Volume 45, Issue 8 - October  2006

Moulding the Future

True Lies
Embracing Change is Imperative for Success
by Kellie A. Schroeder

Change is an ongoing factor within our industry. In fact, I think there is a rule chiseled on a stone tablet somewhere in the birth country of architecture that the millwork market shall give no peace to any secondary manufacturer—ever! No? Don’t believe that one? Okay, try this! There is an old prophecy that states for every good year a secondary manufacturer experiences, it shall be immediately followed with five years of drought and famine coupled with fire and brimstone. Haven’t heard that one either? Okay, I admit both are lies and fabrications on my part just to put a smile on your face.

Here is a truth that you’ve surely heard me say over the years, “You must embrace change; welcome it into your operations. As you adapt, your chances of surviving as a successful business will increase exponentially.” This truth not only rings true for manufacturers, but associations as well.

Steps to Follow
Recognizing change or trends is the first step to surviving in the millwork business. The steps that need to follow recognition are strategy, plan outline, incorporation, retooling and follow through. The step you take immediately after implementation of this process is analysis. Which part of your plan worked or not? Why or why not? How do you fix those steps to ensure effective change will be met to succeed?

Within the last decade, the Wood Moulding & Millwork Producers Association (WMMPA) has met with change on several occasions, such as opening the membership to international manufacturers and embracing medium-density fiberboard (MDF) mouldings and millwork. Earlier this year, the WMMPA membership once again welcomed change. To capitalize on the emergence and popularity of alternative materials used to manufacture moulding and millwork, the WMMPA voted to invite non-wood manufacturers to join the trade organization.

By opening up the association to producers of PVC, poly and composite moulding and millwork, WMMPA hopes to have a broader-based representation of manufacturers within its group and attending our business meetings. This new cross-section of non-wood manufacturers is expected to give WMMPA a new resource of expertise to draw from as it continues to monitor the future of the moulding and millwork market.

Welcome to the Club
The WMMPA has dubbed the newly invited PVC, poly and composite producers as the Poly Blends Group. The association will provide a necessary networking platform for this diverse group during regularly scheduled business meetings. Just as the solid, fingerjoint and MDF manufacturers have achieved open communication though the WMMPA, so too, will the Poly Blends Group.

The first Poly Blends Group meeting was held at a recent WMMPA business meeting. Discussions about the various differences, and similarities, in the manufacture of PVC, poly and composite mouldings and millwork were outlined. A discussion of market share rounded out the meeting.

The initial Poly Blends Group meeting was attended by several well-known companies, and the WMMPA is indebted to Bob Simon, executive vice president of Gossen Corp. of Milwaukee. Gossen manufactures Gossen Mouldings, No Draft, Jambseal™ and TrimGuard™, and is well-established in the millwork industry. Although it was Simon’s first WMMPA interaction, he basically directed the Poly Blends Group meeting as he expressed his desire to meet with his competitors face-to-face and explained why there was a need to do so in a relaxed setting.

If every PVC, poly and composite manufacturer attended the next Poly Blends Group meeting with the same exuberance, the time and dollar amount invested to participate in the meeting would be recouped tenfold. Bob Simon gets it, and the WMMPA hopes that other non-wood manufacturers get it, too.

If you are a manufacturer of moulding and millwork, whether wood or non-wood, the WMMPA would like to invite you to attend our Winter Business Meeting being held at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, Florida from March 13-17, 2007. Contact the WMMPA office to receive a meeting registration packet at 530/661-9591 or e-mail your request to info@wmmpa.com. Registration information will be mailed in December to all who inquire.

Kellie Schroeder is the executive vice president of the WMMPA.

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