Submitted by mmetz@kcma.org on Wed, 12/22/2021 - 20:24
Industry News Update October 21, 2021

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association is committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information in the industry. Here’s a look at what’s happening:

LABOR PARADOX LEAVES VIETNAM FACTORIES REELING AFTER COVID EXODUS

Workers

The COVID conundrum has reached Vietnam: Millions are out of work, and yet factories cannot hire enough workers to satisfy foreign customers bracing for a holiday season under threat from brittle global supply chains.

Government officials are beseeching workers, via text message, to return to their posts, and recruiters are dangling "crazy" benefits for new hires, as one executive put it. But the labor shortage remains, even as companies from Samsung to Adidas need production to ramp up in Vietnam, a top source of the world's electronics and clothes. 

In the key industrial province of Binh Duong, for example, suppliers have only half the workers they need, Navigos, which runs Vietnam's biggest jobs site, told Nikkei Asia on Monday.

Fueling the shortage was perhaps southern Vietnam's biggest worker exodus of its kind, starting Oct. 1 from Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong and other provinces.

The summer brought pandemic-driven lockdowns to much of the country, which had forced workers to sleep at factories and prevented travel between provinces. As soon as officials pulled the barricades and barbed wire off the roads, tens of thousands of migrants rushed back to their hometowns.

In response, companies are rushing to secure manpower. A Sharp subsidiary, for example, is offering an extra month's wages to get workers to Binh Duong, where it makes camera modules for smartphones and tablets. So is Hoa Tho Textile and Garment, which is also providing child care and housing to lure recruits. 

"It's crazy...it's way beyond what factories in this area can afford," Binh Duong business association chair Mai Huu Tin told Nikkei. Read more.

 

88% OF INDUSTRIAL BUSINESSES ARE NOW PRIORITIZING SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING

esp

In a strategic move to increase operational efficiency while simultaneously reducing cost, many industrial business leaders have recently been prioritizing sustainability throughout their facilities. Sustainable manufacturing, which the U.S. Department of Commerce defines as using industrial processes that minimize negative environmental impacts and are safer for both employees and consumers, has been gaining momentum lately amid what the United Nations calls the “Decade of Action.” 

recent study from Oxford Economics highlighted that 65% of companies have created a clear mission statement around sustainability, with another 23% noting that they are in the process of developing such a statement, for a total of 88% of companies prioritizing sustainability. 

Similarly, in a recent SAP survey, 46% of industrial business leaders shared that sustainability is top of mind for them throughout the manufacturing process, and 68% of them have reduced energy consumption at their businesses.

Finally, Gen Z, the future generation of industrial buyers, is reported to be especially focused on sustainability as a core value, meaning that industrial business leaders should make it a priority in order to strengthen their brand reputations, build public trust, and ultimately connect with these future customers. 

Over the next quarter and into 2022, sustainability, refurbishment, and waste reduction are expected to become even more central to manufacturing operations.  Read more.

 

A TIMELINE OF THE U.S.–CHINA TRADE WAR
 

yen

The trade war with China has been a rollercoaster ride involving sudden escalations, harsh retaliations, and staggered de-escalations. Thomas Insights put together a timeline of the U.S.–China trade war stretching from Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign to the present-day Biden administration. Read more.

 

ONCE LED THROUGH FEAR, A SMALL MANUFACTURER REIMAGINES ITSELF

onex

I was motivated and determined to figure out a way to turn around the family business.
By Ashleigh Walters

In October of 2013, my father-in-law called to let me know that his company's CFO had left. He asked me to lead Onex, a family-owned, 50-year-old manufacturer of industrial furnace components, based in Erie, Pennsylvania.

It's hard enough to take charge of a business that is doing well, but this one was in disarray. The employees were not working together as a team; they were actually pitted against one another. All the business units were siloed. The previous CFO led through fear. We were no longer the friendly "family" company we once had been where people loved to come to work. Read more.

 

MAYFLOWER SURVEY SHOWS IDAHO TOP CHOICE FOR RELOCATION

mayflower

A new survey by moving company Mayflower shows the top five state destinations where the company is moving customers are Idaho, South Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Florida.

The top inbound metropolitan statistical areas (with 800 total moves or more) from July 2019-July 2021 were: 

  1. Sarasota, Fla.
  2. Wilmington, N.C. 
  3. Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Fla.
  4. Santa Fe, N.M. 
  5. Boise, Idaho

Read more.

 

GAINS IN REMODELING TO REMAIN ROBUST

jchs

Strong growth in home improvement and maintenance expenditures is expected to continue over the coming year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects year-over-year gains in annual improvement and repair spending will reach 9 percent in the fourth quarter and maintain that pace into 2022.

“Residential remodeling continues to benefit from a strong housing market with elevated home construction and sales activity and immense house price appreciation in markets across the country,” says Carlos Martín, Project Director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center. “The rapid expansion of owners’ equity is likely to fuel demand for more and larger remodeling projects into next year.”

“With these tailwinds, annual improvement and repair expenditures by homeowners could reach $400 billion by the third quarter of 2022,” says Abbe Will, Associate Project Director of the Remodeling Futures Program. Read more.