Hardwood Blog

Perspectives and insights on the hardwood lumber industry.                     

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5 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

  • Tuesday, 07 August 2018 15:21
There is no doubt that employee engagement in the workplace is important. But recently, there has been evidence that engagement is not where businesses would like it to be. The lack of engagement can have a rippling effect that can be felt throughout the entire company. And it can often lead to additional time spent on recruitment, interviewing and hiring of new employees. Many companies face this challenge and the hardwood lumber industry is no…

What About Basswood?

  • Thursday, 02 August 2018 17:42
When people think of hardwoods the first species that come to mind seem to be Red Oak, White Oak, Walnut, Cherry, etc. But what about Basswood? Often times Basswood is lumped in the “other” category on industry reports since it typically only represents about 5-8% of the total timber production volume today. But maybe its time for a change. Generally speaking, Basswood (Tilla americana) is a soft, light wood that is stable and can be…
When hiring new members to their teams, many companies choose to hire externally, while others choose to promote from within. In these cases, there is a confidence and trust in the individuals who have worked within the organization and are ready to take the next step. This is something that we have come to experience firsthand when we have needed to fill important positions within our lumber yards, sawmills, and even at our corporate headquarters.…

Finding White Ash

  • Thursday, 12 July 2018 12:53
Ash has been one of the most commonly requested hardwood lumber species recently. Even though we have seen increased demand, Ash logs have been getting harder and harder to come by due to the emerald ash borer. Because of this, loggers have been aggressive in harvesting Ash trees to minimize the potential losses of landowners. While both loggers and landowners have tried to stay in front of this, sawmills have been forced to adjust accordingly…
Successful business leaders ask questions to grow and improve their leadership skills, but what types of questions do they ask? Naturally, we reflected on this thought and began to consider what questions leaders in the hardwood lumber industry ask to improve operational processes, create clearer strategies, and enhance working conditions for their organizations. Here are a few key questions we have found valuable. Can we simplify? It is easy to over-complicate a project. Businesses, like…
1 Common, 2 Common, FAS, Prime, Select & Better, are just a few hardwood grade requests that we hear from customers. It seems as if we are always talking about grade lumber in the hardwood industry. However, it is important to keep in mind that 30 to 40% of a typical hardwood log results in low-grade lumber. Low-grade lumber, commonly referred to as industrial hardwoods, can be found in a variety of forms. Cants, pallet…
Communication is an essential aspect of being a successful leader, the ability to really listen to colleagues should be a tool in every business leaders toolbox. At American Lumber, we make conscious efforts to stress the importance of the flow of communication back and forth between leadership and employees, and vice versa. This is true whether it is our customers, lumber traders, sawmill managers or yard personnel. It is our belief that when individuals listen…

Keeping Pace with Technology

  • Wednesday, 09 May 2018 18:29
Technology advances at an exponential rate. Every day we are notified of a new update, computer system, app, or program that is better than the one that you are currently using. Given the pace of technology it can be very hard to keep up with all of the latest advancements. Determining the technology that is right for your business and incorporating it the right way can give your business a competitive advantage in the marketplace.…
Inventory management issues, shipment lead times, and currency fluctuations are just some of the common issues United States tropical hardwood importers who bring in millions of board feet each year -like American Lumber- are challenged with.   When it comes to tropical lumber, not all species are sold in 8’ and longer bundles. One of the challenges to this is that it results in the regular accumulation of lumber less than 8’ long. This is…
Being a good manager doesn’t necessarily translate into being a good leader. Often, employees who get promoted to management positions have steadily increased their responsibility levels within the organization or possess excellent technical skills. However, while these employees often possess these “hard skills” they are sometimes lacking the “soft skills” that allow them to be effective leaders for their teams. Promoting employees from within is a very common practice in the hardwood lumber industry. At…