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Archive for July 2012

Roger Shaw & Associates to hold software training events in U.S.

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Roger Shaw & Associates Inc., a sales and marketing company representing software providers to the woodworking industry, recently launched its Regional Training Events throughout the U.S.

This series of two-day workshops provides training on Microvellum V7 Software by Toolbox training professionals. Attendees will set-up shop and participate in hands-on learning on how to apply advanced Microvellum features to real world projects.

More details and a listing of cities the Regional Training Events are being held in can be viewed at http://www.rogershaw.com/category/events/rte-events/.

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Written by cabinettrends

July 31, 2012 at 7:00 am

Maine manufacturing industry on the rise

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Maine’s manufacturing industry is seeing a recovery after a difficult last decade. That’s the conclusion of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce following a recent meeting as reported by BangorDailyNews.com. Several companies have seen an uptick in sales including Hinckley and Old Town Canoe.

Hinckley, a maker of luxury yachts, employed more than 200 workers at its production site in Trenton in 2005, according to plant manager Andy Fitzpatrick. The recession hit hard, and by 2009, they employed just 20 people in Trenton.

But the recession has boosted competition, and companies have had to be more inventive.

“We’ve seen a resurgence in the market,” Fitzpatrick said during Wednesday’s forum. “Hinckley has had to reinvent itself and focus on innovative, high-value products.”

Now Hinckley’s Trenton facility employs about 180 people. Altogether, the company has nine East Coast locations and employs 450 workers.

At the forum, Tim Magoon, director of operations at Old Town Canoe, spoke about how his company has reduced costs, the website reports. In 2009 they cut employee hours and had to relocate from their historic site at Middle Street Factory.

The new location taps into natural gas lines, so is inexpensive to heat. Included are energy-saving motion-detecting lights. “It’s all about energy right now,” Magoon told the website. “Old Town Canoe gave the composite canoe industry its start in the 1970s and needs to continue to evolve and innovate,” he said. “Being ahead of the curve is key to survival in manufacturing,”
Also speaking at the forum was John Karp, interim director of the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, an organization geared toward supporting small- and medium-sized manufacturing businesses. Karp is also CEO of Lewiston-based Bourgeois Guitars, which crafts high-end guitars.

“The company makes only about 400 guitars per year,” Karp said, “and relies heavily on creating instruments that are unique and desirable because of their high quality and production standards.”

“I’d say manufacturing is a great place to look for a career,” Karp said. “It’s strong and getting stronger. As the business climate improves and evolves, manufacturers will be searching for qualified engineers and craftsmen,” he said.

In agreement were Magoon and Fitzpatrick. Their companies have reached out to universities, colleges and technical schools seeking out qualified workers.

For example, Hinckley has partnered with Eastern Maine Community College. They have announced an upcoming woodworking and cabinetmaking program that Fitzpatrick hopes will recruit skilled workers.

Maine’s manufacturing industry will have to continue to apply innovation and cutting-edge practices with their products, budget, and facilities to reach their top-selling potential. So far, they are starting to make a comeback.

Written by cabinettrends

July 31, 2012 at 7:00 am

Leitz Tooling moves U.S. production to Grand Rapids, Mich.

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Leitz Tooling Systems will move its U.S. production of tooling from Jasper, Ind., to Grand Rapids, Mich.

Leitz will continue to operate a full-line service center at the Jasper facility after the production move.

“We are excited about the synergistic effect of uniting our US production facility and corporate headquarters and the benefits this will bring to our customers.” said Mike Lind, CEO. “As the industry leader, Leitz is committed to providing the finest tools, the quickest delivery times, and the lowest applied machining costs to woodworking companies throughout North America.”

Written by cabinettrends

July 31, 2012 at 7:00 am

AME to discuss manufacturing growth, skills gap in Tweet Chat

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The Association for Manufacturing Excellence posted a poll asking, “What do you think is the most effective way to grow manufacturing?”

AME will tabulate the answers over a month and announced them on Aug. 22, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET, in a Tweet Chat under the hashtag #AMESkillsGap. In addition to the poll results, industry members will discuss current issues such as the growing skills gap and a lack of educational programs designed to prepare future workers.

AME will announce industry members who will be participating in the Tweet Chat via its social media channels until Aug. 22. To receive updates or submit questions to the Tweet Chat participants in advance, follow AME on Twitter @AMEConnect.

Written by cabinettrends

July 31, 2012 at 7:00 am

Furniture sales slow although some stores up

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Despite the housing recovery and the improving economy, purchases of sofas, recliners and coffee tables have slowed for the first time in four months, according to BizJournals.com.

Summerville, S.C.-based America’s Research Group Ltd.’s Furniture Buying Index reported that sales slid by 4 points to 70 this month. This returned the index to the same level it hit in February, the website reports. Last year, it was at 73.

But Northeast Ohio furniture stores have seen an increase in sales, and said that people are still buying despite a slow recovery. One furniture store owner said that sales are up 8 percent over last year after dropping 30 percent between 2006 and 2009.

Written by cabinettrends

July 30, 2012 at 7:00 am

NARI remodelers forecast positive business outlook for 2012

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The National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s Second Quarterly Business Review shows NARI members believe the current business climate is slightly more positive than at the same time in 2011.

The research, which measures remodelers’ assessments of business conditions, found that NARI members forecast stronger sales growth in the next three months based on three factors: Postponement of projects (80 percent), low interest rates (50 percent) and improving home prices (35 percent). Additionally, NARI found an increase in number of inquiries, requests for bids and conversion of bids to jobs, and sales value of jobs sold over last year.

“There are clear indications that some of our NARI members believe that they have weathered the storm, and expect consumer confidence to return in a more consistent pace going forward,” says Kevin Anundson, NARI national secretary.

“People are aware that that their home values may not be as high as they once were, yet that only affects those that are forced to sell. Many homeowners have made the decision to remain in their home and are choosing to make improvements and increase their comfort and long-term living accommodations. This thought process allows them to be much less concerned about returns on investment and resale values,” says Anundson.

A homeowner poll conducted on NARI’s website (www.nari.org) in May 2012 found that 28 percent of homeowners planned on staying in their home up to five years longer because of the economy.

“As with most business owners, remodelers are only increasing staff when it makes good financial sense,” Anundson says. “We are actively striving to keep overhead low, while continuing to invest in effective marketing strategies. Even as the remodeling market improves, we have gained a new insight into the fluid nature of our national economy.”

Written by cabinettrends

July 30, 2012 at 7:00 am

World’s tiniest house raises lifestyle questions

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Architect Bo Le-Mentzal has designed the world’s smallest house, CNN reports.

The One-Square-Meter House is just large enough to sit in. When tilted on its side, it’s a place to sleep. There is a roof, a lockable door, a foldout desk and a window.

But what’s the purpose of a home with no bathroom, T.V., kitchen or space? Le-Mentzal says he wants us to stop and think about how we live.

“How much space do you really need to be happy?” he asked CNN. “I think one square meter is not enough for most people, but it makes you think about what you really need and what you don’t need.”

Le-Mentzal was a refugee from Laos who was adopted in Germany, where he grew up. He spent much of his life thinking about the meaning of the word “home.”

He told CNN that he doesn’t want to sell anything, and he is giving away the plans. Using common materials, the house can be built for about $300. He says he’s been contacted by governments and private citizens from Uzbekistan to California about the plans.

With the support of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, he plans to tour largely populated cities such as Mumbai and New York hosting workshops and instructing people on how to build their own One Square-Meter House. The only payment he requests is to hear people’s stories: why they built the house, and how it serves them.

“It’s a tiny space if you stay in that house the whole day,” Le-Mentzal told CNN. “But “if you define your house as kind of a central base, and declare the park as your garden or the city as your living room, this house is possibly the biggest house you can imagine.”

Le-Mentzal views the world’s tiniest house as a place of refuge. And in the future, he wants to create a mobile app that lets people find, unlock and temporarily claim the tiny houses that would be set up in public places from city to city.

“It would be great,” he said, “if someday you’d have an app on your iPhone, or your smartphone, where can say Where is the next one square meter of freedom in this place? I need to calm down or I need to concentrate. I need to pray or cry or whatever — I would just like to be by myself now for just a couple of minutes or for the whole night.'”

Written by cabinettrends

July 30, 2012 at 7:00 am

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