Skutt Ceramic Products makes kilns for hobbyists, schools, potters and specialty tile manufacturers. This Portland, Oregon business builds kilns from the ground up. The process includes grinding bricks; cutting sheet metal; installing heating elements, manual, and electronic controls; assembling; testing; and shipping.
Skutt Ceramic Products is a third generation company that was founded over 50 years ago. Prior to building kilns, they manufactured stainless steel yacht hardware. When the stainless steel supply was wiped out by the war, the two founders were debating what to do next. A neighbor suggested that they make a ceramic kiln without hot spots. At that time, all kilns were square or rectangle. After researching kilns, the men invested $150 in raw materials to make a multi-sided kiln and the rest is history.
For 14 years, the business had been using an IBM System 23 mini computer. When the company decided to upgrade their software, they looked at many different packages before deciding on AddonSoftware. "AddonSoftware is a mature product so we knew we wouldn't be spending much time fixing bugs," said the company president.
"The leading edge can all too often be the bleeding edge! We were impressed with the software and AddonSoftware because we felt that no matter what changes we would make to our business, they would be able to respond. The experience, expertise, and personnel were all in place."
Skutt Ceramic Products purchased AddonSoftware accounting, distribution, and manufacturing software on a Hewlett Packard NetServer. "AddonSoftware is very responsive and provides good support. They have done everything humanly possible to make our network run smoothly," said the company president.
Skutt Ceramic Products personnel appreciate the information available on-line. When an order is entered, the system automatically creates a work order thus saving time. A Bill of Materials for a kiln is about 200 items including all the nuts, bolts, and screws. While this is a repetitive manufacturing environment, Skutt adds job shop components such as different voltage and distributor stickers to meet customer needs.
The kilns are sold through 175 distributors in the United States, Japan, Australia, Greece, Canada, Latin America, and the Far East. Only replacement parts are sold directly from Skutt Ceramic Products because they want to make sure that everyone has access to parts. If you're looking for a ceramic kiln, look to these distributors: Georgie's Ceramic and Clay Co. in Portland, Oregon Clay Co. in Salem and Eugene, Miller's Ceramic Supply in Tacoma, Ceramic Arts in Spokane and Everett, and A&D Ceramic Supply in Seattle.