Fabricator Case Study: Managing a disciplined work crew

July 1, 2006
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Lake Cumberland Marble & Granite of Somerset, KY, operates out of a 9,200-square-foot facility that relies on machinery from Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, including an Express 3200 bridge saw, which is “a great dollar for dollar investment,” according to owner Doug Day

Although Lake Cumberland Marble & Granite has only been in operation for the past two years, its founder, Doug Day, has almost three decades of stone industry-related experience under his belt. Day has been working in the stone industry for the past 27 years, and only recently decided to open a fabrication shop in Somerset, KY. “At age 15, I started working with Italians doing ceramic and marble installations,” he said, adding that he also started doing countertop fabrication at this time.

In 2004, Day launched Lake Cumberland Marble & Granite out of a 9,200-square-foot facility that relies on machinery from Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA.

“We purchased the Express 3200 bridge saw from Regent Stone Products, which is a great dollar-for-dollar investment,” said the owner. “This saw will do everything that a start-up or existing fabrication shop could need, unless you are producing major amounts of custom copy.” For edging, the company purchased a Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 edging machine, also from Regent Stone Products.

For edging, the company purchased a Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 edging machine, also from Regent Stone Products.

The company employs a total of six workers. “They are specialized, but not any employee can execute [all of the different fabrication tasks] because there are weeks and sometimes months of training required,” the owner explained. “I have been in the business for 27 years, and learn something new every day. If you are a fabricator, you know you can't watch a video or have your employees watch one, and expect them to be an expert in the field.

“In hiring new people, because of my being an army brat, I look for disciplined people that have a family and responsibilities,” he continued. “If they have been in the armed forces, that is a plus [because] they know what being on time and completing a mission is about.”

Employees of Lake Cumberland Marble & Granite train for a 90-day trial period. “By that time, you [should have learned enough] to be able to work in this field,” explained Day. “If not, you should not keep [them as employees] because they will cause you problems and cost you money, regardless of how much you would like to keep them.”

The company's production rate averages four to six kitchens per week, and it fabricates custom countertops, as well as handling a retail business and the installation of ceramic tile and marble. Lake Cumberland Marble & Granite manufactures natural stone only, and principle markets include remodeling and new construction. A total of 70% of the company's production is cut-to-size work with the remaining 30% being tiles.

The company purchases slabs from local distributors on a per-job basis. “I feel that unless you have deep pockets, why tie up your cash flow,” said Day. “Most distributors give you 90 to 120 days on as much material as you can produce with good credit. So, take advantage of their warehouse, and use it to your advantage.”

As a fabricator, Day finds it difficult to establish a reputable name in the stone industry. “The biggest challenge today, in this business, is that so many people think that if they buy a bunch of expensive machinery, they are now granite fabricators,” he explained. “When in fact, that is so far from the truth. If you don't know this business or have time and money to spend, you need to think about what you are getting into. If you're in this business, then you know the most experienced people in this trade make mistakes every day and that it costs a lot of money.

“The best advice I can give [to other fabricators] is to always check your template twice and cut once,” Day continued. “Teach your employees the proper way to handle what they are working with, from a shower curb to a kitchen with an undermount sink cutout. Remember, the most important installation is a happy, satisfied and paid-in-full customer.”

Day also said that to strive in this industry, a company has to keep up with the changes by attending trade shows, reading industry-related materials and by being involved with the Marble Institute of America, which he cites as a great source for information.

Lake Cumberland Marble & Granite Somerset, KY

Type of work: Remodeling, new construction, custom countertops

Machinery: Express 3200 bridge saw and a Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 edging machine from Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA

Number of Employees: 6

Production Rate: 4 to 6 kitchens per week

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

Recent Articles by Michelle Stinnard

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

November 2013 Stone Products Gallery

Take a look at some of the latest stone industry products.


Stone World Magazine

April 2014 stone world cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of Stone World, check out an extensive preview of Coverings 2014, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in April. Also learn more about various types of limestone that were used to build private residences.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine


2014 Spring

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes our annual focus on Kitchen and Bath design

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Training Program

How formal is your training program for new employees?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Italian Trade Commission Coverings exhibitor preview

Italian Trade Commission logo 2

The Italian Trade Commission is presenting a large group of the most innovative and internationally renowned Italian suppliers of dimensional natural stones. We hope your busy schedule will allow you to join us for a “genuine” espresso in booth N. 4045 and explore the exciting Italian natural stone resources offered by our exhibitors. Check out Italian stone producers exhibiting at Coverings 2014 here!


Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out stoneindustryeducation.com to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTube