is called a flitch. “One tree’s production of
veneer is what we buy,” he says.
Images, dimensions and characteristics of the entire inventory are entered
into a database, from which customers
make their choices. The company sells
a specific tree, not a species, and the
database indicates what flitches are
sufficient to meet the requirements of
about 50 types of aircraft.
Unlike most companies, Booth
functions without managers. “I don’t
manage people,” Booth says. “The
This employee has removed a flitch from
inventory and wheels it toward the next step
in the production process.
computer tells everyone what they have
to do today, and who is doing what
now. Any individual in our plant who is
in production can look at the computer, know what’s coming, know what
they must do and when it must be done
by.” The system is built on flexibility.
“We change our production schedule
every 20 minutes,” he says.
Customer and employee education
is a high priority for Booth. “We have
an entire education division that does
nothing but educate our customers,”
Booth says. “We present seminars to
all of our customers on how to use our
All employees receive comprehensive training. “We believe the vocabulary is so foreign to everyone that until
you understand the production vocabulary, you can’t even be a receptionist,”
Booth says. In production, cross-train-ing is essential. “I believe that multiple
expertise is a requirement,” he says.
All employees are trained in lean
manufacturing. “The new plant is
completely designed around lean – total flexibility, total adaptability, flow
The Costa & Grissom KHV wide-belt sander
is used for precise sanding of the veneer
near the end of the process. The machine is
calibrated every day, and because the product
is very thin, tolerances are precise to the
– everything is there,” Booth says.
Because of its specific requirements,
the company needs outside-the-box
specifications and/or modifies or
re-builds the equipment it purchases.
“There is no other industry like ours, so
our requirements are like no one else,”
Booth says. “Machinery is usually sold
on how fast and how much a machine
can produce in a given eight-hour day.