I  am excited to have this opportunity to let you know what the Wood Component Manufacturers Association is doing to serve our members. It has been a busy year as we continue to expand our offerings and explore new venues.

This past September we held our Fall Conference and Plant Tour in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The WCMA’s Education and Programs Committee created a tremendous schedule and all the attendees benefited from their hard work. The quality of the plants we toured, the Expo put on by our Tech Partners and the educational offerings made this one of the best events in recent years. We visited six woodworking plants and saw a wide variety of operations focusing on efficiently making mouldings, cabinets and cabinet components, chairs and flooring. The investment being made by the Canadian manufacturers in machinery and systems is eye opening. We also visited Tech Partner Doucet Machineries’ impressive manufacturing facility and had a presentation and tour at the Ecole du Meuble-Victoriaville, Canada’s National School of Furniture and Cabinet Making. Our Tech Partners put on a Wood Technology Expo both evenings, which provided a great opportunity to network and gain insight into new products and services.

Throughout the year our Executive Director, Amy Snell, has traveled to meet members and prospective members as well as attended a number of industry meetings. Amy plans to visit all of the WCMA members over the next couple of years and has already journeyed to Central Ohio, Central and Western Kentucky, Northern Indiana, sections of West Virginia and Virginia and the Toronto area. She has also attended the following meetings to promote the WCMA and further her contacts in the industry: Hardwood Federation Fly-In, Hardwood Manufacturers Assn. Annual Meeting, Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. Annual Meeting, AWFS, Stiles Executive Briefing Conference, American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting and NHLA Annual Meeting.

The highlight of the year was the Spring  European Plant Tour. Inspired by WCMA Ex-Officio Board Member Steve Waltman, the WCMA for the first time visited woodworking plants and equipment manufacturers in Germany and Italy. Tech Partners Weinig, SCM and Biesse sponsored and hosted the WCMA group, organizing tours and providing demonstrations of state-of-the-art equipment.

The visits highlighted Batch 1 technology. Multiple configurations of CNC saws, heads for boring, routing and shaping, along with complex clamping and transport systems – all tied to production and engineering software – enable continuous fast-paced manufacturing of multifaceted parts; each one different from the proceeding part. The tours stimulated wide-ranging discussions about potential uses, and overall, it was the unanimous opinion that the event significantly exceeded expectations. Building on this success, we are already planning a European event for the spring of 2018.

The WCMA also provides its members a conduit for customers to locate and contact potential suppliers of component parts rather than producing their own. We have all seen the comparisons and advantages to buying versus producing hardwood parts for years and the buying advantage continues to be the better option for most. With the advances in technology and diversification of our membership, WCMA members are able to provide customers with the products they require, to their specifications, and with much shorter lead times than other competing regions of the world. There has rarely been a time when buying component parts domestically has been, by far, the better alternative for wood parts.

If you are interested in locating a potential supplier or would like information about the WCMA, please visit www.WCMA.com or contact Amy Snell, executive director, at 651-332-6332, wcma@wcma.com.