February 2018 Power Manufacturer:  Rustica Hardware


February 2018 Power Manufacturer:  Rustica Hardware

Power Manufacturer AwardRustica Hardware, of Springville, UT–the Art City, , is our featured Power Manufacturer for February. Rustica is the second manufacturer to win the Power Manufacturer of the Month Award by Powerblanket. Although they seem to have little in common with our first winner, Taffy Town, Rustica Hardware shows that manufacturing is not a stereotypical industry. We started this campaign to spread the word about the manufacturing industry and the businesses who are making an impact in it, regardless of the specific industry or business model. Rustica Hardware is definitely making an impact, and are doing some very exciting things to set them apart as a Power Manufacturer. 

Like many companies, Rustica Hardware began with a wish and a dream.  The founders, Kate and Paul Alan, loved cabins and rustic furniture and decor.  As they created and explored their options, they found that beautiful doors and hardware were the niche that fueled their fire.  Eleven years from it’s conception, Rustica Hardware is a thriving manufacturing business with a very bright future.  Ben Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer, spent some time helping us to become more familiar with Rustica Hardware and their specific vision.

It’s Not Just a Door

If you were to walk into any mill or metal shop typically they will tell you,  “We make doors, cabinets, hardware, etc.”  That is the product base at Rustica; however, if you were to ask what they do, they would say, “We make functional art that brings soul to people’s living spaces”. This one-liner puts into perspective how they are different and reminds them why they are successful. They envision, create, and manufacture functional art, not doors. So if the product prepared for shipping isn’t inspiring, it doesn’t ship. Rustica Hardware promises quality, speed, and an artistic aesthetic with every single product–that’s what makes them different. 

Mass Customization 

An idea that they have built their facility around is “mass customization”. Because they offer so many different options and to ensure the product will bring soul to the intended living space, they had to create a machine unlike any other in the market to accommodate totally custom requests with short lead times. “We will proudly turn around a totally custom door in two-three weeks, and a totally custom hardware set in just three-five business days,” said Lewis.  The facility’s layout accommodates huge quantities of this speedy customization every single day, which is something they are very proud of.

What Keeps Rustica Hardware on Top

Their approach to business, creation, and manufacturing really hasn’t changed much since they began. Their primary focus has always been to create products that move and inspire people.  The only difference now is that they have expanded to meet the huge demand for their products. They value their people and have scaled up with the most talented people in the industry to ensure they can create products quickly and of the highest quality imaginable.

Award Winner

Rustica Hardware has received numerous trade/home show awards.  They are a Utah “Best in State” company for the door and hardware industry. They have been honored as as Best of Houzz and many others. On top of that, their products have appeared on many home improvement shows featured on HGTV, DIY network, and FYI. Their products have also made the big screen as parts of sets for major motion pictures.

Advice from Rustica Hardware

Lewis said, “Find a lane and stick to it. There is always the temptation to try to be something to everyone, but when you do that you risk being nothing to no one. Avoid the call to offer your products below their value. It will be a longer road to success by maintaining your standards, but it will build your company on a firmer foundation to cultivate customers who are actual fans of your brand.”

In the Future

Rustica Hardware has recently been filmed to potentially get their own renovation TV show on the A&E network. According to Lewis, “Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s looking very possible that millions of viewers, from all over the US, could be tuning into the Utah manufacturing scene weekly.”


One Piece Flow and Making it Work for You

One Piece Flow and Making it Work for You

Lean Manufacturing

Every lean manufacturing goal is to achieve one piece flow. One piece flow allows for the most efficient production operations. It has taken Powerblanket many years to achieve one piece flow production. To maintain this production process requires overcoming challenges such as maintaining standards, level loaded schedules, continuous training, and waste reduction.

One Piece Flow

One piece flow is centered around balanced cycle times, takt time requirements, and a level loaded schedule. Takt time is the rate at which a finished product needs to be completed to meet customer demands. We have built our production lines to meet desired takt time calculations and expand production cells to lower takt times if needed. Takt times are met by achieving balanced cycle times from cell to cell. Cycle times are individual times per production cell that records process time and delay time. Powerblanket has also designed an internal scheduling software system to meet our unique application and processes. Our schedule is driven from takt times and available operators to output total units to be built and time requirements to follow.

Traditionally, like many manufacturing environments, Powerblanket had been producing product using the “batching” process. This process is obsolete here at Powerblanket as we have transitioned to the more beneficial “one piece flow” process.  One piece flow

Benefits of One Piece Flow

  • Inventory Reduction: Companies can maintain a small volume of safety stock reserved for standard products. The majority of volume is built from customer demands. This requires each operation to only build product needed by the next operation.
  • Floor Space Reduction: Each operation is built one piece at a time so removal of WIP (work in progress) areas allows for a more condensed layout. This opens up space for additional production lines. As a result for floor space reduction, there is a minimized needed for operators to oversee production areas.
  • Flexibility: Our production lines are very unique because we have the flexibility to alter models being produced daily. Our lead times are then decreased as well for we have very minimal changeover times and downtime when switching models.
  • Lead Times: Our production lines have lead times given to each model from understood takt times. This makes a very predictable value stream.
  • Quality Control:  We encounter much less wasted product and quality issues with the one piece flow process. Any quality issues or defective material are found on the first unit, and are then revised/resolved for the next unit. Since batch sizes in one piece flow are just one, there will not be mountains of inventory to count, move, store, and dispose of.

How to Create a One Piece Flow Production Line

  1. Calculate takt time for products and ensure all cycle times are either less than or equal to total desired takt time.
  2. Evaluate production cells and base process/equipment capability on takt time. Considerations include changeover times, load and unload times, downtime, and machine speeds.
  3. Develop a pull system that allows for reduced lead times, ultimately benefiting customers. Allow for the value stream to drive the pull system.
  4. Develop a lean layout that allows for highest efficiency possible within the smallest amount of space. Space between process and within process cells must be minimal to eliminate motion waste and prevent unwanted WIP (work in progress) waste. Layout shapes and directions are driven from process requirements and factory floor limitations.
  5. Create visible standard work processes with the use of standard operating procedures, jigs/fixtures, quality checks, and 5S workstations. Standard processes eliminate variability and inconsistencies to drive quality. Consider accommodations for the differences between standard and custom products.
  6. Determine number of operators required to meet takt times. Train operators from standard work and cross train to allow for maximum flexibility.  
  7. Allow a learning curve to develop and audit takt times and standard work over time to achieve maximum quality and efficiency.  

Learn More Here