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Custom Door Maker Turns to RFID to Better Manage Business

Canada's Lambton Doors has gained visibility into its entire manufacturing process, boosting productivity and customer service.
By Samuel Greengard
Feb 09, 2014

Lambton Doors, founded in 1947, has grown into a high-end manufacturer of architectural and commercial wood flush doors and frames. The Quebec, Canada-based company employs roughly 200 people, supplying doors and other products to stores and agents throughout Canada and the east coast of the United States. Manufacturing custom doors in today's marketplace requires a combination of traditional craftsmanship and high-tech processes, with success heavily dependent on an organization's ability to run its business efficiently.

To meet those demands, Lambton Doors deployed an RFID system in 2008 to track the movements of 800 to 1,000 doors per day through its facility. The lead-time to manufacture doors varies from three days to five weeks, depending on raw material availability and the custom options required. "The system provides a way to check on the status of orders quickly, and manage the business far more effectively," says Marc Blain, the company's VP of sales and operations.

Foremen and managers can view data from their computers, iPhones or iPads, even when offsite.
Lambton Doors has gained visibility into its entire manufacturing process, Blain says, which has helped to improve internal processes and workflows, as well as supply chain efficiencies. Managers can instantly view the status of any given door, he explains, and provide customers with real-time updates, including when a specific order is slated for completion. This is particularly valuable when the company is handling a rush order. "We wanted to have specific visibility into shipping dates," he explains, "and, more precisely, identify the lead time per order, without creating new reports and more paperwork for everyone."

Unlocking Problems
In 2007, Blain and other executives began considering how to automate the manual process of tracking the status of doors during production. "We began looking at the option of using bar codes," he states, but employees would have had to go from one door to the next within the factory and perform the scans manually. A bar-code solution, he says, would have been "a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, and it was prone to errors."

Each assembly station is equipped with four ThingMagic Mercury4 fixed readers.
RFID offered a more elegant, streamlined approach that could match the needs of today's customers, Blain says. As a result, Lambton Doors established a committee and began identifying its goals for RFID. The company worked with Canadian systems integrator Effecto to design and install the system, including the software that runs the RFID and tracking capabilities.

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