Tuesday - Friday | August 25-28, 2020

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA | USA

Check the latest article for IWF atlanta users

IWF Education: Quality Testing and Green Standards Mean Business for Your Business

1. June 2020 09:26
       

By: Chuck Arnold, Director of Certification, Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association

Quality Testing and Green Standards Mean Business for Your Business

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) doesn’t manufacture cabinets, but we do administer programs that test and validate the quality and safety of cabinets. We provide a community where cabinet manufacturers can join together to network, share best practices, learn from each other and work together to protect and grow the cabinet manufacturing industry.

KCMA provides access to certification programs designed to help distinguish cabinet manufacturers in today’s competitive marketplace, including our Quality Certification Program and our Environmental Stewardship Program. Recent research by Hanley-Wood shows that certifications performed by third party testers are among the top reasons consumers choose cabinets.

Quality Testing – Third party testing of cabinets can give consumers an assurance of quality manufacturing that will survive everyday life in a kitchen. This testing makes it easy for designers, builders, architects and other specifiers to know right off the bat the cabinets meet performance and durability requirements – requirements that consumers care about, but don’t know how to ask about.

Environmental Stewardship – Consumers want a safe home for their families. This program ensures that cabinet companies are doing their part to help the planet (companies participating in KCMA’s ESP recycled more than 16.4 million pounds of paper and cardboard in 2017) and is a tangible way to show customers that the cabinets they are about to purchase were produced in an environmentally sound manner, by an company that cares about the environment as much as they do.

Learn more in our session “Quality Testing and Green Standards Mean Business for Your Business” at IWF 2020.

 

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and You: What is available to me?

29. May 2020 16:18

By: Laurie Wolff, Certified Global Business Professional

If you missed funding in the initial rounds of the CARES Act stimulus, it is not too late to connect with your local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) for help.  Some states, for example New Jersey,  have released new grant programs for small business as they have received their own federal funds.  A variety of nonprofits are raising funds to assist business, sometimes limited to particular regions or to particular types of business owners, such as women and minorities.  These programs are usually small grants, but those that receive them often get other help such as business counseling. 

As the need continues, I’m confident new funding will get raised and distributed.  Even if nothing is available for your business at this moment, the staff of the local SBDC is likely to learn of anything new as it comes along.  In New Jersey, businesses that applied but did not receive funds because the money ran out are getting priority in the second round.   

SBDCs can also provide counsel on best practices for managing cash flow, identifying new customers and potential markets, pivoting your business and other assistance to weather the crisis even if direct grants are not available.  They are a gateway to connecting your business with a network of service providers and resources to help you grow.

To find help near you, visit https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find/

Too see more from Laurie, be sure to check out her sessions Trade Finance: Getting the Funding You Need and Managing Risk for Exporters and Identifying New Export Markets and Customers at the IWF 2020 Education Conference.

Reach Laurie Wolff c/o IWFNetworkNews@iwfatlanta.com   

IWF Education: Let the Sun Shine In

28. May 2020 10:54

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

The biggest challenge we face when shooting video for business is lighting. Lighting is so important that professional photo studios often spend more on lighting than cameras. Fortunately for us “part time” videographers, the best source of lighting is free; Natural sunlight.

Shooting in sunlight can supply most of the light needed, does not require filters or editing to “adjust” the color, and can be as simple to use as opening some doors. Shooting outdoors in direct sunlight can be useful, but often creates hard shadows that are difficult to eliminate. But throwing open an overhead door can give your indoor shots a big lighting boost.

                   
                         Overhead Lighting Only                       Overhead Lighting with Door Open


The corner of my shop that is set up for shooting my videos is about 30 feet away from the overhead door, but there is a marked difference in the quality of the lighting between having the door open and having the door closed. Even though the sunlight is not shining directly on the shot, it is reflecting all through the room, not only lighting the scene directly, but also providing a lot of the fill lighting needed for eliminating shadows.

You will need to think about positioning these sorts of shots, strong sunlight in the background will simply overwhelm the camera and your subject will be dark. Keep the open door behind or to the side of the camera, and you should be off to a good start. You may still need to add some fill lighting, but the natural lighting will get you off to a very good start.

Learn more about this and other effective marketing content during the "Reel" Them In; Creating Highly Effective Marketing Video Without Breaking the Bank session at IWF 2020.

Tags:

IWF Education: Understanding the True Costs of Running a Business

27. May 2020 15:26
       

By: Chris Zizza, NWFA Chairman of the Board & President of C&R Flooring

Most wood flooring professionals are highly skilled individuals who perform a variety of hands-on tasks every day.  They might be completely comfortable designing and installing a complicated parquet wood floor, or restoring a wood floor that has been damaged by water, or disassembling and repairing a big machine, but they might not be as comfortable with other aspects of their businesses that are equally as important.

Administrative tasks are just one example.  They are not a lot of fun, but they are crucial in running a successful business.  This can include things like interviewing and hiring employees, scheduling appointments, and handling company finances.

Other tasks are not as obvious, but are critical to achieve real profits.  In our industry, this can include things like calculating labor costs, overhead, annual expenses, administrative costs, travel, and materials on every job, and including those costs in every bid.  Without doing so, it is nearly impossible to achieve real profits for your business.

Whether you’re a specifier, a sales professional, or an installer, mastering the behind-the-scenes skills will help ensure you position your business for growth and profits.  They are just as important as the hands-on skills we bring to the job every day.

Learn more about this topic during Chris's presentation at the Wood Flooring Symposium during the IWF 2020 Education Conference.

 

IWF Education: What are your business’s financial goals?

26. May 2020 17:53
 

 Presented by:

 

 

Sponsored by: 

 

By: Tim Northrup, CFO: Stiles Machinery

Why are you in business? What do you want to accomplish? If you already know what you want to achieve…..great. If not, here is where to start: You want to be profitable. Am I right?

Did know that 85% of small businesses fail within 10 years of operation?

Common mistakes by owners include:

  • Don’t understand growth’s impact on the business
  • Fail at anticipating cash needs
  • Improperly finance asset purchases (match funding with asset life)
  • Don’t understand how to read/interpret financials
  • Don’t understand, monitor, or control costs (actively)
  • Fail to price properly (don’t charge enough)
  • Don’t effectively communicate with bankers

So what can you do to avoid these mistakes? Learn how to gain control of your business’s finances during IWF 2020 by attending “Financing 101 - The Basics”.

IWF Education: You Can’t Powder Coat Wood…Or Can You?

26. May 2020 09:06

By: Jeff Hale, Director of Marketing: Gema USA Inc.

The use of powder coatings as a finish for wood substrates has been successfully accomplished for more than 20 years.  The term “wood” is used in a general context, as the primary product being coated with powder coatings has been engineered wood, or more commonly referred to as medium density fiberboard (MDF).  While MDF products are excellent choices for powder coating finish, other types of wood products were not as attractive.  However, over the last several years that has changed.  

Innovations in powder coating materials, application and curing equipment, and other process changes are producing greater performance results and expanding the type of substrates and end use products that successfully use powder coatings. 

For example, innovative breakthroughs have led to the use of powder coatings on particleboard, hardwood, OSB, as well as other non-conductive materials.  Additionally advanced application and curing techniques have help to enhance and improved the coating appearance and quality.

Powder Coatings offer many advantage, but specifically to manufacturers of products using MDF and other wood products, they can now apply a “laminate-like” finish to complex wood shapes.  Products that are traditionally coated with wet paint, vinyl, melamine, paper laminates, or other organic finishing process will find powder coatings to be an attractive alternative.  One major advantage to powder coatings it the ability to produce a seamless coating finish to curvilinear shapes, rounded or ogee edges, concave and convex surfaces, cabinet doors, drawers, and multiple sides simultaneously. 

To learn more about the advantages of powder coatings and the application methods onto wood and wood-based products, Be sure to attend the IWF 2020 and sign up for the conference session You Can’t Powder Coat Wood…Or Can You? Being conducted on Thursday, August 27, 2020, 9 am – 10 am.

Tags:

IWF Education: Two Types of Designers

14. May 2020 08:49
 

 Presented by:

 

 

Sponsored by: 

 

By: Chris Dehmer, Dark Horse Woodworks

Designers can be very talented individuals who have very little business skill whatsoever. In my experience, designers can be grouped into two categories.

True Designers: people whose main source of income is derived from interior design work, space planning and layout.

These people oftentimes provide fairly detailed plans and specifications about their intent for a project. This is the type of design you can provide a TRUE bid for. They are similar to architects in this regard and often have architects on staff.

Given the opportunity to bid on work for a true design professional oftentimes price is not the only reason for selecting a subcontractor.

The other type of designer can be referred to as a shopping bag designer. They show up at the jobsite with a shopping bag full of STUFF: magazine pictures, napkin sketches, stone and wood samples, etc.

It’s a generalization, but these individuals are oftentimes stay-at-home moms looking to do something. However, they can actually be very valuable assets to your company.

To work well for you, it’s important to figure out which category your designers fall into. It’s possible to develop long term relationships with both types of people, but you need to clearly define the process and each person’s role in the process.

To learn more, attend “Working with Architects & Designers on Transitional Projects” during IWF 2020. 

IWF Education: Watching Videos on Company Time

13. May 2020 07:20

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

I know that a lot of you cringed just reading the title here. Time wasted on internet distractions is a concern for everyone, but there are times I have prescribed YouTube to my clients. Really!

The internet in general and YouTube in particular can be as valuable a resource to you as it is a productivity black hole. Now I am certainly not advocating cat videos at work, but there is a LOT of solid technical training content online, and a surprising amount of it is free. Giving selected employees permission to access this can greatly enhance your business. 

For example, while almost all of the small to mid-sized shops I work with have CNC machines, almost none of the operators working them have any formal training in programming or operation. Not even the basic instruction that may have been provided at installation. I find that while many of these machine operators have done very well figuring things out for themselves, there is lots of room for improvement. Processing speed, cut quality and basic machine capabilities are often well below par simply because these operators lack training.

(image courtesy of Vectric LLC) 

While I certainly recommend professional training through machine manufacturers, software providers, or even independent experts, much improvement is available for free on the web. Budgeting even a few hours of your CNC operator’s week to web learning can pay YOU major dividends. One recent client of mine was struggling with cut listing and had a full time employee devoted just to compiling the lists. By spending a bit of time between You Tube and the Software Provider’s free online tutorials, the programmer learned that the cut lists were automatically generated in the CAD/CAM software, freeing up a full time employee to do more billable tasks.

Obviously, we do not need people wasting company time updating their Facebook page, but budgeting key employees some time to use the internet for learning new skills, finding useful new products, and generally improving themselves can bring real value to your entire business.

Learn more about online training during my session "Failure May be the Best Option - Encouraging Innovation at all Levels of Your Business" at the IWF 2020 Education Conference. 

Forced Curing of Wood Coatings

7. May 2020 10:15

By: Joe Baggett, Innovative Wood Process Solutions

It goes without saying that coatings perform best and achieve their peak performance when they are properly cured. Whether it's a cabinet, furniture item, panel or other products, if they are packaged and put in the field with improperly cured coatings, they are susceptible to moisture, chemical, scratch and mar damage.

Finish or coating failure many times is the result of improperly cured coatings. This is avoided, in traditional, non-UV coatings, by making sure your curing process is delivering something called "forced curing." You have probably heard the term, but it is often one of the most misunderstood parts of the wood finishing process. 

Forced curing is a function of the chemistry of the coating, and the interaction with the wood surface, and relies on reaching a target temperature – a dynamic interaction between the temperature of the wood surface and that of the coating being applied. 

Basic thermodynamics for curing wood coatings

Curing technology actually starts with the board surface temperature, before the coating is even applied. Then it must account for the temperature of the liquid coating as it is applied. The first curing step of the coating after it is applied depends on the solids content, resin, binders, and solvents that make up the coatings. Evacuation of solvent through forced air and heat in combination is the first step after the coating has been allowed to flow out.

Then depending on the chemistry, raising the board surface temperature to the optimum level in the optimal amount of time is the goal. This is where we see many times that the target board surface temperature – the point at which we reach cross-linking, snap curing, polymerization, and other critical chemical reactions – isn’t achieved. For UV coatings getting the solvent out to where the UV light can properly cerate monomer dispersion is critical. 

 

IWF Education: Understanding Key Components for Successful Gluing

5. May 2020 08:53

By: Bob Behnke, Senior Technical Manager – Titebond Wood Glues

Whether you are a woodworking enthusiast, own a small cabinet shop, or manage a large-scale laminating operation, you all have one thing in common… wood glue! While wood glue just may be the least expensive item in your workshop, it can certainly be considered the most important. For this reason, the experts at Titebond take every opportunity to educate woodworkers on how to achieve the best possible results with every gluing situation.

Although there are five primary steps for successful gluing, it is important to consider many factors when trying to achieve a strong, permanent bond; wood density and moisture, grain direction, glue coverage, working/set times, surface contaminants, and types of joints.

Because nearly every gluing situation is unique, this presentation will be an FAQ discussion, so be sure to bring your questions! Learn more about everything about wood glue during the Titebond Wood Glue symposium presented by Titebond at IWF 2020.