The WCMA conducts a Fall Conference & Plant Tour Event each year.  This is an excellent opportunity for WCMA members and non-members to network and have open discussion on common concerns. Attendees also tour the production facilities of several dimension, component, cabinet, furniture, millwork and related woodworking companies. The tours provide attendees a unique opportunity to observe innovative woodworking operations and discover new manufacturing techniques, exchange ideas, and learn about alternative manufacturing methods. Everyone comes away with at least one good idea that can be implemented in their own plants.

The 2017 WCMA Fall Conference & Plant Tour Event will be held Aug. 21-23 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tours of several woodworking operations are planned, including: Klise Mfg., Davidson Plyforms, Michigan Chair, Holland Bowl, Paladin Industries and Stiles Machinery. We will also tour the Michigan Career and Technical Center in Plainwell, as well as the Founders Brewing Co.

In addition, we will have two dynamic speakers. Pennsylvania/Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Co. is sponsoring our keynote speaker, Gene “The Wood Doctor” Wengert, Monday evening, Aug. 21. Gene’s experience includes work at the US Forest Products Lab and at Virginia Tech, where he was an extension specialist, training and diagnosing problems with the furniture, cabinet, millwork and flooring industries. He also writes monthly columns for FDMC magazine on wood processing. With his 40 plus years in the industry, Gene will offer a unique view, with practical aspects, into the future of our industry.

Dr. Jaideep Motwani, will address the group on Tuesday, Aug. 22. He is the Chairperson and Professor of Management at Seidman College of Business and has co-authored 15 books and published more than 150 articles in the area of total quality management, lean manufacturing, strategic manufacturing, technology management and global competitiveness. Dr. Motwani will present on Effective Strategic Planning: Developing a Path to Success.

Wood Technology Expo

Each year at the Fall Conference there are two expos which connect leading providers of woodworking machinery, equipment, supplies, software and other business solutions – Tech Partners – with WCMA members. Tech Partners have the opportunity to display tabletop exhibits with information on their companies.

A listing of WCMA Technology Partners is on pages 12-16 of this Buyer’s Guide. These companies are a great source for all your woodworking machinery, tooling, software, and business solutions.

The WCMA Education and Programs Committee has been working hard to ensure that there is something for everyone, so make plans now to have plant managers and other key personnel in attendance. Program details and registration for the WCMA Fall Conference & Plant Tour event will be available in July. For information about this event, contact the WCMA office at wcma@wcma.com, or visit WCMA.com today.

2018 Spring European Plant Tour

The WCMA will again be hosting a European Plant Tour event in 2018. This event was first held in 2016, and was an enormous success. Stiles Machinery and Pollmeier, Inc. will be sponsoring the event, and we will be visiting plants in Amsterdam and Belgium, with several stops in northern Germany. 

In 2016, 14 individuals from 10 member companies attended the event, and all attendees had positive takeaways.

“It was a great opportunity to find out what other companies were doing to separate themselves from the competition,” said Barry Freiburger with George Guenzler & Sons. “The best part was getting product demonstrations of the latest in CNC machinery.

“I saw technology that I did not know even existed,” he added. “The robotic sanding machine really made me think about our own production process and the possibilities of improvements that could be made.”

WCMA President Sid Anderson with Anderson Wood Products, also said, “The European Plant Tour provided a unique opportunity for WCMA members to interact and learn. Five busy days observing woodworking operations and equipment manufacturers engendered thought-provoking discussion all the while allowing members to become better acquainted and build relationships. Visits to Weinig, SCM and Biesse enabled participants to closely observe the new technologies, including tailored demonstrations with product experts to answer our questions.”

If you were unable to participate in 2016, you will surely want to participate in the 2018! Plans are still being finalized, so be sure to check the website, WCMA.com for more information.