If woodworking companies were included in the Association of the Dead, would yours have a membership?

The Association of the Dead is group in remote northern India comprised of people falsely declared dead so that their land — and livelihoods — could be “transferred” to new ownership. The founder of the association, Lal Bihari, was himself declared “dead,” and it took almost 20 years before his “resurrection” was officially recognized in 1994.

Unfortunately, from articles on the association, the ease in which many of these lives were “stolen” was aided by the fact that they led obscure lives. Likewise, mediocrity in the workforce also can breed obscurity, especially in today’s society where competition for sales is fierce. Woodworkers who fail to invest in their companies, through capital expenditures, lean manufacturing and promotional efforts, risk losing not only profits for the company, but the livelihoods of their employees. In short, their reluctance to change the status quo puts them into the category of the “living dead” of the woodworking industry.

Thus, in order to thrive and be recognized in today’s society, companies must strive for innovation and continuous improvement.

This is not a new theme. Wood & Wood Products has covered lean manufacturing — which involves continuous incremental change and innovation — for a number of years. Management guru and W&WP columnist Tom Dossenbach notes: “The single most common cause of failure in industry is the failure to change when change is needed.”

What is your company doing to innovate — and avoid becoming another one of the “living dead”?


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