D&WC: Please give a detailed description of your company and its history.
C & M Wood Industries, Inc. was founded in 1988 specializing in supplying finished wood components for the wood blind industry and serving all levels of fabricators¬from the national industry leaders to independent fabricators¬with unmatched quality products and service. C & M is made up of more than 400 dedicated associates all committed to excellence and striving to deliver 120 percent customer satisfaction.
With full-scale production and distribution facilities in Hesperia, CA, and Indianapolis, IN, we are strategically positioned to provide unrivaled customer service and satisfaction throughout North America. As testimony to this commitment, C & M Wood Industries received the prestigious Award of Excellence as Entrepreneur of the Year for 1995 in manufacturing and distribution awarded by Ernst & Young. This program is sponsored by NSADAQ, Inc. magazine, Merrill Lynch, Sprint and Ernst & Young.
D&WC: What window coverings products did you handle initially? What products do you handle today?
Lam: Initially, C & M produced one-, two- and three-inch basswood slats with standard valance and bottomrail in quality paint, stain, washes and sandblast finishes. Since then, C & M pioneered the development and introduction of a whole new range of wood species such as poplar, aspen and finger joint benefiting the industry through its emerging growth at all market levels.
Today we have expanded our wood products to include basswood, poplar, aspen, finger joint, ramin, shutter profiles and our new woven woods. This year we have introduced a whole new range of highly styled woods under the brand names Executive Hardwood Collection[TM], Executive Crown Cornices[TM], Executive Exotic Series[TM], Naturale Cederwood[TM], and Executive Antique Series[TM].
D&WC: Is your business computerized?
Lam: C & M has the most current hardware and software Windows-based technology and is Y2K ready. Our management information system (MIS) is fully integrated and encompasses all accounting functions, MPR, customer service, bar coding and EDI capabilities.
Our Web site at www.cmwood.com presents the latest in company and product information. For our valued customers, we offer a fully functional and interactive service that includes e-mail, order placement and inventory visualization. We are constantly upgrading our site and will continue to improve its services to allow our customers faster and better access to our marketing programs.
D&WC: What best describes your niche in the marketplace?
Lam: At C& M we are in the business of manufacturing fine furniture for windows. The wood blind itself is a unique, niche window fashion. As a fashion statement, it often stands alone unlike other supporting products like shades, draperies and even mini-blinds.
Therefore, much care, thought and attention go into the manufacturing process to deliver the highest quality finished blind slats. The technology of milling, which is a science, is second only to the finishing, which is an art. It is in the finishing that the natural beauty of the grain comes to life. Our niche in this industry comes from knowing our business and how to make the product better.
There are several factors that make C & M the leader in quality finishing. First, we sort the wood into 10 separate categories each hand selected for paint or natural stain finishes. Second, we have a state-of-the-art computer color matching and dispersion system that allows us to maintain the highest standards of color consistency. Finally, and more importantly, we have highly experienced and trained color chemists and engineers on staff to develop and monitor quality coatings and finishes.
D&WC: What are some of the key factors involved in your growth and success?
Lam: The key factor to our growth has been our fully integrated manufacturing and distribution capability. With full-scale manufacturing in California and in Indiana (the overall size of our facilities in California is 120,000 square feet and in Indiana more than 100,000 square feet) we have the manufcturing and distribution capacity to ship orders in 24 to 48 hours from our expansive stock position.
D&WC: What are your strengths in the marketplace?
Lam: Our strengths emanate from our total commitment to excellence through skilled materials management, process management run by a professional engineering staff, and total quality management from the top down throughout our organization.
What separates C & M Wood Industries from other wood suppliers, including agents, brokers, importers and distributors, is our total control over the wood product. In addition, we are fully committed to the industry by offering the full range of finished wood material and component hardware. Our goal is to offer our customers confidence in the quality and performance of our products starting from the source of the wood material and continuing through our manufacturing and distribution network.
D&WC: What advice would you give to other window coverings professionals?
Lam: For those of us in the natural wood business it is essential to be competitive in the marketplace. However, our contribution to the industry should be to expand the market by focusing on and searching for value-added, higher quality alternative wood species and by developing improved finishing capabilities.
The impulse to discount, which usually means sacrificing quality to meet the cheaper wood and the imitation wood suppliers, should be resisted. Instead, we must seek to lead the wood fashion market with value-added products and work to better educate and inform the marketplace on the inherent distinctions of the wood products they now sell.
D&WC: What distinguishes you from the competition?
Lam: Our business philosophy and belief starts with the fact that you must procure the finest raw wood material through stategic alliances with qualified mills that have all the technology necessary to assure full-process control from raw lumber to drying to milling quality slats.
Although at C & M we have the milling capability, we choose to source the majority of our wood through carefully selected major mills that are strategically located where the wood is grown. For example, the highest quality basswood is grown in Wisconsin and Michigan while the best poplar comes from the southern Indiana and Tennessee regions.
We do not feel it is economically advantagous to transport basswood and poplar cut lumber across the states to the West Coast only to lose a major portion of wood from the cutting process in the form of sawdust, trimming and other normal yeld loses.
C & M Wood Industries, Inc.
17229 Lemon St., Ste. D
Hesperia, CA 92345
Fax: (760) 949-2467