What is the most expensive tool? The answer is simpler than you may think. It's the one you need and don't have. If there is a need, investing in high quality, time-tested equipment to get the job done is invaluable. But sometimes taking the plunge and sinking your hard earned cash into a new technology can bring about a lot of anxieties. Is this the right decision? It seems so expensive. Am I making the right call? Will it really do what it says it will? Among the long list of questions is the ultimate fear inducing thought: what will my wife think?! For one family business owner, Rob Schramm, the decision of whether or not to invest in an automated length stop by TigerStop became the big topic of conversation, but he needed his wife's blessings first. Keep reading to find out if SawGear passed the test.
Not Just a Number
Running a family owned and operated business can be quite the daunting undertaking. When you have your entire life and fortune invested in its success you don’t have much wiggle room for error, and you certainly can’t afford to waste time and materials. Because after all, your family depends on it.
Just talk to Rob Schramm, Founder of Timeless Reflections- Antique Mirror Glass Company located in Princeton, Illinois. Rob is a mirror designer by trade and an incredibly skilled carpenter. He runs his business with his wife, Jo, and his daughter Aubrey. Together the Schramms work long hours ensuring that their customers, private and commercial, are given the utmost care and consideration. “We are not a large corporation where you will get lost in the mix or treated like a number, each customer is as important as the next.”
But that doesn't mean Timeless Reflections' customers are little fish. "We provide antique mirror glass, wall panels, frames, backsplashes, and a plethora of antique mirrored architectural designs to some of the largest names in the business including the likes of Ralph Lauren, Hilton Hotel, Saint Laurent, Bloomingdales NYC, Tiffany's, Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, and Starbucks," explains Rob. Recently, the Schramm's mirrored designs were featured on the set of The Magnificent Seven (specifically in the opening saloon scene).
It's All About the Packaging
One very large, but not often discussed component of providing antique mirrored creations to customers is packaging. A huge amount of Rob's time goes into designing custom crates and packages that can safely accompany his fragile products to their final destinations. In essence, Rob is also a manufacturer of custom crating and packaging.
When Rob began noticing inefficiencies in his business’ crate building process, he knew it needed to be addressed as quickly and cost effectively as possible. On average, it was taking Rob an hour and a half to build a single custom crate for his high-end mirrors.
The real issue? Rob knew his bottom line could not afford wasted material, so he labored and toiled with his tape measure to guarantee that each part was cut perfectly. The result: beautiful hand-crafted crating and a whole lot of wasted time. But with rising raw material costs, Rob had no choice. Or so he thought.
The Automation Deliberation
In search of a more time effective solution, Rob did some due diligence and came across SawGear by TigerStop, an automated fence that could attach to his chop saw and quickly measure parts with accuracy and repeatability up to +/- .008". But Rob was wary about the cost. Investing in an automated solution seemed like a big step for his small business. But in reality, Rob was even more wary of what his wife and business partner might think. Would she approve of this cool new tool? After some deliberation, the Schramms decided to give SawGear a try.
The SawGear attached to Rob's DeWalt. A desired measurement was typed into the screen and the stop would move into place. Material was placed against the stop and cut. That's it. No more pulling out a tape measure, marking, rechecking, cutting, and reworking inaccurately cut components.
Return on Investment
So how did the Schramm family's investment pay off? “In the first 7 months of owning a SawGear it paid for itself two times!” SawGear reduced Rob’s labor time four-fold in the crate making process. “At the most it takes 20 minutes to make each crate with SawGear. The finish carpentry that I do has become so simple,” he says.
Schramm explains, “For those of you on the fence about buying a SawGear: I too was once on the fence. I mean, let’s face it, this is not an inexpensive tool, but let me tell you, the investment has proven to be worth each and every cent. SawGear may be costly, however, as an owner of this machine, I can without a doubt testify that it may be the single greatest tool on the planet. I use it for anything and everything that needs a spot-on measurement.”
And what was Jo’s reaction to SawGear? Did it pass the wife test?
“Buy it [SawGear] and you’ll have to ask forgiveness from your wife, but only until she sees how much better your life is and how much extra time you have. Our SawGear has paid for itself many many times its cost.”
Rob is even getting the word out to other tradesmen. “I just showed SawGear to two guys last week and when they said as contractors they couldn’t afford it, I told them that they couldn’t afford not to have it.”
The Schramm family has been able to grow their business by identifying areas of waste and investing in technologies to combat those inefficiencies. Working hard can never be discredited, but working smart has literally paid off.
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