Software – It’s not as daunting as it seems!


Tony Casella and Kent Dunham started Style Side out of their love of the trade. The two friends began installing together in 2008, after previously working as production managers for a big local cabinetmaker. As business partners, they were keen to bring their enthusiasm to the industry and together, they saw the opportunity to start their own business.


Tony and Kent had experience with using Planit software from their previous jobs. They knew that software was a key tool to help improve efficiencies both in the office, and out in the factory. Tony shares, “We did look at other software providers, but they all came in and compared themselves with Planit and Cabinet Vision, so having used the software previously, we decided to go with what everyone was saying is the benchmark for the industry”.


Solid Essential Online was the ideal first step for Style Side to introduce software into their business. The partners started with Solid Essential Online for 2 years as their main tool, as it gave them the ability to create all their drawings, plans and renders to present to the customer. They also valued the ability to take the part list and create a cutting list ready for the factory . Their investment in the software played a key role in the growth of the business. In particular, both Tony and Kent commented that “it saved us so much time in the office, which meant we could continue to be out working in the factory”.


Getting a CNC for the business was always a goal for Tony and Kent, it was just going to be down to the right timing. In 2013, a great opportunity arose for the business, and following their plan to achieve their desired results, they purchased a CNC. Along with the investment in the CNC, they also upgraded their software, taking the next step with their Planit software and installed The Essential Business Solution .


This package has given them value for money, especially with the ability to link directly with their new machine. They value being able to view each cabinet in 3D view, allowing them to see how the whole cabinet comes together, now including all the drilling and machine details, before sending it to the machine. Tony and Kent knew that there was propriety software that they could use with the machine, but really wanted the capability to send their drawings from their screen to the machine, all in the one program. Tony describes it as making their process “ten times easier”.


Since the investment in software and machine, Style Side has continued to grow at a rapid rate. The new efficiencies that their investment has allowed, has meant they have been able to continue a sharp growth rate in the company. Processes and systems both in the office and the factory have improved, with less need to re-cut parts and less wastage. In addition, the two shared how they now have greater control over their work, meaning there is increased confidence in what they are producing.


Having enjoyed using Cabinet Vision for the past four years now, Tony describes using the software as “second nature. It’s 10 times easier now with the screen to machine software, compared with the manual way we used to do it. It may look like a lot of work to learn the program, but it’s easier than you think and actually saves you a lot of time”. When asked what his advice would be for other cabinetmakers looking at software, both Tony and Kent replied, “Do it – it’s not as daunting as it seems”. 

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