Why Does It Take so Long to Make a Custom Door?

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Speed of delivery depends on a lot of factors.  Most doors that you buy off the shelf in some lumber yard or home center are made to standard sizes and colors.  There are some size ranges that have become “standards” over the decades of American home and commercial building.  For example, 36” x 80” doors are a standard and almost everyone makes rough openings that will fit doors from almost every door maker.  They are immediately available for you to buy either unfinished or in a small selection of colors.  Manufacturers can make thousands of them for stock and dealers can have them immediately available for you so long as you want the exact features that they have on hand.

Consumers are increasingly resistant to that model in the age of the internet and 3D printing which offer immediate gratification of your every whim and desire.  Custom means that entire process or designing the door, ordering the parts, building the door, and shipping the door cannot start until you make your mind up and place the order.

Order confirmation is the first part of the process and this usually involves creation of custom shop drawings that depict your exact door, not similar, exact.  An engineer or technician is usually assigned to your job and your options are incorporated into a set of drawings and selection submittals for you to approve.  Some companies have this process more automated than others, but this automation process usually comes at a price of limiting how far you can wander from the farm.  The engineer may have misunderstood some of your requests so you need to review this submittal package carefully and correct anything that it wrong.  You might have changed your mind about some things after you saw it all put together as well.  If corrections are required, a new package needs to be generated for you to approve, and this continues until you have the perfect documents and release the order.

Back at the factory, this release triggers a lot of activity.  The drawings submitted need to be broken down into every piece of material, what size it needs to be cut to, where holes need to be put to attach hardware, glass and weatherstrip and a complete Bill of Materials (BOM) that calls out every single screw, frame, paint, glass, hardware part, and miscellaneous material.  This BOM then needs to be checked against current available inventory to make sure the raw materials will be there when your door is scheduled to be “built”.  If, God forbid, you have requested a non-standard, non-inventoried piece of hardware or paint color, the purchasing department then searches for available vendors, order the part and wait for it to arrive.  All things are not created equal and some things take an incredibly long time to arrive.

When all the parts arrive, your order might have to stand in line until other jobs are completed ahead of it in the production queue.  Yes, it is just like the checkout line at the grocery store.  It only takes a few seconds for your yogurt to be scanned, but there are a lot of bananas ahead of it.  Once completed the order is then loaded onto a truck and shipped to you.  That’s it, it’s done, and you can have it delivered and installed.  Of course, this is often several months after you ordered it.

We are very proud of the fact that at 2Fold™, your door is truly custom to you, but doesn’t take more than 6-8 weeks to ship.  Under special circumstances, we can often cut that down to 4-5 weeks.  This is all possible because of design automation using 3D modeling software to already have everything from the proposal to the shop drawings to the BOM to component ordering to production documents generated automatically.  It took us 2 years to build the automation system, but now your custom door can be perfectly built very, very fast.

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