Janice Gable Bashman reports on how Zamma Corporation, a producer of pre-finished profile moulding, meets the challenging demands of the home improvement, commercial construction, and automotive components markets.
Diversification is important in any industry. It is a means for weathering economic change and ensures that a slump in one market will not result in disaster. For Zamma Corporation, diversifying its product portfolio to meet the changing demands of the marketplace is key to its success. It is this philosophy coupled with excellent quality and customer service that has propelled Zamma Corporation to the top of its industry.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
Started in 1970 as an importer of pre-finished moulding for the home center industry, Zamma Corporation provided accessory mouldings for the type of wall paneling in use at that time. It profile-wrapped vinyl to finger joint wood substrates until 1984, when it purchased a German profile machine that used hot melt adhesive systems. “The Europeans were way ahead of us in technology at that time,” says Peter Spielman, president. “In response to environmental concerns about using less wood, they began using particle board and fiber board while we were still using solid lumber. They also had the technology to laminate onto engineered wood substrates, and we did not. The purchase of the profile machine allowed us to start using paper laminates.”
By 1990, Zamma Corporation converted from an importer of wood mouldings to a producer of medium density fiberboard mouldings from sheet stock fiberboard. This enabled Zamma Corporation to produce furniture and furniture components, such as drawer front mouldings for a division of Thomasville Furniture. “As a result, we became the largest provider of profile wrap mouldings in the United States,” Spielman says.
Zamma Corporation continued to branch out with its products. In 1995, it began producing products for Pergo flooring, which allowed Zamma Corporation to enter the floor transition industry. By 2000, the company produced floor transition profiles for the flooring industry, picture frame mouldings, store fixture products, and furniture mouldings. Today, Zamma Corporation also produces kitchen and bath moulding and components, automotive components, and home center mouldings. Its products can be found in North and South America, Europe, India, and Australia. Soon, China will be added to the list.
WHERE IT ALL HAPPENS
Located in Orange, Va., Zamma Corporation manufactures approximately 25 product lines under one roof in a 150,000-square-foot facility that sits on 14 acres. Its state-of-the-art paper converting facility, put on line in 2007, manufactures five product lines in a 50,000-square-foot plant on eight acres adjacent to the larger manufacturing site. “We built the only four-stage paper treating/converting/coating factory in the United States, where other companies have one stage treaters,” says Spielman. “The factory prints and applies labels in-line, including color numbers, UPC codes, and customized logos. The result is faster turnaround of custom order products and a drastic increase in throughput. We also have the newest isobaric high pressure press for making continuous roll laminates.”
Zamma’s laminate mouldings, produced with the finest available papers in the world and treated to resist abrasion, are engineered for compatibility with virtually any flooring manufacturer. “We have over 450 color styles in wood and ceramic tones for all styles and thickness of flooring for both hardwood and laminate applications,” Spielman says. “And we continue to develop our line of products to meet our customers’ demands. Our furniture components are used by many manufacturers who do not have the capability to manufacture these parts. Our engineered home center mouldings produce more reproducible qualities than unstable hardwood. It is also environmentally friendly, because it uses recycled material.”
One of the largest manufacturers of wrapped MDF mouldings in North America, Zamma produces a variety of shapes and finishes for the store fixture industry, including cornice mouldings, door frames, worktop edging and pilasters. Zamma also produces moisture resistant profile wrapped mouldings used in kitchen, bath cabinets and vanities.
In order to streamline processes and eliminate duplicate functions, Zamma vertically integrated its production. It creates everything in-house except for medium density fiberboard, adhesives, and paper printing. It makes its own tools, forms steel for components, and even produces its own thermal oil energy for the paper converting factory. The company recently invested in the technology to make replacement stair treads with abrasive resistant laminates.
In 2007, Zumma Corporation instituted lean manufacturing, which has been very
successful in reducing the inventory requirements and increasing the product pull through. This has allowed the company to become more receptive and reactive to its customers’ needs.
In the last few years, Zamma Corporation experienced a 30 to 40 percent decline in
growth because of the market, but continues to maintain its position in it. “We’re probably number one in the market,” Spielman says, “and we probably have a 20 percent market share in certain categories.”
As a result of the changing market, Zamma Corporation decided to examine its product portfolio and determine ways to diversify it. It believes the wood component market is now growing again in the United States, and the company is moving into the solid wood component business as a result. “We want to jump on that bandwagon,” says Spielman. “We see that business as three to four times bigger than the laminated components business, and we want to capitalize on that business. We think there is a lot of business in wood, and it’s a bigger market. Since we have experience in the laminate floor transition market, we are going to approach the wood transition market very heavily.”
For Zamma Corporation, this means becoming a full-line producer of solid wood
components. It also means having its own wood preparation, milling operations, and wood finishing operations for mouldings.
In addition to entering the market as a producer of solid wood components, Zamma Corporation is focusing its efforts on store fixture components, especially in the food service industry and the hospital healthcare market. Why? “Because people like to eat and people get sick, so the market continues to grow,” Spielman says.
APART FROM THE REST
In today’s world, producing quality products does not always lead to success. Customers also demand excellent service, which is exactly what Zamma Corporation strives to provide. Its teamwork philosophy and team concept of manufacturing allows the company’s employees to work together in understanding customer needs, which enables employees to exceed customers’ expectations in quality, service, and cost. “The team concept is essential to our long-term success,” says Spielman. “It’s our company philosophy that you’ve got to have a fire in your belly and get up and love what you do and have lots of fun doing it. That philosophy propels us forward and keeps us producing the high-quality products that our customers expect. It has helped make us a leader in our market, and it is what will keep us there.”
Although the outlook for the global economy produces challenges for all, Zamma Corporation rises to the challenge and meets the needs of the ever-changing marketplace. Its high-quality products and superb customer service make this company ready to tackle all that comes its way.