W&WP March 2001

Slowdown, Yes; Recession, No

Top 25 Cabinetmakers Chart

KCMA Director Sees Spring Pickup

Wood & Wood Products interviewed Dick Titus, executive vice president of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Assn., for insight into the past year and the next.

Wood & Wood Products: How would you characterize the year 2000 for the cabinet industry?

 Titus: The year 2000 was a good year for cabinet manufacturers. Although market softening began to appear in the last quarter, the industry as a whole recorded 57 consecutive months of growth until December 2000.

High consumer confidence, a full-employment economy, low inflation and continued strong demand for new housing combined with record remodeling activity created a very favorable atmosphere for industry products.

W&WP: The KCMA's Trends and Business report showed a negative growth for December 2000. Is this a harbinger of things to come in 2001?

Titus: The negative growth recorded by KCMA member companies last December is part of a general economic slowdown that began to manifest itself last fall. The cabinet market is somewhat resilient in that it serves both new housing and remodeling. Historically, cabinet manufacturers lag others in the construction/housing market because of the nature of the products. Our outlook is for things to pick up in the spring provided more serious structural economic problems do not appear.

W&WP: The National Association of Manufacturers, of which the KCMA is a member, filed a court challenge to block OSHA's new ergonomic standard. What is the KCMA doing to halt OSHA's ergonomic standard? What is the status of that litigation effort?

Titus: The OSHA ergonomics regulation is a top priority for the KCMA and its members. The association supports efforts to obtain a court-ordered stay of the regulation and, ultimately, litigation if necessary. Currently, KCMA is working to obtain congressional review of the massive regulation. Because of the highly politicized nature of the process, lack of scientific basis and draconian effect on anyone employing more than 10 workers, there is a good chance that Congress will step in. KCMA has been active on this issue for the past several years and plans to remain so until a satisfactory conclusion is reached.

W&WP: If OSHA's ergonomic standard goes through as published in the January 16th Federal Register how will the KCMA be affected?

Titus: If efforts to ward off the ergonomics regulation fail, KCMA will continue to educate members regarding the responsibilities for compliance and provide whatever other assistance would benefit and assist members.

W&WP: What other issues of note is the KCMA monitoring and working on?

Titus: The KCMA continues to be involved in a wide range of issues including sustainable forests and green labeling; machine safety; helping fund the inter-industry wood dust study; responding to clean air, hazardous waste, energy, and indoor air issues; and maintaining the most credible performance testing and certification program available for cabinetry and laminate countertops.

The KCMA Internet Site - www.kcma.org - continues to grow and serve a wide range of fuctions. Future plans are to expand the site as a benefical tool for members by assisting specifiers locate the products they desire and provide B-toB opportunities.

KCMA industry surveys and educational programs continue to receive wide support and provide useful management information. Providing value to members and leadership on key industry issues remain association objectives. Concern with the availability and readiness of workers is a growing issue for KCMA members.

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