There’s no doubt that the strength of any business is its people. But these days, finding the right people can be challenging for some manufacturers. One company in Staffordshire has found a solution to handle the shortage of skilled workers with AutoCAD-based technology supplied by Microvellum.

Tek Contracts is a specialist bespoke manufacturer that does it all – from specialised fit-outs, custom joinery and office interiors to dental, pharmacy, and healthcare facilities.

“After our Joinery Manager retired, we found it difficult to find his replacement, someone with the level of knowledge required to keep our projects running smoothly,” explains MD, Chris Perrior. “So, we started looking at our options to see if we could substitute the need for a joinery manager with one or two production managers, a CAD technician and new software instead.

“We spent a significant amount of time examining our systems and researching multiple types of software we felt had potential. Ultimately, we selected Microvellum.”

Microvellum helps companies align their processes behind one flexible platform – developed to put users in total control of the way they estimate projects, design, engineer and manufacture products. The open architecture of the program provides users with the tools to customise their experience, resulting in a competitive advantage that streamlines the entire design to manufacturing process.

“One of the most time-saving benefits of our Microvellum software is after the initial design is completed, most of the work is done,” explains Chris. “The drawings are detailed automatically, the cutting list with full edge detailing notes is done, the project reports are ready to be accessed – the only thing left to do is process the project for cutting on our SCM Pratix router.”

Microvellum’s platform is well-suited for small to large manufacturers equipped with point-to-point machining centres, nested-based routers, saws and other types of automated CNC machinery. The comprehensive software includes a fully integrated solution for part optimisation, machine code generation, and on-demand part labelling.

“After our projects are processed, code is sent straight to the CNC and the labels and instructions print off right next to our machine,” says Chris.

“We challenged ourselves to think differently, to find a software solution that helped us fill the gap in our process left by someone who retired. Microvellum has not only given us a platform to improve how we work and operate our joinery shop, but a foundation for further growth. The difference in efficiency compared to our old workflow is a long mile.”

If he had to give advice, Chris says he would encourage other companies dealing with shortages in skilled workers to invest the time to research software that is right for their [woodworking] business. 

Moving forward, the team would like to investigate the option of an e-commerce site for products manufactured on a regular basis. They are also looking at a few new CNC machines to integrate into the workshop, as well as a beam saw and vertical drilling machine.

“We would easily recommend Microvellum as a good place to stop looking if you are serious about investing in your next software upgrade,” concludes Chris.