Looking back on a year of value

There’s a new feature in this issue that some might easily overlook or dismiss, but I hope you will consider it as a potentially valuable tool. It’s an index of all of the articles we published in 2011, month by month.
Every business should look back on the year past and create some kind of catalog that goes beyond a basic balance sheet to take stock of what you have actually accomplished. You might have instituted new construction methods or tried new products, hired new people or ventured into new markets. Not all of those things can be weighed completely with just the numbers. You have to think what value you have created and where you have positioned your business. This index does a bit of that for our business, but it also should help you.

What we did

Of course, we can reduce the index to numbers if we want. It shows we published some 46 major articles, including special reports on pricing (CabinetMakerFDM Pricing Survey), industry leaders (FDM 300), design trends (Kitchen Cabinet Trends Survey). We published 18 wood technology columns answering your questions about wood and providing detailed information about particular species.

On the business side, we published 38 commentaries from industry experts like Art Raymond, Jim Lewis, and Gero Sassenberg, as well as observations from Karl Forth and myself. These covered everything from industry forecasts to marketing techniques to build business. Jim Lewis’s Lean Journeys series was very well received, offering practical suggestions on adopting lean manufacturing techniques.

Many readers look to us to learn about new products and technology. Throughout the year we offered hundreds of new product releases, including special product focus sections for hardware, dust collection, tooling and components. We took you “In the Shop” 11 times for hands-on reviews of new products, complete with online videos. We devoted an entire issue, our Woodworking Product Source, to helping you find the products you need.

Retrievable value

But the real value in what we did is in providing an ongoing source of information to help improve your business. Our articles about successful woodworking businesses going into dollars-and-cents detail to help you find tips you can use in your own operation.

Still, that information is useless if you can’t easily find it. So, this article index helps you better retrieve stories you want to look at a second or third time. All of these articles are archived at www.cabinetmakerfdm.com. You can use the search function there, but having this article index will help you put in the right keywords to find exactly what you are looking for.

Just as good woodworkers make their products to last, we want our information to have a longer lifespan than a printed page that might too soon wind up in the recycle bin. We plan to make this an annual feature and might even start to work backward to index previous issues. Tell us what you think.


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

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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.