Millwork distributors and manufacturers gathered last week at the Association of Millwork Distributors annual convention in San Antonio Texas. While the economy is still hurting, many distributors and manufacturers took advantage of this time to get together and discuss the opportunities ahead and new product offerings.

Many exhibitors had new products to show and some manufacturers had a very busy booth all week.

“We are taking this time to connect with our customers and see how we can serve their needs better” said Esther Young of Young Manufacturing.

Alexandria Moulding was showing off its Flip Face one-cut crown mouldings.

“The reversible crown mouldings reduce installation time and waste,” said company representative Marc Campeau.

The Polincay booth also attracted attention with its new groove wall system. According to the company, the modern system consists of slot wall constructed tongue-and-groove MDF mouldings, which creates flexibility not found with a traditional slotwall board. This maximizes the use of space with endless possibilities for design.

Another booth that was quite busy during the show hours was Generation 4 Sales, which was showing off its hinges and hardware products.

“With the economy the way it is, people are definitely out there shopping to see how they can save money and we are happy to show them our product line and see how we can work with them to help them do just that,” says the company’s Pat Fecht.

Attendees also were offered the opportunity to take advantage of education tracks, which included topics ranging from how to sell more to various code updates.
Randy Goruk, with The Randall Wade Group LLC, presented a seminar on selling more in a down market.

“You need to take a different approach to sales,” he says.
Goruk emphasized that companies that prepare themselves today will maximize their opportunities when the economy does turn around.

Arlene Stewart of AZS Consulting presented the seminar, “Making Sense of Green Building Programs.”
In one part of her presentation she looked at exterior doors specifically and challenged manufacturers to make sure their doors are NFRC-certified.

“Unlabeled doors can kill green projects,” she says.

She also encouraged companies to think before making arbitrary green claims as organizations such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are watching.

“The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading marketing claims, including environmental or green marketing claims,” says Stewart. This language comes directly from the FTC’s Guide to Green Marketing Claims.

She reminded attendees that, according to the FTC, there should be a distinction between product, package and service; claims should not overstate the attribute or benefit, expressly or by implication; and any comparative claims should be sufficiently clear to avoid consumer deception.

Most importantly, she reminded attendees to substantiate green claims.

Stewart also encouraged attendees to look at life cycle assessment of their products, which can be defined as the assessment of raw material production, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” says Stewart. “If you can’t manage it, you can’t improve it.”

She does warn, however, that it takes a great deal of time and requires gathering and management of much information.

Sharon Durand, president of the National Accreditation and Management Institute, Inc (NAMI) gave an overview on how NAMI and AMD are working together on certification programs so the AMD distributor members will now have a partner that will support them through the certification process.

The 2010 AMD Show will take place October 9-14 in Nashville, Tenn.

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