10 to 12 guys.”
Gorbel overhead cranes are used to maneuver slabs around the shop.
“We create ‘build as’ approval drawings for each job,” said Watts. “I will send a file and/or photo and virtual folder for each job, including pictures and digital templates. We’re trying to be more full service than our competition, and it gives us an advantage.”
Setting itself apartTruRock has 15 workers, including Lay and Watts and its own installation crew. “We wear many hats here,” said Watts. “Jay James is our in-house IT manager, and he handles all of our ordering and production tracking. Cory handles in-house production and drafting management, and I handle sales, installation management and PR.”
“We know exactly how much labor it takes to fabricate a given job or project,” he continued. “That allows us to give our customers realistic turnaround times and installation dates on approval. I get a production update daily that tells me how far we are from approval to install.”
An optimistic futureWith a capacity to reach $325,000 per month in production - based on a single 8-hour shift per day - TruRock is currently averaging $200,000 to $250,000, but remains positive. “We will continue to navigate through the growing pains of a company on the rise,” said Watts. “The challenge is doing so while keeping our current lead-times and quality in check.
In the long run, TruRock would like to expand into other markets. It is currently doing so in the Lexington, KY, market by keeping pace with its original business plan to both concentrate on commercial work and develop satellite locations in less oversaturated markets. “We would like to do this at a moderate pace and continue to create angles in the marketplace by offering services our competition does not,” said Lay, adding that the company has been experimenting with other products, including engineered stone, recycled materials and high-end wood products, but has yet to release them.
Sidebar: TruRock, LLCLouisville, KY
Type of work: residential and commercial
Machinery: a Northwood CNC and a Northwood SawJet -- both from Northwood Machine Manufacturing Co. in Louisville, KY; SawJet utilizes a waterjet pump and cutting nozzle from KMT Waterjet Systems of Baxter Springs, KS, for the Northwood SawJet; a Marmo Meccanica LTT 621 polishing machine; a Denver Slot bridge saw supplied by VIC International of Knoxville, TN; a Matrix Contour CNC; Gorbel overhead cranes; an LT-55 from Laser Products of Romeoville, IL; and Alpha CAD/CAM in conjunction with StoneVision -- a proprietary software of Northwood
Number of Employees: 15
Production Rate: capacity to reach $325,000 per month, but currently averaging $200,000 to $250,000