Contact Sees Increased Demand for Veneer-Wrapped Components
Several North American window and door manufacturers customers have begun utilizing Contact Industries to supply veneer profile wrapped components in a wide range of species, the supplier reports. Based in Clackamas, Ore., the company sees OEMs moving to wrapped components as a way to expand their product lines without having to deal with the headaches involved with purchasing and inventorying various widths, lengths and species of solid hardwood lumber, and then producing the needed components in small lot requirements.
According to Pete Himes, Contact’s sales manager in charge of developing and handling its multiple species component program, the current economic environment has forced manufacturers to find creative ways to keep costs down while still offering the array of specialty product choices their customers have come to expect. “Despite the drop in demand overall in the window and door markets, our customers are feeling pressure to actually increase their species options and are meeting that demand by offering a wider range of profile wrapped and laminated wood species,” he explains.
“Rather than inventory hardwoods and manufacture small runs of parts in the wide range of species their customers demand, more OEMs are looking to us to make those component parts for them.” Contact has can be more efficient with profile wrapping because it can retain larger production runs while simply changing out the veneer rolls from species to species. “In order to be cost-competitive with solid components, you’d need to make parts at a rate similar to that of the manufacturers’ main product line. Because that efficiency doesn’t exist with the smaller lines, the price point and costs of handling for these options can be sky high,” Himes explains. “At Contact Industries, we negate that effect by running the same sash, frame or extension jamb part in several different species on the same production run. This keeps the part costs down and allows the manufacturer to compete with unique species at price levels that are much closer to their standard product line.”
Several smaller and mid-sized window and door manufacturers have begun utilizing this strategy as well as a number of larger OEMs. he reports. “When things pick back up in the building industry," he adds. "these OEMs are going to be ready to meet the growing percentage of demand in the wider variety of species options.”