Tuesday - Friday | August 25-28, 2020

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IWF 2018: Engaging Specifiers and Building Strong Media Relationships through Trade Show Events

9. August 2018 06:58

By: Amanda Eden, Stoner Bunting Advertising
Public relations is a complex strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between companies and organizations and the publics they serve. Bored yet? We don’t blame you. This basic definition of PR is why nobody really understands what public relations practitioners do on a day-to-day basis. The truth is, PR is an often-intangible world that inhabits a unique space amongst traditional marketing and advertising activities.
PR is Changing, and That’s Okay
In the past few years, the formula for building a winning marketing plan has changed. The rise of modern public relations, driven by digital engagement and social media has also shifted. As more and more building product brands struggle to bridge the gap between traditional advertising and media relationships, you have to focus on strategizing, developing and executing PR plans that do both.
Publishers and editors were once the gatekeepers who supplied the A&D community with engaging content that informed and persuaded them, but don’t forget about mediated interpersonal communication, owned media assets and social channels to complement and bolster your work.
One way we achieve this is by capitalizing on trade shows and industry gatherings that bring all key players to the same city or region. From NeoCon, the world’s largest commercial interior design show, to the AIA Conference on Architecture, a gathering of 17,000+ architects, designers and manufacturers, to IWF, one of the top woodworking trade shows in the world (which we look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!), the possibilities for strategic engagement are endless.
Without the proper strategy, however, your chances of standing out and earning your keep are slim to none. In fact, recent figures show that out of the average 400 booths at a trade show, the typical attendee plans to visit – drumroll please – 21. That means your booth has about a 5% chance of being visited by any given attendee. Rather than wait for 5 percent of a particular show’s attendees to visit your booth, take this opportunity to be proactive and
go beyond the booth to engage with the A&D community on a more personal, face-to-face level away from the trade show floor.


Influencer Events Are Important Relationship Builders
In recent years, our clients have capitalized on trade shows by hosting influencer events. Whether it is a dinner or a behind-the-scenes manufacturing tour, pairing clients with architects, designers and trade publications.
This face-to-face meeting of minds helps build relationships with key audiences and target media. As many of the attendees are well known on social media and run blogs, forums, podcasts and more, it also helps keep our clients at the forefront, building special connections and engaging continued conversations and relationships.
Events like this can also result in a high level of interaction and engagement on social media, raising awareness in a subtle and organic way. This helps demonstrate the brand’s message and personality, humanizing it and putting faces with a corporate logo or brand name.
Bringing together the A&D community in the happiest place on earth
At a national conference located in Orlando last year, our team began brainstorming off-site events and influencer engagement opportunities early in the planning process. A few months before the show we devised a plan that would bring together our clients, influential architects and the A&D community in the most magical place on earth.Each client has a rich collective history that spans several continents. Not only that, but their products are used by international architecture and design firms around the world. What better way to celebrate this global heritage and presence than in EPCOT, Disney’s experimental prototype city of tomorrow that is home to the “World Showcase.”
Bringing together more than 40 architects, editors and publishers, the group met a special tour guide from Disney, who escorted us through the international pavilions in EPCOT’s World Showcase. The event featured a progressive course of drinks and bites followed by a private dinner along EPCOT’s lake as we toasted to “Architecture Around the World.”
Along the way, guests learned about our clients’ unique products, commitment to manufacturing and design excellence, and had valuable conversations with architects, designers, editors, publishers, brand representatives and important decision makers. These are the relaxed, organic conversations that are impossible to have on a show floor.
After fireworks on the lagoon, we ended the evening with a private, behind-the-scenes journey through the sky, flying high from one extraordinary landmark to the next on Soarin’ Around the World. Not only did the event allow clients to engage with architects, designers and the media, it was the perfect opportunity to create lasting relationships and deeper connections.
Putting the “R” in Public Relations
So what does successful PR look like? It’s creating value out of relationships, feelings and other intangibles. It’s connecting great minds and thinkers from different backgrounds and fields. It’s figuring out a strategic way to create lasting, positive memories at a trade show where brands get lost like a needle in a haystack.
Want to Know More?
If you want to learn how to invest in public relations and modern marketing and IMC planning, attend the Closets Symposium at IWF Atlanta, Tuesday, August 21.
Stoner Bunting has been building relationships in the home and building products industry since 1984. Our insights into what excites audiences at every stage of the design and construction process – and our access to the people and publications that influence them – make your marketing smarter, so it w


Two component polyurethane, plural component polyesters to be covered at IWF finishing event

8. August 2018 07:42

ATLANTA -- The IWF Finishing Symposium is set for August 21, 2018 in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, the day before IWF exhibits open.

The full-day event will look at new technologies and best methods that finishers could use in their business. This symposium includes a number of presentations and an opportunity to talk to suppliers and finishing experts face-to-face with your questions.

David Jackson of Gemini Coatings will discuss finishes that many shops may not have adopted, such as two component polyurethane, plural component polyesters, and some UV finishes.

Two Component Polyurethane (2K PU) coatings are gaining in popularity due to their ability to provide the various aesthetics with great durability, Jackson said. They can be used for high gloss to the “natural look” dead flat. 2K PU are also used to create durable faux finishes. Both the “natural look” and faux finishes usually create durability issues in many other commonly used wood finishes, but 2K PU’s great durability can often make up for this. Many 2K PUs are very flexible and can be applied at higher dry film thicknesses without cracking versus some other commonly used wood finishes. Also, some 2K PUs have exterior durability.

Plural Component Polyesters (PE) are used in niche applications for closed pore high build appearance. PE sealers are capable of high application rates of 10-12 wet mils per coat. Two coats like this typically provides a closed pore even with substrates such as oak. This with their durability leads to their use in many high end closed pore applications.

UV coatings unique chemistry allows them to be cured by light. This rapid film formation leads to many uses for wood substrates. Add this to UV’s exceptional durability and UV finishes popularity is growing quickly.

Learn about these wood finishes and more at the IWF 2018 Finishing Symposium.


The IWF Finishing Symposium is sponsored by Fuji Spray, Gemini Industries and Milesi Wood Coatings.



Lean Manufacturing is More Than Just Tools - Top Management’s Role in a Lean Manufacturing Transformation

8. August 2018 07:39

“The best approach is to dig out and eliminate problems where they are assumed not to exist.”  Shigeo Shingo

This quote struck a chord with one of my recently. Early in our work I had asked that they measure performance of two automated processes within the value stream which was the main focus of our work. The client believed this was unnecessary since the process is automated, manual time is less than the automatic cycle time (internal to cycle) and the equipment is reliable. They were surprised to find the average output was less than 60% to target!

It wasn’t until I shared the quote many months later than he explained that he felt there was no need to look for waste in this process and now understands the need to look for waste in all processes. He explained to his team that they cannot assume that automation alone will meet their needs. There is a strong need to measure performance to target and to problem solve in order to meet the targets.

Learn more on this topic at Larry's session "Leading Change, Top Management's role in a Lean Manufacturing Transformation" at the IWF 2018  Education Conference.


Do You Have What It Takes To Build A Winning Team?

8. August 2018 07:36

By: Gary Vitale, GFV Business Advisory                                                                                                                                                                      

The question: “Do You Have What It Takes?” has been asked for centuries and in many contexts.  When it comes to leadership and team building the answer is yes, in most cases good leaders have what it takes to build a winning team.  But then why do so many leaders fail?  The answer lies in the details of how extraordinary leaders prepare and the process they use to select, train and build their teams.  Just by reading the previous sentence will give you clues to why most leaders fail.  If you break down the components and drill down you will see this is not as simple as it sounds.

First, extraordinary leaders go through a rigorous process to select their team members.  They evaluate talent from many perspectives and use all the tools available.  In business these tools consist of a resume, several interviews by people within the organization to determine fit and talent, reference checking, and a professional assessment.  Some leaders even go beyond this but at a minimum all of the mentioned items should be part of the evaluation process to determine if an individual is a good fit for your team.  How many of these tools do you use consistently?  If you are falling short you may be compromising your ability to select the right players for your team.

The second part of the process is on-boarding and training.  Usually these are two separate steps but I will combine them here for the sake of space.  Even the best players will struggle if you do not take the time to give them a well thought out orientation period where they can meet and understand the functions other employees perform and see how everyone contributes to the success of the company.  Just as important is a clear explanation of the new employee’s performance expectations and how he or she fits in to the overall plan.  Without this step they will be left to wonder from person to person asking questions and learning by osmosis.  Certainly top performers expect more from you and will see a lack of effort on your part as a red flag when deciding if they are a good fit for you.  That’s right, just as you are going through the process of deciding whether or not the prospect is a good fit, they are doing the same.  Your job as a leader is to make them want to work for you and the company.  If you slack off on the orientation and training after they are hired my guess is things have a good probability of not working out as well as you or the candidate anticipated.

Training is an ongoing process that requires thought and time.  And, training should not be limited to product knowledge and job performance topics.  Training should be well-rounded and include company culture, self-improvement, team building, and many other topics that will make employees feel they are valued and keep them interested.  This is a broad topic and sometimes it takes a little outside help to implement correctly.

Finally, there is the evaluation stage.  For new employees this should be done at a minimum every six months for the first year and a half.  And it is extremely important that it be made clear that this is a two way conversation.  Just as you have expectations, so do the new team members.  An honest, open conversation is essential to building trust, setting goals and future expectations, and addressing any areas of concern on both sides.

The process described above really just scratches the surface of how extraordinary leaders select, build, and retain team members and it is an ongoing process that never ends.  Too many leaders select a team member and leave it to others to make it work.  Strong leaders make sure it works and are part of the process. 

So, do you have what it takes?  You do but the real question is; are you prepared to put in the time and effort to make it work?  This is the difference between teams that win consistently and teams that win occasionally.     

Learn more about this at Gary's session "Building Winning Teams" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.



The future of manufacturing

7. August 2018 08:19

To qualify the challenges we are currently facing in manufacturing as it relates to technology, talent and innovation, Deloitte recently collaborated with the Council on Competitiveness and Singularity University (SU) to conduct the Exponential Technologies in Manufacturing study, and share the resulting insights in this publication. Below are a few of the key findings from this research study.

There is a clear and compelling case for manufacturers to leverage exponential technologies and incorporate digital transformation throughout their organization (page 10). The fourth industrial revolution is enabling unprecedented change, and the pace of this change is no longer incremental; it is exponential, disruptive, and nonlinear. It is imperative that manufacturers quickly move to adopt and use exponential technologies to tap into this disruptive change; the longer they wait, the further behind they may fall.

Among the exponential technologies that can enable transformational growth in manufacturing are: 3D printing (additive manufacturing); advanced analytics; advanced materials; advanced robotics; artificial intelligence (AI) (including machine learning); biotechnology/ biomanufacturing; blockchain; cybersecurity; digital design, simulation, and integration energy storage; high performance computing; Interface of Things (AR/VR/Mixed reality, wearables, gesture recognition); Internet of Things (IoT).

Innovation enabled by exponential technologies can help manufacturers grow faster, be more agile, and unlock new forms of value (page 15). But while exponential technologies’ roles are more important than ever, the pace of their adoption is seen as relatively slow among manufacturers. Interviewed executives cite several barriers, including structural and cultural challenges, regulatory burdens, talent constraints, and leadership mindset.

Talent continues to be a key competitive differentiator within the manufacturing industry. Yet talent shortages and the need for new skill sets remain a critical issue across the globe. Attracting and retaining top talent and exploring new approaches to accessing talent will become more important than ever.

Exponential technologies are also dramatically changing the “what” (technology and automation), “who” (talent and the open talent continuum), and “where” (workplaces, physical location) of work across manufacturing organizations. As manufacturers look to increase their pace of change and transformation, they are not only leveraging internal assets in new and different ways but also turning more often to resources outside of their walls, tapping into the broader ecosystem, as there are clear advantages to being close to where innovation is occurring.

Business and government research and development (R&D) activities, along with venture capital (VC) investments, also play a critical role in company- and country-level innovation pipelines and ecosystems. In addition, more manufacturers are looking outside their four walls to increase innovation and decrease time to market, forming collaboration within and across the broader innovation ecosystem.

Across the global manufacturing competitiveness landscape, US companies lead in R&D spending, but other countries, especially China, are quickly catching up.

Moving confidently into the future means that manufacturers should develop a culture that is receptive to change and agility, one in which all stakeholders see differently, think differently, and act differently. It also means adopting an exponential transformation approach that uses an iterative process that begins by determining a company’s strategic vision and needs. Once that journey is established, the company can use a portfolio approach to invest its resources and innovate across the core, adjacent, and transformational areas.

Among interviewed executives’ recommendations for developing an exponential mindset: Know what problems you are trying to solve; entrust small teams to innovate at the edge; operate outside of traditional walls; and raise the national dialogue on system-level competitiveness and innovation enablers.

Learn more related to this topic, register to attend “Robots in the small- to medium-sized shop” during IWF 2018.


Be Demanding

7. August 2018 08:17

Everyone knows you should be demanding of your employees, but that’s not the intent here.  It’s about your vendors, suppliers, and distributors, and how you should demand A TON of them. Not just a little bit, but A TON. Make them work for you.

Why should you do this? It’s all about customer service and the environment you’ve created to push everything “upstream” as far as necessary. Make them contribute to your efforts to make your entire operation more efficient.

How do you do this? For example, you should insist that your vendors provide sheet materials to match your production demands. Perhaps it’s having them deliver smaller quantities of whatever you need when you need it – and not at any greater cost to you. Yes, you can do this. Yes, they will complain but they should comply in the end.  It’s in their best interest to keep you as a valued customer. If they do not have the capability or capacity to do this, then perhaps you need to find a new vendor who can.

Your vendor exists to serve you – not the other way around. Your vendor should be focused on making your business more profitable. This is in their best interest, and they know it. It’s what keeps them in business. Your success is their business.

To learn more, register to attend “The Power of Leadership” presented by Guy Bucey during IWF 2018.


Effective Email for Small Businesses

6. August 2018 07:55

By: Ralph Bagnall,Woodworking Consultant, Author and TV Host: ConsultingWoodworker.com

Today’s audience is bombarded with messaging, and email is no exception. It’s easy to fall into the trap of promoting your products and services and telling everyone just how wonderful you are without providing any value relevant to your subscribers. All the little things you bring to the table beyond your basic business offerings are what keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

We all know about the 80/20 rule. I like to apply it to email marketing content too. I believe you should give away 80% of your knowledge base and save 20% for your best customers.  Wait, what? Give away some of my best information? Don’t be afraid of giving your audience insight that will help them solve some of their biggest headaches.

The people on your email lists subscribed because they were looking to learn about your areas of expertise or solve a problem that is right up your alley. When you give them the knowledge they seek, your audience learns to trust you as an expert, a thought-leader in the field; doing it consistently keeps you top of mind. Will this convert them all to customers? Unlikely, but many already need your help and will know to turn to you because you’ve earned their trust. And do-it-yourselfers will love your content, share it, and just might become your biggest ambassadors!

Learn more about this during Ralph's session "Effective Email for Small Businesses" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.



Opportunities after the new “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”

6. August 2018 07:28

Opportunities after the new “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which was passed by Congress in December, 2017, made significant changes to individual, business and estate taxes, and became effective as of January 1, 2018.  While the business related provisions are considered permanent, the individual and estate tax provisions only remain in effect until December 31, 2025, when they are subject to a “sunset” and will revert back to 2017 law.

Here are a few of the major changes that could impact you and your business in the coming year:

Individual Taxes

  • There are still seven tax brackets, but the rates have changed to 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%.
  • The standard deduction increased to $12,000 for Single taxpayers, $18,000 for Head of Household and $24,000 for Married Filing Jointly.
  • Personal exemptions are eliminated.
  • Itemized deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest are limited; the deduction for miscellaneous itemized deductions (subject to the 2% of AGI) is eliminated.
  • Taxpayers who receive pass-through business income from sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corps and LLCs electing to be taxed as a partnership or S corp may receive a 20% deduction, which essentially reduces the top marginal rate to 29.6%. Owners of certain types of pass-through service businesses are subject to income limitations and may not be eligible for the deduction.

Estate Taxes

  • The estate and gift tax exclusion amount is increased from $5 million to $10 million per person. Indexed for inflation, this amount is $11.2 million per person in 2018 ($22.4 million per married couple).
  • The annual gift tax exclusion increased from $14,000 to $15,000.

Business Taxes

  • The corporate tax rate is reduced to a flat 21%.
  • The corporate Alternative Minimum tax (AMT) is repealed.
  • The amount that can be expensed in the current year under Code §179 (rather than depreciated over time) increased to $1 million.
  • Deductions for business-related entertainment expenses and employee transportation fringe benefits are eliminated.

These changes bring a wide range of both questions and opportunities for business owners.  “Is my business is better off being a pass through entity (like an S corp or LLC) or a C corp?”  “Do the potential tax savings to my business this year support an increase in wages for my employees?”  “Are there increased opportunities for implementing employee retention strategies (like a Private Bonus or Split Dollar plan)?”  Talk to your attorney and/or CPA for information about how the Tax Act might impact you and your business based on your individual situation.

For more information, attend “Building a Valuable Business” during IWF.


Think Light - Benefits and Opportunities of Lightweight Materials

4. August 2018 11:21

Weight restrictions on products exist for a variety of reasons, such as for health reasons to allow customers lifting the product, or for safety reasons when a table top cannot be too heavy, or due to construction restrictions when a remodeling project in an existing building cannot add weight to the structure.  Lightweight materials also help reduce transportation costs as more products can be packed into the back of a truck without exceeding weight limits.  Indeed, today's lightweight materials offer good value as an environmentally friendly, strong, and versatile material that provides ergonomic benefits and offers a competitive advantage.

Experts from industry provide insights on lightweight materials, how they are made, how to work with them, what they can be used for, and what is particularly challenging.  M. Zimmerman from Sauder Woodworking Co. will talk about what the company is doing with lightweight materials, why they use lightweight materials, and how they see the material to evolve in their line of products.  Steven and Robert Boerrigter from Axxor North America, LLC, a producer of cores for lightweight panels will provide insights into the diverse uses of lightweight panels and how the core can be adapted to fit the required properties of a panel.  Jim Trainor from Jowat Corp. will explain adhesives used for lightweight materials while Mark Joel from Bürkle North America, Inc. will talk about equipment solutions for processing lightweight materials.  Connecting and fastening lightweight materials require special care and, often, special hardware.  Marcel Strobel, formerly with Adolf Wuerth GmbH & Co. KG and now with MKT Fastening will talk about connecting lightweight materials and show solutions for this challenge.  The session will conclude with Key Take Aways and a Q & A session.

Workshop attendees of the "Think Light - Benefit and Opportunities of Lightweight Materials" session will learn about lightweight panel materials, the different types of lightweight panels, how they can be processed, what can be made with them, and the benefits and challenges that exist with lightweight technology.


Determining the best spray system

4. August 2018 11:16

By: Diane Shattuck, Gemini Industries
With all the different spray systems available today, how do you determine which one best fits “YOUR” needs as a small shop?

Questions to ask

  • How much finishing do you do on average?
  • What type of parts will you be finishing?
  • Where will you be finishing (shop/field)?
  • What types of coatings will you be spraying?
  • What other equipment will you need to support your spray system?

Three essential components

Choosing a spray systems basically breaks down to three essential components: spray gun, cup or pot, and a power system. A

Spray gun

A tool that uses compressed air to atomize finishes and apply to a surface. The finish and air enter the gun through two separate passages and then mix together at the air cap (atomize) before landing on the targeted object.

Cup or pot

A container that holds the finish, ranging in sizes from as little as 4 oz. (used on touch up guns) to 10 gallons pressure pots. They can be connected to the gun directly or by a fluid hose from the container to the gun.

Power system

  • Turbine systems: self-contained system, portable and generates high volume of slow moving air only when in operation. Controlled and consistent air pressure determined by how many stages (fan blades & size) very limited in variances of pressures.
  • Compressed air: used as a source of power for many tools in your shop, has the ability to store energy on tap, available in all sizes, can produce high and low air pressures.

Register to attend “Transitioning to in-house finishing – profitably” during IWF to learn more considerations before you bring your finishing in-house.