2020 Virtual Fall Conference & Plant Tour
As this was an unusual year for planning and hosting events, the 2020 WCMA Fall Conference & Plant Tour event was presented online November 17-18. Utilizing an online meeting platform, the 2-day event featured three plant tours, Q&A sessions, an educational session presented by Jeff Finney of UltCab, and a keynote address by Taylor St. Germain from ITR Economics.
Tom Inman from the Real American Hardwood Promotion Coalition was on hand to report on the progress being made by the RAHPC in educating and marketing hardwood flooring, cabinetry, mouldings, and home furnishings to today’s homeowners and builders. He also presented long-term goals and plans moving forward in the promotion of real American hardwood products.
WCMA Tech Partners Stiles Machinery, Eagle Machinery, SCM, and C.S. Industries provided video presentations and live Q&A’s with attendees.
Originally planned to take place in upstate New York, the scheduled tour hosts kindly provided pre-recorded tours of their facilities and a follow-up interview with WCMA Executive Director, Amy Snell. Topics covered in the interviews included company history and growth, plans for future expansion, challenges presented by past and current economic conditions, and workforce approach. In addition to the virtual tours and interviews, tour hosts joined the event live for Q&A sessions and responded to attendee questions.
WCMA plant tour events offer an open exchange of ideas, techniques, and business strategies for wood component manufacturers. If you were unable to attend this year’s Fall Conference, and would like to view the recorded sessions, please contact the WCMA office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently, the WCMA is planning to host in-person events in 2021, and you’ll want to be sure to attend next year. More information will become available and posted on the website as plans take shape.
2020 Fall Conference & Plant Tour Plant Tour Hosts
Unalam – Unadilla, New York
In 1892, the Van Cott family began selling lumber in Unadilla, NY. In 1906, they made the first Unadilla silo, beginning a product line that would serve farmers until the 1980s. To further their commitment to farmers, the Unadilla Silo Company experimented with glue-laminated barn rafters in 1928. By 1963, the glulam business had picked up steam and they expanded their laminated products division into a new facility in nearby Sidney, NY where they continue their custom wood component production today.
For more than a century, Unalam has built its reputation on a constant commitment to quality and an eye on the future of design, architecture, and construction.
Today’s leaders at Unalam continue to embody the spirit of tradition meeting innovation. Now, with members of the sixth generation of the Van Cott family working, they continue the tradition of strong and beautiful wood construction products manufacturing.
Baillie Lumber – Smyrna, New York
Baillie Lumber is one of North America's largest hardwood lumber manufacturers, distributors, and exporters. They are a provider of hardwood logs, hardwood lumber and proprietary grade hardwood lumber products. Founded in 1923 by James A. Baillie, they have grown from a regional supplier of domestic hardwoods to an international hardwood manufacturer that can ship hardwood lumber to any region of the world.
Baillie's hardwood manufacturing facilities are spread north to south in the eastern United States. Their partner mills and suppliers in the U.S. and internationally supplement their own hardwood manufacturing capabilities and give them a breadth of specie availability unmatched by other hardwood manufacturers.
Inova Bed – Altamont, New York
Inova is the world’s leading innovator and manufacturer of multifunctional, space-saving furniture for contract. Using innovative engineering, they revolutionized murphy beds into truly multi-functional and stylish pieces. More than 20,000 of their transforming murphy beds are in use every day in properties around the world.
Their furniture is created by skilled engineers, designers, and crafts people at their state-of-the-art factory located in Upstate New York. Dedicated to consistent high quality and a great customer experience, they offer a full range of services, beginning with design collaboration and space planning to complete delivery, distribution, and installation of their products.
In 2000, Loren Sherman, a theatrical set designer in Manhattan for over 20 years, moved into a new apartment with his two young children and started looking into murphy beds to help create additional space. After researching all available options, he thought “I would really like to have my dining table and my bed on the same footprint in this bright living room: there must be a way to make that happen.”
Months later, the first Table Bed was built. In 2001, Loren founded Inova and began to manufacture and sell his patented Table Bed.
The company has since evolved to offer a large array of multi-functional furniture solutions for many different markets. Over the last five years, they have grown significantly with the great help of lean manufacturing principles. They consider this philosophy a great guide in creating a workplace that continues to evolve. Their goals and motivations at Inova are driven by their motto: “Zero Defects” and “No Customer Complaints”.
In 2016 they expanded their factory and offices from 18,000 to 36,000 sq. ft. In 2017, they doubled it again, to 72,000 sq. ft. As of 2019, their team has grown to nearly 100 employees.
2020 Fall Conference & Plant Tour Plant Tour Speakers
Educational Session – “Practical Lean”
with Jeff Finney of Ultcab
Jeff Finney, founder of Ultimate Cabinet Components based in Collinsville, OK, has been an owner in the woodworking industry for the past 15 years. From his experiences in owning a company he has created a well followed blog, and a growing audience of The Push Thru podcast. Talking to anyone that will listen, Jeff enjoys learning about new and exciting developments within our industry. Ultimate Cabinet Components started practicing LEAN principles 3 years ago and continues to this day. "Lean is the perfect vision, it is the lighthouse in the distance that we can move toward but never truly reach. There is always room for more improvement!"
This presentation focused on lean production:
- Pillars of Lean
- How to get started
- How to keep it going
- Intro to SOP's
- Examples of LEAN at work in my shop
Keynote Speaker – “Guidance in an Uncertain Economy”
Taylor St.Germain of ITR Economics
As an economic analyst with ITR Economics, Taylor St. Germain provides consulting services for small businesses, trade associations, and Fortune 500 companies across a spectrum of industries. His dynamic personality and extensive knowledge of economic trends and their business relevance are highly valued by clients and colleagues alike.
Taylor is a member of ITR’s Dallas team and specializes in forecasting at both the market and company levels. With his depth of experience, Taylor is a key contributor to ITR Economics’ forecast accuracy rating of 94.7%.
This presentation offered insight into these key areas:
- Review of short-term and long-term economic forecasts
- How the forecasts will directly impact attendees
- Identification of Business Cycle Phases, and what this means for WCMA members
- Leading economic indicators of utmost importance to watch
- Economic insight on inflation, interest rates, and taxes
Time-sensitive current events of public concern and how to expect them to affect the audience’s businesses, as well as instructions for moving forward