Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010 - (Page 134)

Imperial Woodworks Inc. / HQ: Waco, Texas / Projected 2010 revenues: $10 million / Employees: 90 / Services: Church furniture manufacturing / Steve Smith, president: “All our jobs are unique – there’s not one job that’s going to be the same as another.” built a new factory, and in 2003, it purchased a competitor on the West Coast. This increased the company’s volume by one-third overnight. Further expansion occurred in Waco in 2005 that enabled Imperial Woodworks to centralize its manufacturing there and close down the factory in California. In February 2009, Imperial Woodworks purchased the assets of another small church furniture manufacturing company. “With that came $800,000 worth of volume and products we didn’t have before,” Smith relates. “That was a nice add-on at a period of time when things were slowing down. “There’s probably in our industry three or four of us that are size-wise fairly large,” Smith notes. “We’re not the largest in the business by any stretch of the imagination. You can make lots of high-quality products – the challenge today is finding the market for them.” Hewing Pews imperial woodworks produces 2,000 to 3,000 linear feet of church pews weekly to meet demand. Pass the Pews imperial woodworks is proud to be in the same business as its religion’ s founder. by russ gager Throughout Christianity, the image of a carpenter has had special resonance because it was Christ’s occupation. So those manufacturing wooden church furniture would have to hold a special place in their communities. Nevertheless, Imperial Woodworks Inc. also has to be run like a modern manufacturing business. “Our industry is dominated by privately owned, smaller companies,” President Steve Smith explains. “There are no General Motors, no Ford Motors out 134 SPRING 2010 there. These are all companies that started small. Some of us have grown – some have not. We’re primarily in the church furniture business.” Woodworking traditionally has been an industry with a low barrier of entry. “You have a guy with a table saw and a table router, and he’s in the church furniture business,” Smith concedes. Imperial Woodworks’ entry into the business was 50 years ago in 1960, in a little metal building in Waco, Texas. In 1990, the company The majority of Imperial Woodworks’ products are manufactured in Waco, Smith says, including all the pews. Company employees have to produce 2,000 to 3,000 lineal feet of pews weekly to meet the company’s goals. The lumber used in most of the company’s products originates in the northern United States or Appalachian Mountains. Smith estimates 90 percent of it is red oak, but cherry and maple also are popular. Imperial Woodworks offers a dozen different standard wood stain colors. Because of the low quantities of certain products it manufactures, Imperial often relies on traditional production techniques. “We still do an incredible amount of hand work – the reason being every job I do is different,” Smith says. “All our jobs are unique – there’s not one job that’s going to be the same as another. Our industry is not one of those that lends itself to a high degree of automation.”

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010
Global Strategies
Cost Concerns
Growth Opportunities
Continuous Improvement
Business Value
Juanita’s Foods
Les Plats du Chef
Gardner Denver
Smeal Fire Apparatus Co.
Club Car Inc.
Parkson Corp.
MKS Instruments Inc.
Amity Technology
Co-Operative Industries
Corbi Plastics
Elyria/Hodge Foundries Co.
Inteplast Group Ltd.
Willbanks Metals
Zotos International Inc.
Akron Foundry Co.
Alo North America
Bosal International
First American Plastic Molding Enterprise
MAC Equipment
Mayville Engineering Co. Inc.
Kurtz Bros. Inc.
Aesco Electronics
Code 3 Inc.
Columbia Marking Tools
Euro-Rite Cabinets
Fampec Technology LLC
Faubion Associates Inc.
Ginsey Industries Inc.
Imagineering Finishing Technologies
Imperial Woodworks Inc.
Innovative Lighting
Liburdi Dimetrics
MTC Transformers
Plastiques GPR
S.A. Robotics
Sunrise Windows
Positran Manufacturing Inc.
Manufacturing Tomorrow

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010