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Day Three of the Stiles Benchmarking Tech Tour starts with a visit to one of the oldest kitchen manufacturers in the world. Poggenpohl is located in the northern city of Herford. Founded in 1892, now part of the Adcuram Group, Poggenpohl employs over 2,500 people and has global revenues of more than 500M euros. The company stresses cleanliness, efficiency, and quality. As one of the most respected luxury brands in the world, Poggenpohl is all about style and design. They take pride in producing one kitchen at a time.
Producing 750 cabinet boxes per day and 3,500 additional components, they operate on a lead time of around 4 weeks. This high-end kitchen manufacturer can be known to produce kitchens for other global brands, like Porsche, where kitchens are priced around $250,000. It is common for Poggenpohl to produce 50 to 60 kitchens each year for a single luxury brand. They stress productivity and only buy components when they are needed. All pieces are made completely from TFL, except for the doors which are coated and finished in-house. As a global supplier, often to tropical areas, PUR adhesives are used exclusively for edgebanding.
The facility is extremely efficient, yet the atmosphere is serene and comfortable. They operate as a self-monitoring staff with team leaders managing everything. They train all employees in each department through their own apprenticeship program, with 80% of their current staff completing the program. They currently have at least 3 apprentices in training at any given time.
The final stop on day three is to one of the most impressive production facilities in this industry. We pull into the parking lot of what looks more like a General Motors auto plant than a cabinet shop. Nobilia has over 3,000 employees and more than 8,000 trade customers worldwide. The famous red and white trucks lining the parking lot gives you a sense of the mass production you are about to witness.
All machines inside Nobilia’s factories are painted in red and white to match the corporate colors, providing consistency to the facility. Nobilia produces over 30,000 cabinets per day running on two shifts. They have two manufacturing facilities with one producing roughly 16,000 cabinets, and the other 14,800. It is their goal to have each facility reach 18,000 in 2019.
Everything in the facility is automated including material handling. This includes the massive conveyor system and rail track in the floor keeping everything in a perfect harmony until they are ready to be loaded and shipped out.
The number of TFL designs are impressive with 88 separate colors and patterns in stock. Production volumes are so high that at any point in time they could have nearly 20,000 cabinet doors in inventory on the floor at any one time. Component storage may contain up to 50,000 pallets of parts. The automated storage and retrieval system alone is a sight to see.
Nobilia sells primarily through kitchen dealers, with 55% of its production destined for the German market. 45% is exported, but only about 1% of Nobilia kitchens make it to the United States, which represents only 7-8 kitchens per day.