Creating one-of-a-kind designs with waterjet technology
On April 15, 1999, Philip Einsohn launched Waterjet Works! - a custom waterjet design and fabrication company - in Dallas, TX. The corporation was started because Einsohn believed there was a call from the architectural, design and contracting communities for a company that understands the needs of these professions. And he knew that he could rely on his experience with waterjet capabilities while he was working in the design field to develop an operation that could satisfy these demands.
“I began Waterjet Works! because there was a need for decorative waterjet cutting that was not being fulfilled,” said Einsohn, explaining that the company started with only one customer, Albertson’s Grocery Stores. In all, Waterjet Works! did over 400 stores for them.
“In the beginning, I wanted to establish a firm foundation before increasing our growth beyond our ability to succeed,” said Einsohn. “Our growth has been measured, solid and consistent. We have a built a great team of service-oriented people who understand the decorative waterjet industry. We enjoy excellent relationships with numerous architects, interior designers, artists, flooring manufacturers, importers and flooring contractors across the U.S.”
The operationThe 10,000-square-foot shop is equipped with waterjet-cutting machinery from Flow International of Kent, WA. It includes two “A” series 6- x 10-foot tables and a Bengal. To keep up with the company’s growth, Waterjet Works! recently doubled its capacity with the purchase of a 125-hp Accustream intensifier pump as well as adding six additional cutting heads.
“Our production time has decreased, providing our customers a quicker turn-around time as well as reducing their cost,” said Einsohn. “Truthfully, we are not in the waterjet business, but in the ‘service and experience’ business. Customer satisfaction is the name of the game.”
In total, there are 10 machine operators and three full-time programmers in the shop. “Our programming department is integral to our success,” said Einsohn, adding that a fourth programmer will be added to the staff soon. “Because so many of our orders are highly specialized and have many complex details to consider, the programming department is extremely important. Most people think that if you have the waterjet machines, then the rest is simple. Without sharp people who understand the intricacies of the materials, programming, communication with the customer and installation, the machines are of less value.”
Einsohn went on to explain that the majority of companies with waterjet machines are focused on repetitive cutting. “Our business is very different,” he said. “Only a portion of our business is repetitive. The majority is custom.”
In 2006, the company ran a second shift during its busy season - starting in the spring and continuing throughout the fall, according to Einsohn, adding that they started a second shift again in February of this year. “We are working hard to maintain this level of production throughout the years,” he said. “With our new equipment, we are on a new playing field and our capacity continues to increase. Quite frankly, it is not about the production capacity. It is about getting precise information to the machines that is important. There are so many details and approvals that have to be prepared prior to the actual cutting. With machines that will cut as accurately as they do, the rest of our business must be just as accurate.”
According to Einsohn, Waterjet Works! has a relatively small workspace compared to other companies with waterjet machines. “Our business model is based on a J.I.T. - Just In Time - thought process,” he said. “The Japanese developed this approach to manufacturing many years ago.”
Einsohn continued to explain that the location of the facility was strategically chosen to be near most of the company’s suppliers. “Instead of spending money on inventory and warehouse space, we focus on turning the jobs around in a short order,” he said. “One of the most important uses of our square footage is in the assembly area. Nothing goes out the door without being completely assembled and digitally photographed. We know it is correct before we ship it.”
Although Waterjet Works! does not employ its own install crews, the company works closely with installers and provides detailed installation maps with phone support to ensure the success of a project. “We know what they need to succeed, and we give them what they need,” said Einsohn.
Expanding marketsAmong the primary sectors that Waterjet Works! deals with are retail, healthcare, hospitality, education, public art, religious buildings and public institutions. “Each year, more and more companies understand and appreciate the value of partnering with a quality waterjet company who understands the nuances of their materials and needs,” said Einsohn. “Our national reputation continues to increase as does our sales. In seven years, we have been able to do business in 46 states. In 2006, we did business in 35 states.”
According to Einsohn, he prefers to be in the business of servicing “friends,” rather than “customers.” “Friends tell you how you performed on a job and will come back the next time they need you,” he said. “You may never know how you did if they are only ‘customers.’ “
Since its launch in 1999, Waterjet Works! has built a reputable name for itself, and has completed many high-profile projects. “Our work in The Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in 2002-2003 took us to another level on the national front,” said Einsohn. “In 2005, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport project took us to yet another level. People began to see mosaics in a new light. We call our work ‘new mosaics.’ We either minimize the number of grout lines in a traditional mosaic or eliminate the metal strips used in terrazzo art. Both of these improvements add a great deal to the final piece of artwork. The art is closer to the artist’s intent.”
In addition to working with architects and designers, the company also is working with professional artists. “We added artists to our list of ‘friends,’ and many are currently drawing for commercial installations with our technology in mind,” said Einsohn. “It has broadened the artist’s capabilities on a national basis.”
Among Waterjet Works! notable projects are Schaefer’s Landing in Brooklyn, NY; Worthington Bank in Fort Worth, TX; Harrah’s Hotel in New Orleans, LA; Omni Hotels in New Haven, CT, and Orlando, FL; Island View Casino in Gulfport, MS; and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, TN. Additionally, the company’s prestigious client list includes Baby’s R Us, Dallas Mavericks Basketball Team, Sketchers, Ford Motor Co., Harley Davidson and Ronald McDonald House. Einsohn has been honored with work at the Art Institute of Chicago and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.