October 1-3, 2018
WMMA Regional Networking Meeting
Loews Minneapolis Hotel
Minneapolis, MN

November 13, 2018
WMMA/ITR Webinar - Navigating the Crest: Forecasting for 2019

April 2-5, 2019
Woodworking Industry Conference (WIC19)
Omni Amelia Island Plantation
Amelia Island, FL

May 27-31, 2019
LIGNA 2019
Hannover Exhibition Grounds
Hannover, Germany
Click here for information on having your company participate in the WMMA pavilion


NAM Monday Economic Report — September 10, 2018
The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index jumped from 58.1 in July to 61.3 in August, the best rate since May 2004, with solid growth in demand, output and hiring. Index readings greater than 50 indicate positive expansions in activity for the month on net, with data points greater than 60 consistent with very healthy gains. Read more ...


Woodworking Network
CKCA members tour industry leaders in Sherbrooke area

SHERBROOKE, QC -- Approximately 100 members of the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association (CKCA) convened in Sherbrooke September 24-25 to tour industry leaders Fabritec, Groupe Lacasse, Champeau, Interfonction, and Waterville Woodcraft.  Also on the agenda was a presentation by Marc Choquette, vice president of Dunin Technologie, on Artificial Intelligence and Eric Pothier, director of business development for Richelieu, who discussed smart living and multi-functional space.

Armoires Fabritec in Bromont is Canada's largest kitchen cabinet manufacturer.  With one million sq. ft. of production space the company produces 268 kitchens per day with 703 employees.  Its major customers include IKEA, Home Depot Canada and Home Depot U.S., according to Sylvain Johnson, plant manager.  It has a total of six production lines for cabinets with two of the lines being frameless and four frameless.

Founded in 1956, Group Lacasse in Saint Pie is a North American leader in the design, manufacture and service of high quality furniture serving commercial, educational and healthcare markets.  The company employs more than 525 and produces an average of 3,900 units (assembled and knock-down) on two shifts. 

Interfonction, based in Sherbrooke, is a manufacturer of qluminum framed cabinetry doors; regular, laminated, and tempered glass; aluminum tambour doors; fixed aluminum and glass partitions and other extruded aluminum structures.

Established in the early 1900s in Saint-Malo, Champeau's 200,000 sq. ft. facility produces a wide range of hardwoods and dmension  lumber.  The company's 120 employees produces more than 12 million board feet of lumber annually. Highlights of the tour included a look at the company's vacuum kiln drying, geometric and vision-scanning technology, and fully-integrated ripping, trimming, moulding, doweling, sanding and laminating operations.

Waterville Woodcraft in Waterville has been serving the industry since 1969.  It specializes in dovetail drawers, dowel drawers, inserts, table slides, drawer guides and specialty drawers.  It has a kiln capacity of seven million board feet per year and uses modern rough mill and scanning technology.

The next CKCA meeting will be held January 28-29, 2019 in Barrie, ON and April 25-27 in Calgary.



Posted: 09/25/2018

Companies need to look to the MiLL

Over the next decade it is expected that 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will have to be filled. The news of more job availability indicates the growth of manufacturing, but companies face a major problem. Despite the large projection in the number of jobs, 2 million are expected to remain empty due to the large skills gap. There will be 2.7 million baby boomers in manufacturing that will retire, but only 1.4 million jobs will then be filled.

The issue in the shortage of skilled workers has not gone unnoticed by manufacturing executives, in fact, 84 percent of executives agree there is a shortage of skilled employees in the manufacturing field.

Les Smith, Market Development Manager at Sherwin Williams Performance Coatings, agrees that the field is in need of trained employees. However, hiring new employees is no easy process. It could take up to 90 days to recruit a highly skilled worker. Once hired, an employee would have to go through training and development.

“One of the biggest struggles for companies is retaining and holding onto employees,” said Smith.

There are many ways to hold onto employees, mainly through development strategies. Three of the best strategies manufacturing executives agree on are through on-the-job training, local schools, or through certification programs. The Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL) encompasses these three strategies, allowing companies to tap into a pool of skilled individuals who already show a strong interest in manufacturing and construction.

The MiLL gives young students an early start in developing their manufacturing, construction, and cabinet making skills. With the help of partnerships with outside companies and organization, like Sherwin Williams, the MiLL is able to equip students with needed technical skills that employers are looking for, but also gives real world advice in how to navigate the workplace.

“Technical skills are always a plus. Though, the MiLL is setting up their students with both soft and technical skills. They teach students what to do in an interview and how to handle problems with other employees and internal issues. In the industry, there are standards and expectations and the MiLL teaches all this to their students,” said Smith.

The manufacturing industry should be paying close attention to the MiLL and the students who enroll there. The MiLL sets up students to learn, even past graduation, and brings motivation to the industry. Companies have already seen this immense potential in the MiLL’s students. Another company that has made a strong effort to connect to the MiLL and its students is Concepts In Millwork, Inc. (CIMI). 

Rhynel Evans, Human Resources Manager at Concepts In Millwork, Inc., heads the internship program for the MiLL and CIMI. Evans describes the importance of an internship for the wood manufacturing and construction field as it “provides opportunity for the intern to get a really good grasp of the expectations and overall, what the job entails. It also gives us a larger recruiting pool for future employment opportunities.” Other companies should reach out to the MiLL and see the potential in the students in filling future jobs.

CIMI’s interest in partnering with the MiLL, as Evans states, is “the thought of exposing young adults to Concepts In Millwork, Inc.'s daily operations was very exciting to us. Keep in mind, our ultimate goal is keeping their passion in the woodworking industry ignited and eventually hiring them into our workforce.”

Students at the MiLL understand that the woodworking industry is constantly changing and they have to keep up to perform the best at their jobs. Companies that encourage students to continue learning will forge long-lasting skilled employees. The performance of the MiLL interns at CIMI has been successful as they currently have three full-time employees from the internship program.

The success of the MiLL students is due to the program that Dean Mattson has created and the staff that believes in the curriculum. Evans believes the success of the MiLL is because of Mattson’s vision and passion for the program.

“Dean Mattson genuinely wants the students to be successful not only in the workforce but in life. Also, the overwhelming support that is provided from the school districts and corporate partners has also played an instrumental part in the success of the preparation,” said Evans.

It is vital that the industry have conversations in bringing the MiLL to their area. The MiLL has plans to grow across the nation and if companies were to be part of this growth, it would expedite the process. Sherwin Williams values their partnership with the MiLL and aiding to train future students for the industry. Companies like Sherwin Williams and more that are looking for new avenues to train employees should look to the MiLL.

The MiLL shouldn’t be a secret to the woodworking and construction industry. Evans attests to the success of the MiLL as “it is providing training of a skill set that is becoming more difficult to locate in the woodworking and construction industries. The MiLL will become one of the primary sources of recruiting opportunities for all positions within the industry in the near future.”

Posted: 09/25/2018


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WMMA supports Cue Career, a website for young, developing talent. Cue Career aggregates the resources of industry associations for career exploration/navigation and workforce development. Students explore by watching video interviews with people who are early in their career (members of associations) and access workforce development opportunities such as internships, apprenticeships, mentorships, micro-credentials, and badges offered by associations. Click here to view WMMA's Cue Career page.

Industry Leaders Converge on Capitol Hill For Day of Advocacy
Leaders from the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, Woodworking Machinery Industry Association and Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers converged on Capitol Hill on June 21 to advocate for the most important policy needs of the industry. First-time attendee Dan Christensen, Pillar Machine, and WMMA Public Policy Committee member, talked about his experiences in this short video.

WMMA Announces Steve Carter as WMMA President

Another Resource for Members of WMMA — Insurance. Click here to learn more about First Insurance Agency, Inc.

Hear what current WMMA members are saying about the valuable benefits and the many rewards of WMMA membership.

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