Below are additional comments from Harold Zassenhaus and Jim Beach, executive directors of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America (WMMA), in response to questions posed on the state of the woodworking machinery industry.

Wood & Wood Products:
Overall, how do WMMA members’ sales of machinery and related supplies from the last 12 months compare to the previous 12 months? What are WMMA members forecasting for the next 12 months?

Zassenhaus & Beach: Annedotally, inquiries are up, sales are up but sporadic. Members are a bit more optimistic for 2011/12 with housing the big question mark.

W&WP: What are the biggest challenges to your members in 2011? What are the biggest opportunities for your members in 2011?

Zassenhaus & Beach:
1. orders; 2. finding new customers inside and outside their traditional markets; 3. labor shortages when orders begin to rise steadily. Increasing speed of product delivery. Opportunities arise from the hopefully rising economy in 2011 and 2012. Where there is change there is opportunity. Working closely with their customers to understand and satisfy the end users needs will provide the greatest opportunity.

What regulations do you see on the horizon that could impact sales of machinery in the United States, and around the world?

Zassenhaus & Beach: In the US, OSHA and wood dust. Outside the US is the CE and the constantly changing safety and environmental regulations to which US suppliers must adapt their products. On a positive note many overseas ecnomies are emerging quite well and there are numerous opportunities to crack into new markets.

W&WP: What do you think it will take for your members’ companies to have success in 2011?

Zassenhaus & Beach: Working even more closely with their customers to solve end user needs and satisfy wants.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.