Cabinet Concepts by Design
Cabinet Concepts by Design uses Cabinet Vision automation to design, estimate, produce and track its high-end, custom residential cabinetry
Not every married couple is suited for business partnership, but dream team Shelley and Matt Wehner found the entrepreneurial freedom they both craved in opening Cabinet Concepts by Design.
“We wanted to be in control of our own destiny, and we weren’t going to be able to do that by working for other people,” says Shelley Wehner, co-owner, designer and project manager at the Springfield, Missouri-based shop. “Matt and I are completely opposite in how we approach situations, so we combine our strengths to accomplish goals.”
Ten years after the pair took over, the sleepy shop that they purchased with no work in the pipeline has expanded to six times its initial size and employs a staff that’s grown from six to 30.
About 90 percent of the shop’s business is residential, and a glance at the company’s website is proof that quality and creativity in design are high on its list of priorities. While Cabinet Concepts by Design offers custom cabinetry for any wish list, featured kitchen designs include products in lodge, old world, traditional, farm house, transitional, light and airy, rustic, and contemporary styles. The company also offers storage solutions for closets, garages, pantries, and other spaces.
“I honestly couldn’t do this job without Cabinet Vision. It really helps someone who doesn’t have a cabinet background to be successful in this industry.”Shelley was always interested in interior design and Matt, who studied math in college, had long been a woodworking hobbyist. Initially, the plan was for Shelley — a then stay-at-home mom to the couple’s three children — to manage the shop’s books. Matt, with help from four employees, would handle sales, design, and production. However, it quickly became apparent that Shelley was naturally suited to design and that handling the business aspect was a better fit for Matt.
Shelley Wehner, co-owner, designer and project manager
“After year three, we were working so hard and still weren’t really making any money, but we had an excellent reputation and I felt in my heart that we had something great,” Wehner says. “We hired a business advisor who told us to make small, continuous improvements and, by year five, the business totally flipped.”
Year five marked the purchased of a larger shop and the Wehners’ business grew from 5,000 square feet — in which they were bursting at the seams — to 30,000 square feet. The new workspace meant more opportunity, as well as bigger and better equipment.
That series of continuous improvements also led to the comprehensive implementation of the Cabinet Vision Screen-to-Machine™ (S2M) solution, by Vero Software, as part of the shop’s daily process. While the previous business owners had initially purchased an older version of the system, they didn’t take full advantage of the solution’s capabilities.
“Everything used to be manual and then we just slowly upgraded,” she says. “We started with an old dinosaur, a point-to-point router, and old CNC software. Once we kind of figured that out, we realized it was more efficient, but it was older technology.”
Today, the Wehners and their team use nine seats of Cabinet Vision S2M to create designs and generate the g-code needed to go from art to part. Due to the combined power of software and machinery, the shop is now completing a greater number of operations in less time, and with fewer errors.
“The thing with us is that the Cabinet Vision and CNC router, it takes a lot of the human error out of the cutting process,” Wehner says. “Now, as long as the piece of plywood is mounted on the CNC properly, almost anyone would be able to run the machine without a significant amount of training. It eliminates operations and simplifies the process.”
Projects typically begin when designers meet with clients to identify their needs and desires, as well as to determine the scope of projects and other vital details. To begin a design in Cabinet Vision, designers enter the dimensions of the room in which the finished project will be installed, followed by the project dimensions and other details.
At Cabinet Concepts by Design, initial designs are then passed on to the shop’s estimator, who uses Cabinet Vision to determine production costs and supply an estimate. “We take the information that Cabinet Vision spits out to do our bids,” she says.
The shop uses the software as an integral part of its business, from design and estimation to cutting, production management, and project tracking. The ability to generate high-quality, 3D renderings in the software is also a helpful sales tool, as it enables clients to better envision the final product.
“Clients really appreciate seeing the drawings. When they describe what they want to us, they sometimes want us to do things that we know are not possible,” Wehner says. “When they can see it in 3D, it makes sense, and it helps them to see why something will or won’t work.”
By the time a job in Cabinet Vision is sent to the shop floor, staff have access to material lists, cut lists, and assembly sheets automatically generated by the software.
To further increase automation, Cabinet Concepts by design also uses Cabinet Vision User Created Standards (UCS), which is a customizable automation tool that can be easily applied to any job to increase efficiency and enforce company standards. For example, if a Cabinet Vision user prefers a certain construction method for a particular type of material, the software will automatically apply a UCS for that method when the material is used.
The company also uses Cabinet Vision’s nesting capability, which maximizes material and reduces error. For select jobs, the shop uses the solution’s batching function, which facilitates the batching of similar jobs for even greater material yield.
For easy job identification and tracking, Cabinet Concepts by Design uses the solution’s barcode labeling system, which reduces error and makes it easier to track cut parts throughout the shop.
“I honestly couldn’t do this job without Cabinet Vision,” Wehner says. “It really helps someone who doesn’t have a cabinet background to be successful in this industry.”
About the Company
Name: Cabinet Concepts by Design
Business: High-end, custom residential cabinetry
- Nesting for error reduction and improved material yield
- Automation for efficiency and enforcement of company standards
- Generation of high-quality 3D renderings that help clients to visualize final products
“I honestly couldn’t do this job without Cabinet Vision. It really helps someone who doesn’t have a cabinet background to be successful in this industry.”
Shelley Wehner, co-owner, designer and project manager