There is nothing worse then buying lumber that is not fit for purpose. You spend months scouring the internet for suppliers, try and few and find the quality or price does not line up with your expectations.
If you can relate, here’s three ways you can avoid this situation in the future:
1. Clearly describe your end use
Often when companies are sourcing lumber, they specify the size and grade they are after, without having an open dialogue about what they are making. This open dialogue is critical as grade definitions change all over the world, and unless you supply a chance for the supplier to understand how the lumber will be used, they may unwittingly supply you lumber unfit for purpose.
From my experience the more open the dialogue can be the more likely of both parties enjoying a mutually beneficial business relationship.
2. Let the supplier know what you will be doing with the knots
Are you looking for clear recovery or will you use the knots. Will you only use some of the knots and reject those that are dead or too big or too something else? Does your supplier understand this clearly. This one sounds simple, but the more you let them know about how you will use the lumber the more likely they will match up the right grade for your use.
All too often, lumber purchases are focusing mostly on price, and not cost. What I mean is, some lumber can be more expensive but actually reduce your cost through improved recovery. Company directors need to empower their purchasing people to purchase on cost, not price. The purchasing person needs to have an understanding of the manufacturing process and how different grades can benefit or impact cost.
3. Describe the final size you are dressing to
Taking cost out of the equation really is the key and lumber size is they key component. It makes absolutely no sense to ship lumber that is too thick or too wide right across the globe, wasting all that extra freight cost, only to turn that extra wood into sawdust and shavings.
Admittedly there are not many mills around the world that custom cut, but those that do, sell at pretty much the same price as normal mills do, but can reduce your lumber usage easily by 8-10%, sometimes more.
One would think that lumber is lumber. It’s wood…how different or hard can it be to optimise the supply of this basic commodity to your need. But in reality it is a little complicated. The starting point is possibly to trust each other. Manufacturers of end products need to trust the suppliers they talk to by sharing information and helping the supplier to better understand their needs. And Lumber mills need to trust the information they are hearing and make sure they are supplying just what the customer needs.
For more information, contact Mike Edwards.