A Blog on Ripped-to-Width Hardwood Lumber

In a recent meeting, one of our potential ripped-to-width customers expressed his frustration with his company’s inability to efficiently and effectively produce blanks.
One of the most common problems faced by manufacturers is the ability to successfully manage the labor equation on a consistent basis. So, when a manufacturer of hardwood products is able to reduce labor challenges- which are one of the top concerns of forest product industry leaders-  they are able to give themselves a competitive advantage in the market.  
One of the more common wide plank flooring styles is rustic white oak.  We've seen our customers make wide plank white oak flooring in various finishes and styles that accent the grains, sound knots and general character of a rustic product. Rustic white oak is often used for colonial decor, an Old English look or a tavern or bar floor…
Cabinet, moulding and flooring manufacturers that produce products from hardwood lumber have become increasingly automated and technologically advanced.  Today’s high speed moulders and saws have helped many companies develop a advantage by enabling them to better manage their raw material costs and lumber inventories.
If you manufacturer products from wood you know about the importance of managing sawdust expose in your plant.   Since the early 1990’s wood dust has been officially regulated as an organic dust in a category known as "Particulate Not Otherwise Regulated" (PNOR), or Nuisance Dust.  It has not been cited as a hazardous material that needed to be controlled.
Cabinet manufacturers and millwork plants have been using MDF, (Medium density fiberboard), in doors and other products for years.  This is not new, especially since painted finishes have been growing in preference with consumers.
Buying random width lumber can be a little risky.  Traditional industry grading rules define “ranges” of lumber acceptability.  Within each grade range there can be loads that fit well for your manufacturing process, and loads that don’t fit too well.
In almost every manufacturing situation one of the major challenges in sustained success is managing the labor equation.  Traditionally, in the forest products industry labor concerns have ranked in the top five issues for many years.  So there is no doubt that whenever a manufacturer of hardwood products can find ways to reduce or minimize labor challenges they can create…
Successful manufacturers understand that they do not have to always conduct every step of the production process themselves.  For decades the concept of outsourcing manufacturing functions has increased in acceptance and popularity.  For many the concept of outsourcing started as a way to reduce operational costs. 
Imagine your plant is operating at an efficient 85% of its capacity.  Then imagine that a new sales opportunity presents itself that would require you to push your capabilities well beyond 100%.  It would be a great opportunity to increase sales and certainly one that would be tempting to grab and run with.
How do you manage the swings in hardwood lumber pricing and supply?
The Customer's Problem: Too Many Sales. My customer was looking for help.  He said, "We are experiencing too many sales and we cannot produce our finished product fast enough."  “These are good problems to have!” I said. 
Enhanced Rip Size Options For Customers From experience we have found customers like options.  We feel that also holds true in our hardwood ripping program and we do whatever we can to accommodate our customers with them.
I am sure many of us have heard this little phrase as a child or have told our children and grandchildren a variation of it.  Sharing is a concept that can help many people.  We feel this also holds true in the manufacturing and use of ripped hardwood lumber.
Helping customers with their ripped hardwood lumber needs has been an increasing focus for Baillie Lumber over the last year.  While working with different manufacturers across the country we have seen interesting uses, applications, and species choices in production with our customers.
It is almost a consensus that the strip flooring market is a tough one to make money in.  Competition is fierce and profit margins are tight.  When I talk to flooring manufacturers most of them say that if they had their choice they would stay out of the strip flooring market entirely if they could avoid it.   For most, this…
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