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Dimension Association changes name to reflect growth of components industry.

The Wood Component Manufacturers Association (WCMA) began 1996 with a new name and a broader vision for the association and the wood components industry. The membership overwhelmingly approved a name change from the National Dimension Manufacturers Association to the Wood Component Manufacturers Association (WCMA) effective January 1, 1996. The WCMA continues to promote a greater use of value-added wood products.

The new name reflects the broader range of the wood component products produced by the members of the association. When the association was founded in 1929, as the Hardwood Dimension Manufacturers Association, the term "dimension" referred to cut-to-size boards, which is what most of the original member companies produced. In 1984, the association changed its name to the National Dimension Manufacturers Association to indicate its growing national membership.

Over the years, the members of the association and the dimension industry have expanded into the production of more semi- and fully-machined wood component products for the furniture, cabinet, building products, decorative/specialty wood products and industrial wood products industries.

According to WCMA President Chuck Henness of Thompson Maple Products Inc., Corry, PA, "The name change is symbolic of the close manufacturing relationship between our members and their customers. 'Component' implies a custom part made to the customer's exact specifications, while 'dimension' has more of a rough, general image. We really have become part of our customer's ongoing process."

Because the wood components industry has continued to evolve into a major segment of the woodworking industry, the NDMA wanted to change its name to distinguish itself as the major association representing the primary interests of the wood component products industry. There is tremendous potential for the wood component products industry and it could well be the fastest growing segment of the woodworking industry in the years to come. The new Wood Component Manufacturers Association will grow and adapt, as it has in the past, to help our members meet the challenges of a constantly changing industry.

WCMA Adopts New Logo

The WCMA recently approved a new logo for the association. This logo combines the strong identity of our previous logo by using the saw blade with a wood profile to show that WCMA members are producing more value-added component products.

The U.S. hardwood dimension and components manufacturing industry has grown significantly during the past 10 years as annual shipments have more than doubled from $1.1 billion in 1984 to approximately $2.4 billion in 1995. According to the association's latest Annual Market Study, WCMA members are forecasting their shipments to increase around 11 percent during 1996. Most of these companies expect their component sales to grow along with the worldwide demand for American wood products well into the next century.

Several U.S. sawmills have expanded into the dimension manufacturing business. This allows them to add more "value" to their raw materials and enter new and different markets. At the same time, producers of rough dimension products are expanding into semi-machined dimension products and producers of semi-machined dimension are progressing into fully-machined wood components. As a result, the total market for dimension and wood components is growing in volume and diversity.

Today, the Wood Component Manufacturers Association represents over 120 dimension and wood component product manufacturers in North America. Member companies vary by size and type of products manufactured. Some members produce a complete line of rough, semi-machined or completely machined wood component products, while others choose to specialize in the production of a narrower range of component wood products.

Among the typical wood component products manufactured by WCMA members are cut-to-size blanks, edge-glued panels, solid and laminated squares, mouldings, turnings, bendings, upholstered frame stock, interior trim, flooring, staircase parts, and a variety of component parts for the furniture and cabinet industries including cabinet doors, face frames, drawers, table and chair parts.

Membership is open to any wood component product manufacturer that operates a manufacturing plant in the United States or Canada and is adequately equipped for processing wood into dimension stock or wood parts for sale to outside customers.

There are no registration fees for WCMA members attending association-sponsored events. Thus, they are encouraged to send as many employees as possible to meetings and plant tour events.

WCMA Business Referral Program

Sales inquiries from component buyers are received by the WCMA office on a daily basis. The WCMA's Business Referral Program is a computerized membership database retrieval system that provides prospective buyers with a list of all WCMA members who can produce the specific component products they need. This computer-generated list can immediately be faxed to the component customer. A copy of the WCMA's Wood Components Purchasing Guide and Membership Directory is also sent to these buyers. The specifics of each sales inquiry are forwarded to all WCMA members for follow-up.

Readers of this Purchasing Guide can use the "WCMA Business Referral Card" located between pages 184 and 185 to receive information about the availability of a particular component, including desired species.

Domestic Trade Promotion

The WCMA sponsors several promotional programs for the purpose of promoting the general demand for wood component products and generating more business for our members. Our promotional activities include:

* WCMA-sponsored advertising in the annual buyers guide and directory issues of the leading trade publications;

* Distributing our Wood Components Purchasing Guide to component buyers and users through our direct mail program;

* Exhibiting at the major woodworking trade shows in the United States; and

* Supporting and participating in the promotional activities of The Hardwood Council.

WCMA Wood Components Purchasing Guide

The WCMA publishes an annual Wood Components Purchasing Guide devoted to the WCMA, our member companies and the components manufacturing industry. The purchasing guide serves as a handy reference source for component buyers and users as it identifies those WCMA members who can produce the specific component products they need. This purchasing guide includes an alphabetical directory of all WCMA member companies with information on the type of products they produce, along with their special woodworking capabilities and available species of wood.

The Wood Components Purchasing Guide also includes articles on a variety of important topics including how to specify wood component products, improving yields, reasons for buying components, trends toward outsourcing component parts, the WCMA's Make vs. Buy Study results and how the dimension manufacturing industry efficiently utilizes the forest resource.

WCMA rulebook

The WCMA publishes the "Rules and Specifications for Dimension and Woodwork." The Rulebook covers dimension grading rules, tolerances and claim procedures. These rules provide specification guidelines for dimension and wood components for domestic and export trade.

U.S. woodworking trade shows

The WCMA exhibits at several major woodworking trade shows held in the United States. The purpose of exhibiting at these trade shows is to promote the general demand for dimension products and meet with prospective dimension buyers and users to help them identify those companies which can produce the component parts they need.

The WCMA displays the various products produced by our member companies and distributes the latest Wood Components Purchasing Guide to interested component buyers and users who stop by the booth. A large number of sales leads are obtained at these trade shows and passed on to all WCMA members for follow-up.

The WCMA exhibits at these U.S. trade shows on a regular basis:

* International Woodworking Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair (IWF), Atlanta, GA;

* Woodworking, Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair, Anaheim, CA; and

* Midwest/Grand Rapids Woodworking & Furniture Supply Fair, Grand Rapids, MI.

Export Trade Promotion Activities

The WCMA has been an active participant in many overseas trade missions, trade shows and other market development activities as a member of the American Hardwood Export Council since its inception in 1984. As a result of these export promotion and education activities, U.S. hardwood dimension exports have increased from only $25 million in 1984 to over $250 million in 1996. Nearly two-thirds of all WCMA member companies are now involved in exporting component products, according to the latest WCMA Dimension & Component industry Market Study.

The WCMA exhibits with the American Hardwood Export Council at several major international trade shows held in promising overseas markets. Exhibiting at these trade shows allows us to generically promote all U.S. hardwood products and help overseas hardwood buyers identify suppliers who can provide them with the products they need.

The WCMA exhibits with the American Hardwood Export Council at the following international trade shows:

* Interzum Fair, Cologne, Germany;

* Association of Suppliers to the Furniture Industry (ASFI), Birmingham, England;

* Batimat Building Products Show, Paris, France;

* Interbuild Fair, Birmingham, England;

* International Furniture Fair, Tokyo, Japan;

* WoodMac Asia, Singapore;

* WoodMac China, Shanghai, China; and

* Tecno Mueble International, Guadalajara, Mexico.

Industry research and market studies

The Association conducts a number of technical and market studies to help identify potential new markets and improve a firm's competitive position. The WCMA's annual Wage & Benefit and Cost-of-Doing-Business surveys allow our members to compare their costs of doing business with other member companies. An in-depth Dimension & Component Industry Market study is also conducted every year identify and measure the various market segments for the wood component products industry. These valuable studies are available to all participating WCMA members.

Every dimension manufacturer knows how much a minor change in yield can affect his bottom line. According to the latest WCMA Cost-of-Doing-Business Study, the cost of materials (mostly lumber) now accounts for over 50 percent of the cost of producing component products. As a result, dimension manufacturers must focus on their yield improvement efforts to keep their costs down and remain profitable in a highly competitive market.

In an effort to assist our members in this area, the WCMA has undertaken a yield benchmarking study. The USDA Forest Service is working with the WCMA to identify industry-best practices in the area of rough mill yield. They have been working with WCMA member companies to establish optimum yield goals and practices. This will allow dimension manufacturers to set yield targets and focus their yield improvement efforts.

WCMA meetings and seminars

The 1997 WCMA Annual Meeting is scheduled for April 26-29 in Marco Island, FL and the 1998 Annual Meeting will be held in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Our annual meetings include an educational program designed to cover important topics of interest to dimension manufacturers including:

* Cost accounting methods and procedures;

* Yield improvement opportunities and techniques;

* Forest resource and environmental issues;

* Component industry market trends and forecasts;

* Technological advances in machinery and equipment;

* Complying with government regulations;

* Worker safety, health and productivity; and

* Export market trends and opportunities.

Plant tours

Every fall, WCMA members tour the production facilities of several dimension and related woodworking companies. These plant tours provide WCMA members with a unique opportunity to observe other woodworking manufacturing operations and exchange ideas in a friendly atmosphere. Whenever possible, educational seminars are conducted in conjunction with our plant tour events to keep our members up-to-date on current production technologies and methods. The 1996 WCMA Plant Tour Event will be held in central Wisconsin, October 6-8.

Industry challenges

The single most important issue facing our industry is the availability of the timber resource. Environmental concerns will continue to put pressure on our government to set aside more public forestlands for parks, recreation, environmental conservation and other non-industrial uses. This presents our industry with an opportunity to educate the general public on our ability to provide needed and useful wood products while sustaining our forests for future generations. We must convince the public, the press and our government that the United States has adequate timber resources to manufacture our products while meeting the need for environmental, recreational and other uses of our forestlands.

To help us lower our costs and utilize more of our forest resources, we must encourage the consumer to accept the natural character marks of wood. The consumer needs to understand that uniformity of wood is man-made, whereas variations in the wood are a "natural" part of the wood. If consumers will accept more knots, color differences and other natural variations in the wood, we can conserve our natural resources and save trees. Now is the time to take advantage of the growing conservation effort to educate the ultimate consumer and our customers on the importance of accepting sound, but character-enhanced wood. By doing so, our industry can utilize more of the abundant intermediate grades and lesser-used species. This will help us conserve our natural resources and better utilize our existing forestlands.

The WCMA is attempting to help the dimension and components industry meet these challenges by conducting educational programs to improve lumber yields and production efficiency; mounting grass-roots efforts to respond to environmental criticism of the forest products industry; and joining with other wood products trade associations to promote the use of wood products and to fight unwarranted legislation and government regulations.

Technological advances

The growth of the hardwood dimension and components industry has stimulated investment in new technology. Woodworking machinery and equipment manufacturers are responding to the need for equipment to produce quality products and conserve the wood resource. For example, new computerized optimizing saws permit woodworkers to improve yields and output. Many WCMA member companies have also added fingerjointing and CNC machining capabilities.

These technological improvements have greatly increased labor productivity and improved product quality while utilizing the forest resource more efficiently. This has made our industry more competitive in the global marketplace. There is vast potential for the wood component products industry, and it could well be the fastest growing segment of the wood products industry in the years to come.


* To promote a friendly exchange of ideas among those engaged in the dimension manufacturing business;

* To develop and promote a general demand for the industry's products and services;

* To collect and distribute useful economic and technical information concerning industry trends and developments;

* To serve as a Business Referral Clearinghouse by responding to sales inquiries received from dimension and component buyers and passing this information on to our members;

* To establish and maintain standard rules for the measurement and inspection of dimensioned wood products; and

* To cooperate and interact with other wood product trade groups and appropriate government agencies to promote and protect the interests of our industry.


AUGUST 22-25 1996: Exhibiting at International Woodworking, Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair (IWF '96), Atlanta, GA.

SEPTEMBER 22-26, 1996: Exhibiting at the Association of Suppliers to the Furniture Industry (ASFI) Show, Birmingham, England.

OCTOBER 6-8 1996: WCMA Plant Tour Event, central Wisconsin.

NOVEMBER 27-30, 1996: Exhibiting at International Furniture Fair Tokyo '96, Tokyo, Japan.

APRIL 26-29, 1997: WCMA's 68th Annual Meeting, Marco Island Hilton Resort, Marco Island, FL.

MAY 2-6 1997: Exhibiting at Interzum '97 Show, Cologne, Germany.

AUGUST 1-4, 1997: Exhibiting at Woodworking, Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair, Anaheim, CA.

Steve Lawser, CAE, is Executive Director of Wood Component Manufacturers Association (formerly the National Dimension Manufacturers Association), Marietta, Georgia
COPYRIGHT 1996 Vance Publishing Corp.
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Title Annotation:National Dimension Manufacturers Association
Author:Lawser, Steve
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jul 1, 1996
Previous Article:What to expect in CNC machining centers at IWF '96.
Next Article:Rules and specifications for dimension and woodwork.

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