Automating Success

Ramco Enterprises, LLC, produces the work of a shop twice its size with help from Cabinet Vision’s automation tools

When Ramsey Yousif started his business in a one-stall garage 12 years ago, he had nothing but a hand saw and a healthy dose of entrepreneurial spirit.

“I wanted to make entertainment centers and home theaters,” he said, harkening back to the days before flat-screen televisions replaced the 50-pound clunkers of yesteryear. “I built half a dozen entertainment centers in the first couple of months — and then I had to reevaluate.”

Today, the vice president of Lincoln, Nebraska-based Ramco Enterprises, LLC, owns one of the largest shops in his region and is so busy that work for new customers must be scheduled as many as seven months in advance. Clearly born to own a business, then 19-year-old Yousif was a college student when he figured he would make more money by quitting schooling and going to work for himself.  

“I’ve never been afraid — which is good and bad. I was either really smart, or too stupid to give up,” Yousif says. “Even when I bite off more than I can chew —which has been a lot — I do whatever it takes to meet the deadline. If we get the job, we do it and deliver it exactly the way that we say we will.”

Commitment to excellence and to superior customer service has helped Yousif to grow his business through word of mouth. He hired his first employees three years after Ramco opened, and today the majority of his team’s workload is comprised of high end residential and commercial casework, for which he deals primarily with contractors.

Today, he manages a tight-knit, well-paid crew of eight between the walls of a 10,000 square-foot shop that’s “packed full.”

"Initially, materials and cutlists were my entire justification for getting the software. Now, I couldn’t live without it.”

Ramsey Yousif, owner

“Our style is very modern and contemporary,” he says. “We’re doing high-gloss acrylic panels, a lot of high-end work with features.” Among those features are Acrylic shelving, as well as cabinet rollouts, trash-can pullouts, and spice racks.

To manufacture his custom products, Yousif acquired the Cabinet Vision Screen-to-Machine™ design-to-manufacturing solution in 2009. Though he didn’t purchase his first piece of CNC machinery — a Selco Beam Saw — until 2012, he used Cabinet Vision to bid on, design, and organize projects.

“Prior to Cabinet Vision, we would manually write all the parts lists and we had limited software with low-quality renderings,” he says. “When we started doing commercial casework, we needed higher-quality submittals. Initially, materials and cutlists were my entire justification for getting the software. Now, I couldn’t live without it.”

Yousif also found that the software helps to significantly reduce error on the shop floor.

“When we first got Cabinet Vision, we saw an immense return and it freed up my time from figuring it all out with a calculator and a notepad,” he says. “If I had a kitchen, it would take me a full day to generate a cutlist, and now I can do it in minutes.”

Yousif, who has invested almost a quarter of a million dollars in CNC machinery over the past two years, has upgraded his investment in Cabinet Vision since he purchased his first license.

“There were a couple of other brands I looked at when I was shopping for a solution and, because I knew that one day I was going to want to automate, I found that Cabinet Vision offered the best package in terms of CNC integration and flexibility in terms of upgrading over the course of time.”

The software and his machinery have enabled him to steadily expand.

“Quite honestly, without Cabinet Vision and without automation to produce our current volume, we’d need to be a 13-man shop,” Yousif says. “We do a lot more volume than companies with more people. I can bring a guy off the street who has never worked in a cabinet shop and have him producing parts better and faster than a guy who has made cabinets his whole life.”

Once Ramco is awarded a job, Yousif’s team draws the dimensions of the space in which the project will be installed; from there it can determine the materials needed and get them ready to cut.

“It’s not uncommon that we start cutting a job Monday for a Wednesday delivery,” says Yousif, who uses just-in-time inventory. By the time the materials arrive, the job has been output to the router and all of the associated information and drawings printed out and placed into a shop book. The CNC operator is given a sheet with all of the vital details, in addition to a barcode — generated in Cabinet Vision — for scanning the job.

When the barcode is scanned by the operator, the Cabinet Vision program is called up on the router, and the cutting can begin. Barcode labels are then affixed to each color-coded cut piece and sent to the edgebander.

Once edgebanded, the parts are sent to the dowell and borer, also barcoded, and finished.

“Because of Cabinet Vision, all of the holes are already drilled and everything can be assembled.”

Yousif also takes advantage of User Created Standards, or UCSs, within Cabinet Vision that allow users to create cutting rules that can be repeatedly applied. UCSs are a form of automation, as they provide a platform for users to automatically implement cutting preferences and best practices. For Yousif, UCSs come in handy for his toe-pick assembly, which he prefers to have cut to a specified company standard.

“Right now, we average about 20 minutes for a completed cabinet. Prior to Cabinet Vision and our equipment, we were an hour and a half a cabinet — and that’s wrapped and ready to go out the door,” he says.

For Yousif, the investment in Cabinet Vision has helped him to get the most out of his time and the time of his employees. It has improved the quality of overall shop-floor production — but also ensures that Yousif has time to devote to pursuits beyond the workplace.

“What is your time worth? What are you worth? A lot of guys pay expensive overhead, but don’t pay themselves,” he says. “My hobbies are fishing and golf; my work is not my hobby. I love what I do, and with the help of automation and great employees, I can watch my son grow up.”


About the Company

Name: Ramco Enterprises, LLC

Business: High-end residential and commercial casework

Website: ramcoenterprises.com


Benefits Achieved

  • Ability to produce greater product volume without increasing staff
  • Significant overall time savings, and elimination of time devoted to manual calculation
  • Ability to generate high-quality submittals, cutlists, and barcodes

Comments

“Initially, materials and cutlists were my entire justification for getting the software. Now, I couldn’t live without it.”

Ramsey Yousif, owner


 

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