Quadrupling Productivity: How NorthCoast Stone Made It Happen

2006 was a big year for Jay McMillan. Along with his co-founder, he embarked on a venture into the stone world, and never looked back. From that moment on, NorthCoast Stone was born, a solid pillar of Queensland masonry that would grow exponentially over time.

The firm’s beginnings were very humble and hardle technologically advanced. At first, the duo dedicated themselves to working slabs into benchtops by hand. Naturally, this was time consuming and  exposed them to dangerous silica dust – so It wasn’t long before the value of investing in automated machinery proved itself worthy.

“We started as just myself and my business partner, cutting everything by hand with a Makita Wet Saw. Then we ended up importing a Chinese saw and got another saw. After that, we met Pierre and his partner and bought our first CMS machine.”

The meeting with our Managing Director and his then co-founder proved to be the first of many. Eventually, Jay and his partner flew out to Verona’s Macmomacc, where they first set eyes on our supplier’s bright blue equipment, which stood out from the rest in more ways than one.

“I’ve had that many people come to me about machinery, and I decided to go with CMS – because of the build quality, and the bright blue colour, which I liked,” Jay told us.

The start of a whole new setup

After the show, Pierre took NorthCoats’s Directors to CMS’ facility for a personal look at the developments in store. The Queensland partners were impressed by what the Brembana line stood for, and saw great potential for leveraging the technology to advance their operations. Extending our signature hospitality and service excellence, the tour naturally followed with some wining and dining in Italy, and the deal was sealed for NorthCoast’s very first CMS machine.

The investment proved to be highly worth their while – and a whole suite of machines soon followed in a very short space of time.

“We got the first machine from CMS three years ago – the Brembana Impact Bridge Saw. Then we got an Easyline, Speed 24, and now the Brembana Formax. We also have a high pressure water filtration system from Innovync’s range of accessories.”

Working together in a cohesive system, the four machines cut, drill, perform cut-outs, and refine all types of stone. The Formax and Impact are often the first to take on a slab, passing it onto the waterjet and Speed 24 for finer detail work. Flowing on from one piece of equipment to another, the production output has been drastically enhanced.

“The Increase in productivity with CMS machines compared to other machines is really good. The programming and software and the way that the machines cut and do their thing is pretty advanced in the stone world, we’ve probably tripled or quadrupled in size over the past three years, going from 3 or 4 jobs a day to about 12 jobs a day.”

An endless flow from digital te physical

Thanks to a fusion of excellent software, premium equipment, and dedicated service from the Innovync team, our clients are able to churn out all kinds of indoor and outdoor products for their customers. From CAD to CNC, an uninterrupted stream of information turns to action, resulting in high-quality products that barely need touching up once they’re off the CNC table. NorthCoast has created a structured system to make the most of the automated manufacturing, leveraging their resources wisely to run a lean operation within their facility.

“Basically, we have two guys up in the office drawing programs for the machines, so there’s no time wasting on the cutting and profiling of sinks and other products. Our CAD drawers basically draw one thing and it goes to all the machines – first to the Formax Bridge Saw, and then to the CNC or Waterjet.”

With that setup in place, the firm is able to easily get the job done, in the safest way possible. Unlike their humble beginnings working stone in the traditional close-quarters hand-cut masonry practice, all employees stay safely out of harm’s way while the superb equipment cuts away.

“CMS machinery is definitely on another level. I reckon just having the waterjet and CNC machines cuts down the percentage of hand finishing by 95%, which also helps prevent silicosis because the machines are doing everything,”

Genuine service generates genuine success

Having established a thriving relationship with Pierre all those years ago, our service has kept the momentum going within their facilities. NorthCoast’s experiences in sampling machinery and service from other companies and brands has led them to appreciate the partnership, especially when obstacles come up. One of the greatest differences, as Jay has found, is that our technicians are well connected with Innovync’s European suppliers, and have the dedication and know-how to make things work, no matter what.

“Any time that there have been issues, Innovync’s sorted it out very quickly. Even some of the Italian firms have found it hard to get guys to service machines.”

With our on-shore service and innovative range, Jay and his team have become leaders in more ways than one. Their repertoire of services has flourished, branching out into new spaces within the industry. As a result, they’ve become an exclusive supplier for Czech engineered stone, offering a brand unlike any other seen in Australia.

“We started with cutting benchtops, and we’ve gone to the importing business with engineered stone from Technistone, a Czech Republic company. We’re the sole importers of it in Australia. With the machines cutting down on anything

done by hand, it can all be done now on a waterjet once it gets programmed on the Easystone program. The machine can do small cuts and checkouts. The software can implicate measuring devices and measuring machines, which can be used and imported into the software.”

The unique setup has also fuelled the firm’s capacity to take on premium contracts with clients. Other than manufacturing benchtops,  fulfilling automated masonry requests for some of Australia’s most rapidly growing spaces has proved to be a fantastic differentiating factor that continues to play a part in why businesses come to Jay.

“We do a lot of architectural work and wall cladding and architectural facades, so being able to use the machinery for different situations other than stone benchtops is great. We’ve been able to do a lot of jobs for Hudson Builders that we probably wouldn’t have been able to get without the CMS machines.”

From 2006 till now, the growth of this local manufacturer stands as a testament to what great technology can do when paired with quality care and business know-how. Our team, led by Pierre’s passion for innovation and service to others, has proudly provided the tools, technician expertise, and human touch that power growth and energise a firm’s future. We know how to take care of our clients – and we love seeing them thrive and expand, becoming stronger, leaner, and more innovative with every cut they make.

“A bit of wining and dining in Italy always helps. The customer service is very good.”

Take it from Jay, and feel free to get in touch for insights on the most advanced solutions to help you become a game-chancer in your own field.