Company Offers In-and-Out Fabrication Service
By John Filippelli
You see, Dubuc is president and CEO of MobileFab, a company that offers fabrication and installation of solid surface countertops in just four to eight hours, by virtue of a patented concept that was six years in the making, he explains.
"For more than 15 years, I had been a successful fabricator, but despite my success, the business seemed to be somewhat antiquated. I started to develop a better process. I realized that one of the biggest areas of waste for the fabricator and disruption for the homeowner was the time gap between the beginning of the process and its conclusion," he says.
As a response to this, he came up with a self-contained, 26 ft. vehicle and installation system the MobileFab System which allows for any type or size of solid surface countertops to be measured, fabricated and installed "in time for dinner," he notes.
Inside the vehicle is a complete workshop, including saws, a task-heating system, ventilation system, full-hand tool system, vacuum system, on-board diesel generator and electrical system.
The system leverages three separate patents, including the unique apparatus, the actual replacement process and the bench system within the vehicle, according to Dubuc. More importantly, it gets the job done fast, he says.
Traditional fabrication often requires multiple visits to the home, with average time delays of 10 to 14 days, he explains. However, "This system changes a process that was inefficient for both the fabricator and the homeowner and redefines it," he adds.
Dubuc continues, "The MobileFab System is ideally suited for the conventional fabrication company that wants to add to its capacity, or for the kitchen and bath retailer who wants to add a new level of customer service without using valuable building space."
That belief is compounded by the growth the solid surface sector has seen over the past few years and the growth in kitchen and bath remodeling and new construction due to low-interest rates, he notes.
"For simple countertop replacements, the inconvenience, time
delay and inconsistent quality is replaced by a day-long process
[that produces high-quality results]. For bigger remodeling
projects, MobileFab can shorten the overall project time line by
installing the countertops quickly, letting the other trades to get
their work completed faster," he suggests.
Dubuc believes this is the way of the future, noting, "We'll look back one day and wonder why we ever waited weeks for a countertop."
Two by four
On the morning the countertop is to be fabricated and installed, two MobileFab employees arrive at the consumer's home in with the MobileFab vehicle, where they conduct each step of the fabrication process. Included in the process is preparation and set up, the measuring and cutting of blanks, pre-fitting blanks, fabrication, cutting, gluing, finishing, installation and clean-up.
"The unit is capable of allowing the fabricator to process countertops of any configuration with any combination of details such as a cove backsplash, seamed undermount solid surface sinks, inlays, and drainboards," he says. "The unit also allows for the fabrication and installation of shower walls, tub decks and vanity countertops with unlimited details."
Sheet rock material is then pre-fit to the exact field conditions, therefore eliminating the potential for errors when templating, he says. The pre-fit material is also fabricated entirely in the unit to the homeowner's specifications, adding a custom element to the process, he adds.
But, while some might scoff at the idea, anticipating added
expenses for such quick service, Dubuc is quick to note that the
system is not any more expensive than traditional installation. In
fact, he believes that the MobileFab system decreases the overall
project cost simply due to the time efficiencies.
But, he does confess: "Certainly in some situations and because of demand, some fabricators have had to charge a premium for the service."
Dubuc notes that the MobileFab system is not strictly available for use by his company, which currently consists of some 17 employees. Rather, he says, it is set up to some degree like a franchise, where outside fabricators can utilize its capabilities to bolster their own business' efficiency.
To better accommodate fabricators interested in offering these services, the company's showroom is available for fabricators to see the MobileFab vehicle, and learn about the system first-hand.
To that end, the showroom features a training area that acts as home to a two-day learning presentation. Included in the presentation are a video and Power Point presentation explaining the scope of the system and how it applies to fabricators' business needs, as well as a chance for hands-on participation by fabricators and observation of an actual solid surface fabrication project from start to finish.
"The training area is a reproduction of the space in the vehicle. It is the perfect learning tool," he describes.
He also notes that, in addition to the sales and marketing tools offered to customers and the fabrication training, the company offers ongoing technical assistance to address any questions or problems that might arise with regard to using the system.
As an added measure of interest, Dubuc says that each MobileFab fabricator receives exclusive territory protection which varies depending on location. He also points out that MobileFab is currently being used by fabrication companies based in southern New England, New York, Boston and the southern New Hampshire areas with others scheduled for the Chicago and Florida areas beginning in the first quarter of 2004.
But in the end, the most important benefit the MobileFab system offers, according to Dubuc, is that it provides a key selling point in differentiating companies from their competition.
In a business where time is money, Dubuc believes it comes down to simple mathematics: "They do it in three weeks we do it in one day," he concludes.