When the World Millwork Alliance (WMA) kicked off its annual online tradeshow today—virtually—presenters wasted no time sharing how the current market conditions are making an impact. In a quick 15-minute session on the Future of Moulding Supply, Arauco’s Andres Alarcon and Bristol Feeney gave a rapid fire presentation with loads of key insights.

Alarcon started by going through some of the key trends, including tariffs, that have upended the industry. “We now live in a new world where barriers to trade are common,” he said.

Another one of those current trends is a pandemic that has created extra demand, which has allowed other products, including domestic medium density fiberboard (MDF), to compete with other moulding products, as supply becomes an issue.

“We will also see new fingerjoint come in internationally to help with the volume,” said Alarcon.

The moulding industry has also seen a lot of consolidation which creates new challenges and opportunities. “Moulding suppliers will have to reach customers in more locations with more demanding lead times, and this will require more working capital,” said Alarcon.

All of this affects capacity as well, as companies react to these spikes in demand. He said this will cause some distributors to further expand into manufacturing to create greater independence.

One change that won’t happen as quickly is a move toward online sales, but this too is only a matter of time, Alarcon said. “The question is who will be the best at figuring out how to do this effectively,” said Alarcon.

“Being able to provide a seamless online experience has become imperative,” added Feeney, saying it is one of the keys to differentiating among competitors (a topic that came up in many of the other sessions as well).

On the pro dealer side, she added that all these market conditions could also result in more simplification of SKUs, and that acquisitions will continue.

“In the past it was enough to have a good product and competitive pricing. Today we believe customer experience is a true differentiator in this mature market,” said Feeney.

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