Of the nearly 200 fabricators in the area, Norwood Marble & Granite of Brentwood, MD, has remained strong in the competition, partially because of its CNC machines. "Business is going well," said Wayne Norwood, the shop's owner. "We have an unbelievable amount of fabricators in our area, but the CNC machines increase our production value, make us more competitive, and give us the ability to keep overhead down to compete with smaller shops price-wise."

The CNC machinery at the shop is from Breton and Intermac. They also have two GMM saws, a Park Industries Pro Cut, a Park Industries Pro Edge with Table Cutter, a Marmoelettromeccanica edging machine and a Park Industries radial arm polisher.

Due to the amount of automated machinery in the shop, not a lot of handwork is done, but the company will accept smaller jobs as well as large ones. "We do not turn down business, we take care of our customers by doing whatever they need to get done," said Norwood. "With our newer CNC machines, we are also able to do engraving, which we haven't done before. The machines have also allowed us to increase production, and get a good constant quality."

Though they are a heavily automated shop, the need for good personnel still exists for Norwood Marble & Granite, which both fabricates and installs their own work. "The modernization of equipment has reduced the number of employees," said Norwood. "We start employees out as trainees, and they are brought along if they have a knack for it.

Our training program is that we will have a backup saw person or edge machine person to learn hands on what the operators are doing. We provide safety training for all new employees and follow-up training for the veterans."

Though the company remains abreast of its competition, it is sometimes difficult to always stay up-to-date with the latest equipment. "Our challenge is keeping up with the technology," said Norwood. "It moves and changes quickly. We just got a new machine, but there is already a better one on the market."