Competitive Through Innovation – What Do We Mean?
Innovation can best describe the ideology at MAKI Building Centers and its sister manufacturing concern Specialty Wholesale Supply. Employees are empowered to “think outside of the box” with incremental changes and alterations to existing products made continuously creating additional value for contractors and consumers who shop at MAKI and making MAKI competitive through innovation.
Innovative at the Start
Maki Building Center founder Walter Maki was an innovator; translating sometimes simple ideas into effective changes and alterations which transformed the consumer experience. For example: During an early period in the 1940s when founder Walter Maki was installing siding he singlehandedly caused an upheaval in the market by installing insulation behind the siding at a time when conventional wisdom had not yet caught up with the breakthrough due to the cheap cost of energy at the time.
Sometimes, the ideas are truly simple and extremely economical; like using stainless steel screws which last longer when galvanized screws are deemed entirely functional and acceptable in the industry. Innovation just sometimes happens, like in the manufacture of railing systems with SWS using aluminum reinforcement in both the top and bottom rail, and a metal bracketing system for what they believe is the sturdiest, strongest railing system out there. This competitive innovation not only is a fine addition to the landscape of your yard, but it may also increase property values.
Ideas can be practical too. For instance, using ball bearing hinges standard in exterior doors which makes doors easier to swing, both gluing and stapling trim to increase sturdiness (when others in the industry just staple and shove the product out the door), and using stainless steel hardware. Competitive Innovation bringing repeat business through a common sense approach.
Innovative qualities can be truly revolutionary. Such as the processes used at SWS to create a much better window, which is rugged enough to qualify for a higher LCPG 40 rating. This rating takes into account a window’s resistance to water penetration, air infiltration, load deflection, operating force, and force entry. MAKI’s Tri-Max foam filled window by SWS has much less heat loss than other windows with a U-factor almost 40% lower than the Energy Star standard. And, 75% less air leaks in through this SWS Double Hung window than a window which simply meets the Energy Star requirement. Finally, this particular window can handle a 153 mile per hour wind. This is a manufacturing metamorphosis and competitive innovation with a better product.
Ideas based on a consumer-centric attitude allowing for flexibility. From configuring the manufacture of screen enclosures to allow for any size to match the exact needs of the consumer’s project to offering lumber and decking materials in lengths up to 20 feet to eliminate seams. Structuring the Mill Shop with abilities to make anything out of wood or vinyl and encouraging employees to say, “If you can think it, we can make it.” or making countertops in-house. Innovation through flexibility.
Innovative Little Things
The little things add up, and a lot of things can make a BIG DIFFERENCE. When building homes in New England, better products create better value for the consumer. MAKI stands for the application of better solutions that often meet new code requirements before the codes even change to be more stringent. You could say MAKI products are better than they need to be often responding proactively to inarticulated needs. It is something quietly replicated everyday at our manufacturing plant in Gardner MA, Specialty Wholesale Supply, maker of doors, windows, custom millwork, custom metal fabrication, vinyl railing, vinyl fencing, and more. Innovation through positive company culture.
Innovative Purchasing and Pricing
MAKI Building Centers is part of the innovative idea of combining purchases with 1300+ other independent lumber and building material dealers to get the most competitive prices available and pass the savings on to our customers. MAKI has the innovative idea of allowing consumers to buy direct from its Gardner MA manufacturing division, Specialty Wholesale Supply, which gives customers the advantage of cutting out the middle man, which passes the saves along to customers. Innovation through intelligent decisions.
It’s not enough for MAKI to just offer a better price. MAKI uses its resources to create an environment where imagination grows, initiative is encouraged, and new information is deliberately applied to transform existing processes and generate new ones. The ongoing result is evolutionary innovations that are brought about by almost constant incremental advances in technology built into every window and door manufactured, reflected in and documented by unbiased testing data which consistently demonstrates product excellence and fosters great pride and positive morale among the staff. Innovation through osmosis
Innovative “Out of the Box”
The tendency in the marketplace by some Big Box stores to find cheaper and cheaper alternatives to existing products, is backwards innovation because often the savings aren’t even passed on to the consumer but simply retained as greater profits. Be competitive through innovation, offering the best product possible to more than satisfy the consumer and encourage repeat business.