Yes, it still may be a bit for the moulding and millwork and door and window markets to pick up, but the market will slowly increase. Will you be ready? This is a question that came up a few times during the meeting last week of the Moulding and Millwork Producers Association (MMPA). Many companies probably haven’t answered that question, but it is one they need to think about.

While sitting in a PIE meeting (I’ll explain what that is later), Victor Cortes, Weinig Machinery, made a great point.

“The market has shrunk but when the market comes back people will have to respond fast. If you don’t someone else will … The companies that are still here are going to be as busy as ever.”

Cortes also pointed out that unfortunately many moulding shops today don’t know how much it costs to run certain materials.

“They know their yield, but that is it,” he said. “If you know the numbers, you can get a lot closer to meeting your profit.”

Another topic that came up a great deal at the meeting was the fact that the housing downturn over the past several years has forced companies to become more efficient.

“We’ve all had to get more efficient as our products value has been deflated,” said Allen Dyer, ECMD Inc.

Mark Young, Arauco USA, offered a similar sentiment while presenting his moulding forecast to MMPA attendees.

“We used to have 13 sawmills but now we have eight that are much more efficient,” said Young.

As you can tell the MMPA members discussed a variety of issues that engaged the industry and brought up topics that are of importance to door and window companies and suppliers as well. We all should start thinking about the ramp-up and whether or not we will be ready.

Lastly, I wanted to acknowledge MMPA for a unique idea from which its members seemed to gain a great deal. I’ve attended many, many meetings and trade shows over the last 13 years and have never encountered anything like the MMPA’s Productivity Information Exchange (PIE), which the association started last year.

Various suppliers representing the gamut of the moulding and millwork industry set up suites and MMPA members could make appointments with these suppliers. But it’s not a way for suppliers to sell their products—it’s a way for them to answer questions on anything at all.

I sat in on a few of these meetings with Weinig, 3M, Stiles and Sherwin Williams and found the exchanges extremely productive.

Questions posed to machinery suppliers included: How much can you improve your yield by going from manual to automatic machines? In a meeting with Sherwin-Williams, Louis Voorhees, Tidewater Lumber and Moulding, was able to pick the brain of industry veteran Hal Shackelford regarding what it would take to set up a finishing operation in-house. Voorhess currently farms the process out and says there are no immediate plans to change this process, but why not gain the information now when there is access to this information?

Louis Voorhees meets with Hal Shackelford of Sherwin Williams during the MMPA's PIE meetings.

Be sure to look to our May issue for more from the meeting, and, in the meantime, start asking yourself: Will you be ready?

P.S. For more photos from the MMPA meeting, view our slideshow.

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