When I first took the reins of CabinetMaker in 1998, it was part of a significant shift in focus for the magazine. Rather than just being about cabinet manufacturing, from big factories to little shops, the magazine homed in on the smaller shops with fewer than 20 employees. Most of those shops made cabinets, but a lot of them also made custom furniture and other products. What they had in common was a need for targeted, specific business information to help them be profitable and efficient.
I'm proud of the success we've had being the "indispensable tool for the small shop," but the times and shops are changing. A decade ago, it was unusual for a shop with fewer than five employees to be seriously getting into CNC automation. Today, nearly every shop, no matter its size, has at least seriously considered CNC if it hasn't already adopted it. Ten years ago, lean manufacturing techniques and principles such as the theory of constraints were buzz words mostly in management circles of larger operations. Today, even the smallest manufacturers are learning how they can use these techniques to improve their operations. While once there was a huge gulf between the large manufacture and the small shop, that divide today is much smaller.
Crossing the divide
Next month we will merge CabinetMaker with its sister magazine FDM, which has covered the larger plants in the woodworking industry. But the merger is not intended to leave small shops behind or dumb down coverage of larger manufacturers. Instead, we see it as an expansion in coverage and a widening of horizons for both audiences.
For example, the popular annual Pricing Survey will still be a feature of the October issue, but it should benefit from exposure to larger plants and a wider audience. FDM has long had columnists and features with information that could be used by any woodworking business regardless of its size. CabinetMaker readers will now get the benefit of that advice.
When we worked hard to separate the readership of the two publications, we fielded lots of requests from people who wanted to receive both. Now that won't be a problem.
Bringing CabinetMaker and FDM together as CabinetMaker+FDM is more than just merging two magazines. We are taking a unified approach to everything connected with the publications. You'll see lots more links between the magazine and the digital world. There will be more opportunities to supplement what you see in print with links to online resources such as videos, additional related stories, and direct links to Websites. All of those links and interconnections will be especially handy for the people who sign up for our digital editions to save paper and time.
And just because we are bringing the two audiences together doesn't mean we will forget individual needs. We plan to continue the dollars and cents detail approach to providing business information you can really use. We will be adding features that make that information even easier to access and more laser-focused to meet your business needs. The plus sign in our new name is important. We are dedicated to making the new CabinetMaker+FDM greater than the sum of its parts.
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