MEADOW LAKE, Saskatchewan, Canada – We are pleased to announce that Tolko Industries Limited has acquired full ownership of the Meadow Lake OSB mill in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan as per the terms and conditions as outlined in the original Limited Partnership contract signed in 2001.
“Tolko is anchored in small communities and nowhere is this more evident than in Meadow Lake,” said Brad Thorlakson, CEO. “In 2001, we entered into partnership with the Government of Saskatchewan and a number of aboriginal stakeholders to build an oriented strand board (OSB) plant in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. The past 10 years, while filled with ups and downs in terms of the economy, has demonstrated the value and resiliency of the operation, our employees and the community. Today we are reaffirming our commitment to Meadow Lake and to OSB production and we’re looking forward to realizing the full potential of our asset under the Tolko flag.”
The agreement, signed between Tolko Industries and the CIC at the end of September, has now closed and will see Tolko take ownership of 100% of the Meadow Lake asset effective immediately.
“We are committed to the OSB business as part of our operating model and we are looking forward to continuing to build on Meadow Lake’s position as an innovative, exciting, high quality production facility and great place to work,” said Jim Baskerville, vice president of OSB and Kraft Paper. “Today’s news dovetails quite nicely with the reopening of our state of the art Athabasca facility, which is due to produce first board early in December. Between these two operations, Tolko is well positioned to have a strong presence in the OSB market for the foreseeable future.
Speaking to customers, Hardy Wentzel, vice president of Marketing, Sales and Logistics confirmed there would be no impact on customer service during the transition. “We do not expect there will be any impact on customer service. Our Meadow Lake operations will continue to deliver quality product, on time and with the same high standard of service that our customers have come to expect.”
Parker Snyder, Plant Manager at Meadow Lake says he is excited for the future. “The purchase comes at an opportune time as we are celebrating both our 10th anniversary of operations and our millionth press load! As we move to become a full member of the Tolko family, I believe we have an opportunity to strengthen our operations, focus on innovation through initiatives such as our IFIT project, and really strengthen Meadow Lake’s position as a quality producer of OSB for the market. We have a great community, employees and the full support of Tolko behind us. We’re feeling very positive and looking forward to moving ahead as a full member of the Tolko team.”
Employees at Meadow Lake have been notified of the purchase and are receiving additional communications around how the change will affect them.
“We do not anticipate there will be any major implications for staff,” said Snyder. “The biggest change will be around the look and feel of Meadow Lake which will change as we move into the Tolko Family. We will make every effort to keep everyone informed in order to make the transition a smooth one for staff, families and the community.”read more
Sort of like the bumper sticker that asks ‘How’s My Driving?’, FPInnovations has developed a benchmarking tool that uses a company’s own data to identify strengths and weakness within their current operations, and provide recommendations for action.
Confidential benchmarking studies are established, well recognized methods that provide individual companies with the information they need to prioritize their improvement efforts. The information collected during benchmarking establishes a framework for businesses to measure and improve their performance year over year, and compare their performance to others in their industry sector.
Maintaining confidentiality during benchmarking is crucial. A company is not individually identified, nor is individual company information released to the public. Only aggregate sector information is used to compare an individual company’s performance to that of the sector.
Recently, FPInnovations has been working closely with Canadian businesses in the Kitchen Cabinet, Millwork, and Furniture sectors to define the performance criteria most useful to company owners and managers.
These criteria range from qualitative factors such as the presence of safety programs and sales and marketing practices, to quantitative criteria such as total sales, and average manufacturing labour rate. For example, businesses have indicated that they would be interested in knowing their sales per employee in comparison to their peers, while others have indicated that having a sense of their average labour rate in comparison to the sector would be useful to them.
Through an interview with company owners and managers, a set of questions in ten areas that cover such topics as ‘Sales and Marketing’, ‘Human Resources’, ‘Operations’, ‘Quality’, and ‘Lean Manufacturing’ are asked. In addition, information to calculate Key Performance Indicators is gathered.
Following the interview, collected information is used to generate a set of individual performance graphs under each heading. These graphs also show how activities and performance in each area are inter-related. A summary table shows how the company compares with other companies within the same sector.
Based on the results so far, some interesting information is emerging, notably in terms of sales per square foot of manufacturing space and sales per worker. Individual indicators for inventory, materials and manufacturing labour as a percentage of sales are also generating keen interest from benchmarking participants.
What is most exciting is that the first participants have already begun to implement improvement efforts that were identified through their benchmarking activity. Some of the efforts companies are focussing their actions on include addressing quality issues in order to reduce call backs, implementing Lean Manufacturing principles to improve product flow and gain manufacturing efficiencies, increasing training activities to reduce labour costs, and undertaking other process improvements to reduce manufacturing costs.
Stephanie Roll, VP of Alberta-based Executive Millwork has this to say about her experience with the benchmarking tool. “Our Management Team found the summary information that you delivered quite accurate and beneficial and are looking forward to further evaluation and input from FPInnovations. We recognize that there are several areas that we require further support and continued growth in, to remain competitive”.
Over the next 5 months, FPInnovations is seeking six BC companies who wish to benchmark their performance – at no cost to them. Companies that participate will be interviewed by a local FPInnovations Industry Advisor from which a customized report that compares their company to that of the sector, as represented in an aggregate form will be produced for them.
While the first benchmark report with a company can identify areas of improvement, to be fully effective, annual benchmarking provides the information to truly gauge if improvement efforts are making a difference.
To find out more about the confidential benchmarking tool and how your business can benefit, contact email@example.com
Currently, Canada is negotiating trade agreements with Japan on two fronts: through the US-backed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and directly for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The TPP in particular is moving quickly as Japan and the US have recently stated their commitment to complete a deal by next year. The Canadian Embassy has been very proactive in getting the Canada Wood partners involved in the consultations and I have thus had the opportunity to speak with the negotiating team about issues of importance to the value-added industry.
This is a very positive step as traditionally only the interests of the major lumber producers were brought to the table of such important discussions. The negotiators were very surprised about how many issues the value-added industry faced: F****, the new JAS CLT standard, JIS standards for metal connectors in house/building packages, window/door fire testing, JAS standards for glulam, prefectural procurement policies that require domestic/prefectural wood, inconsistent treatment of value-added products by port/inspector, tariffs on value-added products, and of course the new Wood Points System. Through our discussions I was told that the barriers against “value-added” products is not limited to the forest industry. Generally raw/basic materials have been accepted in Japan because of a lack of natural resources, but there is more discrimination and harassment the further up the value-added chain you go with any product category. I was happy to hear that the Canadian negotiators were aware of this and interested in taking on this battle. Hopefully, with two venues to air our grievances, we can get better terms for all Canadian wood products entering the Japanese market.
Having said that, such negotiations are of course about trade-offs between different industries. The industries that the Canadian government deems the most important will have the strongest political backing and others will be used as bargaining chips to be given away. This is why it is more important than ever for the Canadian wood products industry to stand-up and make its voice heard in Ottawa. We need everyone to know that the forest industry is still and will long remain a crucial driver of the Canadian economy so its interests must be fought for. This is especially true in the case of trade with Japan as wood is on of our main export products to this market.
As the Canadian negotiating team continues to collect information on discriminatory practices against our wood products, I encourage any members who have had such issues in Japan to contact me with their cases. I will also be available at the GBM to talk about such issues.read more
Just a reminder, BC Wood is gearing up for our fall shows in Asia. From October 23rd to 25th, we will be participating in the China International Exhibition on Housing Industry in Beijing targeting the emerging market of wood framed construction. This event attracts all of the major players in China involved in importing construction lumber, developing resort properties, and building high-end wood-framed structures.
The CIEHI offers the best opportunity in China for Canadian companies looking to export: construction grade dimension lumber, engineered wood products, timberframe packages, packaged 2×4 and log structures, WRC outdoor products, as well as finishing materials. Its main exhibits include: 1) Wooden architecture: wooden houses, vacation cabins, wood gazebos & pergolas, and light wood frame & heavy timber structures, 2) Wooden structural materials, 3) Wooden structures and equipment, and 4) Other wood materials: flooring, decking, fencing, stairs, outdoor furniture, etc. landscape planning, construction, and maintenance: landscape design, golf course design and construction, green roofs, tourism development planning, etc.
Those interested in learning more about either show should contact Jim Ivanoff at firstname.lastname@example.org more
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest…
A few years back, I wrote about the market conditions and opportunity for members to sell into the state of Montana. The potential at that time was limited as Montana was hit hard during the collapse of the real estate market and residential construction ground to a near complete halt. Last week, I had the opportunity to revisit the market and was surprised by decent level of construction activity, both in the residential and light commercial sectors.
I started my trip in Bozeman, which is the third largest city in the state behind Billings and Missoula and is home to Montana State University. Bozeman is also the gateway the States major tourist sector with Yellowstone Park and the resort market of Big Sky within an hours’ drive of the airport.
Big Sky is abuzz in construction with over 200 medium and high-end residential builds currently under works. Most of the construction is taking place in the exclusive gated communities of Moonlight Basin, Spanish Peaks, and the ultra exclusive Yellowstone Club. All three emerged from bankruptcy protection last year and have new ownership, with Yellowstone Club now under the direction of Discovery Land Corp who own and manage a number of exclusive resort communities across the United States.
In speaking with both builders and architects working in Big Sky, a noticeable trend occurred; all were extremely busy and had projects on the books for the next 12 to 18 months. One prominent architectural firm that I spoke to suggested that in Yellowstone club alone, a projected $150 million dollars of construction activity is expected over the next 18 to 24 months. That is a significant number, but it helps that Yellowstone Club counts the wealthiest man in the world, Bill Gates as one of its members.
(Image below: Yellowstone Club Gate)
The look and design of architecture in the Big Sky region is quite similar to Whistler with large mountain style homes that showcase an extensive use of heavy timber and western red cedar on both exterior and interior applications. The opportunity for members depends on the products that you manufacture and how they are distributed. For timber framers and log home manufacturers, there are a couple dozen builders and architects in the market who specialize in resort design and construction. For example, Locati Architects,www.locatiarchitects.com, is one of the key firms in the Bozeman and Big Sky markets and a firm worth getting to know (image of their design is below). Residential builder and general contractor, Langlas & Associates, www.langlas.com, is a firm that specializes in both residential and light commercial construction across the state and has a considerable amount of work in the Big Sky region.
In building product supply and distribution, the two firms that seem to be doing the lions’ share of business in the region are Simkin Hallins and Kenyon Noble. I saw truck after truck packed full of dimension lumber and building supplies travelling up the freeway from Bozeman heading to Big Sky.
In my opinion, the market opportunity and potential in the region is strong and with the recent merger of the two ski resorts announced last week is only going to get stronger. The merger makes Big Sky on par with Whistler and Vail as being the largest three ski resorts in North America.
One of the best ways to take advantage of this market will be to participate with BC Wood and members in the Billings Builder and Home show in February in Billings, Montana. Billings itself is busy with construction in the multi-family market. I will discuss that market in the next newsletter.
As always, for more information on Montana and the Big Sky region, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com more
BUILDEX Calgary is the largest regional event for the design, build, construction and management of real estate attended by over 4,000 industry decision makers including:
BUILDEX is held each year at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park and features over 225 exhibiting companies and 30+ accredited educational seminars.
As a BC Wood 2013/14 member, you are eligible for cost savings at BUILDEX Calgary. Space is quite limited so please contact me as soon as possible for more info:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-882-7100 (office)read more
Later this year, BC Wood will be participating with Industry members in the Denver Log and Timber Home show, September 27th to 29th. The feedback from the members attending last years’ Denver show was generally very positive. The number of attendees, while not back to pre-2008 levels, was definitely higher than they had been in recent years. Most exhibitors reported a more positive attitude from the attendees at the show. Individuals who had been hesitant over the past few years to take the final step towards building their projects came to the show ready to build.
The Denver show featured log home and timber frame displays, smaller out-buildings and finished building products such as roofing, flooring, decking and rustic furniture. Over the past few years, a number of BC Wood members from the log and timber frame home sector have used the Denver show to maintain a toe hold in the US market while they cut back on some of their other promotional activities during the slower economic times.
The BC log and timber frame builders have remained active in a number of regional markets in the US like the Rocky Mountain States, because it has been one of the few areas that has shown some activity. The Rocky Mountain States, due to their close geographic proximity to BC, product acceptance, and the clustering of resort developments catering to a wealthy demographic, have continued to be a relatively strong market for BC producers.
We are talking to members now about their space requirements at the Denver show. If you are interested on more information about the show including costs, please contact me at email@example.com or in BC Wood’s offices at 604-882-7100.
BC Wood will once again be ramping up its’ presence at the Interior Design Show West (IDS West) this coming fall, September 19th-22nd, 2013 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. In an effort to bring more attention to the growing strength of wood design and manufacturing in BC, BC Wood has partnered with the show organizers of IDS West to create a high profile “Design BC” pavilion. The pavilion will showcase BC Wood members and their products – everything from custom furniture and architectural millwork, to design-inspired finished products such as kitchen cabinets, doors, flooring, and paneling. The objective will be to feature the individual companies, drawing more traffic to the centrally located space.
To register, call 604-882-7100 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, click hereread more
Join us onboard the MV Harbour Princess for the International Buyers Networking Dinner and Harbour Cruise September 4th!
You are invited to participate in a special networking event to kick-off the 10th Anniversary Global Buyers Mission, on Wednesday, September 4th.
As part of our Extended Mission Program, incoming international buyers will be participating in a private Sunset Dinner & Harbour Cruise aboard the MV Harbour Princess, departing Coal Harbour Vancouver at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, September 4th. This special “pre-event” Global Buyers Mission evening is with our participating International buyers from Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Mexico and Vietnam.
This is an excellent opportunity to meet the pre-qualified buyers and our international Mission Leaders, and is open to all industry members.
Click here for the registration form to guarantee your space on the Cruise!
This one day workshop will provide you with the tools you need to establish gains in Productivity, Quality, Cost, Safety, and Morale.
A positive approach to continuous improvement in your business will result in significant gains! Click here to hear how it worked for Mitsui Homes Canada Ltd. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d268LAFGlM
This workshop will provide you with methods to conduct Continuous Improvement activities. Through a “Learn by Doing” approach, participants will conduct a practice exercise in tracking internal quality, setting measurements, establishing standards and leadership.
Date/Time: September 17, 7:30am-4:00pm
Location: Morgan Creek Golf Course, 3500 Morgan Creek Way, Surrey
To register, Click here
For more information, click hereread more
This event is the annual meeting of the International Research Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction’s Working Commission W18 on Timber Structures. This important annual meeting brings together internationally-known expert researchers from the field of timber building, and is a forum where new developments in technologies, products and construction techniques are often first introduced, later finding their way into building codes around the world. The conference has been held in various international locations and was last in Vancouver in 1997.
This year’s event is organised by UBC’s Timber Engineering and Applied Mechanics group and the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing, and will provide an opportunity for practitioners to participate in a 4-day event in which the latest scientific research on timber construction will be presented and discussed. Presentations will take place in the convenient location of UBC’s downtown campus at Robson Square. The conference includes an opening reception, a conference dinner, an evening dinner cruise, and a day of technical tours visiting prominent buildings in the Lower Mainland. The expected attendance is approximately 80 people. A list of accepted presentations is available on the CIB W18 website.
REGISTRATION INFORMATION can be found at http://www.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/%7Egc20/IHB/cib_information.pdf
This event is sponsored in part by Forestry Innovation Investment.read more
How often do you wish you had an extra hour in your day? Join us September 19th as we learn the secrets of getting more done in less time, presented by Studiothink’s guest speaker, Rich Scott. Rich is the owner of Clarity Business Strategies and an award-winning business coach and speaker. He works with owners and entrepreneurs to develop strategies and processes that will increase your revenue and grow your business. Seats are limited so reserve your free spot today.
Date: Thursday, Sept. 19 4-5pm
Location: Surrey, BC
Cost: Freeread more
Castanet News – August 14, 2013
Steve Thomson, minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations, toured Structurlam’s Okanagan Falls manufacturing plant on Tuesday. At the end of the tour led by Structurlam’s president Bill Downing, he had nothing but praise for the plant’s operations.
“It is a real pleasure to be here to help celebrate your investment and innovation,” he said. “You are on the leading edge here and this is great news for the province and the forest sector.”
Structurlam recently expanded to allow for increased production of its cross-laminated timber panels, a solid wood product that offers a lighter-weight alternative to concrete in commercial construction.
It is currently one of only two companies in Canada to manufacture the building product. It also exemplifies the province’s Wood First Initiative, introduced in 2009, to promote BC wood in commercial construction, according to President Bill Downing.
“Wood has been enjoying a renaissance in the commercial construction market, and thanks to the things like the Wood First Initiative and the ongoing collaboration between industry and government, we are opening up markets around the world for commercial structural applications for homegrown wood products,” he said.read more
Trade Sense – Aug 4, 2013
This September 5-7th, BC Wood Specialty Group will be hosting the 10th Global Buyers Mission at Whistler, BC. The GBM is an annual three-day networking and trade show program that brings pre-qualified buyers of wood products from around the world together with Canadian suppliers of lumber and finished building materials.
This year there will be some 700+ invited attendees, a number that has grown from 100 since the first GBM in 2004. At that time, incoming buyers were solely from the US. Now, as international buyers get ready to once again meet value-added wood producers from across Canada, that number has grown to almost 20 countries.
The Global Buyers Mission continues to be one of the best business-building events in Canada for wood products manufacturers interested in growing their export market opportunities. Indeed, this is the most cost-effective way to get producers from across BC and Canada to get their products in front of qualified buyers.According to the BC Wood Specialties Group website, pre-qualified wood products buyers from last year’s GBM came from the US, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan, Vietnam and the EU, to name just a few. This year there will be even more countries represented.
Besides export sale opportunities, this event allows attendees to develop new business relationships with local architects, designers, developers, and other exhibiting wood products companies.
Ministry of Advanced Education News Release – July 23, 2013
Students in B.C.’s thriving wood industry will be able to build on their expertise through two new master programs in engineering to be offered by UNBC at the new Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) in Prince George, Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk announced today.
A one-year, course-based master of engineering in integrated wood design will train students in technical specializations such as wood structure engineering, engineering for sustainable energy, and forest product engineering. It will be complemented by a thesis-based master of science in wood-related engineering research. The new programs will advance B.C.’s Wood First agenda.
“Our government is developing real-world skills that are aligned with labour demand,” said Virk. “The two wood-engineering master degrees at UNBC will let students gain the education and skills needed in a changing labour market, while maintaining B.C.’s position as a world leader in wood technology.”
The Ministry of Advanced Education is providing up to $466,000 this year to fund start-up costs. The first $237,000 will be provided immediately to assist with faculty and student recruitment, curriculum development and other components needed to start a new program. Once the programs are established, they will add up to 36 full-time equivalent student spaces.
The new programs will be housed at the new WIDC in downtown Prince George. Construction of the centre started recently and is expected to be completed by fall 2014. Academic and industry partnerships and programs are a key part of the design centre and will bring together builders, architects, designers and engineers to advance the commercialization of value-added wood-building and design products.read more
Whistler Conference Centre
BC Wood will be holding its’ 2013 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, September 5th, 9:30 AM at the Whistler Conference Centre in Whistler, British Columbia. All BC Wood members are encouraged to attend.
To register or for more information, please contact me directly at email@example.com or by phone at 604-882-7100 (toll free 1-877-422-9663). We look forward to seeing you in scenic Whistler, BC for BC Wood’s Annual General Meeting on September 5th, 2013.read more
Just a reminder, BC Wood is gearing up for our fall shows in Asia. From October 23rd to 25th, we will be simultaneously participating in the legendary Japan Home and Building Show in Tokyo and the China International Exhibition on Housing Industry in Beijing, targeting the emerging market of wood framed construction.
The JHS is a great show for BC Wood members producing millwork, cabinetry, engineered wood, timber frame homes, log homes, 2×4 packaged homes, as well as reman and structural lumber. BC Wood’s Japan Office will once again be organizing a large pavilion on behalf of the Canadian wood industry for this event. This is a great opportunity for members to take advantage of the hot Japanese housing market.
The CIEHI offers the best opportunity in China for Canadian companies looking to export: engineered wood products, timberframe packages, packaged 2×4 and log structures, WRC outdoor products, as well as finishing materials. Its main exhibits include:
Those interested in learning more about either show should contact Jim Ivanoff at firstname.lastname@example.org more
Don’t forget, you can also join the Wednesday night Harbour Cruise with over 100 of our international Buyers, aboard the MV Harbour Princess! An excellent opportunity for you to meet the Buyers prior to their arrival in Whistler. This event is open to all industry members (you do not need to be an exhibitor to attend this event). For more information and registration details, click here.
We have many opportunities available for you to get attention and exposure, whether you are targeting in incoming international buyers, our manufacturing exhibitors, or architects and builders. We have some ideas, but you might have some too! Give me a call and we can find the right thing to fit your budget. 604-882-7100 or toll free at 1-877-4BCWOOD.
(FYI – you do not need to be an Exhibitor to be a sponsor or advertiser)read more
Surrey Cedar opened its doors in 1979 as a cedar hip and ridge cap remanufacturer. By expanding into different cedar product lines and exceeding buyers’ expectations, the company saw steady growth over its first two decades. That all changed in 2003. A young, ambitious entrepreneur saw huge opportunity in the humble family business and set aside other career aspirations to take on the challenge of growing a small mill into a major cedar distributor. In the 10 years since Sam Bath took over the company, Surrey Cedar has experienced extraordinary growth and expansion throughout the world. As a testament to his leadership, they currently source lumberyards on every continent – other than Antarctica.
“Business isn’t about making a quick buck,” says Sam, as he stops to look out his office window at the busy mill, “it’s about believing whole-heartedly in what you’re doing. When people buy Western Red Cedar, they’re not looking for just any lumber – they want the best. Knowing that you produce something that is appreciated and admired all over the world is awesome. Here in BC, we have the best trees in the world, and I’m a small part in making sure the rest of the world enjoys this beautiful wood as much as we do.”
For more information, please visit www.surreycedar.com