Mid-Year Review

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It may seem like the new year started just last week, but of course, we’re already midway through 2022. For many of us in the hardwood lumber industry it is a good time to look back at the annual goals and objectives we set at the beginning of the year and see how we are progressing.

Of course, each industry, and each company, can have their own unique set of challenges to overcome. Whether it be lingering pandemic issues, labor shortages, the ability to source enough green hardwood lumber anyone of those issues could require a mid-year strategy adjustment!

mid year goal reviewWe find that it can be very helpful to review current market dynamics and assess where we are to date against or original goals to see if adjustments are warranted. Here are a few things we emphasize to help us along the way. Maybe some of them will provide value to you!

Set time aside for this critical task. Tracking your mid-year progress isn’t an idle exercise or something to do only when business is slow.

Business speaker Tina Wells recommends setting aside a block of time for the process and to “treat it with the same importance as a meeting you’d schedule with a customer.” Start planning the evaluation ahead of time, “so you can collect all the data and documents you need, for example, sales summary, marketing plan, and financial records.”

Conduct an objective assessment of the past six months. Look back at your stated goals and the metrics you established to track progress. What does this data tell you about where your business is today? For us, we would analyze our performance on key metrics such as board footage sold, available inventory for sale or the percentage of logs by species heading into the sawmills for processing.

Look at what’s changed since the start of the year. As detailed as your start-of-the-year evaluation might have been, there’s no way to accurately predict all the twists and turns of the marketplace.

Now, six months later, new opportunities may have arisen in terms of expanded markets, new customer acquisition efforts, a competitor’s difficulties, etc. Look closely at what’s changed and where you might exploit these changes to your company’s advantage.

Don’t undertake this assessment alone. Even a high-level process like a mid-year assessment shouldn’t be restricted to the CEO and/or his or her senior team. As we have noted before, “including team members in the discussion is particularly valuable for gaining a stronger awareness of the market.”

For example, in the hardwood lumber market, this might include obtaining information from our foresters on timber and log availability; gathering customer insights from our hardwood lumber sales group and exploring with our concentration yard leaders how current lumber handling, during and processing might be impacted in the second half of the year.

Shift resources and priorities as necessary. An in-depth evaluation may indicate that new goals and strategies are called for at the mid-year point.

It could be that other activities have distracted your team from the original strategic objectives. If so, “it’s time to have the tough conversation about resetting priorities and refocusing time, money, and resources on your goals in the next six months,” notes the Spinnaker Consulting Group. The purpose is seeing “where you can make a change with a specific ROI toward hitting your mark.”

For many businesses, summer is a time of lessened sales and customer activity. Take advantage of any potential temporary lull to rigorously examine how far your business has progressed since January 2022, and what actions are needed to finish the year on a robust, upbeat note.

What other mid-year ideas do you have? Let us know!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber
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