Overall, sales expectations call for the architectural woodworking industry to “mimic” those of 2012, “with a bit of optimism that prices will go up a bit,” said Matt Lundahl, COO of Meyer and Lundahl Manufacturing Co. and immediate past president of the Architectural Woodwork Institute.
Sales and market growth opportunities will be found through product diversification, particularly in the use of materials. Said Lundahl, “The industry trend of GC’s adding to our scope (stone, glass, specialty metals) continues to grow in the architectural millwork arena. This certainly creates opportunities, but it comes with a price, both in money and risk, as all of these scope categories require up-front monies that the typical contract does not provide for.”
That cost, he added, can be prohibitive for many smaller firms, “not to mention the risk of doing work that many woodworkers are not intimately familiar with.”
Cash flow management continues to an ongoing problem, not only for architectural woodworkers, but the wood products industry as a whole. That is why the Prompt Payment Act, which ensures speedy and prompt payment to small businesses and subcontractors, is of high importance.
“The Prompt Pay Act that many of the states have implemented, and others are looking at, is critical to our industry due to the high capital and up-front costs associated with our portion of the construction contract,” he added.
Additional costs also can come into play when the use of sustainable or “green” products are specified for a project. “Green is here to stay,” Lundahl said. “It is stronger on the coasts, but is gaining ground in the middle of the country too. The challenge is that it continues to be a moving target of who and how it will be managed and controlled.
“AWI is following it closely and working to stay on top of the changes to assist our members and the industry in meeting the requirements,” he added.
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