The four-hectare door manufacturing plant is within an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.
American Timber Gains Favor With Corinthian
By Lucas Ngu
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—Corinthian Industries commenced operations in 1974 as an Australian investment that specialized in the manufacture of quality doors for the export market. Five years ago, ownership of the company changed hands, resulting in Corinthian Industries (Asia) Sdn Bhd becoming a part of Jeld Wen Group, a U.S.-based enterprise that operates more than 200 companies worldwide.
For the building industry across the globe, Corinthian is a name that is synonymous with quality wooden doors. In Malaysia, the company’s door-making facility is located on a four-hectare site, which is an hour’s drive from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Here, a wide range of entrance as well as internal doors are meticulously crafted and shipped out to North America, Europe and countries in the Asia Pacific. It is a tradition that has been upheld ever since the Corinthian Group began making doors back in 1942 – an unwavering dedication to give customers not only the best in design and quality but also the highest value for their money.
Employing 360 workers, the plant is one of the most technologically advanced of i
Andrew Chung is general manager of Corinthian Industries Sdn Bhd.
ts kind in Southeast Asia with design and production capabilities matching international standards set by the Jeld Wen Group around the world. This enables Corinthian Industries to churn out products that cater to the taste of customers in the high-end segment of the market. Hence, the Corinthian Collection is not about run-of-the-mill type of doors but unique and dramatic designs that come with intricate details – the types that would fit nicely into luxurious apartments, condominiums or hotels.
Andrew Chung, the plant’s general manager said, “For the production of doors, 30 percent of the raw material comes from the U.S. and this amounts to 10 containers a month. The species that we use are Red Oak, Beech, Cherry, Douglas Fir, Maple, Knotty Alder, Walnut, Hemlock and Poplar.”
The American timber arrives at the doorsteps of the factory in No. 1 Common grade with each piece of the timber edge band measuring 20mm in thickness, 36mm in width and up to 2.2 meters in length.
Since the company decided to use American wood in 1990, the raw material has been obtained directly from suppliers in the U.S. Today, some of the supplies are also being shipped in from China.
Apart from imported wood, Malaysian timber is also used to compliment the factory’s raw material requirements. According to Chung, wood is also being obtained from Africa. For MDF boards and particleboard, which are also being used for making doors, the supplies are obtained from Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand.
The factory is capable of making quality doors from American timber that match international standards.
The plant operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for six days a week. For some stations, especially those involving finishing, profiling and scribing, shift work is required and the working hours are from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
At Corinthian Industries, doors are not made entirely of wood. Glass is also extensively used to enhance their aesthetic appeal. The material comes from a sister company in Thailand which is involved in glass production. Recently, the company unveiled a new product in the market – the fire insulated glass door. The plant is possibly the only one in Malaysia that is involved in the manufacture of this product.
Doors manufactured by Corinthian Industries are available prefinished or painted and the company is also known to be one of the few in the country that is involved in the production of bi-fold doors.
While some of the doors are produced in accordance with specifications provided by customers, the company also has a team to churn out its own designs, according to Chung.
Initially an Australian investment, the company is now part of U.S.-based Jeld Wen Group.
The fact that doors are being produced for different markets presents a challenge to the company. Chung said, “In this respect, we not only need to take into account the different tastes of different markets but also the type of wood to be used.”
For example, Red Oak is the most popular species for the U.S. market the preference is for White Oak, Hemlock and Meranti for the Europe market.
Like many other mills in the region, the decision to use American timber is not a matter of choice but very much a customer-dictated decision for Corinthian Industries. Except for the price, the company has no other reasons to complain about the wood that it has been getting from the U.S. all these years. “So far, we are happy with what we get and the supply is consistent,” Chung said.
In sourcing for American timber Chung pointed out that price was not the only thing that was being considered when dealing with suppliers. Instead, other factors like quality and reliability were also taken into account
With so much emphasis on quality, it is not surprising that Corinthian’s door making plant has earned an ISO9001:2000 certification from Warrington (UK). Besides, the company has also been awarded a Global Safety Certification “for all processes involved in the manufacture of fire-rated joinery doors.”
For the production of doors, the bulk of the raw materials are obtained from the U.S.
Apart from the emphasis on quality, the company is also aware of its commitment to the environment. Hence, doors that are shipped out to the U.S. and Europe are also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as being eco-friendly.
In the U.S., Home Depot and Lowes are among the companies that Corinthian Industries is dealing with while B & Q is one of its major customers in the UK. For the future, Chung said the company would be introducing new models into the market and it also hopes to expand its marketshare in Europe.