Woodworking's Best Practices Highlighted at Wood Tech Summit

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 10/23/2013 2:00PM


Wood Tech Summit speaker Denis Staples details the rebuilding of Deslaurier Cabinets after a devastating fire. Wood Tech Summit was held Oct. 23 in Toronto. MISSISSAUGA (TORONTO) - A diverse range of wood industry representatives were in attendance at the Wood Tech Summit Leadership Conference to listen and learn best practices for woodworking from seven innovative wood products firms in Canada.

The full-day program, held the day prior to the 2013 Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo (WMS 2013) in Toronto, kicked off with a presentation on Achieving Operational Excellence by Sepp Gmeiner, partner of Lignum Consulting. In addition to advice on how companies can distinguish themselves from competitors, Gmeiner also discussed methods and tools for improving business operations.

Next, Adam Hofmann, president of Bogdon and Gross Furniture discussed how to increase competitiveness and stimulate business. In Reaping the Benefits of Participating in a Wood Manufacturing Cluster, Hofmann shared how BG's involvement with the Bluewater Wood Alliance Inc., a cluster of wood products manufacturing companies, has benefitted not only the residential furniture company, but the cluster's 52 wood products industry members.

Investing in technology, and the benefits companies can gain in quality and production, were shared by Muskoka Cabinet Co.  and Ro-Bois-Tic. Muskoka President Luke Elias shared with the audience how the mid-size cabinet firm's recent investments in finishing, ERP and RFID technology helped the wood products manufacturer manage quality and costs.

Likewise, Bastien Larouche, owner of Ro-Bois-Tic detailed the evolution of his light's-out robotic furniture and cabinet factory, with capabilities including CNC routing, edgebanding, drilling and dowel insertion. Larouche says the 24/7 line can produce more than 1,000 ready-to-assemble cabinets per week.

A look at on-shore and off-shore manufacturing was presented by Pierre Fournier of Triangle Kitchens. The kitchen cabinet manufacturer operates plants in Dieppe, NB, and in China. In addition, Triangle exports its products to international markets, including the Northeast U.S. and France. The importance of a flexible workforce, particularly in domestic plants, was also highlighted by Fournier.

Attendees also heard from Denis Staples, president of Deslaurier Cabinets, on how he and his partner Jim Deslaurier not only rebuilt their cabinet shop after a devestating fire, but made it leaner and greener. The company's rebirth is chronicled in the best-selling book: That'll Never Work: Business Lessons from Successful Canadian Entrepreneurs.

Closing the program, Ann Marie Snook, vice president of operations for Nienkämper, shared how the contract furniture company develops its award-winning designs and best practices for business. Nienkämper's 120,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art plant has been named one of Canada's 50 Best Managed firms for four years running.

Wood Tech Summit took place Oct. 23, the day before the 2013 Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo, Canada's national woodworking show. The program is organized by Woodworking Network and the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing at the University of British Columbia.

Northern Apex Logo Northern Apex, a provider of radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions for the wood products and other industries was a sponsor of the event.

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About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory (RedBookOnline.com). She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at kkoenig@woodworkingnetwork.com or Google+.

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