Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

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Neville Bastian
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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Neville Bastian » Mon, Jan 02 2012, 7:50PM

Hi Murray, I am to concerned and have already put plan B into action. After a few people have voiced concern in this post and no one has responded at senior management level, says something to me.
I would prefer to pay for the improvements if my voice was heard and the improvements were ones we requested. There is a few different groups who use Ecabinets so each group has its own wish list. The wish list that gets heard is the one writing the cheques and I guess that would be Ken & Jason.
I'll be doing my plan B but there will be always be many things I will use Ecabinets for. Maybe after a few new releases I will rethink my postion.
Maybe you could email me with what you end up doing as I would be interested.
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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby JohnLashuay » Tue, Jan 03 2012, 10:23AM

I'm just curious as to how many who have posted on this thread have emailed directly Ken, Jason or any of the management at TWD? The forum is a wonderful tool and yes it is monitored by TWD, but sometimes it would be helpful to go directly to the source. I sent an email directly TWD management and received a response back early the next morning.

Just a thought!!
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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Gerry A Brown » Tue, Jan 03 2012, 10:33AM

One of the great aspects of a forum is you can answer one question & avoid having to answer the same question 100 times. It would seem to me that the forum is where these questions should be answered so we all know what the answer is.

John,

Would you care to share your question & what the answer was?

Gerry

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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby JohnLashuay » Tue, Jan 03 2012, 11:41AM

My question was in regards to the state of Ecabinets and its future given the current Youbuild direction. The response was...

"The eCabinet Systems program is and continues to be a very important product for Thermwood and hopefully for its members. It has been a long
time since we've been able to send a new version with updates and new features, mainly due to the program you stated. However, since the program
we've been working on involves eCabinet software, over this period of time there have been numerous bug fixes and features added that just need to be
wrapped up and gone through the beta process for release. Timing wise, our developers are in the middle of finishing up a number of bug fixes and
features and if all goes as planned we hope to have a beta release sometime during February. Of course you know how software development goes and
dates can and will vary, but realize that eCabinet Systems continues to be important to Thermwood and that there is a new version in the works."
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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Bob J Law » Tue, Jan 03 2012, 1:49PM

From my prospective the youbuild concept utilizes eCabinet Systems which will assist in driving further development and innovation within the software package. From what I have seen the products available do not replace the products produced by custom woodworkers and cabinet manufacturers but will hopefully cut into the ikea/chinese type products that are imported and sold everyday all over North America which in the end is a plus for us and our industry.

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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Allen Chalifoux » Tue, Jan 03 2012, 1:53PM

While I understand everyones concern about ecabs, I'm suprized there is not more outrage with CFP. Al

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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby DanEpps » Tue, Jan 03 2012, 7:15PM

Since I'm the one who started the really negative side of this thread, I feel that I should respond.

I have been a Thermwood champion for a number of years now. Until this point, I have NEVER had anything negative to say about Thermwood--after all, they are giving folks like me that can't afford to buy a CNC the opportunity to compete design-wise with the "big boys." I have been priviledged to be an eCabinets beta tester for a few years and hope I've been able to provide useful input to the developers in their quest to improve the software.

My frustration, however, comes in that nobody from Thermwood has bothered to respond to this thread. Why?

Thermwood: We ALL understand the challenging economic times. After all, we are trying to weather the very same challenges, albiet not so large as you. We thought we had a two-way partnership here--we champion you and you help us. What happened?

Could SOMEONE from Thermwood--preferably Ken--please respond? Your customer base is beginning to feel like they have been blind-sided and no longer have your support! I know that can't possibly be true, can it?

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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Mike Seisser » Wed, Jan 04 2012, 3:03AM

Michael Kowalczyk wrote:There may be several opportunities here and there can be a temporary game changer. If we are able to participate in youbuild.com it may open doors for some of us who do not make cabinets as our core business or others that would like to keep there CNC running. If the purpose is to have HD market & CFP supply and manufacture the DIY products then it will indeed cut into some markets but there is no way that CFP can produce them as economical as we can here in Houston or someone else with a CNC on the West coast can. CFP will only be cost effective within a certain radius. Not sure but I doubt it would make sense for HD to set up a full shop. They could not afford, IMHO, to pay someone will the proper skills full time to produce the throughput, at each location, needed to be profitable and what about all the lines of cheap cabinets they are already selling.


Just to clarify, HD won't be doing ANYTHING other than selling this product and having it shipped to it's stores. Their business model is cheap labor, and lowest priced products. If, and only if, they can obtain the markup they REQUIRE to sell this product, without adding labor costs to their bottom line, would they even consider it. Their distribution network is in place. They have over 2200 stores in the US, Canada, and Mexico. They even acquired a 12 store home improvement chain called The Home Way, in China, 5 years ago. All this is, to HD, is another 'service' they can offer (if clicking on cabinets, resizing them and picking a material/finish = offering a service) and a coupla pallets a week/month to pull off a truck that's already got CFP products on it and has made it's way from CFP to HD's hubs and to the stores. They place their orders for lumber/building materials based on weight-per-flatbed trailer, and often pay for a partially empty truck if they don't need a full one. They won't even blink at a few extra pallets. And the best part for HD is, if it's not working for them, they'll just discontinue it. If it does work, it's pure profit.

The libraries are built, I'm sure there are many more already done and waiting to be released, and that many again being developed. Options are sure to increase, and if this thing takes off in the stores who knows how big it will get. My ONLY thought right now, is that I know how to design in the same software these libraries are created in, and that might just come in handy if YouBuild ever allows any sort of customization.

That's my 2 cents, and I'm as full of shit as anyone else. 8)
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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Kerry Fullington » Wed, Jan 04 2012, 8:16AM

After looking at the youbuild.com web site a little closer I tend to agree with Bob that there is nothing there anyone would ever ask me to build so there is really no conflict. Even for machine owners, the margins working with HD would probably be so small that it would tie up your machine when it could be doing more profitable work so no conflict there either.
Stocking all the necessary materials could also be a burden to most shops, both in cost and storage space.
If youbuild can bring more machine sales to Thermwood and offsets some of their costs developing the eCabinets software then it looks like a good thing for all.

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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Michael Kowalczyk » Wed, Jan 04 2012, 1:56PM

Mike Seisser wrote:
Just to clarify, HD won't be doing ANYTHING other than selling this product and having it shipped to it's stores. 8)


Mike, Curious to know by what source are you able to state the above? Is this a factual statement that can be verified or are you just adding more speculative opinions to the mix? :roll:

Scott Val has posted in the Ecab section that said we should get a new update in February but you know how target dates are for releases.
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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Mike Seisser » Wed, Jan 04 2012, 3:02PM

Michael Kowalczyk wrote:Mike, Curious to know by what source are you able to state the above? Is this a factual statement that can be verified or are you just adding more speculative opinions to the mix? :roll:

Scott Val has posted in the Ecab section that said we should get a new update in February but you know how target dates are for releases.


Jason Susnjara wrote:YouBuild is currently being test marketed at one location in Charlotte, NC. YouBuild products can either be purchased via the internet (http://www.youbuild.com) or through the end cap at the Wendover Road Home Depot location. YouBuild products are generated and resized using eCabinets. Customers can select products, resize if needed and then order. The order goes to Columbia and they machine and package the components for each job. Columbia then ships the products to the Home Depot store for the customer to pick up. The customer takes his products home and assembles them.

This is the basic flow of the program. We are unsure where it will go from here. The lock-dado joint is currently being tested in this application and once we feel it is ready, we will send it out as an update for eCabinet Systems.


As I said, I'm as full of shit as anyone else, but I'm painfully familiar with their business model, working as a floor associate and now receiving associate for the past 2 years to make ends meet. You don't just get endcap space with Home Depot unless they stand to make a very nice profit. It's tough to get regular shelf space with them, and they're notorious in the retail industry for it.

I will ask the proper people the proper questions, but because it's only being test-marketed right now in 1 location, I doubt I'll get much detail. I'm wondering if they would ship to my local store right now instead of the Charlotte, NC location. It's one of the things I intend to ask.
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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Ken Susnjara » Wed, Jan 04 2012, 9:34PM

Let me see if I can explain what is going on. First, you posed a lot of questions and the answer to most of them is the same. “We don’t know.”
YouBuild is a business concept and support technology looking for a real world application. Its target market is probably a bit different than your target market. YouBuild targets home woodworkers and woodworking hobbyists. As the program developed however, a second potential market developed - professional woodworkers, cabinet shops and building contractors, that is, folks much like you.
Let’s start by looking at what it is and how it works. First, it is clearly not eCabinet Systems. It shares some technology with eCabinet Systems but is quite a different animal. While custom designing products is the core of eCabinet Systems, there is NO design function in YouBuild. Product designs are fixed and there is no way to modify them at all other than selecting different material and resizing within specific ranges on some items. Other items must be produced exactly as presented with no possibility for change.
The unique technology behind YouBuild is the ability to select a product or products, resize them and then have the system dynamically calculate a price. To do this, the system, working in the Internet Cloud, creates all the CNC programs needed to make the product or products, calculates exactly how much it will cost to make the product and provide a quote to the customer in a matter of minutes. Should the customer then order the product, the CNC programs used to quote the job are sent directly to the machine control. No one check the program, looks at the program or even knows what they are making. The machine makes the parts which are sent to the customer for assembly.
For this to work, everything is fixed. The machine operator has absolutely no control over the machine. It does not work at all like eCabinet Systems and Thermwood machines do today. Everything about the operation is controlled by the product design. Tooling is rigidly fixed and cannot be modified at all. Everything about the operation is rigidly fixed and cannot be adjusted or modified. Only one specific edge bander, specially modified for this program, can be used. All product design files are built around this edgebander design so that the notches and cuts in the parts will work smoothly without adjustment or intervention. In the marketplace we call it “custom” but by eCabinet System standards this is not custom at all.
The big question in this whole thing is, will it sell? Right now, we don ‘t know. In fact, nobody knows. This is a new and different product and market. Home Depot thinks this might work through their stores, but they don’t know and are unwilling to anything big until we find out. We are testing it in one store to see what happens.
What about eCabinet Systems and production sharing folks? How do they fit in? Again, we don’t know. We initially thought about using production sharing shops to make the parts, but, because of the way the program is structured we did not think any shops would be interested. With the way the system works, the average shop would need to add at least a quarter million dollar investment in equipment and inventory to what they already have just to try. This doesn’t make sense for a new and unproven business concept. It would, however, make sense if a steady stream of business could be developed.
A number of you criticized Columbia for machining parts as if they are going to compete with you. I assure you, they are not that interested in machining parts. They want to sell plywood. When our initial idea of having a furniture production cell in each Home Depot store was shot down, the program faltered until Columbia said they would set up a cell and make parts to see if we can get this thing going. They already ship to Home Depot each week so shipping would be essentially free if parts were machined at the mill. Production needs to be either at the mill or near the store for the program to work. Otherwise packing and shipping makes it impractical.
Our next step is to see if we can get this thing moving. If it starts selling, all kinds of possibilities open up. If it really catches on, production demands could be enormous. Anyone with Thermwood machine knowledge and production capacity would see some real opportunity. No one Company could produce everything needed. For this to happen, however, people need to know about it and embrace it.
Even now, if you are around Charlotte, there are some opportunities. Cabinet shops that might want to offer closets or furniture could use YouBuild to quickly and easily get the parts they need with little front end effort. Let’s be honest. For each home woodworker there are dozens of home owners who don’t want to layout, design, order, assemble and install a closet or wall unit. They are willing to pay you to do this and there is a lot of profit potential available for eCabinet Systems Members from the YouBuild program, even now.
For the rest of you, this program was never intended to compete with you. The primary areas targeted are in furniture and closets, not traditional kitchen cabinets. Although we currently don’t have any kitchen cabinets we will offer some cabinets in the future but they are not the same thing you sell. If anything this program expands your market, not competes with it. Also, by its very nature, eCabinet Systems is truly custom. Your products are customized to exactly what the customer wants. YouBuild offers fixed products that at best can be resized, but in new markets that you don’t currently address, markets that are not used to any customization. This program should be seen as an opportunity, not a threat.
Finally, the ideas we used to design YouBuild products will soon be available to all eCabinet System Members in a new software release. I know we have not been advancing the software as fast as previously but because of the great recession, we are working with fewer folks than before. I can only hope that his new year will bring a revival of the almost totally dead woodworking market and a return to more robust and normal times. We have been partners with you in the past and intend to be the same in the future but sometimes new opportunities may look a little different.

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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Will Williamson » Thu, Jan 05 2012, 10:03AM

Hi Ken
Your woodworking market may be dead but ours is not. That is obvious from the comments. We are ready to rock this thing and you guys are lagging behind.
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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Rob Davis » Thu, Jan 05 2012, 3:42PM

Today''s (1-5-12) Woodworking Headlines: Cabinotch Acquired by Columbia Forest Products

Thermwood should not be the sole target of these issues here, CFP should share in the fun, IMO.

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Re: Is youbuild.com going to be like production sharing???

Postby Michael Kowalczyk » Thu, Jan 05 2012, 4:48PM

Hello Ken and Happy New Year to you and your family,

Thank you for the explanation. I for one hope that it does work out and fill that niche and maybe even participate in it. If it makes sense, is profitable for us and we can maintain or surpass our hourly shop rate.

It appears, IMHO, that with CFP buying Cabinotch that they might be gearing up to be more than just a plywood manufacturer. It also appears that someone else has just thrown their hat in the ring.

Decore-ative Specialties is offering a similar system to youbuild.com. Though it seems that it is directed at cabinets only that could change to.

Ken are you saying that even if we have a Thermwood CNC and an edge bander that we would still need another 250k+- to make this work?

Since CFP has already purchased a Cell from Thermwood, I hope you have a non compete contract with them otherwise they could just use your system, as a guideline, to develop their own and since they have their own patented cabinet assembly system already they can run with that and are somewhat protected, at least the Cabinotch part of it. Obviously this is not he same as Ecabinet's ability to design custom cabinetry but these things start out as one idea and evolve into another, just as you are experiencing

Please keep us posted, preferably in shorter intervals, because as you have read here, some of the natives :wall: get restless very quick.

Thank you
Michael Kowalczyk, GM

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