Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

One constant in life and in business is change. As technology is upgraded and industries adapt, there will always be a time of transition. I grew up in this industry, and for 57, I’ve experienced much change.

When I began my career, lumber was traded by mail which took days to weeks, then by fax machine which shortened the time to days, and now by email which is practically instantaneous. Also, markets were predominately domestic and our staff would visit them with a drive to North Carolina. Now, our sales team boards a plane to reach customers all over the world. As our consumer markets have changed, our by-product and pulpwood markets have also evolved in correlation to changes in the pulp and paper industry. Pulp mills are closing, tightening up on specs, and issuing quotas. The consistent market for our by-products and pulpwood is now inconsistent.

My dad was adamant “if you can’t get rid of your chips, dusk and bark, they will bury you.” Not only can these product bury us, the inability to sell them can suppress lumber production and log availability. How do we as an industry and individual businesses, adapt to these changing by-product and pulpwood markets without eroding overall profitability? This issue can keep you up at night. In those sleepless, prayerful nights, I have found the need to stay focused on what my management team and I can control: manufacturing methods and keeping an open mind about potential by-products markets.

Adapting to changes in the by-product space has meant re-evaluating the milling process. The first step we have taken is to evaluate our kerf and overall yield. How much sawdust do we make per board foot of lumber produced? We continually evaluate all machinery centers to ensure minimal saw kerf or yield loss without sacrificing quality. We are also talking to equipment dealers to source new breakdown systems to match. We will never get away from making sawdust; we just want to make less of it per thousand. The same is true for chips. We may not fully eliminate our issues, but we are managing them on the front end. There’s also a payback to that — less chips and saw dust means more lumber out of the same logs.

In addition to adapting to change with the manufacturing process, we are identifying opportunities to dispose of our by-products regionally and into diverse markets when available. In our area of the country, it is not profitable to convert by-products to wood pellets for biofuel. We do sell part of our chips to a distillery to be burned in their steam plant. However, quotas are being curtailed amid talks of natural gas conversion.

Our pulp markets are facing similar challenges with weekly pulpwood, chips, and dust quotas. The questions we ask ourselves daily are: Is there opportunity for on-site consumption? Are there alternative users for these products? Are we making something that meets the specs of alternative consumers? Where can we move these products to their highest and best value?

Finally, we are examining the overall global consumption of North American hardwood fiber and our ability to compete as a low-cost provider. If we are, in fact, moving into an era when getting rid of the residuals becomes the determining factor of success, then whoever can move their chips and sawdust consistently and still make money will come out on top.

Again, one constant in life and in business is change. The change has never slowed down. What works today may not work for my team tomorrow. We must constantly strive to adapt to change creatively, knowing that with change comes great opportunity. Just keep in mind, as my dad always said, “Be careful son, there is a fine line between a vision and an illusion.”

Nordeck Thompson, Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods


  1. Fantastic items from you, man. I’ve take into account
    your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely
    wonderful. I really like what you have received right here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which wherein you
    are saying it. You are making it entertaining and you still care
    for to stay it smart. I cant wait to learn far more
    from you. That is really a tremendous website.

  2. Do you have a spam problem on this blog; I also am
    a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; we have developed some nice procedures and
    we are looking to swap solutions with others, be sure to shoot me
    an e-mail if interested.

  3. Helpful information. Lucky me I found your web site unintentionally, and I am stunned why this coincidence did not came about earlier!
    I bookmarked it. natalielise plenty of fish

  4. You’ve made some really good points there. I checked on the internet
    for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

  5. If some one needs to be updated with latest technologies therefore he must be pay a visit this
    web site and be up to date daily.

  6. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your
    article seem to be running off the screen in Internet
    explorer. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you
    know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon. Thanks plenty of fish natalielise

  7. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site.

    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal.
    I must say that you’ve done a superb job with this.
    In addition, the blog loads super fast for me on Opera. Excellent Blog!

  8. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a
    designer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

  9. Pingback: viagra tablets
  10. Pingback: sildenafil
  11. Hey there! I’ve been following your website for a while now
    and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas!

    Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

  12. Pingback: viagra for sale
  13. Pingback: buy generic cialis
  14. Pingback: generic viagra
  15. Pingback: generic cialis
  16. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article
    like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if
    all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *