< Blog Home December 19, 2019

Service West Is Turning 40 and Ramping Up for Its Next Level

By Service West

Founder and CEO Mark Vignoles said it’s not necessarily a rebrand as it is an effort to enhance a brand that already exists with the company principles of H.E.A.R.T. – humility, execution, accountability, respect and trust.

The following article by Emily Clingman was featured in the December 17, 2019 issue of Business of Furniture Magazine.

As it approaches its 40th year in business, Service West, with a newly developed brand and goals for expansion, is aiming to be the biggest office furniture installation and interior construction company in the world.

Founder and CEO Mark Vignoles said it’s not necessarily a rebrand as it is an effort to enhance a brand that already exists with the company principles of H.E.A.R.T. – humility, execution, accountability, respect and trust.

”Our strength is in our rigorous planning, which leads to great execution,” Vignoles said. ”Then our people, anybody who touches a customer, understands the reason we’re in business. We’re great at what we do but were also great about making sure the customers are comfortable and well-informed. From the outside, it looks like a super simple thing but there are usually eight or 10 handoffs where things can go wrong. We manage all these handoffs to get stuff into our warehouse, delivered and assembled.”

Service West is a Carpenters Union company. It uses industry-leading, cutting edge technology to deliver a seamless client experience with clear communications throughout. It’s launching a new barcoding warehouse system, which will enhance its other offerings. These include proprietary enterprise resource planning solutions developed for the industry’s ”quote to cash” cycle, PlanGrid construction and blueprint software to complete and submit field punch lists, daily check-in and check-out processes with clients using custom online portal and internal tools, including Slack (for efficient communications/collaboration), Jira (for project management) and Confluence (the employee intranet).

”We like the idea of being a one-stop solution for clients,” Vignoles said.

The company maintains more than 440,000 square feet of warehousing space at facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. Its team of 400 employees executes the delivery and installation of furniture to offices, hospitality locations and health care facilities. Many of the company’s clients are confidential but they include large tech companies in Silicon Valley, bank headquarters in San Francisco and a two-floor office for a major solar power company. It works with all the major U.S. furniture dealers, primarily servicing the West Coast.

Plans to expand nationally are in the works. ”And that’s because our current client base – the people we have deep relationships with and have had success with – is desperate for qualified installation solutions in our growing markets,” said Scott Shepherd, Service West president. ”They appreciate working with a company that not only does installation but also provides the logistics needed for a successful project.”

Shepherd says larger projects that keep popping up demand a lot of manpower, which there’s a shortage of. This only fuels Service West’s momentum.

”We are now attracting some of the best installers from our competitors because they realize that it’s not just about a paycheck, it’s an experience they want to have as craftsmen at the best installation company in the country,” he said. ”The biggest difference between us and everybody else, is our guys are encouraged and trained to find a solution. It’s not about just identifying the problem -you can describe an issue to the customer, but then you need to provide a solution. Most companies are content to just say, ‘Well, it doesn’t work.’ Our people always provide a solution.”

The key to solutions is to eliminate a lot of problems before going to the job site – the earlier the better, Shepherd said, adding, ”You just can’t wing it. Our craftsmen have so many skills and ideas that can make a client experience so much more positive if they involve the installation teams earlier.”

Success is just as much about attitude at Service West, Shepherd noted. ”Treat everybody with respect, come to work ready to do great work, don’t leave a job until you’re proud of it,” he said.

Founder Mark Vignoles reflected on the significance of Service West’s upcoming anniversary. ”My parents are Irish and came to the States in 1957 in search of a better life,” he said. ”My father got a job right off the boat selling furniture. Very successful with it. In 1981, he sat me down and said he didn’t come to this country for me to work for somebody else. He wanted me to start my own business. I had no idea what he was angling at, but I listened. I went in to work the next day to give my notice.”

Vignoles said he didn’t have the entrepreneurial gene. He had a history degree from college, never took a business class and didn’t really have an interest in business. But the panel system was taking off in the 1980s, and Vignoles went with it.

”The business grew tremendously, and we essentially followed the market,” he said. ”I’m very happy that I followed my father’s advice. There have been pivotal times in my life where I wasn’t sure about something, but his certainty was enough for me. And this is one of those times.”