WOOD 100 Strategies for Success 2013: Business Strategies

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 09/08/2013 8:49PM

 

Mill-Rite, 2013 WOOD 100  

Mill-Rite Woodworking Co. Inc., Pinellas Park, FL — The architectural millwork firm has developed a winning strategy for maximizing the productivity and profitability in the manufacture of its casework, wall panels, countertops, door and window frames and standing and running trim. Read more about Mill-Rite's business strategy.

Southern Minnesota Woodcraft Inc., Fairbault, MN — An increased sales force, good employees and a high level of customer service have helped the full service architectural millwork company grow 46.9% in 2012. Read more about Southern Minnesota Woodcraft's successful strategy.

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FA Woodworking, Toronto, ON
President Howard Rosenberg says employee referrals and a bonus system helped the children’s furniture manufacturer obtain and retain good employees, one of the factors of its success. Also helping the 10.5% growth was the addition of a pin router.

Foggy Bottom Woodworks LLC, Muscoda, WI
The cabinet and millworks maker’s investment in technology, including a dovetailer, clamp carrier and sawmill equipment helped to improve its productivity and grow sales 17.4%. Good employees are also integral, says Rick Tisdale,managing member, and adds that the company also works with local tech schools.

JSO Wood Products, Louisville, KY
The veneer products maker “cut overall costs by two-thirds during the recession,” and also managed inventory more efficiently while growing sales 59.5% in 2012, says President Steve Kitts. Along with sales to the aircraft industry and fabricators, Kitts says the firm is “Continuing to aggressively pursue new markets like eBay and international sales.“ He adds, “We have looked deeper into our inventory to find things that can be sold [on eBay] that we thought had limited value.”

Conestoga Wood Specialties, East Earl, PA
Good employees, reduced delivery times and a “strengthening of customer relationships” are all helping the cabinet components firm stay in the forefront of the marketplace, says Jeff Eichenseer, director of marketing and product development.

Lagomorph Design, Chicago, IL
Lagomorph Design’s 22.5% growth can be attributed to quality craftsmanship. Says Owner Seth Deysach, “In this niche market we only hire the most highly skilled craftsmen possible.” The success encompasses sister firm MDRN Furniture, which was “created to produce some of Lagomorph Design’s most successful one-of-a-kind, custom designs at a more affordable price point. This was achieved by standardizing various design elements and construction techniques and streamlining the material, fabric and color choices.”

Key Millwork & Supply, Monroe, LA
“We have increased our plywood and hardware inventory to help in holding prices longer,” says Owner Vincent Casamento. The strategy has paid off and the custom cabinet and millwork firm’s sales rose 33.7% in 2012. However, he adds, “In the summer of 2014 we will have to begin raising our prices as we replace the inventory, if the prices have not begun falling.”

DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, Graniteville, SC
The cabinet and closet maker attributes its success to good customer service, employee skills, marketing and quality control, says J.D. Norris, president.

Old World Millworks, Elgin, IL
Owner Robert Larson says the millwork firm works closely with suppliers to control costs. He adds, “By combining premium exterior materials with serious craftsmanship, we design and build our Signature Doors to make a first impression that truly lasts.” Historic replications are also a specialty. “With our CNC equipment and handcrafting capabilities, we can produce replacement pieces that are true to style and code compliant.”

MTC, Kula, HI
Sales grew 3.1% for MTC, which creates cabinetry, built-ins, stairs, doors and furniture from Hawaiian hardwoods. Because it is often difficult to find skill entry-level workers, says Owner Greg Davidge, “We do a lot of intensive in-house training and really have them shadow our process from start to finish on a project.”

Taghkanic Woodworking, Pawling, NY
“I plan on increasing profit margins through material cost cutting by buying for several jobs at a time,” says Leland Thomasset, president of the custom cabinet and millwork firm. Plans also call to increase productivity by standardizing machining and assembly practices for both face frame and frameless construction and by outsourcing of installations, he adds. Sales grew 35.8%.

Pierce & Pierce Millwork and Moulding, Norcross, GA
Sales grew 18.9% for the custom millwork and moulding maker. “We have to be able to adjust our company with the new obstacles that the economy has put in front of us,” says Scott Parr, vice president. “It’s a new industry and a new world. You can’t continue to run the company the same way we did five years ago.”

Somerset Wood Products, Raritan, NJ
President Lester Bloch attributes the architectural firm’s 87.5% sales growth to its enhanced capabilities and ability to respond to architects’ and customer needs.

Kitchen Kompact, Jeffersonville, IN
A pure cabinet assembler, “We buy to inventory, work-in-process to inventory and produce finished goods for inventory,” says John Gahm, vice president of manufacturing. It assembles 4,000 cabinets a day.

National Office Furniture, Jasper, IN
Sustainability is a culture at National Office, whose Santa Claus, IN, table and casegoods facility was named Indiana’s first LEED-certified office furniture plant.

Creative Laminates, LaCrosse, WI
Recognized for its safety record, the casework firm continually strives to improve the workplace for the betterment of its employees. “We place a high value on safe attitudes and behavior,” says Jody Lyon, vice president.

Read more 2013 WOOD 100 Strategies for Success

click image to zoomWOOD 100: Fast-Growing Wood Industry FirmsSee the list of fast-growing woodworking firms.


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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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