Interested in working at a major cabinet, furniture or millwork company? I have a list – and now you do, too – of 300 compa- nies that just might be looking for good employees.
In the course of our annual research on this group of the
300 largest North American wood product manufacturers, we
came across an unusual number of notifications of positions
available, help wanted notices, and even organized job fairs.
Here are a few other observations on the FDMC 300 in 2017.
✚ You won’t go broke working for the top end of the market. One company added “Luxury solutions for super yachts”
to their product mix. An earlier conversation with another
company revealed high-end work for a “Russian billionairess.”
✚ The cabinet market was the strongest in 2017 once again,
and many architectural millwork producers also enjoyed strong
years. The office-contract sector continued strong.
✚ Several private equity firms made large-scale invest-
ments in residential furniture, such as United Furniture and
Standard Furniture and others, showing confidence in U.S.
✚ I was surprised by the
number of companies we found
that went out of business in the
past year or so. We identified five
companies that closed in roughly
the past year, compared to only
one in the year earlier.
✚ Many of the largest companies in the FDMC 300 had a good
year, but stayed even or reported
small declines in annual sales. That
doesn’t mean things are headed
down. In many cases we noticed
companies used the strong market
as a time to reorganize their business or cut back on areas that
✚ There’s been no news at your company since 2008?
Looking at some websites, there is a news section but no
updates or product information in multiple years. You don’t
need a minute-by-minute presence, but make it a goal this
year to add something to your site more current than 2015.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be on my super yacht. ✚
FDMC 300: Job postings and luxury yachts
✚ Follow Will
online at www.
Success in all sizes
While the main focus of this issue is on the
FDMC 300 list of the biggest companies in
the industry, we can’t overlook the small shops
at the other end of the business spectrum.
Small custom shops have benefitted from
improving economics, but they still often
struggle to compete. Lots of small shop own-
ers feel stretched thin. They are so busy get-
ting the work done, that they often don’t stop
and stand back to get a clear picture of the
business and where it is going or could go.
An informal new initiative by the Cabinet
Makers Association puts shop owners in other
CMA shops for a day of work and sharing.
What a great way to refresh your business
perspective! Small shop owners need to make
extra effort to move their businesses forward.
Focusing on niche markets, offering better
customer service, diversifying product lines,
adopting new technology and staying on
top of trends all help. So far, 2018 looks like
another great year for the industry, but only if
you take advantage of every opportunity. ✚
by Karl D. Forth
✚ Follow Karl
online at www.
by William Sampson