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11 ways tech investments improve manufacturing: WOD 100 Strategies for Success

The WOOD 100 is an annual report that showcases the successful strategies of 100 North American wood products manufacturers to grow their businesses in various industry markets. One of the common themes among the 2023 WOOD 100 honorees is the investment in technology to enhance productivity, quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. Here are some of the ways these companies leveraged technology to achieve their goals.

CNC machines and software

Many WOOD 100 companies invested in CNC machines and software to automate and optimize their production processes. For example, Cabinet Concepts by Design, a custom cabinet and closet manufacturer, increased its sales by 25.6% by adding a CNC router, a CNC saw, and Cabinet Vision software. Majestic Woodworking, a custom millwork and furniture company, boosted its sales by 31.3% by upgrading its CNC equipment and software, including a new five-axis CNC router and Microvellum software. Woodland Cabinetry, a semi-custom cabinet manufacturer, improved its sales by 15.8% by implementing a new ERP system and adding a CNC edgebander and a CNC boring machine.

Digital marketing and e-commerce

Another way that WOOD 100 companies enhanced their market presence and customer reach was through digital marketing and e-commerce platforms. For instance, [Closet Factory], a closet and home organization franchise, grew its sales by 16.7% by launching a new website, increasing its social media engagement, and creating online videos and webinars. [Countryside Amish Furniture], an online retailer of Amish-made furniture, increased its sales by 20.8% by expanding its product offerings, improving its website design and functionality, and implementing SEO and PPC strategies. [Woodcraft Industries], a wood components supplier, improved its sales by 12.5% by developing a new e-commerce website that allows customers to order custom products online.

11 ways tech investments improve manufacturing: WOD 100 Strategies for Success

Robotics and automation

Some WOOD 100 companies also invested in robotics and automation to reduce labor costs, increase output, and ensure quality control. For example, [Columbia Forest Products], a hardwood plywood manufacturer, increased its sales by 10.9% by installing robotic arms for veneer grading and stacking. [MJB Wood Group], a wood products distributor, improved its sales by 11.1% by adding automated packaging lines and robotic palletizing systems. [Wood-Mode Inc.], a custom cabinet manufacturer, boosted its sales by 13.6% by implementing robotic sanding machines and automated finishing systems.

Cloud computing and data analytics

Cloud computing and data analytics were also among the technologies that WOOD 100 companies used to streamline their operations, enhance their decision making, and monitor their performance. For example, [Leland Thomasset], a custom cabinet and closet manufacturer, increased its sales by 52.5% by hiring a marketing firm to create a new website and standardize its brand across all social platforms. The firm also created a step-by-step marketing playbook and used cloud-based tools to track the results. [Huntwood Industries], a custom cabinet manufacturer, improved its sales by 14.3% by using cloud-based software to manage its inventory, production, scheduling, shipping, and invoicing. [Stiles Machinery], a woodworking machinery supplier, boosted its sales by 15.4% by offering cloud-based services such as remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance, and data analysis.

Innovation and R&D

Finally, WOOD 100 companies also invested in innovation and R&D to develop new products, processes, and solutions that meet the changing needs of their customers and markets. For example, [Genesis Products Inc.], a laminate panel and wood components manufacturer, grew its sales by 21.4% by investing in marketing and listening to customers’ needs then developing products and processes to meet them in their supply chain.

The company also made significant investments recently in thermofoil, miter, and cap-and-dowel Shaker cabinet door fabrication. It also acquired two companies: BHK Drawers and Funder TFL. [Saunders Wood Specialties Inc.], a laminated and veneered components manufacturer, increased its sales by 37.2% by offering interactive 3D tours on its website that showcase its capabilities and products. [Advanced Cabinet Systems], a casework manufacturer for education, health care, laboratory, retail markets etc., improved its sales by 16.9% by developing new products such as mobile workstations for health care workers.

These are just some of the examples of how WOOD 100 companies leveraged technology to improve their manufacturing and grow their businesses. To read more about the WOOD 100 strategies for success, visit the [Woodworking Network] website.

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