When I first moved to Iowa, I was surprised to see how much this region was influenced by manufacturing. The entire manufacturing process is something that has always intrigued me. I think it is fascinating how raw materials can quickly become items we use every day. Working at HON, I have the unique opportunity to experience this phenomenon of manufacturing literally just across the street.
In March, I was able to take a tour of our Oak Laminate facility which produces many of our most popular desking lines, including 10500, 10700 and Voi series desking.
The process begins in the ‘production section’, where the desking components are actually cut and molded from wood. In this area laminate is shaped and edge bands are placed on the table tops or desks.
This is the edge banding machine that puts the edge of the tables or desks on. You can see that are all the major varieties of finishes ready to go. Any of these bands can be selected and placed on the table top or desk, no matter what the size or shape of the end product.
Once the product or component is complete it stops at the staging area. In the staging area the product is reviewed for quality.
This stage is where the items are reviewed for defects and if they pass, the products will be sent on to the storage area of the facility.
This storage area is where all the completed components are stored until they are called upon for an order. Once they are “ordered” a member will gather all the pieces and drop them off at the assembly area.
The assembly and packaging area represent the final stage in the Oak Laminate facility. This is where all the items ‘come to life’. Pieces on shelves are pulled together to create desks, tables and bookshelves. Those finished pieces are then checked again and packaged up for delivery.
With Oak Laminate producing some of our top selling products it is no surprise that they are continuously improving processes. The Oak Laminate plant is consistently improving by obtaining new equipment and expanding the plant as a whole. Currently, they are in the process of building a 45,000 square foot expansion onto the building. This expansion is being done in three phases but is expected to be completed by 2015. By expanding, the plant have additional capacity and extra space will allow for more flexibility with production.
The experience to tour the Oak Laminate facility was a great one. As someone in the Marketing department, it is great to see how our products are actually produced. I really feel that the hands-on production process HON executes is what makes us great.