European Journey Offers Learning Opportunities for MMPA MembersAugust 23rd, 2012 by DWM Magazine
Earlier this year some members of the Moulding & Millwork Producers Association (MMPA) set out on an international journey, traveling to France to learn about the millwork market there and also to attend the Carrefour DuBois trade show in Nantes. The group began in Paris for a day of sightseeing, and then traveled to the Picardie region to the small town of Brie, where they toured Bois Durable de Picardie, a moulding and millwork facility specializing in Hydro-Thermo modification. The tour was organized by Claus Staalner of C.S. Industries.
According to Kellie Schroeder, CEO and executive vice president of the MMPA, Bois Durable de Picardie had recently installed a new installation for hydro-thermo modification.
“This company makes mouldings—poplar siding—for, among others, the British market,” says Schroeder. She explained that the process is environmentally friendly and uses no chemicals. She says it utilizes domestic, lower-valued species of both hard and softwoods as well as low-value species versus exotic hardwoods used today, which they can make look like teak, cherry, etc.
“Although this plant is processing poplar, it goes without saying that this process works well for softwood species equally,” she says.
Craig Young with TLC Mouldings in Willacoochee, Ga., also was on the trip and says it was a good experience to see what the company they toured is offering the European market.
“The thermal modification plant tour was interesting. I had never seen anything like that before,” he says. “It was interesting to see the processes and what they can do with lower quality woods to make them workable.”
Some of those who went on the trip say it provided valuable learning experiences. Schroeder, for instance, says it provided them with an opportunity to “expand [their] European millwork market knowledge on products manufactured and consumed.”
She adds, “The millwork market does not end at the U.S. border. There are numerous opportunities in Europe, Asia, etc., for millwork products.”
In addition to the tour, the group also attended the Carrefour DuBois trade show. Young says there was a vast area of countries represented at the show and a lot of sawmilling companies exhibiting.
“It was very heavily oriented to lumber and timber industries,” he says, noting that the show was “very industry-specific.”
Young adds that attending the show provided a lot opportunistic leads geared toward sawmilling and lumber opportunities, as well as “exhibiting ideas to take a look at and market opportunities for the future.”
Overall, Young says one thing he has taken away from this experience is learning how important relationship building is when working within the European market.
“You’ve got to develop relationships. [In Europe] it’s a long-term investment. You have to sell yourself and develop relationships.”