Fraser Killen is a brilliant young man with the drive and passion that only youth can bring. With the backing of Accurate Australia, Fraser has founded Panel Tools Online, a supplier dedicated to growing your business.
Fraser learnt about cutting tools with Accurate Australia, a privately-owned Australian supplier of cutting tools since 2001. He knows what makes a good cutting tool, having worked in the grinding shop and tool design areas of the business. And now, with the backing of Craig Honeyman from Accurate Australia, Fraser has co-founded Panel Tools Online with the aim of shaking up the CNC tooling industry with innovation and technology to further advance cabinet makers and shopfitters.
Having achieved an OP1 (highest high school achievement in QLD), Fraser is now studying a double degree in mechanical engineering and business management at the prestigious University of Queensland. He is obsessed with technology and is determined to jolt the cabinet manufacturing industry into the future with an innovative approach to service. The online platform is just the beginning. He’s been travelling all over the country since Panel Tools Online Started and has noticed a trend. This is that so many cabinet makers, shopfitters and joiners are settling for what they’ve always had.
Fraser says “They purchase a CNC machine which comes with a nifty nesting tool package and they continue on their merry way purchasing the same tools from the same people. The tools may be very good, but they can often be quite expensive.” Panel Tools Online supply the Xtreme blue titanium carbide cutters coated with a proprietary ultra-fine coating that Fraser says, “Makes the tool 40% harder and lasts twice as long as some other tools on the market.”
“Ever heard of the lazy tax that plagues most Australians? Every year when it’s time to renew your car insurance, what do 85% of people do? Renew the same old average plan! “I guess I’m happy with whatever I’ve got. It’s too hard to switch.” There is always something better out there. Who’s considering ditching the big 4 banks? In my visits around Australia I’ve noticed that most people use the same tooling they have been using since they first bought their machine years ago. They are not realising the full potential of their machinery and time, and it has nothing to do with buying the cheapest or the most expensive tool. It’s about buying the right tool.”
Fraser says that even the biggest operators are so concerned with the upfront costs without any thought on the end-result. They are focusing on the cost of the tooling and not looking at the accumulating value of high-quality tooling in the correct application. This is something that the other 15% do so well. It is often the simple changes which allow you to ask a higher price for your product and a lot of it comes down to the amount you invest into the product. Tooling is part of the product. Think of it this way; would you buy the cheapest hinges, runners and colour board you could?
So how do the other 15% think? They’re passionate about getting more volume; a smoother finish or better product and less operator downtime. They’re passionate about the efficiencies in their business, even bespoke, designer manufacturers such as Panache Kitchens in Glendenning use a dust and chip extraction tool to minimise the time spent cleaning between jobs. They refuse to accept a poor finish. Plywood furniture makers such as Oak & Hide in Yeerongpilly use an array of specialised roughing and finishing cutters to reduce the time spent sanding.
They’re constantly introducing powerful innovations to reduce the time changing worn tools, lowering the time per sheet and increasing the life of their cutters. Kitchen Crew in Brendale introduced nano-tech titanium coated compression bits to cut 100% more boards per tool change and save 20% on tooling. When these things are working against you, the loss in time and lost value in your product will amount to 3x more than you could ever spend on innovative and high-quality tooling.
Fraser continues “So, what’s the first step to get out of the 85% and become one of the 15%? Benchmark yourself, quantify the key measures within your business. Delve deeper into what makes your business tick. How many sheets do you get out of a cutter? How long does it take to change a tool and adjust parameters? How quickly are you able to cut 1 board, 10 boards and 100 boards? When you know this, you can test other options and be able to answer with absolute certainty; did this improve our operation or not?” Fraser’s last piece of sound advice is a quote from Allen Iverson “When you are not practicing, someone else is getting better”.