Fabricator Case Study: Maximizing a tight workspace

April 4, 2006
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JT Interiors/American Countertops & Floors fabricates stone in a 3,000-square-foot shop in Henderson, NV, which has been carefully organized for optimum efficiency.


When JT Interiors, LLC, of Henderson, NV, began fabricating stone for itself - in a division called American Countertops & Floors - it inherited a relatively small 3,000-square-foot space that houses the fabrication shop as well as 300 square feet of office space. And to ensure that production would flow well in this environment, the company invested in a range of material handling and storage equipment.

Equipment in the shop includes a JMM bridge saw, which is used to cut workpieces to size as needed.

The shop, which has been in place since 2003, is owned by Judy Thaxton, who took it over in 2004. The company does residential work as well as commercial projects. Work in the commercial sector, which comprises 70% of the business, includes multi-unit apartment and condominium projects in the greater Las Vegas area.

The amount of fabrication work needed for commercial projects can vary, according to JT Interiors/American Countertops & Floors. In some projects, the countertops are prefabricated in China, and the company executes the final finishing work as required. For example, Thaxton said some prefabricated countertops have sink cut-outs, but some do not. Additionally, the company maintains an inventory of slabs for projects that they fabricate from start to finish.



Since finishing work is done dry as well as wet (particularly in the colder winter months), the company has implemented the Veri-Dry™ dust collection system, a self-contained unit purchased from VIC International of Knoxville, TN.

To work effectively in the confines of its current space, JT Interiors/American Countertops & Floors keeps all of its material - including slabs and finished pieces - carefully bundled and organized with storage systems from Groves, Inc. Included are A-frames, bundle rack storage systems, truck racks and fabrication tables. The shop floor has six different workstations, and they can be organized as needed depending on the current workload.

Equipment in the shop includes a JMM bridge saw, which is used to cut workpieces to size as needed, and it can be operated by two different employees. Edges are finished by hand, and since the work is done dry as well as wet (particularly in the colder winter months), the company has implemented the Veri-Dry™ dust collection system, a self-contained unit purchased from VIC International of Knoxville, TN.



To work effectively in the confines of its current space, JT Interiors/American Countertops & Floors keeps all of its material - including slabs and finished pieces - carefully bundled and organized with storage systems from Groves, Inc.

The fabrication shop is supervised by Joe Beckowitz, who has a background in business and contracting. In all, there are seven employees in the shop and 33 people working for the company as a whole, including installers and staff for job management. Like most fabricators, finding good employees can sometimes be a challenge for JT Interiors/American Countertops & Floors, according to Thaxton. “We have been lucky, though,” Thaxton said. “We have some good ones here.” Beckowitz added that running the operation as a team - rather than a collection of individuals - is critical to the overall success of the operation, as well as making sure people are assigned to the right tasks. “We want people to work to their strengths,” he said.

Products from Groves are used to store and transport finished products as well as slabs.

In addition to commercial housing projects, the company also does some fabrication work for the hospitality market. For example, Thaxton explained that JT Interiors/American Countertops & Floors recently fabricated stone for the high roller suites at the Golden Nugget Casino.

In the residential sector, Thaxton said the style of stonework they fabricate has a “California influence.” “Our customers know what they want, and they are willing to spend to get it,” she said. Thaxton added that design tastes are also driven by the designs found in the casinos.



The shop floor has six different workstations, and they can be organized as needed depending on the current workload.

In terms of production, JT Interiors/American Countertops & Floors has fabricated as many as 25 to 30 slabs in a week, and high-end residential projects have included as many as six to eight slabs. At the time of Stone World's visit to the company, for example, it was taking delivery of a bundle of exotic slabs for a high-end custom residential project.



In addition to multi-unit commercial projects, the company fabricates stonework for individual high-end residences, some of which have included as many as six to eight slabs.

JT Interiors/American Countertops & Floors
Henderson, NV

Type of work: multi-unit condominium and apartment projects, high-end residences, hospitality projects

Machinery: JMM bridge saw; Veri-Dry™ dust collection system from VIC International; A-frames, bundle rack storage systems, truck racks and fabrication tables from Groves, Inc.

Number of Employees: 33 (seven in the shop)

Work breakdown: 70% commercial; 30% residential

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