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You build quality cabinets? Prove it!

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CKCA by Caroline Castrucci
Caroline Castrucci is CP/Owner of Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. & President of Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association. For more info email ccastrucci@laurysenkitchens.com
Have you ever thought what it would be like if all the validating certification symbols we see on products we buy disappeared? How would you feel about making a purchase for a smoke detector for your manufacturing facility that wasn’t certified? Would you buy it? What if you had two food items claiming to be organic, one had a certified organic label on it and the other didn’t, which one would you buy? If you bought a used car for a family member, would you want to ensure it had a safety certificate?
Accrediting products is an important feature in a consumer driven world. Whether we realize it or not, purchasing decisions are influenced by the assurances we see. What comes to mind when you see an ISO certified manufacturing facility? We know this is a symbol for rigour and quality, ISO being one of the most respected certifications around the world.

Consumers are more informed than ever before
Ask companies such as Costco and Walmart how important it is to have assurances in the products they sell. You may have read in the past, stories about some companies sourcing products from questionable suppliers who employ child slave labour or who have awful environmental records. These companies have felt the wrath of the consumer, who is more informed than ever about what to buy and from where. Consumers want to know more, they get smarter every day and transparency is becoming so important. Have you been in a restaurant lately where they now list the calorie count on menu items?  It’s all about making informed purchasing decisions.

How do we prove quality to our customers?
We know Canada builds quality kitchen cabinets. We know this within the industry, but what about outside the industry? How do we prove it to our customers? How do we get that competitive edge over the competition and the cheap imports? How can we shift the conversation away from just pricing to helping our customers make that informed decision?
These are all the questions we’ve considered at the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association and we believe the 2017 CKCA Certification Program is the answer and it is now available to you. We are proud of the work we’ve done, this program was designed by our industry for our industry and represents our commitment to supporting you.
I believe in the certification process, that’s why our company, Laurysen Kitchens, certified in 2014 and will continue to do so. I was in a competitive bidding situation several years ago, the only difference between me and the competition was the certification we held. We won the bid and more work came from it. We made sure our future customer made an informed decision by pointing to that certification, it was a sales tool and we used it.    

Testing for quality – a torture chamber for kitchen cabinets
So what exactly is behind certification of kitchen cabinets and why should you certify? We toured Exova, the ISO17025 accredited independent testing facility that we have partnered with to conduct testing  (yes the ISO certification matters!). A huge facility located in Mississauga, Ont. it could be described as a torture chamber for kitchen cabinets. We saw testing systems where kitchen cabinets are hung and endure the onslaught of heavy weight loads, cabinet surfaces are exposed to extreme temperatures and pulled apart to measure their strength and performance. The CKCA Certification Program focuses on performance, which gives manufacturers the flexibility to use different construction methods. This is the fundamental difference between the old standard (released in 2009) and the new standard (2017). We don’t tell you how to build, but we do recommend how they should perform.   

The process is not about wanting your cabinets to fail, it’s about setting you up to succeed   
Is this certification and process over the top? We don’t believe so, but it is a rigorous test. Why?  Because we take quality seriously and we want to set you up to succeed. It is designed to differentiate you from the competition. Certification testing is not a punitive process, rather it is about setting minimum standards to promote quality within the industry.  
In our industry we know that it is not uncommon for a customer to spend more on their kitchen than they do on a car. Help your customer make a good decision. Give them the assurance they need and feel confident in doing so.

Certification can unify the industry
In 2018, CKCA will celebrate 
50 years as the voice for our industry. Comprised of manufacturing members and suppliers across Canada we are growing! We all share the same challenges no matter where our businesses are located. Certification is a national standard that can unify our industry and help us evolve together. Many of us have been in the business a long time because we love working with wood. We know we build to a high standard, certification is a process that can prove it.

Consumers have a choice and so do you  
Prove you build quality cabinets – get certified! CKCA will be right there with you. We will be promoting and informing our industry, our stakeholders and ultimately, the consumer because like you, we know that Canadian built, Canadian tested, Canadian quality is better. Why would a customer buy anywhere else?
For more information on certification please visit www.ckca.ca/certification/  or call Sandra Wood, executive director, CKCA at 613-493-5858


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