2013 Cabinets Conference Promotes ProfitabilityEDISON, NJ  - Executives of Cabinet Makers Association (CMA)-member companies will share their real-world knowledge for improving the efficiencies of their companies, from drumming up new business and cost estimating, through design and manufacturing considerations.

The Cabinets Conference, sponsored by the CMA and Custom Woodworking Business (CWB), is set for Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the Sheraton Edison Hotel Raritan Center in Edison, NJ. The conference is a key component of the 2013 Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo.

This educational session, specially created for custom cabinet manufacturing owners and managers, is one of two tracks - the other being for closet professionals - that will split off from a dynamic all-delegate opening general session. The general session features a keynote presentation by Robert Reiss, Forbes columnist and host of the CEO Show with Robert Reiss, and an exclusive presentation highlighting a brand new research study of the custom cabinet and closet markets by Laurel Didier, group publisher of Woodworking Network. (View Speaker Profiles,)

2013 Cabinets Conference Promotes ProfitabilityThe day-long Cabinets Conference also includes a Peer2Peer Luncheon and is capped off by an All-Delegate Networking Reception that features presentation of awards to the winners of the 20th Annual Design Portfolio and 7th Annual Top Shelf Design Awards.

The event switches over to the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center on Thursday, Jan. 28, for the start of the Cabinets & Closets Expo. The show will feature displays and product demonstrations by more than 75 supply and machinery exhibitors.

“The Cabinet Conference gives cabinet manufacturing professionals a great added reason to attend this event,” said Rich Christianson, conference director. “There is a close affinity between closet systems and kitchen cabinetry in terms of construction and fabrication. But there are also considerable differences in these products and how they are marketed and installed. This event will help shed light on those similarities and differences.”

2013 Cabinets Conference - Wednesday, Feb. 27,
Sheraton Edison Hotel Raritan Center

General Session

8:00 a.m. Welcome Representatives of Vance Publishing Corp., Association of Closet and Storage Professionals and Cabinet Makers Association

8:20 a.m. Keynote Presentation: The Transformative CEO … A New Category of Leadership, presented by Robert Reiss, The CEO Show with Robert Reiss

9:40 a.m. State of the Custom Cabinet & Closets Industry, presented by Laurel Didier, Group Publisher, Woodworking Network

10:10 a.m. Break NOTE: Following the morning break, conference delegates will adjourn to their registered choice of either the Cabinets or Closets Track.

The Cabinets Conference Track
Following is a preview of the Cabinets Conference. (See the complete Cabinets & Closets Conference schedule.)

10:30 a.m. Tips for Selling & Marketing Custom Cabinets & Woodwork, presented by Rick Thaler, OGB Architectural Millwork; Joe Knobbe, Exclusive Woodwork; Kevin Ward, A. Ward Design; and Dave Grulke, Cabinet Makers Association

This session promises to deliver time-tested strategies and information from four unique business owner’s perspectives. Each of the panelists will formally present his own unique sales and marketing strategies that cover the following markets.

• Large commercial projects sold through general contractors and architects;
• Ultra high end residential projects sold through architects and designers;
• Residential and small commercial projects sold through home builders, remodelers and directly to commercial building and business owners; and
• Residential projects sold directly to homeowners.

The session will also include a presentation of traditional and new media options that help deliver marketing messages to targets, as well as discussion on sales prospecting within each type of market. The session will conclude with open questions and discussions from the floor where all can share best practices they use.

Noon Peer2Peer Networking Lunch

1:15 p.m. Moving from Residential to Commercial Woodworking Projects, presented by Rick Thaler, OGB Architectural Woodwork

Thinking of expanding into commercial millwork? There is an entirely different set of rules and language you need to learn to become successful. This session will highlight many of the tricks and tips you’ll need in your arsenal and includes discussions on a variety of topics germane to the world of commercial woodworking.

• Learn how to break into the business, then how to become a preferred invited bidder;
• Discover hidden opportunities within jobs underway;
• Find out who you need to know and who needs to know you so you will be called when immediate needs become opportunities for you;
• Get forms and procedures commonly used in commercial projects; and
• Learn the ins and outs of project financing.

2:00 p.m. Automating a Custom Wood Production Shop, presented by Kevin Ward, A-Ward Design

There is a series of steps and decisions necessary when retrofitting a woodworking operation to take advantage of automation. Nearly every facet of the business is impacted once decisions are made to move to new ways of producing custom woodwork projects. This session will explore considerations and planning necessary to create a smooth transition from the perspective of a shop owner who built his business using automation from the ground up.

• How software has replaced most manual functions, and what it means to production;
• Machinery selection: What to look for to meet current and future needs;
• Work flow on the shop floor and strategies to minimize the bottlenecks inherent in automated processing;
• Infrastructure considerations in electrical and compressed air availability and capacity, material storage and handling and the like; and
• Front office and sales and employee considerations are explored as well.

2:45 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Costing & Estimating Custom Projects, presented by Sean Benetin, Rick Thaler and Kevin Ward

One of the factors in growing a woodworking business is pricing each project with the expectation of earning a profit. There are some common pitfalls that are inherent in this process, and they are explored and explained along with strategies to minimize risk of missing a part of the project or missing over head expenses that would impact earnings. Our three panelists will discuss their take on estimating and costing from their own experience within their businesses. An open discussion of best practices from all attending will be part of this session.

• Identify and quantify overhead item costs that must be met before profits can be expected;
• Develop a loaded shop rate that includes ALL your overhead expenses you can use in estimating;
• Understand component and process time and pricing appropriately;
• Don’t forget about the time eaters, no matter how small they seem; and
• Hidden factors that enhance or can eat away at your net profits.

4:30 p.m. Open Forum: What’s Your Problem?

This signature CMA event is one you don’t want to miss. The full faculty of presenters will facilitate a large- group forum, beginning with an overview of the session, and then break into small discussion groups on some topics vital to develop an ethical, sustainable and profitable woodworking enterprise.

Learn more and register at CabinetsandClosetsExpo.com

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