GREENSBORO, NC – Leaders of the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) explained the future of the organization during a program titled “NHLA 2.0” recently to the Appalachian Lumbermen’s Club.
NHLA Chief Executive Officer Lorna Christie and NHLA Chief Inspector Dana Spessert shared the podium for the March meeting of the club. They discussed plans for 2018 in advocacy, education, industry services and networking.
Christie said NHLA staff and leaders have completed a review of the mission and preparing for a new focus on service to members and promotion of the industry. While the organization is best known as the “keeper of the lumber grades,” NHLA staff and committees are moving beyond that.
NHLA members will be encouraged to share their story both in their marketing efforts and discussions in their communities. Christie said the industry has such an important story to tell about management of the forest resource.
She noted the number of companies that are second, third and fourth generations.
The association will also ask members to become more involved with Project Learning Tree. The national education program provides science based lessons to teachers in every grade for use in schools around the country.
NHLA is also sponsoring a children’s museum exhibit through its Hardwood Forest Foundation. The exhibit is based on the “Truth About Trees” program and is completing its opening at the Omaha Children’s Museum. There are nine stops already planned across the country and NHLA will ask members to contribute to its presentation.
Spessert said NHLA is broadening the scope of its national inspectors to become ambassadors to their members. While the inspectors help with dispute resolution, they also offer grade certification to spot check members and certify that lumber is “on grade.”
The new program highlights those companies for continued improvement and they are recommended to end users with an assurance of accurate grade for lumber products.
Spessert said NHLA is receiving acceptance of its kiln-dried certificate program in new countries around the world. The KD certificate can be used instead of US Department of Agriculture inspections for lumber exported to some countries.
The 2018 NHLA Convention is Oct. 2-4 in Toronto, Canada. More information on this and NHLA programs is available at www.nhla.com.
HICKORY, NC – The Factory Man told Appalachian lumbermen recently that U.S. companies can compete with manufacturing from around the world by following five keys to business.
John D. Bassett III, chairman of Vaughn-Bassett Furniture and “The Factory Man” as he is known after a book was published about his life, spoke to the Appalachian Lumbermen’s Club at its January meeting. The Bassett, VA, native has spent his entire life in the furniture business and has fought the invasion of imports into the United States since the 1980s.
He told the group about a visit to Taiwan in 1984 and a meeting with an elderly Chinese factory owner. Through a translator, the man told Bassett that the Chinese have worked with businesspeople from Europe, Japan, South American and Australia and have learned one thing about Americans that is different from all of the others.
“He told me that Americans are greedy – we will do anything for money,” Bassett said.
American manufacturers sought less expensive manufacturing in Asia and taught workers there how to build it to U.S. standards. The Chinese companies then no longer needed U.S. companies and made their own products to sell to U.S. and European consumers.
“They hired our best sales people who had all of the retailers and now are selling to them directly,” Bassett said. “And they were dumping products into the U.S. below cost and we caught them at that.”
Bassett was one of a small group of US manufacturers who petitioned the US government and won. A tariff was imposed on Chinese-made bedroom furniture and several of the Chinese companies in the case, he said, changed their names or moved production to Vietnam.
“I took a lot of heat over that and was called a protectionist but they did not call me that after 2008 and 2009,” Bassett remarked.
China and India now constantly impose anti-dumping petitions against other countries, Bassett reported. From 2003 (when the Chinese furniture petition was imposed) and 2016, China has placed 169 petitions against other countries and India has imposed 380. The U.S. has imposed 172 in the 13 years – just three more than China.
“Who has lost the most business – us or the Chinese?” he asked the group. “You ever hear the Chinese called protectionists? How about India? This is what China does and India does and if we are going to put up with people cheating, this is what we should expect.”
Bassett said U.S. companies can compete if they follow five rules to succeed:
1. Attitude – “If you don’t believe you are a winner, I will promise you will lose.”
2. Leadership – “You have to have a leader who stands up and leads the group.”
3. Never Quit Changing – “I tell people you have to keep changing. You have to constantly come up with new ways of doing things.”
4. Don’t Panic – “Let’s think our way through every difficult situation because very seldom have I seen a good decision made in a panic.”
5. Teamwork – “If you don’t have the whole team working together than it is not going to work. You constantly have to communicate your message to your employees.”
JOHNSON CITY, TN – Pallets are moving the world and hardwood lumber markets, according to a wood pallet industry spokesman.
Mark Barford, senior director of business development at the National Wood Pallet and Container Association, spoke at the November meeting of the Appalachian Lumbermen’s Club. He said the pallet industry uses approximately 35% of all hardwood sawmill production and about 10% of all softwood sawmill production in the United States.
The industry is estimated at $11.5 billion annually and there are 2 billion pallets in service in the U.S. every day with 94% of those units made of wood. The NWPCA has 670 members in 28 countries.
Barford said the pallet industry consumed more than 3.6 billion board feet of hardwood lumber in 2014. It is estimated that 3 billion board feet will be manufactured into pallets in 2017.
He said the wood pallet industry continues to face challenges from plastic and corrugated materials. Wood continues to dominate because of its strength, adaptability and value.
The association has begun an education campaign to teach customers, packaging specialists and packaging students about wood’s environmental benefits. A new website, naturespackaging.org, explains this and hopes are it will increase the use of wood packaging.
In 2015, the 2,700 pallet businesses in the U.S. employed more than 52,000 workers.
The next meetings of the ALC are Jan. 9, 2018 at the Crown Plaza in Hickory, NC, and March 13, 2018 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, NC. For more information on the club, please visit www.lumberclub.org or follow on twitter at @AppLumber.
View or download his presentation here.
See photos from Nov. meeting here.
See shooting clay photos here.
Mike’s presentation focused on the latest trade statistics for US hardwood exports and the factors that are driving current demand around the globe. He also explored AHEC’s promotional strategy and the opportunities presented by changing global perceptions of wood brought on by new technologies and sustainability measures.
View or download his presentation here.
See photos from the meeting.
Hardwood Forest Foundation
Since 1989, the Hardwood Forest Foundation has worked to change student and teacher mis-conceptions about harvesting trees. You can view the video of Tommy MacDonald or learn more about the teacher materials available under activitrees, see the Truth about Trees kit, and much more. The Foundation has reached over 400,000 kids with our program and our goal is to reach one million by 2016.
Watch Tommy MacDonald’s Video…