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HOLZ-HANDWERK 2024: Innovation and networking at its best

 Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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HOLZ-HANDWERK in Nuremberg – this is something that everyone can look forward to in 2024. The show is an ultimate combination of innovations, networking, future prospects. The best part is that, this time, HOLZ-HANDWERK trade fair will be an united venture by NürnbergMesse, VDMA, and FSH. The European Trade Fair for Machine Technology, Equipment and Supplies for the Wood Craft, focuses on processing and working the living material wood. Visitors can explore the latest trends and innovations for the woodworking & wood processing sector – from sawing and grinding machines to woodworking machines or extraction systems. This makes HOLZ-HANDWERK one of the most important events for carpenters and joiners in the European region.

NürnbergMesse, the VDMA Woodworking Machinery Association and the Bavarian Carpentry Association (FSH) are working towards a common goal: the HOLZ-HANDWERK trade fair in Nuremberg from March 19 to 22, 2024. Around two months ahead of the event, Stefan Dittrich (Director HOLZ-HANDWERK at NürnbergMesse), Dr Bernhard Dirr (Managing Director VDMA Woodworking Machinery Association) and Dr Christian Wenzler (Managing Director Bavarian Carpentry Association) answer key questions about the current situation in the industry and preparations for the fair and make a strong case for visiting HOLZ-HANDWERK.

Mr Dittrich, the preparations for HOLZ-HANDWERK are in full swing. What can visitors look forward to, and why should people not miss this coming round of HOLZ-HANDWERK?

Stefan Dittrich: More than 310 exhibitors already registered will ensure that HOLZ-HANDWERK can once again present a comprehensive range of solutions for the needs of the carpentry trade that covers the entire supply chain for woodworking and wood processing. Alongside exciting supporting programme components on key topical issues like the PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DIGITISATION forum, the HOLZ-HANDWERK CAMPUS, the new JobMatch special display area and the Young Innovators Pavilion, what HOLZ-HANDWERK offers above all is an incomparable “hands-on” atmosphere that allows visitors to handle and try out the various technologies and products. There’s something to discover and experience in all halls, and this hands-on approach is the only way to generate ideas and solutions that can then be implemented directly into day-to-day operations.

Let’s look at the economic situation. Dr Dirr, what kind of year was 2023 for German manufacturers of woodworking machinery? And what are the prospects for 2024?

Dr Bernhard Dirr: In terms of revenue, things are still looking quite good. We assume that we will achieve an increase for the entire year of 2023. This is due in part to the fact that there is still an order backlog from the times of robust market growth that firms are now working through. Naturally, price increases also play a role. What concerns us most is the order situation. In some cases, orders are down a third compared with the previous year. Very few companies expected such a sharp decline in orders. We are all familiar with the cycles in the machine manufacturing sector, but the momentum of the slump in orders took many manufacturers by surprise. Nevertheless, we are looking optimistically to the new year and expect things to improve again from the second half of 2024. Many major plant and system manufacturers still have well-filled order books, in some cases up to 2025. This is because investments in this area have a longer lead time and are less cyclically dependent on the economic climate. The manufacturers of standard machinery, on the other hand, are feeling the impact of purchasing restraint much more strongly. Moreover, it appears that skilled trade enterprises are coming through the crisis better than the industrial segment.


Why is a visit to HOLZ-HANDWERK so important, especially in these times?

Dr Bernhard Dirr: Especially for carpenters, joiners and semi-industrial wood processors, HOLZ-HANDWERK is the best and most focused trade fair worldwide with the most comprehensive product display. Stefan Dittrich has already summed it up very aptly: The opportunity to discover and experience the latest solutions hands-on is the big advantage of HOLZ-HANDWERK. In times in which communication and new business partnerships are crucial, it offers the ideal platform for dialogue and communication, with plenty of opportunities to talk with exhibitors, associations and organisations. It’s where you can acquire valuable knowledge in the various forums and special shows. And it’s where talking shop with colleagues leads to interesting new business partnerships and provides answers to the pressing issues affecting the industry.

Dr Wenzler, what are the key issues affecting the carpentry trade at present, and how are you supporting your member companies in these challenging times?

Dr Christian Wenzler: Like the manufacturers of woodworking machinery, carpentry businesses are currently also having to deal with a lot of topical issues. Starting with the weakening economic situation, for example, the high level of interest rates and inflation and the resulting increasing uncertainty among customers, the steady increase in bureaucracy, which is a particular burden on SMEs, and the shortage of skilled workers, there are many challenges that need to be overcome despite high demand and healthy order books. We support our member companies in all these areas, for example through joint market presentations by guild carpenters like the Day of the Carpenter, or intensive recruitment drives, by advising members on various business issues and highlighting aspects of their performance, e.g. product range, training services, or especially sustainable accomplishments.

The HOLZ-HANDWERK trade fair is regarded as the No. 1 industry gathering for the woodworking and wood processing trade. Why do you urge every carpenter to visit the event?

Dr Christian Wenzler: I can only concur with Dr Dirr. Especially in these economically challenging times, it is particularly important to optimise processes. This doesn’t just mean investing in large-scale machinery but specifically, improving lots of minor steps and interfaces within your company and when dealing with customers. It is also extremely important to know about developments in materials, hardware, paint and coatings etc. to be able to offer customers up-to-date and well-designed solutions. Valuable support with these aspects is provided by the Bavarian Carpentry Association (FSH) stand, as the main port of call for the carpentry community, and the special show “Design Objekt – Objekt Design”, which focuses on sustainable product design. Our visitors can therefore receive specific answers and support with the challenges that lie ahead and affect everyone. As a result, HOLZ-HANDWERK offers an excellent marketplace for the entire community. The current exhibitor profile does not change this. On the contrary: We have further honed our distinct focus on the interests of tradespeople in the field. The product display at HOLZ-HANDWERK has everything a carpentry business needs and thus covers the entire supply chain.

In combination with FENSTERBAU FRONTALE, HOLZ-HANDWERK offers an impressive variety of exhibitors, products and customers, which makes the trade fair a real industry highlight! The optimism shows that especially in challenging times, the potential of the trade fair and the contacts made there are extremely valuable when it comes to remaining viable in the sector. All participants are looking forward to four great days in Nuremberg in March.

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