With economic woes prevalent, this year’s WOOD 100 companies still manage to plow forward and look ahead to a more accommodating business environment in 2009. See the full list of companies that made the grade.

The 2008 WOOD 100 Optimists’ Club

Economic woes plagued the wood products industry in 2007, forcing companies to make changes to the way they do business, and even closing the doors of some. Yet, despite the financial problems that affected much of the United States, the WOOD 100 marched on with secondary wood products manufacturers reporting a growth in sales from 2006 to 2007.

Due to some companies with exceptionally high growth rates, the mean growth for this year’s report is 36.6%, which is 2.6% higher than last year. Fifty-seven companies reported growth of more than 20% and five companies achieved growth of more than 100%.

Profit margins also were on the rise, as 39% of the companies listed said their profit margins were higher than three years ago and 19% said their profit margins were significantly higher than three years ago.

However, the optimism evident in 2007’s WOOD 100 report is lacking for this year as nearly 25% of the WOOD 100 companies are predicting no sales growth in 2008, compared to 2% last year. A total of 71 companies are predicting less than 20% growth in 2008.

It appears that 2009 should be a stronger year as 48% of the 2008 WOOD 100 companies are expecting sales to be “good” and 38% of the companies predict “excellent” sales.

The economy was the top concern among the WOOD 100 again this year. However, 62 companies said it was their first concern this year compared to 44 last year. To combat the current conditions, the 2008 WOOD 100 companies are utilizing improved technology, implementing new manufacturing methods to increase efficiencies, offering a diversified product portfolio and increasing their marketing efforts.

An acquisition played a major role in the growth of one company on the list. This year’s top company, Newcomerstown, OH-based Creative Custom Components LLC, achieved an astounding 283% growth due to the purchase of another company and its increased revenue stream thereafter.

In addition to the company’s acquisition, Creative Custom Components’ President David Weissman credits his dedicated and skilled workforce, new equipment purchases and product development. (See story here.)

Overall, customer service ranked as the number one reason for higher sales figures for WOOD 100 companies, followed closely by increased productivity and employee skills/dedication. (For a complete breakdown, see the chart here.)

 More WOOD 100 Facts

• Exactly half of the WOOD 100 companies are making their first appearance on the list this year, which is nine more than last year. Conversely, Ovation Cabinetry (80) is making its eighth appearance on the list, while Giffin Interior and Fixture Inc. (29) and Wellborn Forest Products Inc. (97) are making their seventh appearance on the list.

• There are 32 states represented in the 2007 WOOD 100; California leads the list with eight companies, followed by Florida and Texas with seven, Missouri, Ohio and North Carolina with six and New York with five. There are three Canadian companies on the list, and one from Mexico.

• As in 2007 and 2006, architectural millwork and cabinets continue to be the top markets for the WOOD 100 companies, although this year they reversed position from last year, followed by casegoods and components.

• Forty-four of the WOOD 100 have plants under 20 employees. Of those, 23 of them recorded sales in 2007 of more than $1 million.

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