Barry O’Kane, transforming staircase manufacturing productivity with Staircon, Ireland
Barry O’Kane is an entrepreneur building a business in County Derry in Northern Ireland and he is capitalising on demand for staircase manufacturing services for a thriving local contractor marketplace. Barry’s staircase design and manufacturing business BFOK Contracts may be young but is growing faster than ever now that he has Staircon and a CNC router in place.
Staircon has eliminated the need for manual calculations and laborious AutoCAD drawings meaning that the firm can design, sell and then deliver staircases to its contractor and private customers faster, with dependable quality, and a turn-key ability to repeat manufacture staircase designs for volume orders.
The ability to speed up complex staircase design is one of the most predominant benefits Barry has experienced with Staircon. He explained that
“I used to spend every night drawing out designs, which was very labour intensive. With Staircon I now spend a quarter of the time I used to spend drawing out stairs and steps in AutoCAD. Before I was never sure if what the customer was thinking was the same as what I was thinking – now I can show it to them with Staircon.”
Complex calculations made easy
The ability to speed up complex staircase design is one of the most predominant benefits Barry has experienced with Staircon. He explained that: “Many of the stairs we make are winding and that involves a lot of calculating. I used to spend every night drawing out designs, which was very labour intensive. With Staircon I now spend a quarter of the time I used to spend drawing out stairs and steps in AutoCAD. Now I just have to spend one hour a day doing this.” Staircon has also simplified the complicated process of design and material calculations. He continued:
“Staircon makes it simple. All the calculations I was doing myself before can now be generated in Staircon, from the height of the rise and number of risers to the length of the goings, which all determines the pitch of the staircase. Doing it this way means there’s less chance of mistakes or errors than when I was working them all out manually.”
Unlocking time for sales
One of the advantages of automating time-consuming activities was that Barry freed up time to develop his business.
“With the software in place, I found I was able to find more time to develop the private staircase side of the business. It meant I had time to get talking to them more – and selling more. As I get more and more confident with Staircon I’ve started to use the functionality to show staircase designs in 3D. They can see it, understand what they are getting, and really know whether they like it or not. Plus, if they want to make a change, such as to the colour, I can take that and show it on the 3D model. Before I was never sure if what the customer was thinking was the same as what I was thinking – now I can show it to them with Staircon.”
Repeatable quality production
The production volumes have steadily increased as design efficiency has grown. One other factor in this has been the ability for Barry’s firm to offer and deliver dependable quality for volume orders. He commented:
“With Staircon we can have one design but repeat manufacturing as much as we need. Our turnover and production in the past year has tripled, and we are now turning out around 20 flights per week. Before we had Staircon and the CNC capability we could really only generate one flight per day. Effectively it has meant we can do three times as much work, and only work half as hard.”
Reflecting on what Staircon has helped bring about, Barry is also appreciative of the significant support for quality of manufacture:
“Perhaps the main advantage of doing it this way is the quality of workmanship. Driving machine production using Staircon delivers quality that is unbelievable compared to what can be done by hand. The quality and consistency is the same every time. If a joiner makes a set of stairs, they can only ever be as good as the joiner, and often affected by how they’re feeling that day. With the help of Staircon we deliver a high-quality product every time.”