Turning Cabinetmaking Challenges into Opportunities
Phil Harron of Kitchen Creations sends his designed KCD job to the router using Commander with One Button Machining.
This is the first installment in a series investigating the state of the small-to-mid-sized cabinetmaking industry in North America- what is influencing the market, why these factors matter, and how to leverage technology to not only survive-but thrive in the future.
According to the Cabinet Makers Association Industry Benchmark Survey the biggest challenges facing cabinetmakers today are:
Finding, training and retaining qualified, motivated employees
Competitors who “low ball” their bids and pricing strategies
Marketing and lead generation
Product Development and Design
Overhead and material costs
Product cost estimating and getting paid
Or as one respondent summed up the state of the industry,
“Woodworking will always be there, but technology is changing the way it is produced. If we don’t embrace it here in America, our overseas suppliers will find ways to make it work better and faster for them and literally put our “custom” makers out of business. The import kitchen cabinet business has already seen increased quality in what they are shipping today vs. just five years ago. We better learn how to be competitive.”
Each of the above challenges has a technology solution
Every installment of the Technology Trends series will address concepts and technologies today’s cabinetmakers need to keep in mind when answering the BIG THREE questions (what do I make? Who do I sell it to? How do I bring it to market?) Topics include:
The changing shape of custom cabinetmaking in the future, and how you can prepare your business today.
Using technology for sustainable growth: unlock new market segments while stabilizing labor and production.
The tablet as a tool for improving the customer design experience, cost-figuring accuracy and monitoring production in real time.
Putting CNC technology to work for you (even if you don’t own a machine)
Outsourcing in support of re-shoring, how strategic use of OEMs can fortify the small-to-mid-sized cabinetmaker’s position against imports.
True custom cabinets, semi-custom and stock – how to differentiate for effective marketing, and utilize technology for efficient production.
Operational software: how much time do you have to invest to see real savings in product estimating, material costs and accounting? (If you know your building process, it’s less than you think).
Opportunities for untapped advantages according to market data.
Next generation of woodworkers: How to attract them, train them and learn from them.
Millennials- they buy from you and work for you. Understanding this demographic can bolster your customer base and labor force.
To quote another respondent from the CMA Survey, “Business has been volatile but good. The future-changes in technology- are coming faster and faster. Those who adapt will thrive. Others will struggle.”
Adapting new technologies into custom cabinetmaking is not all or nothing- but in this competitive market, innovating by looking backwards is planning to be obsolete. Knowing what advances are driving future success is an advantage for any cabinetmaker.