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In the stone business, the shop guys seem to have all the toys and all the advantages.

Even the most simple shop set up will have a forklift, slab clamp, and boom, not to mention lots of extra room, including bathrooms and break rooms.

Many have vacuum lifters, cranes, and all kinds of A-frames – for slab, islands, awkward counters, and backsplash.

Then there are the carts, the dust control system, and the “help”: people available – from the owner to salespeople – to lend a hand whenever it’s needed.

Yes, your shop guys have every conceivable advantage.

But what about your installers? 

Does their install rig give them every advantage?

Rate your Install rig by the following:

  1. Is it enclosed? If the counters, tools, and installers are exposed to the elements, whether it’s the rain of the NW, scorching sun of the SW, or the cold of the Mid-West and East Coast, they will suffer a shorter life span.
  2. Is there room to stand? A cargo van may be out of the elements but lifting 3cm counters without standing up straight is sure to induce sore backs, frustration and lost productivity. – Sprinter vans, box vans, and “tall” enclosed trailers are the best option.
  3. Is low to the ground? The higher the floor of the install rig, the more time and energy is required to load and unload the counters. Box vans are the tallest, followed by sprinter vans in the middle, and enclosed trailers are the lowest to the ground.
  4. Is the center open? The optimal set up is frames on the sides of the rig, creating a broad and open space in the center.  A traditional “A” frame in the middle of an install rig is tragic, dividing the remaining floor space in half…leaving limited space on either side to maneuver counters and tools efficiently.
  5. Is counter storage flexible? Is there enough space to separate counters so they aren’t “buried”?  Installers will lift on average 2 tons of stone per day, needlessly shuffling buried counters by hand only lowers productivity and increases injuries.
  6. Is frame at cart level? Counters should not be on the floor of the rig.  This multiplies the already excessive lifting of every piece.  Frames should be designed and built to be at the same height as transport carts to minimize lifting to and from.
  7. Is backsplash stored separately? Back Splash is usually clamped to the counters for transport.   But it then must then be moved, shuffled, staged, and moved again to get to the counters once on site.  This reduces efficiency and increases the chance of breakage exponentially.
  8. Is there ramp, lift gate, or boom assistance? Counters should NEVER be carried from the install rig to the work area.  They should be rolled.
  9. Is it well lit? Searching for a tool or loading up in the dark is just plain unpleasant.  During winter months this is an everyday occurrence if the rig lacks interior lighting.
  10. Is there enough storage? – Leaving tools at the shop for lack of space will add up to huge inefficiencies onsite. Having the tool but not finding it because of a lack of organized storage will add huge frustrations to the inefficiencies.

So add them up.  How does your install rig compare to The Best Install Rig in the Stone Business?

A score of 0 – You are still living in the ’90s, probably installing off of a pickup or flatbed trailer.

A score of 1-4 – You’ve got a lot of room to improve and a lot of work to do.

A score of 5-8 – That’s ok, but compared to your shop, your install department is still lacking.

A score of 9-10 – Congratulations, well done!  You have one of the Best Install Rigs in the Business!

In this day and age, there is no excuse to not to have the Best Install Rig in the Stone Business.  For a minimal investment, you can have it and the quality of your installs will improve as will the attitudes of your installers.

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