You'll never work alone

17 June 2019

The excitement approaching a Champions League final involving two English teams was getting to fever pitch at the time of writing this column.

Attending the Ligna fair in Hannover – the world’s leading woodworking technology exhibition – it seemed as if the machinery world had also cottoned on to this momentous soccer event.

Boldly emblazoned over a sea of its machinery on SCM’s stand was a slogan – “You will never work alone”, surely a play on words on the great Liverpool FC anthem.

Football and Brexit were the two things I was asked most about in the Hannover Messe by international timber companies and machinery providers.

But what was really interesting was the level of serious investment going on by global wood industries operators. The general feeling was of more business and serious enquiries than two years ago. In one company’s words, people were “doing” rather than merely “looking”.

On Weinig’s stand a deal worth €1m to a UK timber product manufacturer had recently been done, with other good enquiries as well.

I happened to be on the Combilift stand as a Croatian sawmiller tested a vehicle and then put pen to paper to buy it. IKEA was also in town and seemed to be buying up huge amounts of kit.

These positive sentiments, as well as healthy housebuilding figures from the NHBC and further investment news from firms in our Joinery Supplement are encouraging despite the generally uncertain economic backdrop this year and the price bloodbath currently affecting the softwood trade because of high stock levels.

This Joinery Supplement issue is being distributed at the British Woodworking Federation’s Members’ Day on June 11.

The BWF, like the TTF is doing in the timber trade, has been doing some great work on behalf of the joinery industry. As a sector it uses a huge amount of wood and innovation levels are high.

New guidance documents have been released following Grenfell, which include a recommendation of provision of factory prepared fire doorsets to improve quality and safety levels.

Such moves are further evidence of increasing moves towards greater prefabrication, which is also being influenced by a lack of traditional building and carpentry skills on construction sites.

The TTJ Awards voting and the entries for judged categories are now in full swing. We already have several hundred votes registered via the online system (accessed via ttjonline). I’d like to encourage companies across the different trading and manufacturing sectors to mobilise their customer base over the coming weeks before the June 24 vote deadline.

It’s a chance for timber buying customers to tell us how much they appreciate your service and product quality!