Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wood Products Mass Customization Workshops

Some of the nation’s top experts on Mass Customization for the wood products industry are coming to northern New England and New York to share their knowledge with owners and managers of the region’s wood manufacturing businesses in a series of one-day workshops.

Mass customization is a promising business model that uses advances in manufacturing and information technology to produce made-to-order items that fit a customer’s unique preferences, but which are manufactured with low cost and short lead times. The approach enhances the economic competitiveness of companies by helping them better serve their existing customer base, serve new market niches and protect against overseas competition.

The Regional Wood Products Consortium—an initiative of the wood products manufacturing industry in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and northern New York—will conduct specialized one-day innovation workshops on Mass Customization for the Wood Products Industry in late April and early May.

The Mass Customization Workshop is geared to leaders of small- and medium-sized wood products companies and will be repeated in five locations throughout the four-state region on the following dates:

April 26, 2011 – Augusta, ME
April 27, 2011 – Concord, NH
April 28, 2011 – Randolph Center, VT
May 10, 2011 – Utica, NY
May 11, 2011 – Glens Falls, NY

Each workshop will feature presentations by experts on the subject of mass customization as well as a local manufacturer who will share their personal experiences of using mass customization, overcoming the challenges and making it a key part of their business strategy.

Featured presenters include Dr. Urs Buehlmann of the Virginia Tech Department of Wood Science and Forest Products; Dr. Torsten Lihra of FP Innovations, Canada’s wood products research institute, and Russ Kahn of 20-20 Technologies.

The New York workshops will feature Lisa Weber, CEO of Timeless Frames, Timeless Décor & Timeless Expressions—the largest, single-site custom picture framing facility in the country.

Any wood products company in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont or northern New York is eligible to participate in any of the workshop sites at a special subsidized registration fee of only $25 per person. Full workshop details and online registration are available at www.foresteconomy.org.

All workshops are co-sponsored by the Wood Products Manufacturers Association (WPMA), Maine Wood Products Association (MWPA), New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA), Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA), and Empire State Forest Products Association (ESFPA).

The workshops on Mass Customization are the fourth in an initial series of innovation workshop topics that the Regional Wood Products Consortium is conducting for wood product companies in the region. More than 90 companies have attended the previous workshops, including many that attended more than one topic. The final workshop in this initial series will be held in the fall of 2011 on “Enhancing Economic Competitiveness through Going Green.”

The Regional Wood Products Consortium is a collaboration between the region’s wood products manufacturing industry and Sustainable Forest Futures. Funding support for the Consortium is provided by the Neal and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Northeast Utilities Foundation, and the Wood Education and Resource Center, Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More information about the Regional Wood Products Consortium and the Mass Customization Workshops can be found at www.foresteconomy.org or by contacting Collin Miller: 603-229-0679, ext. 110; or cmiller@northernforest.org.


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