W&WP September 2004
The 2004 WOOD 100:
After suffering the slings and arrows of 9/11 and an economic recession, WOOD 100 companies rebounded in 2003 and far more often than not see better things to come for the rest of this year and next.
By Laurel Jorgensen & Rich Cristianson
Times are good for companies that rank among Wood & Wood Products' 15th Annual WOOD 100.
As a group, the 93 U.S. and seven Canadian companies experienced an average increase of 16.8% from 2002 to 2003. The median growth is slightly higher - 18.5% - if MasterBrand Cabinets Inc. (No. 67) is removed from the calculation. MasterBrand, parent of Aristokraft, Omega, Diamond and other popular cabinet brands, reported sales of $1.5 billion in 2003, more than the other 99 WOOD 100 companies combined. The second biggest company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. (No. 99), posted sales of $165,000 million in 2003.
Fully 85 of the WOOD 100 companies posted double-digit increases last year, including 47 that reported 2002 to 2003 sales gains of 25% or better. This year's WOOD 100 pack is led by North Forty Fine Furniture of Regina, SK. The six-year-old manufacturer of custom furniture, cabinets and other wood products saw its sales increase to $641,000 (Can.) in 2003, up 93.7% over 2002. North Forty edged out D.R. Nickelson & Co. by 0.5% to become the first Canadian company to hold the top spot in the WOOD 100.
Twenty-eight of the WOOD 100 respondents point to customer service as the major reason for their company's success. Increased productivity, 22%, and the dedication of a skilled workforce, 21%, are the second and third most cited success factors, respectively.
This year is also shaping up as a banner year for the vast majority of the WOOD 100 companies. Representatives for 92 of the WOOD 100 companies say they expect to generate more revenue in 2004 than in 2003; 68 say they expect their firms to post sales increases of greater than 10%. Lopresti Millwork (No. 29) and Drawer Box Associates (No. 4) have to be considered early favorites for next year's WOOD 100 crown, based on predictions of 2004 sales growth of 300% and 265%, respectively.
Perhaps even more encouraging is that 47% of WOOD 100 company representatives expect 2005 to be an "Excellent" year for their businesses; an additional 45% of them expect 2005 to be "Good."
That said, profit margins rank as the third top concern for WOOD 100 executives. Thirty-two of WOOD 100 representatives cite profit margins as one of the three concerns from a list of 13 topics, including 12 who say it is their top concern. Closely related, 28 of the WOOD executives say they worry about the impact of price cutting on their business. (See story)
More WOOD 100 Facts
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