Volume 13, Issue 2 - March 2012


Moulding & Millwork
Moulding The Future

Interviewing the Presidents
MMPA Execs Speak to Future of Market by

Kellie Schroeder

kelli@wmmpa.com

For this month’s MMPA column, DWM turned the tables on Moulding the Future columnist Kellie Schroeder, MMPA executive director, and asked some questions of her, along with MMPA president, Les Baker of Best Moulding. For more thoughts from Schroeder, as well as others in the industry, see article on page 54.

DWM/Shelter: What is the single most important thing your members are positive about in the year ahead?

Schroeder:
The possibility of increased housing starts. We have experienced several years of flat performance in single-family construction. If the foreclosure activity recedes, 2012 may see a small bump in starts which would set a positive tone for the year.

Baker:
The most positive outlook as we enter the new year may just be the amount of time that has passed since the recession started. Statistics demonstrate that the recession won’t last forever, and each day/month that passes is a day closer to the end of the recessionary cycle.

DWM/Shelter: What is the single thing you are most worried about?

Schroeder:
A flooding of foreclosures into the marketplace making short sales the highlight of real estate investing rather than new home purchasing—a trend the housing sector has had to wade through for more than 24 months. An under-valued home is appetizing to the first time buyer or real estate investor. This scenario does not bode well for new moulding and millwork to be sold into the marketplace.

Baker:
We all remain concerned about the poor housing market, inundation of foreclosures, and banks holding tight on mortgage lending. The remodeling market has been the saving grace for most manufacturers, and any dip in this would certainly be cause of concern for many.

DWM/Shelter: Several moulding suppliers have gone out of business in the past few years. What must companies do to make sure they don’t join the ranks of those companies?

Schroeder:
In order to survive, the moulding manufacturer must stay in front of a receding order file and his customers. It takes a tenacious manufacturer who is open to all avenues of opportunity to remain a viable company in today’s market. We are several years into this depressed housing market—our manufacturers have snipped, cut, and chewed off as much as they can from their bottom line. Raw materials, administrative and benefit plan costs continually increase, but overall sales have decreased. Those who make it to December 31 will have completely renovated their customer engagement tactics and expanded their sales reach; a company should not allow a border to define where or how they do business.

Baker:
Over the last four years, most manufacturers have taken a close look at their operations to increase efficiency and decrease costs, including cutting overhead, consolidating, eliminating benefits, etc. Today, it’s about ensuring that you are providing quality product and service to the distributors, just-in-time shipments — and realizing that we are all in this together.

DWM/Shelter: What is the one simple thing that companies can be doing to market themselves that they may be forgetting?


Schroeder:
Simple product promotion pieces placed in this magazine, for example, can be very rewarding exposure to a manufacturer. Most of our member manufacturers approach marketing thinking it must be a slick, bells-and-whistle campaign for anyone to take notice. I believe the written word in a simple paragraph outlining a new product has real value. Manufacturers who do not employ a marketing manager or have a marketing department may be overwhelmed when it comes to trying to promote their products. A well-written paragraph submitted to a magazine— which also may be included in an electronic newsletter—would take no more than 30 minutes to write, edit and then e-mail to an editor. There is no excuse not to promote a product line, one small paragraph at a time.

Kellie Schroeder is executive director of the Moulding and Millwork Producers Association in Woodland, Calif.


DWM

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