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Manufacturer's investment equals opportunity.

Modern Manufacturing of Miami remains competitive by investing in new woodworking machinery.

Miami-based Modern Manufacturing's key to success is its emphasis on efficiency. This efficiency is based in part on the company's program of capital investment.

In the past three years this large-volume producer of pedestals, cubes, slatwall and slatwall fixtures has purchased a variety of equipment including an SCMI DLT38 panel saw, an Olimpic edgebander and SCMI routers, as well as a Hofer press.

"We try to run a very efficient, all-computerized, plant using the latest equipment in order to stay competitive," said Jerry Dagen, president and founder of the company. "That is the only way we are going to survive."

Modern Manufacturing was formed 15 years ago by Dagen as an office furniture manufacturer in a 2,500-square-foot building. "The company was transformed years ago when we were asked to do store fixtures," Dagen said. "It was an evolution for our company."

The evolutionary process has spurred growth for the company. Today, Modern Manufacturing operates out of a manufacturing complex totalling 60,000 square feet. The company employs approximately 50 people, and certain key company employees have engineering backgrounds.

Labor alone, even skilled labor, is not enough, though. Without the willingness to invest in equipment, the company would not have been able to complete a large fixture order entailing 65 trailer loads of merchandise in a six-week period of time. "We worked seven days a week, 24 hours a day for six weeks. We didn't get any sleep for six weeks," Dagen said.

The project utilized approximately 200,000 square feet of laminate and 250,000 square feet of board, "and probably truckloads of glue and staples," Dagen added.

The company uses particleboard and medium density fiberboard as its primary substrates and laminates panels with Formica brand laminates. The laminates are pressed with a Hofer press or hand laminated. In addition to laminating, Modern Manufacturing makes melamine panels as well.

Dagen said investing in machinery has helped to keep his labor costs down. He added that he is not in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but said his machinery would keep his company competitive should NAFTA be approved. "The Free Trade Agreement will not be in the best interest of the woodworking industry and would definitely hurt U.S. manufacturers. How can the woodworking industry afford to pay employees a living wage when competitors in Mexico are paying their workers $4 and $5 a day?"

"To compete," Dagen said, in answering his own question, "you have to be very mechanized and high tech."
COPYRIGHT 1993 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Better Production
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Previous Article:Rules and specifications for dimensions and woodwork.
Next Article:Against all odds.

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