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What do the numbers say?

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CKCA by Sandra Wood
CMP, Executive Director, CKCA
Numbers! Every time I watch the news these days it’s all about the number of infections or hospital admissions. What has surprised me are the specific numbers reported. They don’t round up or down, they give very specific numbers.
I know we’re all so tired of hearing about it, but without it we’d be blind to the realities of what’s going on. That age old saying “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” always resonates true. Governments have been pouring over their numbers for almost two years now and the data remains a major tool in anticipating and responding to the pandemic.
What this all reminds me of is the importance of numbers, a.k.a. metrics.
But you already know that because you pour over numbers daily too. Whether you’re monitoring job completion rates, assessing material consumption, analyzing profits or quoting jobs to clients, you’re using numbers and projections to run your business and you couldn’t function without them.
Last year CKCA worked hard to get at more industry data to see how the industry was performing, we also looked at the numbers. The analysis and results of what we collected were revealing. We looked at whether our industry was showing signs of slowdown, more than 80 per cent said no. We looked at whether you were increasing prices to clients because of the supplies cost increases and 90 per cent of you said yes and a further 75 per cent said you were preparing to increase prices further in 2022. We asked you if you were having difficulty collecting final payments from customers and 30 per cent of you told us you are having difficulty and a further 45 per cent said sometimes.
 This year, we’re still all about the numbers. We’ll be working to gather more market Intel to share. We’ll be looking at salaries, at employment levels at imports and much more. Our role is to give you numbers that you can use to benchmark.
On the flip side are there numbers you’re not looking at? The reason I ask is because in my many conversations with members over the years it is always very clear that the number of hour’s members give to their business is significant. What is the average workweek in terms of hours for you in your business? Is it a 45-hour, 50-60-hour workweek or more? People work hard in our industry and they do put in long days. We’ve heard the stories from owners who worked through the weekend to get a job done, or they had a setback (maybe machinery broke down or they are short-staffed) and they’re behind, so they’re working longer days to catch up. Have you ever thought about how many hours of experience you have in your business or the industry? Because that’s an important number too.
Some quick math here. Assume a business owner works on average 55 hours/week. That’s 220 hours a month (assuming you’re not working weekends although we know you often do). In one year you’re likely clocking about 2,640 hours. How many years have you been in this business? Let’s go with an average of 15 years, so that’s 39,600 hours – and that’s just you. How many hours have those in your business working alongside you also clocked? Especially those who have been with you for some time?  The point I’m making here is that we can easily say our industry represents MILLIONS of hours of experience and know-how. No exaggeration.
That’s a pretty impressive number and a graphic way of telling customers who you are and what’s behind the products you build and sell. We’re pretty proud of that too and want to drive a clear message that buying Canadian-built cabinets is a smart decision. Because we’re not lying when we talk numbers. If anything, we’re still very humble about it. While many of you include the number of years you’ve been in business as a selling point, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to get a little more granular in whatever creative way you choose.
This year CKCA is going to talk more numbers, because it really does paint a picture of who we are and what we represent. Whether we’re promoting the industry to the general public or talking to government, numbers create compelling visuals. At CKCA we know our industry produces revenues in excess of $2 billion annually. The kitchen cabinet industry alone employs more than 25,000 Canadians (a conservative number). Inside the CKCA, we’ve got more than 30 industry volunteers working with us who know this industry and that alone represents close to a million hours of industry experience – WOW!
Numbers are powerful tools. Don’t just keep them to yourself, use them to promote you, your company and the industry.
Note: What other numbers are worth a look? E-mail us at info@ckca.ca

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