The first time I ever went to the International Woodworking Fair was back in 2006. I went with my dad and my brother. At the time I still had a very young company with only a couple employees and no automation.
I don’t think I can express how overwhelming it was to go into that show and see the amount of machinery, equipment, services and software. You name it, if it pertained to the woodworking industry, it was there, and it was there in many different forms. Whether it was several booths or a huge booth that was the size of my shop at the time, it was a sight to behold.
Every other year IWF is in Atlanta and I’ve been back every year since then, except one. Every year I go, I continue to learn more about our industry and get a peak at the trends that are coming up with software, machinery, and equipment. It’s always great to keep an eye on those things.
But what I’m thinking about this year is the fact that this is the first year we will have our own booth at IWF. I’m getting that same overwhelming feeling I had the first time I went, but this time around, with much more excitement.
A Picture of Growth
IWF is a literal picture of what we talk about so often in terms of your options when it comes to growing and scaling your shop. The goal is to grow and scale your shop to make more money with the smallest amount of capital investment.
Ultimate Cabinet Components is an outsourced provider of cabinet parts striving to help shop owners grow their operation. The Ultimate Cabinet Components booth at IWF will be 10 x 15 booth, one of the smallest you can get at the show, which requires the smallest amount of capital.
If you look at some of the bigger booths there, they may be several thousand square feet in size with so many machines in them, you could spend a whole day in one booth. These larger booths also strive to help you increase your capacity.
What I want you to keep in mind, which you can see a physical picture of at IWF, is the costs associated with different types of growth. You can go to those big booths and spend all the money you can imagine on machinery, software, or robotics but you have to think about the associated costs, carrying costs, insurance costs that will come with increasing your capacity in that way. At the end of the day you are just buying capacity. You are making your operation bigger so you can handle more work. After all, the goal is to be able to handle more work. So you either pay for that expansion through working capital like leases, loans, etc OR you expand your capacity through outsourcing, which would likely require much less capital investment.
Both avenues to expanding have their pros and there is much to learn from the exciting things happening at the large booths at IWF. However, before making a large capital purchase of machinery just to gain capacity, I would urge everyone to at least explore the benefits of outsourcing and see if it could be the right thing for your operation. Research the When, Why and How to Increasing Shop Capacity and make sure you make an informed decision that gets your shop where you want it to be.
See you there!
At Ultimate Cabinet Components we strive to help shops double their capacity with no additional investment. This year at IWF make sure to visit us at booth 557.
There we can teach you the fundamentals of growing and scaling your cabinet shop, you can touch and feel some of our cabinet components which use the Lockdowel method, and you take a look at our online ordering method and see for yourself how easy it is to order online.
I have guest passes available for IWF which can get you into the show for FREE. Comment on this post on our Facebook page if you are interested. (Limited quantity available!)