Industry News

BWF Trade Survey Q4 2017: Investment in products improvement grows despite rising raw material costs

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has issued its Joinery State of Trade Survey Q4 2017. The consultation indicates that investment in product improvement and customer research is growing despite rising raw material costs and slowing sales growth.

BWF Policy and Communications Executive Matt Mahony commented: “Sales are still growing at a reasonable rate and there are no indications of a sudden decline for the British woodworking industry despite the pessimism around construction from some quarters. Slightly fewer order books extending beyond three months and consecutive quarters of lowered sales growth expectations conceal the reality which is that our members have been selling products and adapting to the higher costs that have now unfortunately become the new norm.

“More than two-thirds of respondents noted that Brexit-related uncertainty has already affected their business, with two-thirds of those identifying the impact as being increased raw material costs. If we look to the longer term however, manufacturers are unsure as to what the effects of Brexit might be.

“On the plus side, it’s hugely encouraging to see joinery manufacturers taking a proactive approach to growing their market. Investment in e-business is set to increase by half and customer research is anticipated to double. More than two-thirds of members will be investing more in product improvement.

“With the innovation and initiative of our members reflected in the survey results, there are plenty of reasons why wood should be the material of the choice for 2018 and beyond. The irreparable damage of plastic pollution is never far from the news, with programmes such as Blue Planet 2 capturing the public imagination and the Wood Window Alliance’s Fake Facts campaign shining a spotlight on the PVC-u industry’s ‘plastic promises’. We will be building on existing resources to support members of all sizes in showcasing their products as beautiful and sustainable and illustrating the benefits to specifiers of building it with wood.”

 

Key points from the BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey Q4 2017 include:

  • A balance of 33% of respondents reported an increase in sales volumes over the last quarter, with 41% reporting an increase over the last year. This corresponds with the 44% of respondents reporting a quarterly increase in the previous survey.
  • 68% of respondents felt that Brexit-related uncertainty had affected their business so far with 67% of those noting that the cost of raw materials was where it had impacted.
  • A balance of 32% felt that Brexit negotiations would have a negative impact on their business in the next 12 months.
  • When asked about the impact of Brexit over 5 years, respondents were split between whether it would be positive or negative (25% for each) with 40% unsure of the implications and 10% expecting no impact.
  • Manufacturers felt that sales volumes would improve in the next quarter, with a balance of 34% predicting an increase for Q1 2018, and a balance of 30% predicting an increase over the next year.
  • 19% of companies reported a current order book of future work extending beyond 3 months – down 7% from the previous quarter - with 53% saying that their order book extended to between 1 and 3 months.
  • Demand was listed as the most likely constraint on output over the next year by 37% of respondents. Labour availability and Capacity came next, with 24% and 20% of respondents feeling that they were most likely to constrain output.
  • 32% of respondents on balance reported increasing their labour force in the previous year, with 44% of respondents anticipating an increased labour force over the next year.
  • Raw material costs were noted as a major inflationary factor for unit costs for 95% of respondents on balance, with wages/salaries increases pushing up unit costs for 67% of respondents on balance.
  • Over the previous year a balance of 59% of respondents had invested in improving their products with 45% investing in their manufacturing equipment.
  • Investment in product improvement was set for the highest capital investment over the next year, with a balance of 67% planning to invest and with 48% set to invest in equipment

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-trade-survey-q4-2017-investment-product-improvement-grows-despite-rising-raw-material]

UK woodworking sector faces long-term question marks over skills and construction growth

The BWF’s Joinery State of Trade Survey Q3 2017 has indicated that the medium term prospects of the joinery industry remain sound, but growing concerns over skill, raw materials and the implications of Brexit are fostering long-term uncertainty.

BWF Policy and Communications Executive Matt Mahony said: “Labour shortages and raw materials costs continue bite but sales growth is still expected, at least in the medium term, with order books holding up well and more than half of firms operating at over four fifths of their capacity."

“Investment is set to increase with manufacturing equipment and product improvement the main targets but large increases in spending are also anticipated for R & D and e-business. Longer-term growth expectations appear to have been dampened slightly however and this tallies with broader construction industry research suggesting that slower economic growth and signs of an emerging weakness in construction activity outside of private housing are beginning to have an impact on spending decisions.

“Labour availability is also becoming a growing concern and this is now anticipated by survey respondents to become the biggest constraint on activity over the next year. New training and apprenticeship reforms, not to mention industry-led skills initiatives, will need to deliver for the woodworking sector and BWF has been redoubling its efforts to support the joinery skills agenda.”

 

Key points from the BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey Q3 2017 include:

- A balance of 44% of respondents reported an increase in sales volumes over the last quarter, with 46% reporting an increase over the last year. This corresponds with the 42% of respondents reporting a quarterly increase in the previous survey.

- Manufacturers felt that sales volumes would improve in the next quarter, with a balance of 40% predicting an increase for Q4 2017, and a balance of 36% predicting an increase over the next year.

- 26% of companies reported a current order book of future work extending beyond 3 months – down 16% from the previous quarter - with 53% saying that their order book extended from between 1 and 3 months.

- Labour availability was listed as the most likely constraint on output over the next year by 35% of respondents. Demand and Capacity came next, with 29% and 17% of respondents feeling that they were most likely to constrain output.

- 34% of respondents on balance reported increasing their labour force in the last year, with 37% of respondents anticipating an increased labour force over the next year.

- Raw material costs were noted as the main inflationary factor for unit costs for 96% of respondents, with wages/salaries increases pushing up unit costs for 82% of respondents on balance.

- Over the previous year a balance of 49% of respondents had invested in improving their products with 43% investing in their plant/equipment.

- Investment in in product improvement was set for the highest capital investment over the next year, with a balance of 54% planning to invest and with 50% set to invest plant/equipment.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/uk-woodworking-sector-faces-long-term-question-marks-over-skills-and-construction-growth]

BWF launches new weather testing guidance for windows

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has launched a new guide for window and door manufacturers explaining weather testing requirements and providing advice to help joineries to get their products tested.

The publication covers the relevant standards for weather tightness, how to determine what performance level is required as well as what needs to be considered before testing takes place. Weather performance testing is a means of assessing a product's ability to achieve specific requirements as set out in British Standards and/or European Standards. Windows and doors can be tested for Air Permeability, Watertightness and Resistance to Wind Load.

BWF produces a wide range of publications to support members and the joinery industry. On the BWF website, members can find a wealth of information, including the popular Machine Safety Cards, Heritage & Conservation Joinery Factsheets, and a range of employment guides all supported by the BWF member helplines.

The documents can be downloaded from www.bwf.org.uk/publications.

For more information, contact bwf@bwf.org.uk

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-launches-new-weather-testing-guidance-windows]

BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey: Sales volume and Costs rise in Q2 2017

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has released the results of its Joinery State of Trade Survey Q2 2017.

The consultation shows that, although rising raw materials costs and labour availability are exerting pressure on joinery manufacturers, the industry is optimistic over sales figures and product investment opportunities.

In details, key points from the BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey Q2 2017 include:

- A balance of 42% of respondents reported an increase in sales volumes over the last quarter, with 52% reporting an increase over the last year. This corresponds with the 14% of respondents reporting a quarterly increase in the previous survey.

- Manufacturers felt that sales volumes would improve in the next quarter, with a balance of 61% predicting an increase for Q3 2017 and a balance of 60% predicting an increase over the next year.

- 42% of companies reported a current order book of future work extending beyond 3 months – up 13% from the previous quarter - with 41% saying that their order book extended from between 1 and 3 months.

- ‘Labour Availability’ was listed as the most likely constraint on output by 27% of respondents. ‘Demand’ and ‘Capacity’ came next, with 25% and 20% of respondents feeling that they were most likely to constrain output.

- 38% of respondents on balance reported increasing their labour force in the last year, with 50% of respondents anticipating an increased labour force over the next year.

- Raw material costs were noted as an inflationary factor for unit costs for 97% of respondents, with wages & salary increases pushing up unit costs for 76% of respondents on balance.

- Exchange rates were a factor in inflating unit costs for 63% of respondents.

- Over the previous year a balance of 64% of respondents had invested in improving their products with 60% investing in their plant/equipment.

- Investment in in product improvement was set for the highest capital investment over the next year, with a balance of 70% planning to invest and with 60% set to invest in plant/equipment.

BWF Policy and Communications Executive Matt Mahony commented: “With optimism over sales volumes and with order books holding up well, our survey paints a picture of an industry working hard to protect its margins against significant cost rises.

“It has been a theme of recent months that the joinery industry is having to think on its feet and diversify its offering. We know from the Q2 survey that investment in product improvement has been rising, and anecdotal evidence suggests that companies are taking on more of the burden of design and specification on account of knowledge gaps within the supply chain."

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-joinery-state-trade-survey-sales-volume-and-costs-rise-q2-2017]

BWF appoints new Training Manager to focus on Skills & Education across Woodworking sector

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) has appointed a new Training Manager to help ramp up work in the education, training and skills arena for the joinery and woodworking industry.

Tony Batchelor joins the BWF team following former Membership & Training Director Dave Campbell’s departure. Mr Batchelor will be responsible for delivering on the BWF’s three core training objectives: increasing recruitment into the sector; maintaining and developing high quality qualifications and delivery partners, and fostering a culture of continuous learning in the industry. 

The new role will focus exclusively on training and Mr Batchelor will also support the development of associated commercial products.

BWF Chief Executive Iain McIlwee commented on the new appointment: "Perhaps the biggest change the joinery sector currently faces is to the skills landscape. With CITB's role under review, changes to Apprenticeship Funding, and core qualifications being radically reformed, there are huge opportunities for BWF to help develop the training environment that the industry needs."

"We have a good training strategy, but to meet these challenges and opportunities head on we need a fully focussed and dedicated training post within BWF. Now for the first time we have a dedicated training manager role which isn’t split with other responsibilities."

With a wealth of experience on construction industry training matters through working at CITB, Mr Batchelor has previously engaged with construction industry representatives across the four home nations to develop National Occupational Standards, training and qualification solutions, and trailblazer apprenticeships for a wide range of occupational areas.

Having spent the early years of his working life in the public transport sector, Tony worked on training and skills projects for much of his subsequent career including a spell contracted to the British Council to deliver training on vocational and educational projects in Asia.

 

[News URL: http://cti-timber.org/content/bwf-appoints-new-training-manager-focus-skills-education-across-woodworking-sector]

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