Timber Processing’s May issue spotlights log carriages, an industry tradition and the lifeblood of many a sawmill; in a special section, manufacturers provide the latest log carriage technology developments. Also featured are the Maine hardwood producer Lumbra Inc., the industry giant USNR and industry veteran Huey Long. An article provides the key concepts of going LEAN, an effective tool toward continuous improvement, and the issue establishes that opportunities are popping up now for estate planning. As in each issue, the Product Scanner section highlights new products.
Despite the general economic downturn, and the more specific collapse in the housing industry, Southern Forest Products Assn. reports a strong list of exhibitors signed up—and still signing up—for EXPO 2009, the 30th Forest Products Machinery & Equipment Exposition set for June 11-13 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. As of early April, nearly 150 companies had contracted exhibit space.
A decade ago, Lumbra family trio—Reuben (77) and sons Benny (48) and Stephen (39)—decided to get their feet wet in the value-added arena, making the initial transition from a green lumber mill to one offering kiln dried hardwood products. “We didn’t really want to saw more, but we wanted to do more with our own products. Drying it was the first step,” states Reuben, who with his dad co-founded Oscar & Reuben Lumbra, Inc. 57 years ago.
For 100 years Corley has built and supplied carriages and other machinery to sawmills around the world and for more than 30 years has built optimized linear positioner carriages. Corley is now a “single “source” manufacturer for complete carriage/headrig systems including Lewis Controls ShapeScan optimization, bandmills, chipping slabbers, hydraulic log turners, Tyrone-Berry shot-gun and cable feeds.
In these trying times of tough lumber markets and soft demand, USNR Vice President of Sales Chris Blomquist has some advice for sawmillers: “Give us a call and see if we can help.” The company’s staff is constantly on the road visiting mills and has seen a wide variety of solutions to sawmill problems, he explains. “Even if it’s just a small thing, we can help you with it,” Blomquist says.
Dramatic economic conditions often lead to major changes in how customers use products and services as they learn what they believe are new and better uses. The current downturn will lead to similar changes though we may not understand what all of them are at this time. Good companies are re-evaluating their business models in anticipation of these changes. One thing is for certain, companies that improve efficiencies and reduce wasteful activity will be winners as things improve.
If you live in the South, you may have already read an interview I conducted with Huey Long, Jr. in one of our affiliate magazines, Southern Lumberman. Long, who is 60, has had two remarkable careers, one in our industry, and the other in the military, from which he retired in 2004 after 33 years, rising to Colonel. Long hasn’t retired from our industry yet. Good thing, too. Our industry needs talented, experienced men like Long.
The economic crisis in the U.S. has reached global proportions and caused a global recession. No doubt you have heard a number of economists say that when the financial system in the U.S. gets “sick,” every other country around the world catches the same virus. Recessions are an everyday part of our global economic system and we’ve had no less than 14 recessions during the past 100 years. With every recession there seems to be a tendency to blame some group of people for its root cause.