Pro help can drive business

Design — with help from more than friends Wood industry shops across Canada utilize in-house design skills from a variety of sources. Whether someone is pulling double- or triple-duty on the floor, or a relative with a knack for the aesthetic, well-designed wood products get produced in this country. However, sometimes getting a little help […]

Workers from abroad

By Dennis Furlan The year 2010 saw 283,096 temporary foreign workers come to Canada, which is the most in our country’s history. As NDP leader Jack Layton said to Conservative Stephen Harper during this year’s election debates: “Why so many temporary foreign workers? We’ve got more of them coming in than immigrants.” This is true. […]

What’s going on at the Border?

By Dennis Furlan On February 4, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper travelled to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama. Together, they issued a joint declaration titled: Beyond the Border: a shared vision for perimeter security and economic effectiveness. Although in essence it’s only a roadmap for future negotiations, the issue has been in […]

Opinions and optimism

Wood Industry’s reader survey: Canadian manufacturers weight in This should surprise nobody, but most of you prefer that your magazines give you what you want, and not what the advertisers want. In fact, 64 percent of you either agree or strongly agree with the statement, “I prefer reader-focused magazines to advertiser-focused magazines.” An additional 31 […]

Safety Focus 2011: Do the safety dance

A brave new world in safety compliance? By Dennis Furlan On Christmas Eve, 2009, four men fell to their deaths while working on a scaffold situated outside the 13th floor of a Toronto apartment building. It was one of those tragedies the repercussions of which won’t be forgotten soon. One of those repercussions was the […]

Evolutionary design

Technological advances open new design frontiers Evolutionary design is a computer process of creating large sets of solutions to a design problem, then whittling down the set of solutions by finding those that work best. Computer scientists have been aware of the potential power of this principle as a design tool since the 1970s, but […]

Management by measurement

When was the last time you evaluated your managers’ contributions to the bottom line?   Every time a recession rolls around, the cuts start at the bottom. There is a good reason for this; the lowest-paid workers are presumably the least experienced and most easily replaced when things get better. But once the front-line staff […]

Management by measurement

When was the last time you evaluated your managers’ contributions to the bottom line? Every time a recession rolls around, the cuts start at the bottom. There is a good reason for this; the lowest-paid workers are presumably the least experienced and most easily replaced when things get better. But once the front-line staff has […]

Fresh talent

Canada’s immigrants:Education, drive and creativity Canadian realtors are saying prices and sales of luxury homes are at an all-time high. Canadian manufacturers of high-end custom cabinets and millwork are saying the “Great Recession” has amounted to little more than a pause in their growth. Housing starts and building permits have returned to 2007 levels across […]

Modular design

Simplify, standardize, think modular — For greater product diversity, better margins and new markets The words modular design, and platform-based product development, frequently appear in documents pertaining to the plight of North America’s secondary wood manufacturing industry. In some cases, modular design is touted as a panacea to what ails the industry. In other cases […]