When I travel to visit woodwork-
ing companies, I’m often asked,
“How do we compare with other
companies you’ve seen?”
That can be a difficult judg-
ment to make. Here are some of
my own observations from visiting many successful
companies. I first did this list several years ago, and
have modified and changed a few items.
; 1. Treat employees well, offering good pay and
; 2. Have a core group of key people that have been
with the company a long time.
; 3. Emphasize training, both in new technology and
; 4. Stay focused and know what they do well
; 5. Say no to some jobs if they don’t fit. Pay attention to pricing and don’t take money-losing jobs.
; 6. Are engaged with the industry, being part of associations and attending trade shows and events.
; 7. Are not afraid to get an outside opinion on a
problem, or to talk to another shop about how they
dealt with the same issue.
; 8. Recognize when new technology can pay off,
and are not afraid to make the jump to an advanced
but unfamiliar technology.
; 9. Identify a need and match software to that need
; 10. Use lean manufacturing techniques if possible.
Companies are not afraid to redo the shop layout or
manufacturing flow if efficiency can
; 11. Have some knowledge of competitors, as well as their strengths
; 12. Have paid more attention to
their finishing capability.
Any comments? What are some of
the habits of suc-
nies that you’ve
12 practices of successful companies
by Karl D. Forth
Trendsetter or follower?
When we do our annual study of
kitchen cabinet trends, it raises the
role of trends in our industry. Are
we just playing follow the leader?
And who is the leader anyway?
Take the issue of frameless
cabinetry. Ever since the 32mm system was invented after World War II, it has proved an effective way to build cabinets, maximizing utility
and space while reducing manufacturing costs
and materials. But it is a system that has been
very slow to catch on in the United States.
Smaller, more urban residences might
change that, demanding cabinetry that maximizes space efficiency. But still some resist.
Who is driving change? Is it designers? Is it
cabinetry consumers, who often don’t understand the difference between face-frame and
frameless construction? Is it mass merchandisers
like Ikea? Is it television such as HGTV?
And what role do manufacturer’s play? Are
they left to follow blindly as
what’s trendy changes de-
mand, or can they actually
step into the front seat and
start driving this bus? ;
by William Sampson
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