Hardwood teases design

Whether solid woods or veneers, the look and feel of well-chosen hardwood species make a statement. So for designers and manufacturers, picking the right raw product for the fickle consumer market involves some tough decisions. Public tastes remain cyclical, oscillating between darks and lights, between contemporary and classic looks. But for manufacturers, the cost of […]

Training simulators tackle wood

Training simulators are famous for teaching pilots the ropes before putting them into a multi-million-dollar cockpit and potentially endangering lives. The simulation environment that is often referred to as virtual reality (VR). It was natural that aerospace, with its deep R&D pockets, was one of the first sectors to adopt the expensive equipment. Today, with […]

Advertising: finding value and trust

Many wood shops hum along just nicely on word-of-mouth, and wouldn’t know what to do if more business came in the door. However, there are more shops with business peaks and valleys that would rather smooth them out. Or better yet, they would like to take a step beyond survival and move on to sustained […]

Labour challenge: Recruiting the right fit

Everybody wants a skilled, conscientious worker in the shop, whether the operation requires two, 10 or more on the floor. Wood shop managers across Canada all say the same thing — it’s tough to fill positions. Enns Cabinetry in St. Catharines, Ont., is no exception. Co-owner Bev Enns says the residential cabinet and millwork manufacturing […]

Import costs rise with the loonie’s tumble

Currency exchange rates are like a rising tide that raises — or lowers — all boats. So, for importers in Canada, the precipitous plunge of the loonie over the past year made many wonder just where the bottom may lie. According to Joy Nott, president of the Toronto-based Canadian Importers and Exporters Association, “the assumption […]

Pocket tops for play and pay

Instagram, Facebook, crowdfunding, 3D printing, Pay- Pal, EDC…. Indiegogo, YouTube, Kickstarter, Twitter. It is like getting caught in a Star Trek transponder. Lots of buzz. Lots of potential. No substance. Or is there? Marketing in social media can get huge margins, payment in advance, project funding and branding. And so can the lottery pay you […]

Line item: Safety — the cost you must afford.

A shop accident can blow up a business launch faster than a visit from a Ministry of Labour inspector. When embarking on creating a new wood shop, or even just keeping the doors open, ignore health and safety issues at your peril. Norm Keith, litigation partner at the Toronto-based legal firm Fasken Marteneau, advises that […]

Palm power: Ecommerce and the wood industry

In a vintage cartoon, Bugs Bunny wants to impress Daisy Lou and instantly delivers nylons using animation magic. “Your teeth are like pearls, real ones, no dime-store phonies!” he woos. By Mike Edwards Similarly, today when Joe Millennial taps a screen on a mobile device, he expects prompt delivery of his desired furniture. Daisy Lou, […]

Millennials: New perspective on customization

If Paul Revere was making a midnight ride these days to alert you, he’d probably be shouting, “The Millennials are coming, the Millennials are coming!” Actually, they are already here, so get armed to meet them head on. A global market research study by the consulting firm Accenture calls Millennials “a potent force” that spends […]

Face-to-face: Find the marketing mix that connects

To play on a famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, believing you build the best cabinetry, doesn’t necessarily mean customers will come. Keeping the pipeline full requires some form of marketing. In the internet and digital age, there are more marketing tools, avenues and opportunities available to you than ever before — from […]