Producing quality custom work

November 1, 2003
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BCD is a stone fabricator that caters to a small consumer base in the New England area, focusing on fabrication and installation of kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces and vanities. Owner, Leighton Morrison, and his hand-selected staff, advertises only through word of mouth. The customers that BCD acquires are often referred to them by clients that the company has worked with previously. BCD has made a reputable name for itself by using custom-made machinery and by employing a specialized staff that pays close attention to detail and satisfaction.

After working as a builder and contractor for many years, Morrison made the decision to specialize his craft and become a stone fabricator. “I was doing a lot of building with a lot of detail,” said Morrison. “I originally was a custom designer of granite tiles and began to incorporate mosaics into my work. I always added something special to my work, but I became sick of subcontractors, so I became one myself, specializing in one aspect of the industry.”

Morrison began his interest in the stone sector when he experimented with a client's Formica countertops. He inlayed granite hot plates into the surface of the counters as a little extra detail. When he was working on one contracted residence, he said the stone installer of the kitchen “butchered” the countertops. Morrison took it upon himself to fix the mess and came out with a product that the kitchen dealer was very pleased with. They offered him more fabrication work eventually, transforming his construction company into BCD, Inc.

Morrison is very focused on perfecting any project, whether large or small. The team of workers at BCD Inc. consists of three workers, not including Morrison and his wife Paula, who does all of his office work. The three men that make up his crew are all very skilled in fabricating and installing. When the business first began, the company had three employees, but over the years, the staff, at one point, grew to 14, but in end scaled back down to where the detail was the priority.

In most cases, new workers that are hired know almost nothing about the industry and techniques used for the craft. Eventually, however, each of the employees is trained to do everything from creating templates to installing the fabricated products. The prospective employees are hired based on their attitude and work ethic. When they begin training, they are hand trained by Morrison or his lead, and he reports that the process of training is “grueling.” The speed of the training process depends on how fast an individual will absorb the knowledge. It tends to take anywhere from six months to a year for the member of the crew to really understand the technicalities and process, according to Morrison.

“We do it all,” said Morrison. Projects involving any stonework in bathrooms, kitchens or fireplaces are done with a simple but detailed system. “To begin a project, we template the plan with a hardwood template rather than a paper one,” he said. “We use the bench system to replicate the exact kitchen, allowing us to set up different sizes and shapes for the countertop. The counter is fabricated, bundled up, put on the truck and then installed.”

The equipment that the crew works with includes machinery of all types. The Gregori bridge saw was recently reconditioned with a new hydraulic tilting table. This table was installed with pendant control, and is the most recent investment for the company. “It has increased production and decreased man power,” explained Morrison. “I am able to operate the saw by myself. I don't need another employee to assist me when working the bridge saw.” Other machinery that BCD has as inventory are a Ghines Sector router, a Flex router, Flex water feed grinders and compressors. “We also use custom bits made for us by GranQuartz,” he said.

One hand saw that the company uses is a hybrid of the Flex 2104 7-inch saw and the Flex 1302 center feed polisher. The combination of the two machines creates fast and watertight apparatus. The Flex 2104 gives the newly crafted tool the speed, and the Flex 1302 keeps it tightly sealed, according to Morrison.

As a fabricator, BCD has come across a few challenges within the industry. “The challenges that we faced had a lot to do with the competition,” explained Morrison. “When I started the company, we were working along side 40 other fabricators in New England, now we are against 400 fabricators in our area. We have been able to create a niche by producing detailed work. The clients are of a fussy nature. We do charge more than other fabricators, but you can see the difference in the quality and the details in the final job. We are also always inventing different techniques to keep on top of the industry.”

As a company that only produces about four to five kitchens a week and a few fireplaces and vanities, BCD's goal is to create quality projects.

End box:
BCD, Millis, MA

Type of work: Kitchen countertops, vanity tops and fireplaces

Machinery: Gregori bridge saw, Flex hand tools and hand saw, Ghines Sector router

Number of employees: 3

Production rate: four to five kitchens per week

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