Founded in 1998, Retail Design Consultants (RDC) is a renowned pharmacy shopfitting specialist, based in East Kilbride, Scotland. It operates on the core principles of care, commitment, collaboration and communication, providing inspirational and affordable pharmacy design solutions tailored to budget.
“Although we work in other areas, our specialist niche is providing turnkey packages for pharmacies,” explains RDC managing director, David Donaghue. He continues, “In recent years, pharmacies have become more automated, particularly with regard to dispensing and collection. There has also been high demand for additional dispensing workspace. Together, these factors have led to storage space in-store being at a premium.
“Using the latest CAD/CAM design software, we design bespoke solutions for each client, before manufacturing all the tailormade furniture at our facility and then installing it at the pharmacy.
“Many pharmacies are now 24/7 operations, so it is vitally important that when we install a solution, we minimise disruption to their business. The pandemic has added further challenges for us, but the processes we have developed enable us to deliver projects with minimal interruption for the pharmacy.”
Investing in the latest machinery
“The individual nature of the furniture we produce, and the ever-decreasing lead times, led us to look at how we could improve our production processes. Several of our machines, including the edge bander and saw, were getting long in the tooth.
“The edge bander in particular, is a key machine for us and not only had it become somewhat temperamental, but also the finish quality of the processed panels needed to be better. We were experiencing similar problems with the beam saw which was also limited by ageing control software.
“Our search for replacements began by talking to John Mackay from AWMS. John has been a trusted supplier for many years and is the HOMAG representative for our area. We had invested in a HOMAG BHX 050 vertical CNC five years earlier and were very impressed with the performance and quality it consistently delivered.
“Over the years, John has gained an in-depth understanding of our business, so we were confident he would put together considered proposals for the HOMAG edge banders and beam saws. We wanted solutions that would not only deliver the quality and reliability we were looking for, but would also future proof the business in terms of likely productivity increases and the need to be able to take advantage of any software advances.”
Specifying the right machines for our needs
“There were several considerations that would affect our decision on which models to order. Our 14,000 sq. ft. facility is compact and so machine footprint was a significant factor, as was our desire to invest in machines that would ‘grow’ with our business.
“John gave us a couple of options for the saw and four options for the edge bander. Initially, we were leaning towards the lower specification models; listening to John, however, we realised that if we invested in higher specification models now, the long-term payback was potentially far greater.
“After careful deliberation we settled on the HOMAG SAWTEQ B-130 and the EDGETEQ S-240 models. We had seen these machines in action at the HOMAG showroom in Castle Donington and also at exhibitions. The HOMAG brand and reputation alone gave us confidence in our decision, but we were also influenced by the service support, spare parts availability, and the peace of mind that come with partnering with the market leader.”
EDGETEQ S-240 edge bander and SAWTEQ B-130 beam saw
“With the majority of our products being panel-based, the edge bander is a critical piece of kit for us. The quality of finish and performance of this HOMAG edge bander are first-class. When the panels come off the edge bander there is no need for any hand finishing, they are good to go to the next stage of production.
“The EDGETEQ has improved productivity in the machine shop by over 30 percent and downtime is virtually a thing of the past. Setup times are quick and easy, the trimming tools are excellent, and the machine handles a wide variety of edge materials, further improving our production flexibility.
“HOMAG’s SAWTEQ B-130 beam saw has made a significant difference to our production; it is fast, reliable, and has a small footprint for such a powerful machine. The control software (CADmatic 5) is easy and intuitive to use, and will enable us to take advantage of more advanced software applications (such as tapio) in the future.”
“The benefits these new HOMAG machines have brought to our business are considerable. We have seen significant reductions in downtime, waste and labour costs, with corresponding increases in productivity and finish quality. What’s more, the HOMAG name has boosted our reputation as a company that supplies the highest quality products. As a consequence, we are now able to take on more sub-contract work in addition to the bespoke pharmacy projects we have become well-known for,” concludes David Donaghue.
If you would like a demonstration or more information on HOMAG’s machinery or software, please contact Adele Hunt at HOMAG UK on 01332 856424.