Overall, sales expectations for the architectural woodworking industry look to “mimic” 2011, with some sectors performing better than others.
“I have heard from very few companies that expect their sales to increase in 2012,” said Matt Lundahl, Meyer and Lundahl Manufacturing Co. and president of the Architectural Woodwork Institute. “Most are still cutting back to be more competitive and budgeting for similar sales figures as 2011.”
There also is concern that as TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) projects come to an end, that will put a strain on the number of jobs in the private sector, Lundahl added.
As with many wood products companies, cash flow management is putting a burden on architectural woodworkers. “Getting paid enough and timely appears to be the biggest stumbling block for our industry right now,” Lundahl said. “With the difficulties in getting banks to loan money and the reluctance to restructuring debt, architectural woodwork manufactures are mostly cash poor and need to very carefully manage their cash and cash flow.”
Along with cash flow management, the industry also will need to “get creative to find new profitable work in places and markets out of your norm. Partnering with others at what they do best to be competitive is also the new norm in this market,” he added.
Another “norm” for the market is sustainable/green certified products, “especially out here in the west and especially California,” Lundahl added. “This should be viewed as a positive and getting in on it can give firms a competitive advantage.”
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