Below are additional comments from David Rothwell, president of the Woodworking Machinery Industry Assn., in response to questions posed about the state of the woodworking machinery industry.

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

Rothwell: 2010 sales were flat compared to 2009 sales. The economic environment is much more promising for 2011. Members are projecting an increase of 8%-10% in the woodworking industries and a slightly higher increase in non-woodworking industries.

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

Rothwell: The mentality in America is to get a payback period of twelve months or less in some instances. In Europe and other emerging markets (“BRIC” countries) the payback period in order to justify a capital purchase is based on a more complex model and much longer time frame. This causes a continuous decline in relative manufacturing strength in the U.S. and discourages investment in state-of-the-art capital goods. This void will be filled in the future. Other industries such as the automobile industry foreign owned companies are adding manufacturing capacity in the U.S. in order to get closer to the number one consumer market in the world—the United States. This trend most likely will also become more prevalent in the woodworking industries as well.

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

Rothwell: The new recently passed tax regulation (HR-4853) the Unemployment Insurance Re-authorization and Job Creations Act of 2010 is a tremendous opportunity for manufacturers to purchase capital equipment and write off the entire amount in 2011.

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

Rothwell: Faith in the American consumer and sustained growth in the new housing and remodeling market.

W&WP: Any other comments or important information you would like to share in regards to the state of the North American woodworking industry?

Rothwell: America is a wonderful place to manufacture and certain woodworking manufacturers are eliminating their import lines and bringing the manufacturing back to America due to the increases in manufacturing costs abroad as well as logistics costs, obsolescence, inventory carrying costs, etc. In other words, examining these costs in a holistic view. Relatively speaking, land in America is inexpensive, the population is growing, raw materials are abundant, a good labor force exists, and first and foremost, America is the number one consumer market in the world.

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