Tuesday, 23 May 2017 15:38

How to reduce the creation of unusable hardwood lumber inventory

If you manufacturer with hardwoods how do you stop creating unwanted lumber inventory? It is not always an easy answer, but it is usually rooted in ordering hardwood lumber products specifically designed to maximize your lumber yields.

ripping 2Most companies that manufacture products with hardwood lumber still usually order their materials as bundles of random widths and lengths. What this means is each bundle can therefore have a different combination of boards that range in widths of 4” to 12” and wider and in lengths ranging from 6’ to 16’ depending on the species. That might not be the most efficient raw material input dimensions for today’s high tech manufacturing practices.

In most instances, we find that cabinet makers, flooring manufacturers and even furniture companies will choose to produce their products from a preferred board size that will optimize their manufacturing process. The rest of the boards are either resized in an attempt to make them usable or they are put aside in hopes that they will be used for something in the future. The boards that are put aside, back into inventory, are the ones we consider unusable lumber because they are usually odd sizes and accumulate. They are many times too good to be considered waste but are not desirable for current manufacturing runs in production today.

One way to reduce or eliminate this type of unusable lumber accumulation is to order hardwoods in bundles other than random widths and lengths. Most hardwood suppliers today can leverage advanced sorting capabilities to gather specific boards, with specific characteristics, and deliver those to a single customer if they have access to a large enough supply of lumber. For example much of our white oak lumber is regularly offered to customers in sorted strips such as 6”, 7”, 8”, or 9” and wider. Even one of our custom grade walnut products is based on a width sorted 4/4 thickness of prime grade of lumber.

Another common method of reducing the creation of unusable lumber is the act of ordering hardwood rips or exact width moulder blanks. American Lumber can develop SLR2E hardwood products in almost all species, thicknesses and grades to match your specific manufacturing needs. Many times, customers order these to replace the use of random width lumber or to just supplement their own moulder cell production and improve throughput or drive employee productivity.

Our customers tell us that when they focus on reducing the amount of unusable lumber they create in their plant they maximize the value they receive from each load of hardwood lumber by:

  • Receiving more usable lumber per truck load
  • Improving employee productivity by reducing lumber rehandling costs
  • Increasing their lumber yields
  • Reclaiming more warehouse space in their facility making their operations run more efficiently

If you think a special sort of hardwood lumber, or even a special SLR2E product could help your manufacturing process please let us know. We would welcome the chance to explain how we would go about sourcing what you need to succeed!

American Lumber
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Last modified on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 15:43

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