Lighthouse Cabinetry : Quality Driven, Backed by Lean

Sandra Wood

Can you blend high quality cabinetry and good quality humour? Well this member thinks so and, to be honest, they do it really well!

It was their humour and their stunning projects they posted on social media that caught our attention and we had to learn more.

Lighthouse Cabinetry, established as a new business in 2017, is owned and operated by Jason and Sarah MacDonald. Located in Lindsay, Ontario this 3,000 sq ft showroom and 30,000 sq ft. shop has 22 employees and is currently under development to construct a new facility to expand their footprint and bring both operations under one roof.

Their clientele is typically homeowners and custom builders who are seeking quality custom materials and construction methods. They focus mostly on the mid to high end builds. They service mostly within Ontario from Oakville to Muskoka.

The company typically designs, builds and installs , however recently they’ve just been building and installing due to office constraints.

Jason tells us that the company is known for its inset face frame cabinetry and high end job requirements. We asked Jason to tell us more about the company.

CKCA: How did you get into the business?

Jason: When we first opened, I had actually never built or manufactured a kitchen before, but I did have a construction background. This was really challenging in the beginning, but we have been really process-oriented, and it has helped to ensure that each kitchen we craft is better than the previous.

CKCA: What do you love about what you do and why?

Jason: In the beginning, I would have said that my favorite part is seeing the finished product in some of the beautiful homes we have the opportunity to work on. And it still is one of my favorites, but I’ve really enjoyed building the crew of employees here and making Lighthouse’s principles outstanding.

CKCA: What have the challenges been and how did you overcome them?

Jason: Due to the custom nature of what we do, there isn’t a lot of consistency from one build to the next. This makes it a lot more challenging to find efficiencies and also creates the opportunity for defects which negatively impact processes. We mitigate this by creating processes and procedures and checklists to ensure that defects don’t occur, details don’t get missed and profits remain consistent.

CKCA: Are there some innovative projects that you’ve been able to be more creative with?

Jason: We are a lean company and are constantly innovating. Every day we spend 30 minutes looking for improvements to make the organization and its processes better, faster, simpler and safer.

CKCA: How do you navigate markets that go up and then down?

Jason: This is something that weighs on me regularly. Fortunately we are very busy now, but the next recession could be around the corner. We have a lot of overhead and interest rates are high. I try to combat this by effective branding on the revenue side and effective lean implementation on the cost side.

Real and relatable

CKCA: How do you navigate the pressures of automation in such a custom shop?

Jason: We automate and acquire robots as much as possible without losing any staff. Our lean culture allows employees to embrace and welcome these changes increasing our growth rate.

CKCA: What are you most proud of about the work you do?

Jason: Definitely all of the people at Lighthouse who have started successful careers, family, and are having fun coming to work every day. They are the backbone of the organization.

CKCA: You use some fun marketing on social media where you inject a lot of humour, what do you hope to achieve?

Jason: People want to experience realness and relate to content. The most perfect video often won’t perform as well as one that makes the customer laugh and think they might enjoy working with you in the future.

CKCA What are some of the trends you see in the industry?

Jason: I think white oak is on its way out and bolder matte colors are on the way in. Pinterest and social media in general have been great for showing people what is possible and expanding demand for “whole home cabinetry”. We do this for most of our new build projects.

 

CKCA: It’s clear family life is important to you, how do you strike the balance with a demanding business and home?

Jason: Honestly, neither my wife nor I have had much of a work life balance since we started Lighthouse. It’s been long hours 7 days a week since we started, and we haven’t regretted it at all. We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity that we do and are grateful for the work. This has changed more recently as we’ve welcomed a new baby girl into our home which has been an incredible experience and really put things into perspective for us. We have been trying our best to ensure time with family and my wife has been fortunate to transition to working from home and looking after our daughter.

CKCA: What are your future thoughts about the industry?

Jason: I think automation is helping bring manufacturing back to North America, as labour is no longer the mainstay of high output production. I’m concerned that people’s monetary power has greatly diminished with all of the inflation and the economy will soon become stagnant.

CKCA: What are you future plans for your business?

Jason: To continue to expand our business and grow our team!

CKCA final note: If you’d like to learn more about Lighthouse Cabinetry, be sure to follow them on social media. We guarantee you’ll have a chuckle in between the jaw dropping photos of their projects! Below is a photo taken from one of their many funny posts where they’re a little bit cheeky, but in a fun way. They still get their message across through their professional images and they get a surprising amount of response to those posts.

We wish them continued success for their growing business and their growing family!

 

Sandra Wood is the Secretary and Executive Director for the CKCA. She enjoys “connecting the dots” and facilitating strong networking opportunities to engage members. She believes associations are about fostering strong business relationships fueled by an empathic and sound business approach.

 

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