The moulding and millwork market is not immune to the same challenges that have been facing door and window companies for the past several years. They have faced them as well due to the housing crisis and many companies have been forced to close their doors. So what are these organizations projecting for 2012?

Tom Williams, president, Yuba River Moulding and Millwork, based in Yuba City, Calif., says the market always faces up and down cycles, but this downturn, which has lasted since 2007, is different.

“It doesn’t look to get better soon,” says Williams.

Gone are the days of semi-yearly or yearly forecasts—companies are forced to constantly review sales figures on a more regular basis.

“We are constantly monitoring each day and at the end of each month–constantly reviewing and re-aligning our game plan,” he says.

Williams adds that the company “plans on being a player for a long time.” To that end, the company finished a million-dollar expansion in which it added another moulder and two more prime lines.

“It has helped us in some ways and hurt us in others,” says Williams. He explains that the MDF portion of the business is busier than other segments and that’s where the company expanded.

“At the same time it has taken a lot of cash so we have to watch our cash flow,” he says. “But we knew that to remain in business we needed to expand. We have gained market share in our MDF business so that has been a good thing.”

Kellie Schroeder, executive director of the Moulding and Millwork Producers Association, affirms that moulding and millwork companies are still struggling.

“2011 was not the year we had hoped it would be,” she says. “In 2012 if we don’t see more housing starts you will see more manufacturers slip under. We’re down to the old school, family-run businesses.”

Williams agrees saying the industry may still see some companies shut down.

“Business is extremely tough and it is going to take a few years, to get better. We will probably see more companies go out of business,” he says. “The ones that are left are the strong ones. But now even the strong ones are hurting. We aren’t operating our plants at top capacity and distributors are the same way.”

Schroder adds that some companies have been floating on reserves.

“2012 will be the year people decide if they have to dip into these reserves even more to get them through,” she says.

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