SMC: What tools/equipment do you currently use to complete your projects?
KP: We use a CNC router, welding equipment, Braille & tactile machine, channel bender, roller table, and a digital printer and a cold-press laminating machine. We are always looking at what type of machine will help us do a project more efficiently and cost effectively without sacrificing quality, so I am sure there is more new equipment to come!
SMC: What does your planning process involve?
KP: Our planning process starts with us sitting down and discussing our client’s project—what they want, when they want it, and what they are hoping to achieve with their sign. The answers to these questions help us to determine the path we take to finalize the project. The sales and design team work together to provide a layout with options based on these discussions. Several options are presented based on budget, material availability, or time constraints. Once we receive approval and a deposit, we begin pre-production. At this stage, anything that prevents us from going into production is dealt with. This usually involves permits, engineering, or ordering of material. From there, job sheets can be made and the work is divided amongst the different departments: vinyl, CNC, braille/tactile, channel, and fabrication. Once all the work is completed, the client is made aware and arrangements are made for installation.
SMC: How is technology changing your business?
KP: I think COVID has really accelerated the change in technology. We have more meetings via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, which has reduced the need for travel. However, we have always felt that in our industry, people need to see and touch samples to understand what we are recommending or providing. In that sense, technology hasn’t caught up. On the production side, there are many machines that have made jobs easier and faster, such as digital printers, not to mention computers and intuitive design programs.
SMC: What is the key to staying successful in this industry?
KP: The key to staying successful in this industry is to always be willing to change and adapt. Listening to our clients helps us to be aware of their evolving needs and identifying any new trends. Continued education and product awareness are also key deliverables to ensuring we are providing the best product and solution for our clients. It is also important to challenge yourself, which is why we always say yes to something new.
SMC: What are the future plans for your business?
KP: Immediate plans for this year is to celebrate our 40th anniversary! We are immensely proud of not just weathering, but thriving, during all sorts of economic and pandemic-related storms over the years and we want to celebrate. How are we going to do this remains to be seen. Beyond this, we are always looking to expand our services and, as we listen to our clients, we will know which direction we need to take to achieve our goals.