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Posted: Tue, Aug 15 2006, 11:29AM
...I tried to get a thread going on the ecabs forum regarding the Furniture Network and the marketing of those items and the response was abysmal at best...
There is, what I think, anyway, a real opportunity from a marketing perspective, especially for us one-man shops, to utilize this service to expand our offerings and make us look much larger and (dare I say it) much more experienced than we would be on our own.
I can go from being a \"one-man shop designing and fabricating custom cabinetry\" ...to \"a member of a worldwide cooperative of cabinet shops, experienced in Design, Engineering, High-End Manufacturing, and Furniture Quality Finishes\"...simply by merely taking advantage of this program and becoming a member.
Suddenly, I have designs at my disposal that I didn't have and would not have thought of on my own...finishes that before I had to experiment with that now have recipes already done (still need to transpose them to water-based coatings but what the heck, I have to do \"something\")...and in my case, machining partners that bring the latest in fabrication techniques to my cabinets, and freeing me up for more marketing, sales, installation, etc...
So in the eyes of the customer, its world-class design and construction presented in a custom and personal way...and in my eyes, its like hiring designers, machinists, finishers, and buying thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars of equipment....its a \"virtual factory\".
...and its a god-send to me....
How do the rest of you feel about this? Are you as excited as I am?
Posted: Tue, Aug 15 2006, 12:19PM
I think you just gave Ken the best endorsement he could get for Design Sharing!
This is what the co-op is all about and it is just now coming of age. Just wait until we reach maturity
nothing can hold us back.
What you are experiencing here is the beginning of what will be the definitive source for cabinet and design in the 21st century. Shops of any size can participate at any level that they wish, be it as a contributer or consumer of designs, and everyone is better for the experience.
Contributers win by selling their designs. Consumers win by saving design time. End-customers win by having larger choice and lower cost. Thermwood wins by selling more product whether it is hardware, finishes or machines.
Posted: Tue, Aug 15 2006, 12:29PM
I know what you mean Dan - that's what I meant by the \"virtual factory\"...Once this gets rolling there's almost nothing we can't offer a consumer. The benefit for me is that I can focus on what I'm good at (the BS part) and not have to be the ONLY Designer-engineer-sawyer-assembler-finisher-installer...
The real benefit is that now, my customer sees me as the local branch of \"The Cabinet Cooperative\" - fighting for truth justice and the American-Canadian-Australian (did I cover all of them?)-way and fighting the cheap imports and big orange box stapled cardboard, offering them quality, and value (this can go on all day...but you get the point, right? )
This is how I was starting to feel when I read Ken's book...
Posted: Tue, Aug 15 2006, 12:32PM
Excellent thoughts guys! Kens cutting edge insight & ideas will effect the way we do business in the future.
Posted: Tue, Aug 15 2006, 1:47PM
I know I am very excited to be a part of this. Of course I am looking at it from the both sides of the coin, but mainly from being able to act as a supplier. I have already made a number of new business contacts and new friends as a result of Thermwood and eCabinets. I think the design sharing and production sharing is definetly going places (we see it every day) and those of use like David, Forest, myself and others are in the best possible position getting in on this thing at the ground floor, it is going to be BIG!! The best thing for me is being able to work with other shops, seeing how they build their product, and hearing how much time and effort they save by outsourcing both design and machining. No that was not a plug for our machining (HONEST!!!) I truly enjoy getting a call from a customer to say how happy they were with how everything went together, especially the calls you usually get after the first job or two commenting that they don't know how they did it before. I hope as time goes on to get the chance to know more people through this great system.
I have said it before, but it bears repeating: Thermwood is an amazing company, that truly has the best interests of it customers at heart and one that we would all do well to emulate.
Posted: Tue, Aug 15 2006, 2:33PM
This is a one of a kind company to deal with in todays world. Talk is cheap, Thermwood lets their products and support speak so loudly that others are getting scared. I can't wait to see what happens at IWF. I will be attending for the first time and really look forward to the buz that the new v5 additions will create. I will bet the little issues will be all but gone by then and the product will shine as it should with the effort that has been made. I can only hope to provide my customers with the same type of product and service that has been given to me thusfar, and I don't expect it to change now that they have my money like most other entities I do business with. The new design sharing and member site for purchasing is up and running now and is the kind of product we are used to getting from Thermwood. The future is great if your a Thermwood customer. I have a side bet on the MDF products and finishes being a big seller specifically moving forward. I know we all hate working with it, but you can't deny the look of quality these products give to an ever increasing price concious consumer.
Posted: Wed, Aug 16 2006, 5:12AM
I have not posted a lot on any of the forums cos as soon as I have a query...someone already answered it!...
Now I have a question...where can I read more about the design sharing? How does it work / going to work in the future?
Bill and Kerry I have had a look at the designs you offer for sale in the virtual shop. What i want to know is...will it be at all possible in the future to download these designs with a similar method of 'registering' the installation/use of the design like with the eCabinets software? Otherwise it is going to take forever getting the cd's to far off places like South Africa, New Zealand, Australia. Or appoint a local distributor who can then download and sell? Just my two cents worth.
Thank you to EVERYONE on all the forums for the questions and answers...some of the ppl are REALLY funny just when we need it!
greetings from a cold (again!) South Africa
Posted: Wed, Aug 16 2006, 2:57PM
Paul, we do plan to allow for downloads in the future but we need to develop some new technology first. We decided to tag each design sharing file with the name of both the developer and the client. This way we don't need to add restrictive copy security and yet we can protect the libraries because each purchaser knows that each file has his name on it. We have a system today that allows us to make the CDs quickly and we should be able to develop a way to do this on the fly so we can support a download. Just need a little time.
I was wondering about the production sharing aspect
Posted: Mon, Sep 25 2006, 11:26PM
I am very excited about the \"virtual factory\". I have a growing \"moonlight business\". But my shop isn't growing. Having E-cabinets in my tool box I have the confidence to take on more work. I would love to see this Virtual Factory help me become a \"daylight business\". I am going to need cabinets to arrive where I can put them together, finish, and install.
But I live in Alabama and am concerned about shipping. There doesn't seem to be anyones business near me.
Are there any suggestions out there?
ps. It's very nice to meet all of you.
Posted: Tue, Sep 26 2006, 6:14AM
There are a number of members throughout the US that offer custom machining services. Many shops like myself are easily capable of shipping anywhere in the US. Shipping rates are usually not anywhere near what you would expect. In my opinion it is more important to develop a relationship with a shop that will take the time to work with you and make sure the parts that you receive are exactly what you needed. It is very important, especially for new shops that the files be reviewed for accuracy. There are a number of things that if not set properly will result in parts that are not at all what you expected. The shop you work with should be capable and willing to review your files, and make you aware of these potential issues before the parts are machined. NorthWoods spends time going over each customer's file and recommending any fixes or tweaks that are needed before we send the parts to the machine for cuttiing. This results in the customer receiving parts that are machined as they expected and that are very easily assembled.
If you would like to contact me I would be happy to quote machining as well as shipping, my experience has been that most shop owners are very pleasantly suprised at how economically they can recieve parts.
I can be reached by phone at 877-788-5532 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org