Wednesday, February 27th marked the latest BWA Plant Tour Focus Group held at Durham Furniture with over 40 manufacturing members attending. On behalf of all who attended congratulations to Durham Furniture for hosting a very successful plant tour event! 

BWA Members gathered at the historic manufacturing plant of Durham Furniture in the town of Durham to participate in a Plant Tour Focus Group. These events incorporate a Kaizen theme in which the plant host presents a challenge for the group to observe and provide insight and feedback.

Themes included:

  • Materials planning and flow
  • Efficiency optimizing of batching
  • Cost vs. benefit analysis of carts
  • Optimizing labor with automation feeds
  • Visual tracking cues
  • Review of breakout optimization & alternative flows
  • Working with building constraints
  • The role of CNC in all levels of production, batches, flow, and bottlenecks
  • And thought-provoking questions that spun new perspective on established methods of production

Above: One of several groups being toured Durham Furniture’s facility while observing the plant’s focus Kaizen theme

After the tour, BWA manufacturing members and select associate members (invited by the host) broke out into small groups to discuss the event themes and workshop solutions for the manufacturing host.

“I was impressed with the number of people that turned out…a diverse group too…the feedback was positive…constructively…several takeaways …good ideas we as a company need to look at from a lean perspective…overall very happy with the whole thing”. – Luke Simpson, Durham Furniture CEO

Above: Luke Simpson, Durham Furniture CEO and Mike Baker engaging in discussion and exploring the feedback from the group

After all the feedback is gathered from the groups, each team reports on their findings and insights on continuous improvements and suggestions the host can implement.

With all the unique perspectives, experiences and skills each attendee brings, the host is able to conclude a plant tour with a bundle of ideas to explore and implement.  BWA Plant Tour Focus Groups are a win-win strategy for hosts and members and an excellent learning experience in manufacturing techniques and methodologies.

Durham Furniture has been making quality solid wood furniture from sustainably harvested solid wood in the town of Durham since 1899. Its legacy currently employs over 200 staff and is among North America’s premier manufacturers of fine furniture.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the next plant tour. If you’re not a member, sign up today to the Bluewater Wood Alliance and get yourself a seat at the table. Together we’re strengthening Ontario’s wood manufacturing future.

If you would like more information about this event and the BWA, please contact:

Tara Davey
Program Administrator
Bluewater Wood Alliance
e: [email protected]