Premier Welcomes Jay Riverman – Go West Young Man!

rev_jay

This popular call-to-action, often credited to the American author, and newspaper editor, Horace Greeley, underscored a national movement encouraging the exploration of a region ripe for opportunity. In the late 1800’s, Greeley envisioned the west as a fertile goldmine for business, and for those willing to work hard to achieve a greater measure of success. Today, for Premier Store Fixtures, that opportunity is still alive and well.

The Company recently announced the hiring of Jay Riverman as VP of West Coast Operations. His primary task, and focus, has been made clear… “Expand growth and secure opportunities with more support and service!”  Horace Greeley couldn’t have outlined it better. Of course, Premier is not new to the region. The firm established its footprint in Beaverton, Oregon in 2013 with a beautiful 10,000 sq.ft sales office, equipped with a full design and engineering department— comfortably situated just a few miles west of downtown Portland. Premier is thrilled to have Jay Riverman on board— now poised to expand service offerings and accelerate assignment turnarounds.

As Nike’s Director of North American Retail Brand Operations, over the last 16 years, Mr. Riverman brings a unique perspective to coordinating team-managed aspects of design, development, installation, and maintenance in the department, sporting good and specialty, store space. Jay immediately recognized the great challenge, and the rare opportunity, to expand Premier’s West Coast business, and serve other brands, within one of the hottest company’s in the industry. Nelson Goodman, CEO of Premier, also sees the potential. “We’re excited to welcome Jay to the organization. With his industry connections and experience, we anticipate even greater success for him… and the Company.”

Mr. Riverman has placed “sales growth” as first, and foremost, on his agenda. Next, is to further develop engineering capability, and expand service offerings to Premier’s West Coast clientele. Jay put his job mission best…“I feel that Premier has a great team, and I’m not here to fix anything that isn’t broken. I hope to use my wide-range of business experience, within the industry, and as an outsider, to be quicker, and more agile— providing an opportunity to respond and expand into other avenues.” He further explained some of his core business objectives. “Diversifying, and understanding industry trends, is really important for Premier’s future growth— especially when so many other fixture companies are following a vanilla approach. Our focus is to develop the right portfolio… be quick to market, quick to expand… and quick to meet our customers’ needs, while maintaining the best service. Today, there’s a push for smaller, more unique, runs that require more efficiency and 24/7 service. That’s why it’s so important to expand our capabilities on the West Coast— to meet these needs for greater speed and responsiveness.”

It sounds like Jay Riverman understands his role quite well. “Premier has always been a very demanding, “hands-on” company that’s known for its exceptional service and product innovation. I can only hope to add to the legacy of excellence that defines the Company.“

Premier’s advice to Jay is simple. Trust your judgment, and follow your instincts. “Go west young man”, on a one-way trail toward personal, and business, prosperity.

Premier Store Fixtures Welcomes a Seasoned Pro to its Technology Team

Premier Store Fixtures has announced the hiring of Tim Manwaring. He has immediately assumed his new role as VP of Information Services. A highly qualified IT specialist, in the realm of IS management (technology development and strategic implementation), Mr. Manwaring brings both a breadth of business, technology and strategic acumen that will be a tremendous asset to Premier. From his home office, in Premier’s Richmond, Virginia facility, Tim will be overseeing, managing, and initiating technology programs throughout the organization.tim01-1

Tim Manwaring comes to Premier with 20 years of experience managing infrastructure systems, and supply-chain technology initiatives. He previously held IT leadership roles at Masco (Woodworking/Cabinetry division), Cardell Cabinetry, and Walt Disney Consumer Products.  Manwaring most recently served as Vice President of I/T at Cardell, where he directed the key development of many operational and strategic initiatives and created the company’s long-term technology roadmaps. Prior to Cardell, Manwaring was part of Walt Disney Consumer Products award winning I/T Team and developed many innovative programs to grow Disney’s market share through the creative use information technology assets.  Even before that, he was Customer Service Information Manager, with Masco and Merillat Industries, Inc., the largest home-products supplier and cabinet manufacture in the US.

“I welcome the challenges ahead”, Tim stated with anticipation. “My experience in the retail space has fully prepared me to quickly adopt Premier’s vision— in a business, and a market, that demands innovation, and expects responsive thinking and performance. My job is to align that vision with the technological tools that I’ve used with great success. I look forward to collaborating with my new team.”

Part of Premier’s immediate outlook for continued growth and greater profitability, includes a current philosophical shift toward the optimization of efficient work practices— supported by a greater investment in technology. Tim Manwaring will be major part of that initiative. His insights must align with the accelerated growth, acquisitions, and organic entry into new market spaces, while addressing the need for both software and hardware enhancements. The natural expectation is to create an atmosphere where Premier personnel are able to elevate the customer experience, and overall satisfaction, by using technology to expedite, and improve, performance and value. Tim will lead the IT and Epicor systems team at Premier in an effort to oversee the development, implementation, and use of technology throughout the organization.

With Tim Manwaring, who was drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit of the management and employees, Premier is advancing into a broader technical environment. Tim welcomes the chance to join an experienced team of innovative thinkers and energetic doers who share a single goal—to make a great company even better.  Moving from Houston, Texas to Virginia has been a fantastic experience for Tim’s wife and family. He’s found a good fit… in a company that appreciates talent… and thrives on making a difference.

Premier Continues To Expand!

PSF_NLV2-issue 9 r1

Springtime brings rebirth or growth and Premier has certainly been growing! So rapidly that people may not even realize the amount of physical transformation that has occurred within the company.

A lot of improvements have occurred at our Richmond Oakley’s facility with many enhancements on the production floor driven by 5S. Through the 5S program, we created a flexible manufacturing floor, including new work tables and drops for electrical and air compressors keeping the floor clean. In walking into the mill one can clearly see the all-new state of the art C&C equipment driven by our integrated software, as well as a revamped metal shop to support production and building prototypes. Throughout Oakley’s there are IT enclosed scanning stations that provide information directly into our ERP system. Then of course there is the warehouse upgrades at both Oakley’s and White Oaks, with clearly designated areas for pick & pack, assembly and aisles assigned to our customers. The Richmond facilities have also expanded their warehousing/manufacturing space for a total of 500,000 sq. ft. combined, while receiving a beautiful face-lift throughout the premises.

At our primary headquarters in Hauppauge where we currently have 10,000 sq. ft., we will add an additional 4,500 sq. ft. as of May 1st. The new office space will house our engineering and overseas product development team. It will include our expanded design and manufacturing departments as well.

Its human nature to associate mass change with a degree of uncertainty, but the mission of Premier is certain: to reach new heights by expanding its footprint and advancing its processes!

Focus On Quality Assurance At Premier

quality-assurance-1

The focus on quality at Premier Store Fixtures is to meet or exceed customer expectations in every aspect of the business. Quality is a very important part of manufacturing and the resultant product from operations, but it is not limited to this. Quality is and must be in every part of the business for total customer satisfaction. True quality and quality management is a never ending philosophy that centers on continuous improvement striving for the ultimate goal of “zero defects”.

Traditionally, manufacturing companies followed a system called “quality control or QC”. Over time they came to realize that this system had severe limitations and in many ways was self-defeating. The idea of “quality assurance or QA” was born to provide a way to eliminate the limitations, provide a continuous improvement mechanism, and strive for zero defects. The differences can be explained further.

The idea of quality control or QC is simply defect detection or inspection. This is necessary when processes and suppliers are not capable or even marginally capable of making products within a given specification. If you rely on in­spection alone, defects will keep piling up unless you spend time on identifying and eliminating the root cause. Inspection then becomes a screening tool to remove defective product for rework or scrap. An important person in the quality world, Joseph Juran, stated that “humans will only catch at most about 80% of the defects”. For product with numerous requirements, the effectiveness is even lower. When you add in that when you have thousands of parts coming in from suppliers as well as being manufactured, 100% inspection is inefficient and ineffective.

On the other hand, quality assurance or QA is structured to prevent mistakes from happening in the first place, so you don’t have to waste time or depend on someone catching a defect. Getting it right up front using sound engineering principles and focusing on the processes that produce the product is the key to quality assurance. QA greatly reduces, and in some cases can even eliminate the need for final inspections. The idea of “building in quality” is synonymous with QA.

quality-assurance

Premier created a specialized quality assurance organization to assist senior management in refining the QA system by meaningful quality management of internal organizations, suppliers, and vendors. It has become an ingrained part of our daily work environment at all levels. Quality assurance involves four simple steps; planning, measurement, problem solving, and continuous improvement.

Planning is a critical part of any project. Customer focused quality is driven by the customer and is essential to quality planning. Requirements and expectations for product development, production, and delivery are the key parts of that planning. Effective communication with the customer is essential to agree on the details of the project as well as the quality targets. Expectations and requirements must be clearly defined and measurable to evaluate, monitor, and control quality.

In order to validate a process, quantify the effectiveness of the process, and therefore refine the process, meaningful data must be collected and evaluated. Quality or conformance to specification can be measured using this data. Measurement is a vital part of a QA system and the basis for continuous improvement. It also serves as a way to make sure that production is consistent with the specification and on track for the desired outcome. If problems or issues arise at any step, corrective actions can be put into place immediately. Complex problems require problem solving to the root cause level.

Problem solving is a corner stone tool to the QA methodology. Meaningful problem solving includes identifying and defining the problem, containing the problem, developing a solution, implementing the solution, and verifying the result. Those steps seem relatively straight forward and logical. The key to problem solving is determining the actual root case because any solution that does not address the root cause will be ineffective.

Planning, measurement, and problem solving are all essential functions to continuous improvement activities. Viable QA systems thrive on continuous improvement, which is not just an internal activity. Feedback and data from customers is most important. Continuous improvement is an activity that strives to attain the ideal, “zero defects”. Sometimes it is a small change or multiple steps in a change. Sometimes the results are immediate, huge and dramatic. Continuous improvement applies to all groups and individuals at Premier. It is the mechanism of growth in a thriving business and the heart of customer satisfaction.

Through these efforts and more, Premier is committed as an industry leader to improving all work processes and production, through quality assurance. The end result is a better quality product for our customers and higher customer satisfaction.

The Mill Is Humming With New Equipment!

Premier’s commitment to both state-of-the-art and improved lean manufacturing was demonstrated once again with the recent addition of four new Mill machines. As a result, factory performance capability, flexibility and efficiency have increased significantly, and will continue to improve, as engineering system interfaces are fully functional. Here are some highlights on the four new machines and their installation.

First, the Mill layout was reconfigured to accommodate the new machines and achieve a more efficient workflow. This included moving three existing machines, and other modifications to the Mill area. The first new machine, a Schelling Panel Saw was installed a few months ago. In addition to state-of-the-art capacity and efficiency, this machine will be linked to the system server so that that cut jobs are programmed from the Mill office, ensuring accuracy and maximizing material yield.

1

The Joos Hot Press was installed the same week. The addition of this machine totally transformed the process from cold to hot, with dramatic time and labor efficiencies. With the cold press, an average of 30 boards could be run in 30 minutes, taking two to three hours to dry. This was a labor-intensive process requiring 4-5 employees, and hours of down time allowing the glue to set up and dry. With the hot press, a board is run every two minutes taking about 15 minutes to cool giving us constant production, and requiring only 2 employees to operate. Another significant benefit is that the hot press is also used for veneer!

2

Recently, the Northwood CNC, a horizontal machining center, was installed. This completely upgraded our CNC capability, performance and efficiency. Multiple pieces can be loaded and machined at the same time and the V-Groove cutter doubles our capacity to miter fold parts. As truly impactful as these benefits are, perhaps the most exciting feature of the new Northwood is the system interface with CAMWorks – which will ensure that the machined parts are precisely as modeled (plus quickly and automatically accommodate design alterations).

3

The Cell Set-ups with Lift Tables are workstations that have fully adjustable tables to make it easier to work on projects. The efficiency of having electronic lift tables greatly increases the flexibility of being able to build cabinets without strain to the back from having to bend over them. This also decreases the need to keep lifting and readjusting cabinets. Each table has wheels on its base, which makes things easier when more floor space is needed in the cell. Each cell also has its own workbench, which helps keep all tools and materials ordered and readily available to the builder. It reduces clutter and makes parts identifiable when looking for tools. There are also smaller lift tables (yellow) that is comes in very handy.  All three of these components make production faster and more efficient.

4

The addition of new equipment has already proved to be a valuable investment, as productivity and efficiency have increased with more to come. The Mill is humming!

The Importance of Store Fixtures In Retail Marketing

DSG_2-83125

Many retailers undermine the value of store fixtures not realizing that it can help in creating a good, valuable and returning customer base. In Mary Lucas’ blog on the value of retail store fixtures, she writes that successful store displays should focus on new trends, compelling designs and increased sales. In fact, she writes, quality retail displays trigger sales increases up to 300% by providing eye-popping display communications that demonstrate brand effectiveness with consistency.

“Quality design displays for your store will deliver compelling brand messaging that allow the development of innovative merchandising techniques. This innovation augments sales activity. Ingenious platforms are required to keep your product in the forefront of the mind of your searching customer. This approach helps launch and promote any kind of product.”

These days, retailers work around the clock to navigate a digital world that continues to evolve at a dizzying pace, while tech-savvy consumers have increased their demands for seamless experiences and personalized touches when they shop. Some of the new trends in retail display solutions include integrating some forms of electronics into the retail displays such as beacons, touchscreens, biometrics (facial recognition, voice identification, etc.), mobile marketing and 3D software. The best displays will encourage the customer to interact with your product or product brochures and information delivery systems.

Premier continues to stay a step ahead of these trends with constant research and forward thinking in our innovative designs. We also believe that store fixtures are good investments for brand messaging. These are the transport vehicles that help to take the retail business forward and increase brand awareness as well as the bottom line.

The Year In Review with Premier

2015 was a year marked by changes.  We changed not simply for the sake of change, but to optimize Premier‘s efficiency and to capitalize on opportunities while simultaneously dodging threats.  In today’s landscape, any company that isn’t rethinking its direction every few years, as well as constantly adjusting to changing environment, is putting itself at severe risk of falling behind.  We made significant operational changes this year to ensure we stay ahead of the competition, and balanced these changes with an eye on delivering results. We are scaling the infrastructure for growth while keeping pace with our rapidly growing sales volume.  We’ve made great forward progress with these improvements.

This time of year we can reflect on some of those accomplishments and take a moment to celebrate some of our successes: We opened our new warehouse facility in Sandston, Virginia; instituted new internal programs and quality assurance systems to improve overall workflow; increased our manufacturing capacity through the addition of new equipment; and added new team members, partners and high-profile customers to support our growth.  However, we try not to celebrate these accomplishments for too long as our focus turns to getting ready for 2016 and beyond.

IMGP3010

As Premier’s President Nelson Goodman explains, “We had a dream of being a service-oriented, customer-centric company, where everyone’s answer was yes as long as it was feasible to do.  We never said no.”  That concept was what we continued to expand upon in 2015 and it is what we remain focused on in 2016 and in the upcoming years.  We are constantly improving ourselves as a scalable company in order to consistently service our customers in all capacities.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us grow in the past year!  We look forward to 2016 with great excitement and new initiatives.

 IMG_2787 copy

Premier Lays the Prep Work for the Holiday Rush

Forklift Truck moves Huge Gift Box on a white background

Stores have already started seeing an immense increase in traffic from Black Friday in the United States. Even the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas can mean a steady stream of shoppers. The holiday shopping rush is upon retailers and careful planning is the key to a successful season. Experts agree that planning ahead of the holiday season not only helps retailers capture sales, but also makes for a more organized holiday rush.

We all play a role in this interesting business – assisting our customers in selling product, especially in the holiday season. In today’s competitive retail environment, there is an even greater need for effective fixtures to draw attention to products and promote purchases.

Premier Store Fixtures is instrumental in facilitating those planning stages. Our company is very busy this hectic time of year, fulfilling all of the earlier orders from stores preparing for the holiday retail season. Mid-year is the time when retailers place orders with Premier to prepare for the holiday season. We spend the next few months producing and shipping these orders.

Our initial busy season lasts from July through October. In these 4 months we ship out as much volume, if not more, as we do in the remaining 8 months! The amount of pallets shipped in the last 3 months exceeds the pallets shipped in the entire rest of the year. Even the amount of lines shipped peaked in July and has been steadily increasing since then, as the graph shows below. Since then, the Premier offices, warehouses and distribution centers have been bursting with activity to complete this seasonal rush. Many of these orders needed to have been shipped prior to the holidays for installations and assembly.

Premier_lines_shipped

With Premier’s improved productivity and efficiency, the 2015 season will surely surpass the last few years in fulfilling the added retail orders and preparing stores to welcome more customers this month!

 

Take a tour of our facilities!

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 5.02.44 PM

Come take an actual facility tour of our (2) state of the art distribution centers in Virginia! These videos capture the essence of Premier’s technological advances within our warehouses. They’re a visual documentation of our capabilities to benefit our work as well as our clients.

Oakleys

WhiteOak

Expanding West Coast Presence

Premier_Facilities_map1-01293.jpg

Premier is expanding its sales and logistics footprint on the west coast. The developing sales office in Oregon enables us to service west coast clients more efficiently due to its proximity. Our growing sales require geographic flexibility and a strong bi-coastal presence.

To accommodate the additional shipping volume on the new coast, Premier has teamed up with 3 companies that offer third party warehousing. Each of these logistics companies will be working on different projects. There are two advantages in having a west coast presence. The first advantage is speed. Containers from Asia to Norfolk take approximately 36 days in transit, while containers from Asia to Los Angeles take less than half that time. The second advantage is storage. High volume pick and pack projects take up a large amount of warehouse space. With these additions, we have the space and added manpower where it is needed the most.

Director of Business Development, Eric Balderas, explains that, “The expansion of our west coast logistics warehouse will greatly benefit our west coast sales office in supporting our customer needs.” Time is always a major factor in our programs in-store dates and this expansion offers us the ability to gain back 2 weeks in planning. Having our east coast internal process successfully replicated in our west coast facility will help streamline continuity. This allows our customers to take advantage of lessening the carbon footprint, reduce shipping costs for those stores closest to the west coast, and help get to market sooner. In addition, we will now have the ability to offer our west coast customers full inventory, assembly and distribution management services. Our west coast sales office has allowed us to better fulfill our customer needs and increase market share (sales). This translates into further efficiency for the company and increased profit potential for our customers!