FDMC Best Pratices in Woodworking Technology and Business


After a strong IWF show and despite an uncertain political climate most industry leaders are optimistic about the outlook for woodworking companies in 2017. We talked to a number of experienced woodworking executives from several segments of the industry who are known for their thoughtful take on where business is going. Here are their responses.

Friant & Associates, an Oakland, California, office furniture manufacturer, worked with its dealers to create a design and order process to increase efficiency and customer service.

Historically the commercialization of new technology has preceded higher labor productivity across the world economy. With productivity in the U.S. growing by only 1.3 percent annually over the past decade, economists are looking to the latest deployment of high-tech gizmos to give our economy a kick in the pants.

At Connor Homes, helping clients materialize idyllic dwellings is about recreating and improving upon classic styles while delivering ease in construction. And it’s also about using the latest software and CNC manufacturing as an integrated part of the homebuilding environment.

The building in Colorado Springs is still empty, but hundreds wanted to see where the new National Woods Manufacturing Training Center would be located next year.

Product diversification, networking and acquisitions are just a few of the ways in which these WOOD 100 firms grew their profits. Offering advanced training and empowering employees in the business helps keep a stable, and happy, workforce.

Chris Harding has had challenges in his past, but he is focused on his own future and the future of his students. Harding has an important role at the Woods Manufacturing at Peyton School District, Peyton, Colorado, and will be part of the new Peyton-Widefield Vocational Education Center, home of the National Manufacturing Training Center in Colorado Springs.

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America has announced the release of the 2016 Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards, the most significant update to the industry-accepted skill standards since they debuted in 2011.

The new national manufacturing training center has a home, and a name. The new training center will be called the Peyton-Widefield Vocational Education Center, and it will be the home of the National Manufacturing Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The celebration for 2016 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 took place at IWF Atlanta with a VIP Tour of the IWF Challengers Award winners and select exhibitors on the floor. 40 Under 40 is an award program seeking the next generation of young people destined to make an impact on the wood products manufacturing industry in North America.

U.S. business productivity fell by 0.5 percent in this year’s second quarter. That performance marked the third consecutive quarter of declining productivity – the longest negative streak since 1979.

When I tell my friends about IWF and my spending a week in Atlanta every other August, they are always amazed.  They ask: How many new innovations can there be in woodworking? How many new sawblades or sandpaper types can you have?

But Grafton Furniture is also looking ahead, adding technology to improve its service to customers, and enlisting the help and advice of Marcus Lemonis, host of The Profit, the CNBC-TV program that seeks to turn around small businesses. Lemonis has worked with Steve Grafton and his sons Ryan and Steven.

The National Academy for Wood Education has a home. A location has been chosen in Colorado Springs. This was just announced at IWF.

It is often perceived that the only thing that business owners want to do is make more money. My experience indicates that perception is not reality. There are two primary focuses of every business leader that I have worked with. One is their desire to do more for their employees. The other is to do more for their customers. The concern is not for themselves, but for others. That is considered being a good steward. If you are one of those typical business owners, what do you want to do to achieve those objectives?

A majority of the woodworking industry remains intrinsically tied to the housing industry, particularly businesses involved in producing cabinetry, furniture, millwork and components. For that reason, construction market conditions and trends – both past and future projections – are critical.

WB Manufacturing makes a great case for technology investment and integration. Less than a year after a major plant expansion, the Thorp, Wisconsin-based cabinet and caseworks manufacturer already is reaping a return on its $1.6 million equipment investment while taking Industry 4.0 – networked production – to a new level.

Dynamic Wood Solutions is adjusting to the shifting construction market in West Michigan. Historically the company has produced cabinetry and custom millwork strictly for commercial projects.

What you get out of your lean transformation depends on what you put into it

Educators are now saying that for many students and their parents, high school age is too late to introduce them to technical careers, writes Nancy Fister, AWFS education director. If you want today’s kids to consider jobs in the skilled trades, they need to be exposed in middle school.

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