Fabricator Case Studies

Expanding to meet market demand

August 1, 2011
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From its beginning in the early 1980s, Oldcastle Surfaces has grown to include six locations around the Southeastern region of the U.S. By continuously investing in its machinery as it expands, the company has been able to tailor its efforts to focus on the various market segments it serves.

 Like many other successful companies in the sector, Oldcastle Surfaces fabrication business was founded in the garage of its original owner (then known as Custom Surfaces, Inc.). “After growing it into one of the largest fabricators in the U.S., [the original owner] sold it to Oldcastle in 2001,” said Mellisa Hill, Vice President of Residential Sales & Marketing. “Steve DeBerardino is currently our president.”

Work done at Oldcastles’ facilities include templating, fabricating and installing of granite, quartz, marble, travertine and solid surface materials for residential and commercial applications. “We currently produce 1,500 square feet a day in granite and quartz across all sites,” said Hill. “We could easily double that number if the economy cooperates.”

Stoneworking facilities for Oldcastle are located in Atlanta, GA, Savannah, GA, Greenville, SC, Nashville, TN, Birmingham, AL, and Winston-Salem, NC.

 Investments across the Southeast

The Nashville, TN, location was the company’s most recently opened shop. “We expanded into the Nashville market to meet demand for commercial projects and introduce ourselves into a new residential segment that had a limited number of strong fabricators,” said Hill.

This Nashville facility is equipped with an automated bridge saw from Löffler, a CMS/Brembana Maxima CNC stoneworking center, a Flow waterjet, three Loeffler Vario edging machines and an EnviroSystem from Water Treatment Technologies for water recycling.

Prior to the Nashville location expansion, Oldcastle Surfaces invested in its Greenville, SC, shop. “We made the Greenville investment to meet the demand in that market for a fabrication shop and to bring the latest equipment available to our fabrication processes,” said Hill.

The Greenville location is equipped with an automated CMS/Brembana Sprint CNC bridge saw, a CMS/Brembana Flexa bridge saw, a CMS/Brembana Maxima CNC stoneworking center, a Luna edging machine from Montresor, a Marmo Meccanica flat-edge polisher and an EnviroSystem from Water Treatment Technologies. “Our Greenville site has an automated fabrication line that requires very little manpower and produces high-quality countertops expected by not only our customers, but ourselves,” said Hill.

Oldcastle Surfaces’ other shops also include a range of state-of-the-art fabrication machinery. For instance, its Atlanta shop is equipped with four bridge saws from Marmo Meccanica of Italy, three CMS/Brembana dual-table CNCs, a Flow dual-table waterjet, Vario edge processors from Löffler, a Thibaut radial arm polisher and an EnviroSystem from Water Treatment Technologies. The Savannah shop has two Marmo Meccanica bridge saws, one single-table Flow waterjet, one dual-table CMS/Brembana CNC stoneworking center, a Comandulli automated polisher, a Marmo Meccanica flat-edge polisher and an EnviroSystem from Water Treatment Technologies. The Birmingham facility includes a bridge saw, hand routers for edging and a Thibaut radial arm polisher. And finally, the Winston-Salem location is equipped with a Yukon bridge saw from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN, a CMS/Brembana Maxima CNC stoneworking center, Vario edging equipment from Löffler and water treatment technology.

All six shops use the LT-55 series for templating from Laser Product Industries of Romeoville, IL, and Moraware JobTracker from Moraware of Reno, NV, to manage inventory and jobs. “This enables us to immediately upload jobs into our scheduling software and reduce lead times,” said Hill.

Across its six locations, new employees at Oldcastle go through a training program, and all employees are required to complete safety education on a regular basis. “We have a mentor program for employees that are new to the business to ensure they are producing the level of quality we demand as well as ensure that they are learning all aspects of the job,” said Hill. “We also have an extensive safety training that all employees must complete annually.”

Collectively, the majority of employees are cross-trained, while some are specialized. “We have specialized employees that are in charge of specific functions like programming and running the CNC machines,” said Hill. “The majority of our employees are cross trained on all aspects of the fabrication process to ensure we have needed coverage when spikes occur in the production line.”

Hill continued by explaining that the company’s biggest challenge has been staying diversified to “weather the storm.” “We have always been good about servicing several market segments — commercial, residential and home centers,” she said. “As the economy has turned, we have had to evaluate where our efforts are spent and determine which segment requires the attention to be successful and transition employees to meet that need, while trying to determine the market changes prior to them happening.”

Referencing the company’s mission statement of only employing “the best people that are driven to make Oldcastle Surfaces a profitable, world class provider of countertops and surface solutions,” Hill explained that the company additionally transfers its attention according to the marketplace. “We have shifted our focus as needed with the economy in the past few years and have redirected our sales force away from the production builders that once was our primary business to our other segments of the business,” she said. “We plan to continue to develop our teams at all sites and work towards more of a ‘one stop shop.’ “

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