A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members April 17, 2008
Professional Development

Get in the Driver’s Seat of Your Profits; AWI “Money Matters” Seminar Puts You There

If you invested 16 hours of time out of more than 2,000 hours you spend annually on your business to improve your bottom line by even 1%, isn’t that a good return on your investment? If you answered “yes,” you have a long-term vision because that 1% will be compounded over time.  Put the AWI “Money Matters” Seminar on May 8 AND the AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey and Report to work for you.

Gain the “Profit Power” you need to develop the formula for successful financial management strategies. It’s a vital part of your business that can be ignored when business is good.  It’s a critical part of your business when times are uncertain or dictated by economic conditions over which you have little or no control.

“Money Matters: Understanding Your Profit and Making it Work for You” will deliver 13 money-making management tools at this new AWI financial management session. During this full day session, gain a better understanding of your manufacturing costs of material and labor; understand the costs and returns on sales; discover new meaning in your balance sheet; learn about best practices in money management, including cash flow; examine trend analysis techniques; learn how to participate and use the AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey to extract valuable assets from this unique AWI management tool; and much more. In addition, receive an added bonus – complimentary copies of The Great Game of Business and A Stake in the Outcome.

Whether your participation in the AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey occurs before this seminar or follows it, you’ll learn more about how to participate in the survey and how to use the results of this unique AWI resource.  Return to your business with practical tips you can put to use right away.
 
The “Money Matters” seminar is a component of the Spring AWI Professional Development Program, May 8-9, 2008 in Falls Church, VA.  For more details and to register, click here.

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Turn Relationship Building & Communications into Profitable Sales; AWI “Sales & Marketing” Seminar Shows How

Because Life’s a Sales Call, you have numerous opportunities to create and build relationships and turn them into new business opportunities and new projects through communications. Learn how at the “Sales & Marketing” Seminar on May 9, 2008.  Check out how one AWI member tripled gross sales within four years after putting Jack’s principles to work. 

Principles that Work
Jack Warkenthien, founder of Next Step Solutions, provides custom sales solutions to a wide range of growing companies.  The firm’s clients range from visionary businesses that are challenged by expanding opportunities or cutbacks in staff.  Take your marketing and sales program to the next level.  Learn how to make everyone in your firm an effective “Business Ambassador” by enhancing communications and relationship skills.

Next Step Solutions provides the kind of sales, marketing, service and leadership training that has produced quantifiable and measurable results for nearly a dozen years. AWI members have engaged his firm to implement successful changes for their companies. 

What One AWI Member Says
“I jokingly credit Jack Warkenthein with saving our business when we needed it most!  But all joking aside, he did make a difference. After a seminar of Jack’s in Denver I changed my approach and attitude about ‘selling’ in our market. It's not all about the ‘hard bid.’ Using his approach about ‘relationship selling,’ I brought in projects that took our sales and profits to levels we had never achieved, actually never imagined we would achieve. We over doubled the profits and tripled gross sales within four years, and continue to grow today. Jack did not do it, but his approach to selling though relationships is what got the ball rolling,” said Matt Lundahl of Meyer and Lundahl.

You too can benefit by implementing Jack’s approach to marketing and sales.  For more details and to register today, click here. Both “Sales & Marketing” and “Money Matters” programs will be held in Falls Church, VA, 20 minutes from downtown Washington, DC and both major airports in Virginia.

 
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Crisis or Opportunity? Conference on Sustaining and Strengthening Forest-Based Industries

Register now to attend the "Crisis or Opportunity? Sustaining and Strengthening Forest-Based Industries in the Great Lakes Region Conference," June 23-25, 2008 in Madison, WI. 
 
This conference is convened by the Great Lakes Forest Alliance, Inc. in cooperation with 18 sponsoring organizations, to raise awareness and identify actions to enhance forest-based industries and the role they play in sustaining the region's economy, environment, and quality of life.
 
Among the list of notable speakers, the conference will feature: Bill Ginn of The Nature Conservancy speaking on “Conservation in Partnership with Business” and Patrick Moore of Greenspirit Strategies, Ltd. addressing the topic, “Trees Are the Answer.”

View the conference agenda at www.greatforests.org.  The program will be held at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, WI.  To register, visit www.greatforests.org.
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Association News

AWI CODB Survey Period Opens; Participate, Simplified Reporting System Introduced for 2008

Simpler? Yes!  Easier to participate? Yes!  Easier to relate the information to architectural woodwork manufacturing?  Yes!  A more valuable tool for your business?  Yes!  Find out why and how the 2008 AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey has been improved.

The 2008 CODB Survey has been dramatically improved in two ways for 2008 not only to shorten the reporting process for AWI Manufacturing Members but also to expand the value of the final report for participants. The reporting lines have been reduced from 44 to 18 and the grouping of items will make the information easier to compare with averages in the survey results.  Take a chance and participate in 2008; it will take far less time to complete the survey – guaranteed!

In response to members who have been hesitant to commit the time to complete the survey, two AWI Past Presidents, Yves Des Marais of Hollywood Woodwork, Inc. and Scott Nelson of Central Plains Millwork, worked with Inverra – the survey developer – to improve the reporting system.  Both AWI members (and hundreds of other AWI Manufacturing Members) understand the value of committing whatever time it takes for the end result, a tool for measuring their firms’ operating costs that are vital for managing a company’s financial health, operating efficiencies and profits. However, AWI also understands the demands on woodworkers’ time that may limit their participation in the CODBS, even if it can lead to reduced costs and increased profits down the road.

Putting the Information to Use
Says Des Marais, “The CODBS is a unique, industry specific tool that allows you to compare your business with others, to find out what you are doing right and where you need to improve and to benchmark employee compensation and benefits.”

How does Scott Nelson use the CODB survey information? “It is the tool I use to develop margins and markups for estimating,” Scott says.  “The survey results help our Manufacturing Members compare their product pricing with industry averages and make necessary adjustments.  I also use the information on a regular basis when evaluating salaries for new hires and for keeping our salary structure competitive,” Scott says.

Participate in the survey. It is an investment that will more than pay you back for the time spent completing the CODBS.  And, this year, the time could be cut by 40%.  Click here for more details and instructions about data submission.  The 2008 CODB survey period closes on June 1.
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Are You Good Enough? All AWI Manufacturing Members Eligible for AOE Honors

The deadline for submission in the Spring AWI “Award of Excellence” Program is May 15, 2008. Become one of the many honorees whose architectural woodwork projects are featured in quarterly issues of Design Solutions, AWI’s official journal! 

Show off your outstanding project to architects and design professionals who may be searching for your kind of expertise and creativity. Click here for details and submission forms.

Like other auspicious honorees featured in the winter 2008 edition of Design Solutions, AWI Manufacturing Member, Architectural Wood of Roanoke, VA, enjoyed excellent media exposure.

Pictured here is one of the winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects in the quarterly AWI “Award of Excellence” competition – the casual dining area and lounge of the City Bar which features a glowing kiwi-color bar with glass panels, a three-inch Maple top that curves to the glass, and lights that shine patterns across the floor.  The woodwork was fabricated by Architectural Wood.

Photo Credit:: David Hungate, Roanoke, VA
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New AWI Members Use Coupons for AWI Education Programs

Cash in that coupon you received when you joined AWI as a new member. Don’t let it expire before receiving a substantial credit toward one of AWI’s education programs.

All new AWI Manufacturing Members receive a coupon that can be redeemed toward registration fees that apply for the 2008 Spring AWI Professional Development Program, May 8-9, 2008 in Falls Church, VA.

Not sure if the coupon has expired?  Find out about the terms of redemption by contacting AWI Membership Coordinator Christine Hopkins at chopkins@awinet.org.  When used to register for AWI’s Professional Development Program, you are accessing a vital membership benefit that can help you grow your business.  Isn’t it worth it?
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Industry News

Small Business Optimism Fell in March

Prospects for small businesses seem dim, according to a recent National Federation of Independent Business survey of economic trends.  NFIB says the survey produced the lowest quarterly reading since the second quarter of 1980.

What are “the recession readings” the NFIB Chief Economist sees?  Click here to take a look at the survey results relating to employment, capital expenditures, inventory, sales and more.  However, “there is no evidence that credit problems have appeared on Main Street.”
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Green Scene

GSA Opens Office of High-Performance Green Buildings

The U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) new Office of High-Performance Green Buildings was established recently to ensure that all federal buildings meet new energy efficiency standards mandated by recent law. 

According to a report in GlobeSt.com, GSA has earned a LEED® rating for 24 buildings.  The GSA is tasked with reducing fuel consumption in all new buildings and major renovations by 55%. 

 
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Member News

Bernhard Woodwork Honored by A.R.E. for Store Fixture Fabrication

On March 18, Bernhard Woodwork, Ltd. of Northbrook, IL, was recognized by the Association for Retail Environments (A.R.E.) (formerly NASFM) in conjunction with the association’s 37th Anniversary celebration in Chicago. 

A.R.E. recognized 43 projects for “innovation and quality of retail environment designs.”  Among them Bernhard Woodwork produced one of 12 Global projects that was selected for a Grand Prize in the category “Softline Shop within a Store” for Saks Fifth Avenue’s 8th Floor Shoe Department at the flagship store in downtown New York City.  Bernhard Woodwork has been an AWI Manufacturing Member since 1985. Congratulations!

 

One of 12 A.R.E. Grand Prize winners, Bernhard Woodwork furnished grey aniline dyed Tamo wood from Italy for all of the shoe displays as well as significant amounts of stainless steel, granite, custom upholstery and glass incorporated into the fixturing.  The project was featured on Good Morning America which broadcast from the newly opened department this past spring. 

Photo Credit: Richard Caden Photography, Brooklyn, NY
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Regulatory Issues

IRS To Issue Guidance on Special 50% Depreciation Allowance

The IRS has announced that it will issue guidance for businesses on how the special 50% depreciation allowance that was included in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 can be used to make capital investments this year. Until the guidance is issued, businesses may rely on the regulations previously issued regarding bonus depreciation.

The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 provided a significant tax incentive for businesses to make capital investments by adding a special 50% depreciation allowance for qualifying purchases. This special “bonus depreciation” allowance is available to all businesses and applies to most types of tangible personal property and computer software acquired and placed in service in 2008. It allows taxpayers to deduct 50% of the cost of qualifying property in addition to the regular depreciation allowance that is normally available.

The upcoming guidance will also cover the new increased limits that businesses can expense under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. Generally, the new law set a limit of $250,000 that a business can expense during 2008, up from the limit previously set for 2008 of $128,000. A detailed description of the business provisions contained in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 is available in IRS Publication 553, Highlights of 2007 Tax Changes.
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In the Chapters

Chapter News

AWI chapters are on the move.  Check out recent activities of the AWI Carolinas Chapter with SkillsUSA North Carolina and the chapter’s new Web site.  Learn more about progress being made, such as new Web sites, successful programs, elections, and other chapter news.

SkillsUSA North Carolina
The AWI Carolinas Chapter is active in North and South Carolina SkillsUSA state conferences and competitions.  For the North Carolina event, the chapter had seven competitors in the woodworking competition from around the state. The winners were: 1st -  Barrett Beale from Franklin High School in Franklin, NC ; 2nd - Andrew Prioli from Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough and; 3rd - Timothy Keating from Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough. The competitors had to build a small cabinet in six hours using tools and materials provided by the chapter.  The SkillsUSA North Carolina Conference took place April 14-16, 2008.  Check the chapter’s Web site, www.awicarolinas.org, in the coming weeks for more information and the sponsors who supported this effort.  The chapter is looking forward to the SkillsUSA South Carolina Conference and to the competition on April 18.

New Web site 
The AWI Carolinas Chapter recently launched its Web Site, www.awicarolinas.org.  It is still evolving, but Kristine Cox, chapter Vice President, asks members and non-members to check it often for news about chapter activities and programs. Congratulations on the launch!
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Chapter Events Ahead

What’s happening in local architectural woodwork communities?  See what the AWI Wisconsin, Central Pennsylvania, Colorado, Great Lakes, Carolinas and Chicago (with corrected information) Chapters are planning.

Check out the informative AWI chapter programs sponsored in your area. Tap into your local AWI chapter for vital information that can help your business grow and put you in touch with fellow AWI architectural woodworkers and suppliers.

AWI Wisconsin Chapter
When: April 29, 2008 (3:00 pm meeting; 5:00 – 6:30 pm program)
What: Plant Tour of Bisley Fabrication Inc. and Chapter Board Meeting
Where: Perkins Restaurant and tour in Gresham, WI
Registration: Free, reservation requested before April 24, 2008
Information: Click here
Questions & Reservations: Dave Nadolski at dnadolski@ajpietsch.com or call 414.342.0531

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter
When: May 1, 2008 (2:00 - 4:00 pm)
What: “Hardwood = LEED® = Sustainability Success” program and Table top Displays
Presenter: Margaret Fisher, Saunders Wood Specialties
Registration: $30 Chapter/AWI Members; $50 Non-chapter/non AWI members
Information: Click here
Questions: Garry Astles, President Central PA Chapter, gastles@northwayind.com

AWI Colorado Chapter
When: May 8, W008 (12:00 noon – till)
Program: Plant Tours (KGH Euro Windows, Robinson Brick, Precision Interiors) & Dinner at Red & Jerry’s
Questions: Rick Desimone, rickd@goldplanecabinets.com

Forest Products Society - Great Lakes Section
When:  May 13, 2008
What: “Green 2008 & Beyond”
Presenters: Include several AWI Great Lakes Chapter members
Where:  Holiday Inn, Lansing, MI
Cost: $135 FPS Members; $35 Students
Questions: Alan at Applegate@paladinind.com, 616.698.7495

AWI Carolinas Chapter
When: May 16, 2008
What: “All About OSHA” – what to expect from an OSHA inspection, how to prepare for one, and how to deal with the aftermath of an inspection
Presenter: Representative of Builders Mutual Insurance Company
Where: Kingston Plantation, www.kingstonplantation.com
Registration: Call 843.499.0006

AWI Chicago Chapter
When: May 21, 2008 (CORRECTED DATE & INFORMATION)
What: Plant Tour of Pierce Laminated Products, Inc. and ONSITE, Inc.
Where: Rockford, IL
Information: Call Homer Lathrop or Don Lupa at 815.561.9700

 
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Safety Matters

New Webinar Focuses on Personal Protective Equipment

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers that they have until May 15, 2008 to comply with OSHA's new Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment rule. A Webinar on April 23 hosted by the National Safety Council offers employers insights about meeting the requirements.

To help clarify OSHA's PPE Standard, the NSC Webinar on April 23, 2008 will run from 10:00 a.m.  to 11:00 a.m. CST. Jim Maddux from OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance will present a 60-minute interactive Web-based seminar that explains the guidelines OSHA published in this regulation. In addition, he will answer questions on compliance with the PPE Standard during the live Q&A session.

To register, visit the NSC Web site or call NSC Customer Service at 800.621.7615.
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Safety Tip Challenge: Prizes Offered for Best Job Safety Tips 

Seeking safety tips from AWI Manufacturing Members, including employees of AWI member firms...enter your tips in the Safety Tip Challenge.  Encourage your employees to submit safety tips – get them involved!

Each winner receives a beautiful Starrett Model S909Z combination square valued at almost $300, compliments of the AWI Safety Committee and our partner in risk management, CNA Insurance.

Click here to enter the Safety Tip  Challenge.

AWI Manufacturing Members are encouraged to post in their shops the attached Safety Tip Challenge” flyer.  Invite employees to participate; they could win a prize, and tips submitted could help you maximize safety on the job AND limit your insurance costs. See the attached flyer for details about how the Safety Tips Challenge works.  Safety pays!
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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published May 8, 2008. 

 
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Founded in 1953, AWI is a nonprofit organization representing over 3,500 manufacturers, suppliers, and design professionals in the architectural woodwork industry.

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