Volume 12, Issue 8 - October 2011


Going Ashore
Exploring Offshore Moulding Market Opportunities
by Kellie Schroeder

As 2011 begins to wind down, the Moulding and Millwork Producers Association (MMPA) is contemplating the past nine months. What have we learned from this year and its market? What should be on the manufacturer’s radar for 2012?

There still is a moulding and millwork market in the United States, it is just not as robust as we would like and we expect more of the same next year. What opportunities may we create for ourselves in light of the current economical climate? One option is to explore offshore markets in depth.

Investigating the Opportunities
There are pockets of growth bringing to life vibrant communities elsewhere in the world. We hear snippets of news regarding fiber and other raw materials consumption. Whispers of stable economies are in the news—infrequently, but the reports are there. Houses are still being built, lumber is being sold and do-it-yourself stores are expanding on foreign shores. One of MMPA’s goals for 2012 is to find those markets through exploration of trade shows and meetings with offshore buyers.

The subsidiary goal of the foreign trade exploration is to assist our moulding manufacturers not currently exporting their product to do so. This coming March, the MMPA will hold its Winter Business Meeting at Loews Coronado Bay Resort near San Diego. This meeting will feature a workshop on the steps a manufacturer must take to become a successful exporter. Additionally, manufacturers requiring further one-on-one export assistance may sign up for an expert session during the MMPA’s Productivity Information Exchange (PIE) event the day after the export how-to session. The PIE event is headed up by key top suppliers to moulding manufacturers who offer sales-free education on personalized topics.

"Houses are still being built, lumber is being sold and do-it-yourself stores are expanding on foreign shores."

Attend a Trade Show—Abroad
The MMPA’s foreign and domestic committee continually identifies various foreign trade shows for potential sales leads. Members of the MMPA travel overseas to explore emerging or stable markets, then report back to the membership their findings during the association’s business meetings. There are export sales success stories resulting from these offshore efforts, which the association hopes to spread among all of its members by getting them on planes to interact with foreign buyers.

The offshore focus will not supplant the manufacturers’ domestic customers, but will round out the order file, which has been slim in 2011. Logistics for overseas travel is handled through the association’s foreign and domestic program; member manufacturers only need to sign up to commit to working a trade show, and the rest of the itinerary is handled by the association. There are travel dollars available to those members working the foreign trade shows to promote mouldings and millwork, which help offset the cost of going overseas. Members find they can travel with the MMPA to various countries or, at a discounted rate, compared to going on their own.

If you are a manufacturer of moulding (wood, MDF or poly blend), and have an interest in learning how to export with the goal of expanding your sales reach to offshore markets by traveling with the MMPA, contact the association office. We expect the PIE appointments (there are only eight available) will go quickly on a first-come basis with paid registration to the winter business meeting.

The MMPA staff is exhibiting at the AMD trade show in October. If you have questions regarding the association or its programs, please stop by booth 118. We would be happy to speak to you regarding our PIE business and educational meetings, price index reporting and foreign market exploration. Additionally, if you are a poly blend moulding manufacturer, ask us about our energetic Poly Blends Group chaired by Bob Simon of Gossen Corp. with vice chair Tina Mealer of Fypon. If you manufacture mouldings, we want to talk to you.

Kellie Schroeder, CMP, CAE, is executive vice president of the Moulding and Millwork Producers Association.



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