17 Nov Get it right with in-house joinery manufacture
At Datum, we’ve been invested in in-house joinery manufacture almost since day one. As soon as we were able to expand from a small project management company and get our own factory, we were designing and manufacturing our products and projects in-house.
In-house manufacture means we’re very much in control of our own destiny. It’s freed us up from the whims of subcontractors and battling their queues; it’s sped up our install and delivery times; and it’s also allowed us to continue to pass on savings and efficiencies to clients.
Leading the pack
In the fit-out industry, lead times are short. Very short. While we get brought into projects at every stage, the nature of the industry means that we can often expect massive design changes to occur with little notice. That’s part and parcel of doing what we do; what designers and architects thought possible with a retail or commercial space might not be practical or fit the bill once the project gets going.
So what happens when we get the call that a design has to change, and it has to change now? That’s not something that can be dictated to a subcontractor, and if they’re not invested in a project, they’re more likely to turn around and shrug back at you than make space in their queue for you. But it’s unacceptable to us – and to our clients – that they might not be able to launch a new space on time. So we handle it. We change our shifts and machine during the night; we get extra guys in over the weekend so we can meet deadlines.
Passing on the savings
Subbing your joinery out means facing the reality of additional handling fees: there’s the cost of manufacture, plus the contractor’s margin, then whatever margin you add on yourself. That gets added to the client’s bill, benefits no one, and does your work a disservice.
Because all the assets of our manufacturing department are more efficient than any subcontractors’, our in-house manufacture means that you can keep margins attractive and take advantage of time efficiencies to wow your clients. That goes from faster transport across the country to even our in-house spray shop. A lot of subbies have to sub out spraying, which means your economics go straight out of the window!
Keeping it all in house means that we can maintain a high standard of quality control for all our processes together, and ensure that we work as efficiently as possible from consultation to installation.
Innovation comes naturally
Like all good craftsmen and old-school joiners, we love to work with solid timber. Some say sawdust is in our veins! But working in the fit-out industry means also working with newer products that allow us to do some exciting things.
We can advise clients on the more sustainable, economical, and practical ways of manufacturing that deliver a full spectrum of solutions. Our workshop guys get excited about acrylic solid-surface composites like HI-MACS and Corian (made by DuPont). These are thermoform products that we can bend them into all kinds of custom shapes with the right application of heat; that certain malleability takes a bit of extra time but creates a seamless, homogenous and custom finish that really impresses.
We love the innovative finishes just as much as we love working with hotel rooms and chains of stores where we can design once and manufacture several times. That’s not just about better efficiencies of course; it’s also about being a part of a client’s expansion into new territories and seeing them form a total brand presence.