As I start my second, 2 year term as president of the CKCA I look forward to what the Association can do for our members and our industry.
Over the past number of years I have had the pleasure of helping the Association evolve, grow, stumble, get up and grow again. We have always strived to be the voice of our industry and I ask myself have we achieved this standard?
What does it mean to be the voice of an industry?
It means that you represent all those companies that are tied together, from suppliers, manufacturers, designers and installers who all work together to deliver cabinetry to the Canadian homeowner and the Global consumer. The CKCA speaks for all of them and protects their best interest as it relates to government regulations and keeping the members competitive and strong against foreign imports.
In order for the CKCA to be the voice of our industry we must create a platform that allows us to network with one another so we can express ourselves, our concerns and our opportunities which can be translated for our mutual benefit into one clear message. The CKCA then takes that unified message and delivers it to government, schools, consumers and both domestic and global markets.
In order to reach the first step we have to begin by networking together and inviting all the players to the table – encouraging them to join the CKCA so that our voice will be loud, clear and unified. This means attending the Regional and National forums that are held across the country each and every year. These events are crucial to us as we learn about new ideas, trends and things happening in our industry.
The second step is getting involved.
Member companies can open their doors for plant tours when we are in your area, or help us arrange a tour at a non-member facility that could be of interest. It could be individuals volunteering a little bit of time as a committee member or chair or simply helping out at a single event. As a cabinet manufacturer in the Ottawa area we are always willing to open our doors for the CKCA and have done so numerous times. We view it as an opportunity to showcase our facility with pride. Our employees are proud that we feel strongly enough to have other manufacturers from across the country through our facility. It also gives us the opportunity to do a bit of housekeeping. Tours are very high level and do not get into the nitty-gritty of day to day production so no need to worry that all our trade secrets are exposed for all to see.
The third step is education:
If we want to be the voice of our industry, we have to be informed. The CKCA has been tasked to provide you with educational seminars and presentations that are vital to your ability to keep up with technology, labour laws, design trends and anything else that we need to keep us ahead of foreign companies who we compete against at home and abroad. It also means that as members we need to reach out and share information with one another. I take great pride that I can pick up the phone and call a CKCA member anywhere across our great country from Newfoundland to British Columbia – ask any question and be able to get an unbiased and truthful answer for an issue that is relevant to our specific industry.
The fourth step is Certification.
The CKCA Certification programe is a significant first step in providing our members with an Industry standard that was created by us, not government, architects or other industry engineers. By members and stakeholders of our association who have spent hours and hours of time labouring over the guidelines and specifications. The CKCA Certification standard will assure the end consumer that the CKCA Certified cabinet is the best in the Canadian marketplace. The more members that achieve this certification the more important and valuable it becomes. It also offers you the opportunity to use the CKCA Certification branding on all your marketing material to inform the buyer that they are getting the best made Canadian cabinet available.
“For years my company had done a 10% hold back on our kitchens. This started in the days when we did one kitchen per week. That meant that every job when shipped had an outstanding balance of from $1000.00 to $5000.00 hold back. I will not get into exactly how many bad accounts we wrote off over the years due to that system. So I brought up the subject at the CKCA round table talk. Within twenty minutes we had input from about ten members. With their ideas I went right back to my office Monday morning and changed our hold back to a $500.00 flat rate. My guess is, with that change, we have saved at least $10,000.00 in the past few years.”
Jim Lawrence of Avondale Kitchens
“At the Association a couple of years ago, just before we were getting ready to put in a big new machine, I found out from another member that they had just bought the very same machine. I was able to ask him if there was anything they would recommend to us when we make our move and he said yes, watch this and do this and that. The money we saved with that advice was thousands and thousands of dollars, more than enough to cover the cost that we ever have and ever will pay out in CKCA membership.”
Caroline Castrucci of Laurysen Kitchens
“I attended the CKCA event held in Kitchener Waterloo in June of 2015. This having been my second CKCA event I found it once again to be extremely worthwhile. As a small shop owner, it is difficult to “make and afford” the time to get out of the business rut and see what is going on out there. I have found however, there is always something to gain in ideas, methods, and technology when you experience the shop tours, speakers, suppliers, and mingle with business owners alike. Gaining something new and inspiring or discovering solutions to problems are nothing short of a guarantee at these events. The value in ideas and connections have stuck with me while that time away from the desk is long forgotten. The events are extremely well organized and it is exciting to see the CKCA gaining momentum as a relevant presence in the cabinet business across Canada”.
David Berg, Kitchen Visions
As a long standing member and active participant of the CKCA the benefits we as a company have received from the CKCA are invaluable and too numerous to mention. When we attend the Regional and National Conferences the guest speakers have taught us how to work on our business not just in the business. The plant tours have provided us an opportunity to see how other manufacturers of cabinets, doors, millwork or appliances arrange various work cells that we can then implement or adapt to improve our own production. We always try to have one (1) take-away from every event. One item is easy to implement and it starts the process of change. Drastic change is hard on everyone, small changes are easier to implement and not so stressful for the people on the floor or in the office.
The Manufactures Round Table held annually at the National Forum has given us, the manufacturing members a safe environment in which to exchange information, concerns and ask questions among our members that usually results in candid discussions or alternate solutions to an issue. In most cases someone has seen it or done it before and we benefit from their experiences.
In joining any association, you get out of it what you put into it. You have to participate and ask for things. That is how we can improve our services to our members and it gives us feedback as to what is working and what is not. The one thing I have learned in all my years is that you have to keep moving forward and keep improving every system. Today with our high tech world this is truer now than ever before. If not you will be left behind in the sawdust.
The last step is the first step repeated, take a look around you, how many companies do you know that would benefit from being a member of the CKCA? Give us one hour a month of your time and make a few phone calls inviting those companies to the join the CKCA and be the voice of the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet industry.
Owner of Laurysen Kitchens, Ottawa
President of CKCA