by Steve Ehle
email@example.com SMALL SHOPS
Riding the wave ofan overall strong North American economy, most wood-based product producers are cautiously bullish about the future, according to the annual FDMC/Cabinet Makers Associationsurveyof North American manufacturers. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some bumps in the road, according to the 300 woodworkers ( 92 percent who are owners or senior company officials) who took part in the online survey.
A comment from one respondent reflects this
Hiring, pricing challenges
perspective: “The last two years have been difficult
as a result of the recession. Our business’s financial
health has suffered. However the situation is improv-
ing and we are optimistic about the remainder of this
year and into next year.”
Last year’s survey had 59 percent saying they
expected a better 2016 than the previous year,
compared to significantly more ( 70 percent) this year
as they looked forward to 2018. Most respondents
reported better 2016 business than 2015.
Still, there are lingering challenges in the wood industry, chief of which is finding qualified, motivated
employees and staying competitive in an increasingly narrow-margin market. Seventy percent of
respondents said employee issues were at the top of
their problem/challenge list.
“Our business seems to be rather successful,
however we have a hard time finding qualified
employees to train who want to work and put in their
best effort,” one woodworker said. “We find a lot of
employees are looking for a paycheck and the quality
of the work in return is not of importance to them.”
Only 20 percent of those in the survey said they
use technical schools to recruit employees.
Even though finding/training new employees
ranked high, the top ( 80 percent) business headache
was competitors who “low-ball” bids.
Small- to medium-size shops
For the most part, those responding to the survey
were businesses with annual sales ranging from
$100,000-$250,000 ( 16 percent) to $250,000-$1
million ( 26 percent) and $1 million-$5 million ( 31
percent). Seventy-five percent were producers of
kitchen, bathroom and related cabinetry, followed
by closets ( 51 percent). Remaining product focuses
were interior millwork, built-ins and related products.
More than 50 percent said their companies have
been in business more than 20 years.
Nearly 60 percent of responders were in the
Shop owners hopeful for continued economic improvement as they look
Midwest, Northeast and Southeast United States.
forward to 2018.
FDMC/CMA annual benchmark
survey shows optimism
cabinets and store fixtures
Manufacture closet and
Manufacture wood components,
including doors, drawers, etc.
Installation of cabinets
Dealer of cabinets, millwork,
and/or closet/storage products
made by others
Supplier of wood, veneer, panel
products or composite materials
Supplier of functional or
Supplier of cabinet doors,
drawers, and/or related components
What does your company do? Check all that apply.