IWF Education: “Houston, we have a problem” – Important Lesson on Remote Support

4. June 2020 08:57

By: Travis Haynam, Vice President of Segments within the Extraction and Filtration Technology division: Nederman Corporation 

In April of 1970, the Apollo 13 mission suffered a critical system failure while performing a routine maintenance procedure. This was two days into their mission and 200,000 miles from Earth leaving the three astronauts in a perilous situation. Back on Earth, NASA engineers on Earth scrambled to support them using the crew’s local data and a replica lunar module located in Houston. Their remote collaboration allowed them to identify a solution and return the crew safely to the Earth.

50 years later in the midst of a global pandemic, many factories find themselves in a similar situation where there is potential for a critical system or piece of equipment to malfunction and there would not be an opportunity for qualified service technicians to come on-site and assist with trouble-shooting or perform repairs. Fortunately, today’s technology with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has made the ability for remote monitoring and support accessible.

Equipping our machinery and processes with sensors with support from application and product experts not only enables troubleshooting after an event happens, but rather can alert factories before it happens and avoid the critical failure altogether. While NASA used a physical replica, IIoT creates a digital replica that factories and manufacturers can use to collaborate and quickly arrive at solutions to keep production efficient and safe.

So how are you planning to use IIoT to prepare your factory for an increased need to work effectively remotely? Nederman Insight is an IIoT platform designed specifically for monitoring critical performance and operational parameters associated with industrial filtration systems critical for machine operation and plant safety.

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IWF Education: Advantages of Digital Printing

3. June 2020 10:29

By: Mark Joel, Hymmen North America

The number of applications in use at the real market shows that many companies have not yet realized the options of digital printing for their business.

These are not only based on the industrial production capacities which are enabled by the digital printing by Hymmen. The production of smaller batch sizes on industrial level can be realized and set-up times are minimized  and storage costs are reduced. There is no overproduction necessary, logistics costs are reduced, there is less material loss and the internal passage time is reduced. Finally, the digital processing of decors opens a wide field of new design options (register lengths, colors, depths of detail ...). Embedded in the existing process chains of the decor industry and a short time to market the digital printing makes a quick reaction on market trends and customer demands possible.

In the session, "Industrial Digital Printing – The Future of Decentralized Production of Decorative Surfaces" to be presented at IWF 2020 Education Conference, Mark Joel will explain why you should move from buying to producing decorative surfaces yourself. The Industrial Digital Printing is the future of the decentralized production of decorative surfaces.

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IWF Education: OSHA’s Top 10 Most Common Violations

2. June 2020 09:48
 

 Presented by:

 

 

Sponsored by: 

 

By: Matt Krig, Northland Woodworks Inc.

The following is a list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018. OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up. Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace.

  • Fall protection, construction
  • Hazard communication standard, general industry
  • Scaffolding, general requirements, construction
  • Respiratory protection, general industry
  • Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry
  • Ladders, construction
  • Powered industrial trucks, general industry
  • Fall Protection–Training Requirements
  • Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements
  • Eye and Face Protection

What can you do to be pro-active and prepare for your next OSHA inspection? Learn tips during the “Know your OSHA Inspection Rights”session at IWF 2020.

 

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.

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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: 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. 

IWF Education: After Covid-19 – Who Will be Left Standing?

1. May 2020 10:33

  

Christine Corelli offers 5 of her popular management sessions at IWF 2020. Learn more and register>>

» BMG12 -  Managing and Motivating Millennials - Plus Are You Ready for Gen Z?!

 » BMG13 - Are You a Boss? Or a Leader? - Would You Work for You?

 » BMG14 - Powering Up for Prosperity - A Program For Women in Leadership

» BMG15 - Business Has Changed - What Needs to Change in Your Business?

» BMG16 - How to Avoid the Family Owned Business Blues and Excel as a Family Owned Business

By: Christine Corelli, President: CHRISTINE CORELLI & ASSOCIATES, INC.

Considering the enormous challenges the coronavirus has brought upon manufacturers, cabinetry shops, other businesses in the woodworking industry, you can't help but wonder: Who will be left standing? 

When this is over, there will be ten characteristics that identify organizations that stood the test of time. These companies tackled the uncertainty of Covid-19 and employed sound business practices that ensured future business growth even in the most challenging business climate. The following are actions they may have taken. 

  1. Business slowed down, but strategic planning sessions sped up. The smartest people in their company, regardless of title or rank, participated in these sessions using video-conferencing. They looked at their business operations as if they were unbiased outside consultants. Together, they acknowledged the harsh realities their companies were facing and identified actions that would help drive business growth and ensure long-term profitability after the coronavirus and its implications ended. They knew they would have to accept that business has changed, and had to plan carefully, all the while realizing they would likely have to shift gears along the way if their plans or strategies did not get the desired outcome. They cut costs, and furloughed people, because they had no choice, but kept their people involved.

They addressed their company's strengths and weaknesses and identified critical action steps along the way to achieving their goals. They devised and implemented relationship strategies aimed at helping them win over customers. They focused on positioning their sales staff as their indispensable business partners to their customers and made sure their sales teams stayed in touch with prospects and past customers to offer any help or advice. Most importantly, they changed the way they think, accepted and adapted to the dramatic changes that were occurring, and made a group commitment to meet their challenges head-on. The vowed not to get stuck in the past and to help all employees become positive about the future. To ensure regular commitment to the mission at hand, they planned periodic meetings with their workforce and management retreats to evaluate progress. 

  1. Complacency was the enemy.The successful companies challenged the Status Quo and took risks – not frivolously, but supported by rational decision-making. They researched top-performing woodworking companies, encouraged idea-sharing among employees working from home by offering rewards for the best ideas – even from the ones they had to lay-off. They adopted even bolder marketing and advertising strategies, branded their customer service, and competitively funded their communications campaigns. They figured out how to reinvent their entire business to become nimble, more flexible, more customer-focused, and more diversified. They promoted their environmental consciousness in their marketing and public relations campaigns. 
  1. They became value-added companies.  They realized and exploited the fact that much of the value they provided to customers was not only the quality of products and work but the superior knowledge they had to offer. They became value-added organizations, knowing how critical their expertise was to their bottom line. They helped their customers far more than any competitor, knowing that customers appreciated it during tough times. They talked to customers and reached agreement on priorities, actions, and outcomes. They established a VIP program for loyal customers who stuck with them. 
  1. They got serious about customer service.Every single aspect of the customer experience was analyzed. Service flaws were identified, and plans were made to eliminate them fast! Systems and procedures were streamlined so that the business ran like a well-oiled machine. Product support staff knew their performance was critical to the success and profitability of their organizations. Management made sure they understood their customers' business so they could anticipate their needs. They consistently brainstormed and implemented ways to improve their customers’ experience and upped the Wow Factor, keeping in mind that no detail was too small. They planned on how to put the “WOW” factor into their delivery of service. No detail was too small. 

Sales, marketing, and customer service departments worked hand-in-hand using video-conferencing. Together, the company and its people developed an obsession to deliver their best performance--with every customer, every day. They made plans to establish an even better reputation for consistently exceptional service. They knew customer confidence would increase, revenue would increase, and customers would become loyal advocates who helped spread the word.

  1. Technology helped these companies work faster than their competitors and closer to customers.They escalated their use of social media. Creativity was applied with each and every tweet, blog, Facebook post and You-Tube video. Their websites were far superior to their competitors and optimized for the highest search engine placement. Video clips were on their main page, throughout their site, and on how’ tos. They recognized great content was key. No stone was left unturned.
  1. They became learning organizations and learned faster than their competitors.They were constantly striving to improve their skills because they knew that when business was slow it might be the best time. Webinars were provided. Their sales teams studied and mastered every single aspect of Sales 101 and advanced sales training on negotiation, sales communication, and presentation skills. They became masters at building relationships with potential and existing customers. Leadership training was mandatory to ensure everyone would lead in the same way. Sales managers learned how to manage and motivate their teams.
  1. Every person in the company lived and breathed its core values.All leaders and employees consistently demonstrated and operated from the core values of honesty, integrity, teamwork, respect, excellence, accountability, social and environmental consciousness, health, safety, family, and other values intrinsic to their company's culture. Leaders recognized that employees observed their actions and behaviors during challenging times. They led by example, spoke with confidence, and set the tone for their employees to follow. Salespeople learned the exact words and phrases to influence customers to buy. 
  1. Executives and managers treated their people the same way they treat their best customers. Setting a good example as a servant leader was a strong key to their success. They fully realized that Businesses don't do business. People do business. It is the people in a company who will or will not carry an organization into a successful future.

Dynamic leadership, sales and customer service excellence and employee involvement in creating a high-performance culture became organizational cornerstones. Reward and recognition (including unexpected small monetary rewards) were also part of their culture. These companies had a Zero Tolerance for Bad Bosses. They knew that having great bosses and creating a great place to come to work each day was the best way to keep people motivated and performing at their best.

  1. Execution was a substantial part of their competitive strategy.The strong companies represented recognized that knowing what should be done and actually doing it are two very different things. They mastered the art of execution and established specific criteria for measuring excellence and ensuring accountability. Managers and employees were held to established service standards in every aspect of every role.
  1. They did not stop believing in themselves, their businesses, their people and a better future. They kept their eye on the prize.They had only one goal – to emerge from the fray as the winner, with their business stronger, more vibrant and, more prosperous that before, and with solid prospects for continued future growth and success. Successful companies took all of these steps, and many, many more—including other strategies and tactics learned they learned during educational sessions at IWF Atlanta.

You've Seen the Future—So What Will You Do?

The question you should be asking now is, "In the long run, will I still be standing? Am I doing the things now that will translate into a successful future? What do I need to change? What will happen if I don’t? 

If you are not sure of the answers, get moving on these ten strategies to help ensure your success for the long run. Overcoming the repercussions from the coronavirus won’t happen by itself. It takes the will power of an entire organization to succeed, and that starts at the top.         

To see more from Christine, register for one of the sessions she will presenting at the IWF 2020 Education Conference. Check out more about Christine and her sessions here. 

 ©Copyright, Christine Corelli & Associates

Christine an author, speaker, and consultant. She has been a popular presenter at past IWF events. To learn more, visit www.christinespeaks.com or call (847) 477-7376