Category 4 Most Innovative Retail Business Management Strategy

by WOHe

Category 4 Most Innovative Retail Business Management

First place: Kitchens by Deane, Stamford,

CT-Based Business Gets a Remodeling Job

Sometimes, the kitchen & bath design trade isn’t just about
remodeling the home. During this past year, the leaders behind
Kitchens by Deane Peter M. Deane and Carrie Deane decided that the
business itself needed to be redesigned. This results were
impressive enough to win the firm first-place in Category 4 of
K&BDN’s 2001 Industry Leadership Awards.

The updated business model consists of a core management team,
also referred to as the “Deane Team.” Team members include: Project
Engineer Bryan Reiss CKD, Project Manager Lawrence Ciambriello,
Field Supervisor Andre Gattyan, and Sales Director Kelly

With the new retail management system, every client order is
checked and reviewed by the project engineer. The order is then
relayed to project management for tracking of cabinet delivery
dates, appliance orders, miscellaneous purchase orders and
installer scheduling. When the job is completed, the field
supervisor takes over, contacting both the designer and the client
to schedule a punch list walk through.

Members of the Deane Team have other duties, as well. The sales
director reviews sales techniques, sold jobs, lost jobs, new
products, etc. The project engineer acts as a liaison between the
cabinet manufacturers and the sales staff, processing information
to be used by both parties, while at the same time checking on
drafting schedules, requests for renderings, and the like. The
project manager coordinates the processing of job completion
orders, purchase orders, appliance deliveries, cabinet deliveries
and installer scheduling, and reviews the status of upcoming and
ongoing jobs. The field supervisor reviews field conditions and
punch list information and assists in on-site tasks. In addition,
the core team meets with all 12 designers in house on a monthly

While many kitchen and bath dealers don’t even have a single
project manager, Kitchens by Deane has as many as three individuals
who may know the status of a job at any given time vastly enhancing

Kitchens by Deane has also diversified its vendors and
suppliers, as well as its tradespeople, which insulates the company
from economic shifts affecting certain suppliers. A turnkey
construction process is also in place for small- to medium-sized
jobs. “These strategies were designed to streamline the amount of
time taken to complete a job, improve customer service to
exceptional levels, and create more profitable jobs,” the firm
notes. The new management strategy has resulted in a decrease in
errors made in the design, order and installation processes. In
addition, the firm has decreased the days taken to close a job from
117 days to 89 days.

The firm believes that much of its success is based on the drive
toward common goals, and the positive results even more remarkable
considering the short period of time since the firm’s internal
“remodel”  have been a strong motivator for the

2nd place: Distinctive Kitchens, Concord,

Design Centers Find Success in the Spotlight

Sometimes, new business strategies require big changes.
Fortunately, James Steenbeke III, president of Steenbeke & Sons
Building Supplies,is not afraid of change. In a bold move, he took
all of the kitchen centers out of the Steenbeke lumberyard stores
and began opening free-standing kitchen and bath design centers in
New Hampshire. 

Distinctive Kitchens is focused on serving its current builder
base, mainly new construction, while developing a retail remodeling
business. All designers are supplied with high-speed computers and
the latest design software, as well as color printers to furnish
customers with color perspectives. 

Distinctive Kitchens has also created its own installation
department, manned by a full-time employee who provides immediate
follow-up on all punch list items, as well as quick response to
service calls from previous customers. This allows customers to
have one-stop service for all of their material and labor

3rd place: Z & G Enterprises, dba Cabinet World,
Aliquippa, PA

Division Makes for Better Management

There are no figureheads at Cabinet World, which operates four
retail kitchen showrooms in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Each of
the four owners has taken on responsibilities that maximize his or
her greatest strengths and talents.

As general manager, one of the owners oversees all four
showrooms’ activities, including hiring, advertising, marketing and
promotional activities. 

Sales and order processing are handled by a second owner. While
salespeople at the showrooms handle transactions, the order process
manager contacts the customer, revisits the job site, verifies all
dimensions, makes final changes and reviews the entire job with the
customer. He then orders the kitchen and turns the file over to the
installation manager.

Scheduling, installation, punch list and completion of payment
schedule are all the responsibilities of the third owner. 

The fourth owner oversees contractor and dealer sales through
the wholesale division, which operates under a different

This micro-managing by the owners means that they have control
over a job from the beginning, and that their salespeople are free
to do what they do best sell.

The innovative approach has led to streamlining of jobs,
efficient order processing and content customers.

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