By Sullivan Alexander, Contributor, the Price of Business Show. * Sponsored
About the interviewee
Dan Claypool, owner and CEO of Merric Millwork and Seating. After a successful career in corporate America and with aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur, Daniel Claypool, 44, purchased Merric Millwork and Seating in 2012 when its previous owners decided to retire and sell the company after 24 years. Prior to Merric, Claypool was Vice-President of Supply Chain at Furniture Brands International, St. Louis, MO; Director of Business Operations, Sales and Trade Marketing at Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor, MI; and Director of Sales Planning at Maytag Corporation, Newton, IA. Claypool has a BBA in finance from the University of Iowa. Claypool is married to wife Mindy and resides in Wildwood, MO with his three daughters.
Tell me about your company
Founded in 1989, Merric specializes in the design, manufacture, installation and repair of tables, booth seating, countertops, point-of-sale fixtures, podiums, woodwork, toilet partitions, vanities, cabinetry and custom millwork for a variety of industries. Some of Merric’s current clients include IHOP, Marriott Hotels and Denny’s Restaurants. Merric occupies a 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in St. Louis, MO and employs 40 people, which includes four project managers/estimators and four full-time design engineers.
Tell us why your product or service is making a big difference for customers.
Our products appeal to ownership groups, franchisee’s and general contractors across the nation. We provide a high-quality, hand-crafted product with outstanding customer service. We pride ourselves on ensuring we deliver on our promise and ensuring our commitments are upheld.
Tell us about the challenge you faced and what the result was.
Just like every private business we face pricing pressure, but equally we continually feel the crunch on timeframes to complete our projects. We continually look at streamlining our internal processes so we can turn quality products for our customers quicker so they can complete the job on time and within budget.
How did your business increase productivity and become more efficient?
We continually look at all of our internal processes and use Kaizen techniques to streamline our processes, then automate them so we can do more with the same number of people. This is a continuous improvement mindset at Merric.
What do you see as “hot button” issues in your industry, and what are the implications?
As I mentioned above, the timeframe to complete projects continues to lessen. Owners of hotels, restaurants, etc. can’t afford to have their businesses down for multiple weeks during a remodel. They simply lose revenue, so we must help them in any way possible to reduce their downtime.
What makes your company different from the competition?
Our competitive advantage is our ability to complete highly custom projects, yet run large volume orders at the same time. We also not only provide millwork and seating, but also can complete the Furniture Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) items for our customers which gives us a competitive advantage when the customer wants one supplier/sub-contractor to complete the work.
Sullivan Alexander is a contributor on the Price of Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston), whom you can learn more about at www.contureadvisors.com.
Sponsored by the Price of Business, on Bloomberg’s home in Houston, TX