Volume 47, Issue 1 - January/February 2008
In the news
by Don Houghton, Immediate past president of the Association of Millwork Distributors and president of Reeb Millwork. Mr. Houghton’s comments are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.
Don’t Just Stand There!
AMD Encourages Members to Be Innovative
This year definitely has provided our industry significant business challenges after experiencing so many years of steady growth. Unsold housing inventory is at a 16-year high. The trouble in the mortgage market is predicted to exacerbate the situation in the coming months. Foreclosures are commonplace. Fewer qualified buyers lead to fewer sales and lower prices. The downward trend for new construction starts is projected well into 2008 and possibly as long as 2009. This is a disaster for our industry, right? Well, I don’t think so.
Yes, there are markets that have been severely hit, while others continue to be doing just fine. Manufacturers, distributors and dealers all have different stories depending on their geographic location, the markets they serve and their ability to adjust their business plans. Our business capabilities will be tested and we will make the necessary adjustments. The long-range projections for new housing, as well as remodeling and repair expenditures, are strong and bode well for our industry long-term.
Time to Assess
As we adjust our businesses to our changing market climate, so has the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) seen the need to assess the course of the association once again.
Last year at this time, I was being interviewed by Shelter as I was about to become president of AMD. One of the questions asked was, “What are your most important priorities for the coming year?” I responded that once again AMD was going to go through a strategic planning process, which would help guide AMD until the year 2012 and that facilitating that process would be a top priority.
AMD’s board members, executive committee, past presidents and invited guests held a strategic planning meeting last March in Denver. After two days of intensely facilitated sessions, we completed the game plan for our strategic plan update and turned it over to the AMD staff to formalize.
The changes proposed required a re-write of AMD’s bylaws. At the AMD Annual Convention to be held in Denver, our membership will have to vote on the proposed bylaws. The new bylaws provide for associate members to serve in a board of director position and as an officer on the executive committee. This certainly recognizes the importance of associate members and gives them a greater voice in our future.
Increase in Value
It has been gratifying for me to see the tremendous strides our association has made over the years to provide increased value for our membership.
For example, the AMD Industry Standards and Certification Committee and Testing Certification Task Group have been involved in developing acceptable testing and reasonable building codes applicable to our industry.
Anyone who has attended the educational sessions at our annual convention will attest to their caliber and value. The webinar series offered this past year has been very well-received. The AMD educational curriculum has made relevant upgrades to our training and educational offerings.
Networking remains the most valued service we provide. Our members’ willingness to help, educate and share concerns and solutions continues to benefit our entire association. One favorite “networking” venue is AMD’s Top Management Leadership Conference. The 2008 conference will be held in Savannah, Ga., at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa, May 1-4, 2008. Guest speakers and presenters will be top notch once again.
The dynamics of our industry have changed and continue to change our potential for new members at AMD. The large number of consolidations, closings and manufacturers changing distribution policies have presented the membership committee significant challenges. AMD’s membership committee has done a wonderful job—though often constrained by our by-laws. Seeing the need, the board has approved changes that will enable our association to gain members and be a viable, strong association for our members for many years to come.
I’ll close with a quote from professional speaker and sales trainer Tom Hopkins, which applies to our businesses and to the AMD: “Look at your past. Your past has determined where you are at this moment. What you do today will determine where you are tomorrow. Are you moving forward or standing still?”
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