FABRICATOR CASE STUDIES: Working With an Eye on Quality
In June of 2002, owner Paul Menninger launched Capitol Granite & Marble in Midlothian, VA - a suburb of Richmond, as a stone fabricator and Silestone distributor. The company is currently producing an average of 40 projects a week, and is undergoing a large expansion - which includes a 12,000-square-foot addition to its facility.
â€œFirst and foremost, we went with Park Industries because of their philosophy of operations,â€ said Menninger. â€œThey very much parallel my philosophy in doing business, and that is to ensure that the customer is taken care of. Park takes care of me the way a customer should be taken care of. The machines are up and running, and I get immediate attention when one breaks. They have a next-day maintenance policy and they have never failed that. The reliability of a machine is what it's all about in this industry.â€
Diamond tooling comes from a variety of sources, including Braxton-Bragg of Knoxville, TN, Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, and GranQuartz of Tucker, GA.
The company employs a staff of 52, who run two 8-hour shifts. According to Menninger, formal on-the-job training is provided, and before an individual begins work, they must first receive safety training. â€œWe have an apprentice program that duplicates labor on a machine until the individual has been 'certified' to operate alone,â€ he added.
â€œWe continually try to cross-train employees for their professional development, as well as the flexibility it provides the company,â€ explained Menninger, adding that the company hires mostly through word of mouth. â€œRetention is a big thing for us, especially with the investment in training. Prior experience is not a requirement, however, four distinct areas or 'traits' or 'characteristics' are. We give and expect a lot from our people.â€
Menninger finds that the biggest challenge as a fabricator today is â€œgetting the funding required to automate and produce the quality at the price point needed to be competitive in the future.â€
The company, which started out in a 5,000-square-foot shop, is currently completing a $2.5 million expansion, which includes the new 12,000-square-foot facility and new machinery, including a Park Fastback vertical edge backsplash machine, double bed CNC and a hybrid waterjet/saw, which are also from Park Industries, as well as a Flow double bed waterjet. In addition, Capitol Granite & Marble is now transitioning to the use of electronic templating from Faro Technologies Inc. of Lake Mary, FL. The first unit was purchased in December, and the company plans to add two more units to the shop this year.
Capitol Granite & MarbleMidlothian, VA
Type of work: countertops, vanities, fireplace surrounds
Machinery: two Odyssey II CNC stoneworking centers; a Fastback vertical edge backsplash machine; two Pro-Edge III edge polishers; two bridge saws - a Yukon and a Sierra; a Velocity multi-head edge shaper and polisher and a Wizard radial arm - all from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; diamond tooling from Braxton-Bragg of Knoxville, TN, Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, and GranQuartz of Tucker, GA; electronic templating from Faro Technologies Inc.
Number of Employees: 52
Production Rate: 40 projects a week