The two things that furniture factories in Gulf & India need to produce European quality furniture
I had an opportunity to attend the inauguration of a reputed brand of hardware show room and was very happy to see superior quality finished furniture displayed there. I thought it should have been produced locally, as we have now the same European brand machines, hardware, Glues, Edge-bands and what not in our factories. But to my surprise I was told that it was all imported from Europe. I felt so disappointed and wondered that in spite of having every thing that the European furniture factories have, why we are not able to produce the same quality furniture products. We are no less hardworking; we are smart and quick responsive. I tried to go in deep and analyze the reasons behind this dilemma. It did not take much time to realize that the only missing factor is right ATTITUDE and a mindset focused to excel. Unfortunately we live along with “ChaltaHai” attitude and this is precisely the bane of our industry.
The picture above is Symbolic for every factory: Tom is the in-charge of customer care, DICK is the in-charge of Quality control and Harry is the Production head.
The curse to our Industry: Customer Care does not want to listen to complaints and take these seriously, Quality control does not wish to see and salvage what is the root cause of the problem, Production Head does not dare to take action on the persons in charge who has caused huge damage to the Company.
The Conclusion: Huge investment on high-level machinery by itself cannot guarantee a defect free product. I have listed below a few mistakes that generally take place and cause such defects. The production team should establish a foolproof Quality Control mechanism that will care of these and many other possible blunders.
The following observations are generally applicable as a rule to almost all manufacturers. There are some notable glorious exceptions but regrettably such achievers are today very few in number.
I have generally observed that the manufacturers are happy just in selling the furniture. The product is seldom checked thoroughly, not only for quality, finish but also for the clean surface. The customer complaints are not taken seriously and attended promptly but on the contrary customers are avoided and complaints are ignored. The customer gets irritated and stops calling the company. Most of the times the management does not dare to take action against the machine operator or responsible person for bad quality workmanship. All this is happening even though we have best mostly European machines, tools and consumables at our disposal.
Faulty Combination of machines:
Many times it is observed that the factories have a mix of performing machine ie. one machine is from the best brand company with high precision where as the others are low quality and poorly performing machines. I could not understand the thought / philosophy behind doing this. By doing this we are inviting many problems to crop up that will cause tensions and result in customer complaints.
Tools selection & Maintenance:
The other important aspect is that the tools are sourced from cheapest supplier or poorly re-sharpened. It is observed that due to poor re-sharpening of the tools results in to un-balancing. This causes vibrations resulting in to rough trimming of the edges. One can imagine the outcome of poor quality tooling used along with the best machines.
By hammering the tool holder we damage the shaft resulting in to rough finish that will need lots of manual work to finish the parts. I came across factories that have been using the same tools for more than six months without sharpening. The feed of the machine works on gearbox with high torque hence it pushed the tool in any condition. Please note that the machine noise increases as an alert when the tool becomes blunt. But unfortunately this alarm is not noted.
Unfortunately some machines are maintained poorly from outside where as some from inside as shown the below pictures.
The picture shows the improper veneer edge banding done on an imported edge-banding machine. This requires lots of efforts with man and money to make it acceptable. This costs lot of money that directly affects the profitability and productivity. In order to avoid this, there are only few parameters that need to be monitored carefully and strictly, namely the glue quantity – glue temperature – roller pressure – sharp trimming tools, efficient dust collection. If such points are taken care than there is no reason why we should get poor finish with all good quality inputs.
The other most important aspect that is neglected is the Dust collection / attaching right capacity Dust collector to machines is of paramount importance. It should be made clear that dust collection does two important jobs. The first one is the cooling of the tool that becomes hot while working thus maintaining the tools sharp for longer time. The second one is to remove the dust – chips generated during the working and maintain the work area clean.
Unfortunately it is seen that the expensive machine’s suction hood sizes are modified to suite the dust collector’s hood size while it should be vice versa. It should be noted that the dust collector costs fraction of the main machine. This is done at the high cost of the risk of the poor quality and productivity.
The actual dust collection hood of the wide belt sander machine is 200 mm diameter whereas it is modified to 100 mm to suit the dust collector. This certainly affects the efficiency and working of the machine. This resulted in to the damage of the one sanding roller of the machine. It should be noted that accumulated fine dust particles are converted in to hard carbon material deposit that malfunctions the sensors – setting gauges and affects the working of the machine.
A two-year-old glue spreader is seen in the below picture. How one can expect a good workmanship with this state of the machines. The machine was from very good brand. Only it needed was the attitude to maintain it clean. This displays the working culture of the company. If one maintains a firm and positive attitude than it is quite easy to produce high quality finished furniture.
If we decide to do a good job and just do not compromise on quality and process then it may be complicated initially but in long run it will be very beneficial and time saving. In order to avoid the embarrassing situation the responsibilities should be allotted to Quality Control Team with a thorough and strict monitoring and control of Top Management.
I wish to lay emphasis on the fact that such measures do not require huge investments. Practically investment level has nothing to do with quality. Any unit with even small investment budget can go for Nano scale setup that can produce high quality furniture products. The only main ingredients of recipe of success are RIGHT ATTITUDE and MINDSET FOCUSED TO EXCEL.
With a firm determination and attitude we can produce furniture like shown in the picture with very little investment. I am confident that with a huge domestic market, if furniture industry will adopt the modern techniques and process controls, they will be able to develop their local furniture brands into Furniture Titans who can cater to the Global needs.