BUILDEX Vancouver is one of Canada’s largest trade expositions with over twelve thousand local design and construction professionals expected to attend this year. All under one roof, over 600 exhibits and more than 50 educational seminars address three distinct professional markets:

  • Interior design and architecture
  • Property and real estate management
  • Construction and renovation

The show features products and services related to the design, construction, renovation, furnishing, and operations of all types of commercial and residential buildings. Reports from all of the companies attending last year’s Buildex indicated that all of their expectations were either met or exceeded.

BC Wood will coordinate a consolidated presence of member companies exhibiting at this year’s BUILDEX show, Feb 8-9th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For more information regarding exhibition space and costs at the show, please contact me at your earliest convenience by email at bhawrysh@bcwood.com or by phone at 604-882-7100.

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Kelowna-based Norelco Cabinets taps into the Business Innovation Partnership (BIP) on all fronts and achieves huge impact to their bottom-line.

Companies that have accessed the BIP services have seen significant payback! For Norelco Cabinets, the market and technical advice delivered through the BIP has dramatically changed the way the company manufactures its products, as well as how it markets and sells those products. Hear from company owner Peter Raja in this short video (link below) as he details some of the changes that dramatically increased productivity, product quality, and sales – along with an increase in profitability.

Some of the areas Norelco focused on were the better use of their manufacturing space and how product moved through the shop. With FPInnovations’ help, the company was able to increase its production without expanding its footprint – a significant capital savings! Along with gains in productivity came increases in product quality, and lower rework costs. Accessing new markets and developing new business approaches helped Norelco expand its sales. With the help of BCWood, Norelco embraced new sales techniques including both online marketing as well as traditional client/vendor interaction, and discovered new sales potential in markets it had not previously ventured in to.

Overall, the biggest benefit for Norelco was working with BCWood and FPInnovations concurrently. As new sales opportunities were discovered, the manufacturing process was being improved with the final result of getting to the market quicker, and efficiently capitalizing on new sales potential.

If you’d like to discover how you can achieve results like these, watch this short video. If you have questions or want further information, contact FPInnovations at (604) 222 5672, or BCWood at (877) 422 9663.

Norelco Cabinets from Rumin Mann on Vimeo.

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Recently the BC Wood Japan office welcomed some special guests to Japan: BC Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thompson and the Federal Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver. Working with our Canada Wood partners in Japan we arranged visits for Minister Thompson to see a large concrete building using over 1000m3 of wood in finishing applications, a large importer of WRC products, a senior’s home being built in 2×4, a pre-cut plant using hem-fir, the Tokyo Lumber Terminal, two temporary housing projects that were built with Canadian materials, and Sendai Port. Minister Oliver was also able to join some of these stops while also taking part in a customer appreciation dinner in Sendai for companies operating in the earthquake affected region.

The main event for the combined Ministerial Mission was a joint press conference in Tokyo to announce $4.5 million in funding to construct wood framed buildings in the tsunami devastated region of Tohoku as a part of Canada’s earthquake relief efforts. As the location of the project and the type of facility to be built has yet to be decided, we took Minister Thompson to the coastal towns of Onagawa (90% destroyed) and Minami-Sanrikucho (95% destroyed). Meeting with the mayors and other officials the Minister was able to learn about the magnitude of the tsunami as well as scale of the human tragedy. One story that will be hard to forget was about how the Mayor of Minami-Sanrikucho and 9 colleagues survived by hanging on to a steel fence on the roof as the tsunami crashed over and submerged them.  Sadly the other 50 workers at city hall were not as lucky and perished in the deadly wave.

Town officials were overjoyed by the news of Canada’s proposed donation and were quick to suggest ideas on the types of buildings that are needed. The Minister was also told that all of the homeless survivors were now in temporary housing units so the next major issue for this area is to rebuild their industries/economies. Until there are local employment opportunities, people will not be able to return to normal daily life. This is an important point that we will have to keep in mind as we review possible projects to be built with the Canadian donation.

Talking with both companies in Tohoku and other parts of Japan recently, it seems that the reconstruction efforts in the north are creating a shortage of carpenters across the country. The scarcity of workers and resulting higher labour costs are leading builders to look at importing wall panels as a part of house packages. The same phenomenon was seen after the Kobe earthquake with Japanese companies importing large numbers of house packages as well as North American carpenters.

As reconstruction is picking up speed, the BC Wood Japan office is now beginning to focus on the March Nikkei Show with this unique situation in mind. That show will give members a great opportunity to get involved with reconstruction projects and also benefit from the overall strength of the Japanese housing market.

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Tokyo Designers Week 2011

On November 22nd, 2011, posted in: BC Wood Activities, Furniture, Japan, Trade Shows by Comments Off

Once again BC Wood took some of Canada’s top designers to Japan to display their latest pieces at Tokyo Designers Week. This year’s contingent was made up by Judson Beaumont, Brent Comber, Marie Khouri, Mario Sabljak, and Martha Sturdy.

For the first time the show organizers gave us the highly prized location at the front of the main tent. For this reason, we developed a new open concept that replaced the walls between members with branded pillars acting as the anchor for each of the displays. It was a risky move, but as a group we decided that we needed a bold display that showcased a unified Canadian presence.

The decision proved to be correct as our space was always full and we received endless complements that our pavilion was the best at the show. Adding an additional element of excitement were the long lines of people waiting for Judson Beaumont to sign his drawings. It was surprising that we didn’t receive any complaints as the lines often snaked around neighbouring pavilions!

Over the past few we have held several receptions in collaboration with the Canadian Embassy to tie in our presence at Tokyo Designers Week with other Canadian companies selling design oriented consumer products in Japan. With our new open pavilion we decided to hold this event within our own space. While offsite talks and receptions are a great way to assemble industry people, this year’s format brought our guests into personal contact with the great work we had on display at the show. While a bit tight, this proved to be a very positive move. As always, we are also greatly appreciative of the Embassy’s support of our program.

Tokyo Designers Week is actually a large event held across Tokyo at many venues. We have always exhibited at the main venue, but this year we also took part in the Bamboo Expo which is a new event targeting only designers/architects working on commercial projects. With only 1200 attendees over three days it was much less “exciting” than the main venue, but what it lacked in quantity was made up in quality of the attendees. Also, the slower pace meant that we could have longer conversations with the attendees. As this was the first Bamboo Expo we expect that it will grow into a bigger and more influential event in the years to come.

One of our success stories from last year’s show was that a high-profile Tokyo gallery took an interest in Martha Sturdy’s work. This interest grew into them inviting Martha to hold her own art exhibition in their gallery during this year’s Tokyo Designers Week. The exhibition was very well received and some of the galleries clients are now looking to work with Martha. The gallery mainly represents European artists, but the great reception that Martha’s work received has made them to want to look at other Canadian designers as well.

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IDSWest 2011 was held in the New Vancouver Convention Centre, September 29 to October 2, 2011.  The Interior Design Show West (IDSwest) is Western Canada’s annual premiere residential design show featuring 200 exhibitors showcasing quality, cutting edge, and original design products and services to an audience of industry professionals, architects, designers, consumers, and media.

An amazing array of both internationally renowned and local designers, critics, and popular magazine editors spoke throughout the 3 ½ day event, drawing standing room only crowds over the weekend.

We had an excellent representation of BC Wood members participating this year, including:

Barker Manufacturing Inc.
Bertuccio
Brent Comber Originals
Coulson Mfg.
Fine Line
Live Edge Design
Mario Sabljak Design
Martha Sturdy Incorporated
Matthieu LeBlanc
Sabina Hill Design
Stick & Stones
Straight Line Designs Inc.
Wide Plank Hardwood Ltd.

The displays and new products launched were stunning, offering the 30,000+ audience lots of ideas and opportunities to see what exceptional talent we have here in BC. Many of our members have already seen orders and requests from the event, making it one of the most successful Canadian activities that BC Wood participates in. Congratulations to all our members!

To see the program and speaker highlights, as well as listings of all the exhibitors, visit their website at www.idswest.com.

IDSWest 2011

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By Daryl Holmes

BC Wood recently led a group of members on a market development mission to Turkey which included participation at TurkeyBuild in the capital city of Ankara.  Product sectors represented included Log Home and Timber frame, Prebuilt Housing, and Remanufactured Lumber Products.

In the Turkish construction materials sector, wood products have approximately 20% market share with consumption mainly in private up-scale villas and some high end commercial resort style development. The consumption of wood in major residential housing projects and light commercial projects is low when compared to concrete and steel (for structure) or PVC (for windows/doors), however, as with most markets in the Eastern European area, the demand for wood is on the rise.  Both private and public sectors in Turkey are engaged in a shift (albeit a slow shift) towards a growth in the use of wood products.  Industry professionals and consumers alike have a keen interest in wood as a construction material, as was evident during the show in Ankara. The earthquake in 1999 has drawn attention to the importance of timber in construction, however; with the economic impact of the global meltdown, progress has been slow in the area of conveying the attributes of wood and educating key decision makers as to the benefits of using wood in construction.  There is without a doubt, an increase in construction taking place right now in Turkey as residents look to build homes on the outskirts of some of the major cities. Accordingly, a select group of builders, developers, and importers are currently involved in projects outside of the main city centres which are being built with wood. During our stay in Turkey, we were able to make contact with many of these industry professionals and discuss opportunities for BC products.

The show itself was very busy, which in the current global market place was encouraging for the members.  Although the Ankara show is a more of a regional show (with the main construction show being held in Istanbul in May), it drew attendees from all over Turkey and some surrounding countries.  Numerous Architects, Engineers, Builders and Designers engaged in discussions with the BC exhibitors.  The outcome of those interactions predominantly showcased the demand and desire for wood, while also highlighting the lack of distribution of products within the Turkish marketplace.  In a jointly hosted event with the Turkish Timber Association, members were also able to showcase their products to key importers and building materials distributors located in and around the construction hub of Istanbul. Response from these professionals was again encouraging, as products including Western Red Cedar, Prebuilt Housing, and Log Homes proved to be of high interest for regions all across Turkey, including the coastal regions of the Black Sea.

Where do the sales prospects lie?

A clear demand for wood products exists within the Turkish marketplace.  Much of the wood imported into Turkey is from surrounding markets of Russia, Ukraine, and Scandinavia. The key to accessing this demand for BC companies is securing partnership with local wood importers and distributors of other building materials.  This process will take some time and investment by BC Wood members and this show in Ankara was a positive step in the right direction.  Turkish building professionals are starved of opportunity to partner with Canadian companies and they are motivated to establish relationships with producers of high quality wood products. As with all new and emerging markets, finding the right partner is crucial in gaining market penetration.  Turkey’s current growth is expected to continue well into the next ten years and those members who continue to put time and effort into the Turkey market will be rewarded with sales and long term partnerships.

What is the market looking for?

WRC Lumber, WRC Shake and Shingles, Hand Crafted Log Homes, MDF, Plywood, Yellow Cedar, Hemlock, Douglas Fir, and Prebuilt Homes.

How do I access these opportunities?

BC Wood will distribute the show leads via the online Wood Supply Network. For more detailed market information contact dh@themataigroup.com

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“A game changing approach is needed in the wood products sector, targeting at least a modest but meaningful penetration of the market, if India is to be a priority market for Canada’s wood sector. Based on the successful strategies adopted by New Zealand…Canada should target efforts around securing opportunities representing close to 0.4 million tonnes of sawn wood, which would still represent only 4.5 percent of the market demand,” Opportunities for Canadian Forest Products in India – Ace Global Consulting LLP, August 2011.

Over the past year or so, much has been made of the emerging opportunities for BC’s forest products in India. BC Wood continues to monitor current market conditions in India and qualify the market intelligence that is being developed. BC’s Forestry Innovation and Investment (FII) has also been active in the Indian market by first commissioning a market study and most recently sending their own staff to India to confirm the results of that study. FII is following up these initial efforts by coordinating an Industry mission to India in four weeks’ time.

The three day mission led by FII representatives is expected to visit Mumbai and the port of Kandla, the center of the timber market in India. The Industry delegation will meet with timber importers and end-users in order to gain a better understanding of the product requirements of the market and the existing distribution channels. For a copy of the recent report on market potential in India, “Opportunities for Canadian Forest Products in India” by Ace Global Consulting LLP or the itinerary for the up-coming mission, contact Brian Hawrysh at 604-882-7100 or by email at bhawrysh@bcwood.com.

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BC Wood is organizing participation at 28th MBC Construction Expo at the SETEC convention centre in Seoul, Korea from January 27-30, 2012. This building and construction show will have over 350 exhibitors and an expected 150,000 attendees. These attendees will include builders, architects, home owners, distributors, and construction material importers. This trade event offers an excellent opportunity for BC Wood members to tap into the Korean market. Members that would benefit from this event include manufacturers and suppliers of remanufactured lumber products, prebuilt homes, kitchen cabinets, log home and timber frame homes, and engineered wood products.

With a deep rooted history and affinity for building with wood, South Korea remains an important export market for British Columbia’s value-added wood products. In 2010, South Korea represented British Columbia’s fifth largest offshore market with 278,000 m³ of wood product exports. South Korea has experienced strong economic growth and recovery, in light of the recent global downturns, with growing affluence and continuously improving living standards. Korea is far from the labour intensive economy it once was and is now a global leader in design and technological trends. Korean consumers are growing more sophisticated and are looking into higher quality imported products that are environmentally compliant.

For more information about the show, please contact David Pao at  dpao@bcwood.com

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The 2011 Global Buyers Mission, held September 8th to 10th, welcomed almost 700 delegates to Whistler for the third year in a row.Many thanks must go to our funding Partners this year including our Platinum Partners: Natural Resources Canada Wood Export Program (CWEP), Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. (FII), and Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC); our Silver Partners: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau (CSSB); and our Bronze Partners: Industry Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). We were pleased to again have the collaborative effort made by CSSB and the Western Red Cedar Lumber & Export Associations (WRCLA & WRCEA) in recruiting participants and assisting BC Wood with the organization & delivery of the event.

Pre-qualified international buyers came from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Eastern Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. We were pleased that the majority of our buyers were new to the GBM again this year, offering excellent opportunities for Canadian manufacturers to build new business.

We also hosted over 80 North American architects, designers, contractors, developers, engineers and specifiers this year, to participate in our Living & Building with Wood Program, held on Thursday, September 8th and via the LBWW display on the showroom floor for the rest of the event. Architects & Designers also participated in “speed learning sessions” Friday afternoon, with 20 manufacturers exhibiting at the GBM. This was a new activity this year and has received high marks from both the architect community and participating exhibitors.

Minister of Jobs, Tourism & Innovation, the Honourable Pat Bell, joined us Thursday evening at the Roundhouse and then welcomed our delegates and officially opened the showroom Friday morning.

Products on display at the 2011 GBM from 75 exhibitors, represented by over 200 participants included timber frame structures, engineered wood products, treated lumber, windows, doors, mouldings, cabinetry, building systems, flooring, western red cedar products and a variety of other value-added wood building products. 25% of the companies were new to the GBM, offering our returning buyers some additional resources and products not seen at the GBM in the past.

For the past seven years, BC Wood has organized pre and post event site visits and tours for our incoming delegates. This year, the GBM Extended Mission Program included 7 groups that once again toured production facilities and visited construction sites in the lower mainland and the interior of BC to meet participating manufacturers. Besides helping buyers immediately source high quality, innovative and competitively priced wood products, the tours helped build future business relationships by familiarizing potential customers with BC’s wood species. We thank the many local companies that made the effort to open their mills and plants for these informative and productive tours.

Held at the Whistler Conference Centre, the GBM continues to be Canada’s largest event dedicated to promoting value-added wood producers.

Next GBM scheduled for Whistler, September 6th to 8th, 2012.

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For over 30 years the Japan Home & Building Show has been one of the most important events in marketing calendar of foreign companies selling into Japan. However, this year there were many challenges facing the event, some resulting from the 3/11 earthquake while others were self-inflicted.

Several years ago the show organizers decided to change the date of the 2011 show so as to time it with the planned UIA event at Tokyo Forum. I personally expressed my concerns over this numerous times as I have seen how such date changes have hurt other shows. Especially with the JHS’ long history, everyone expects it to take place in November. However, they believed that holding it in conjunction with the UIA event would inject new energy into the show.

These plans were greatly complicated by the March earthquake. By having bumped up the show, the organizers also bumped up the recruiting period of the show to late spring, which was still the dark period when no one knew what tomorrow would bring. As a result, purse strings were tightened and I am sure the JHS had trouble signing up exhibitors.

The earthquake and the nuclear disaster also worried the expected 10,000 overseas UIA attendees. In April there was even talk of cancelling the UIA event. However, they moved ahead with it as the situation in Fukushima gradually improved.

As we set-up for the show, I wondered and worried about how it would turn out. As feared, the attendance fell dramatically, from 87,000 to 43,000. Luckily though the quality of the visitors greatly increased as many more architects came to the show for the first time. This was undoubtedly due to the cross-marketing with the UIA event. We even received many overseas guests who came for the UIA event. Overall, even though the overall numbers were down, we felt just as busy as last year since the architects were spending more time with us asking questions about products.

The other thing that I had been wondering about was how much traffic we would receive related to reconstruction efforts in the Tohoku area. Over the three days we met with many builders, developers, and distributors from the earthquake/ tsunami affected areas and they seemed to be getting themselves prepared for the big reconstruction projects. I learned that developers from across the region and even other parts of Japan are buying up all the available elevated land near the coast for such projects. However, they are experiencing labour shortages and are thus looking at overseas suppliers that can help with packaged homes and other solutions.

Despite the drop in attendance I was very pleased with the results of the show. We were able to make a great number of new contacts including ones involved in the reconstruction efforts. This helps us prepare for the Nikkei Show next March where reconstruction projects will definitely be taking center stage.

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Conference highlights wood efforts

On September 28th, 2011, posted in: Global Buyers Mission, Industry News, Trade Events by Comments Off

A recent wood products conference in Whistler highlighted something that many people already know — that 2011 has been a watershed year for B.C.’s softwood lumber industry.

At Global Buyers Mission, a three day value-added wood sector marketplace, B.C.’s Jobs, Tourism & Innovation Minister Pat Bell said China has for the first time, surpassed the U.S. as top export market for Canada’s softwood lumber.

For the past five years, B.C. and the provincial forest sector, with the support of the Canadian government, have been actively marketing B.C. wood products to China. And it’s paid off: from January to May, B.C. exported 2.8 million cubic metres to China — more than double last year’s volume. Trade missions, demo buildings, technology transfer and conferences like these, are among projects funded to expand China’s interest in the forestry industry.

Hosted by the non-profit B.C. Wood, at the Whistler Conference Centre, Global Buyers Mission invited qualified buyers at more than 75 companies from Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, India and Malaysia and brought them together with a cross-section of B.C. businesses who work in the value-added sector.

Qing Deng, of Shanghai Green Garden Wood Co, China’s biggest buyer of B.C.’s red cedar, yellow cedar and Douglas fir, was one of many businesses whose hunger for wood could collectively be called voracious.

Speaking through a translator, Deng, whose company imports $5 million yearly, says he only buys from Canada, because this is the only place in the world where this high quality wood is available.

Although the conference is held for the value-added sector, (marketers of log homes, cedar shingles, hardwood flooring, texture-surfaced doors, recycled cedar timber frame, laminated beams etc) it’s the ‘grey area’ exporters who are boosting trade stats selling to China.

Source: Coast Reporter – September 21, 2011

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For the sixth year in a row, Whistler again hosted a B.C. wood industry conference last week — but a changing demographic in attendees offered an opportunity for resort officials to connect with international delegates interested in the resort.

The 2011 Global Buyers Mission (GBM), organized by the B.C. Wood Specialties Group, took place at the Whistler Conference Centre last Thursday through Saturday (Sept. 8 to 10). The event saw about 700 attendees including buyers from around the world and wood companies from across B.C.

According to organizers, about 70 per cent of buyers, attendees and sellers were participating in the conference for the first time. With the recent decline of American markets for B.C. wood, more buyers came from Asian markets such as China and Korea.

Those are areas Whistler has been trying to reach from a tourism standpoint, and at least one municipal official had the chance to promote the resort to a group of conference attendees.

Mike Vance, RMOW general manager of policy and program development, was asked to speak at the conference on behalf of the Council of Forest Industries, according to information provided by the municipal communications department.

The delegation of China-based land developers was interested to learn if they can build a resort like Whistler and use some of the municipality’s best practices as a model, a spokesperson said. Vance’s presentation focused on Whistler’s success as a resort, including its evolution, leading-edge practices and strong brand.

The group of about 30 people was also taken on a tour of the Whistler Public Library, the Rainbow neighbourhood and the Lost Lake Passivhaus to learn more about green and energy-efficient building features and the use of wood as a sustainable resource.

Whistler is a great place to host the GBM conference because it’s a really good showcase of B.C. wood and its uses, said Mike Cunningham, a representative for the conference.

“Look at the chalets, the residential homes, the construction — even the convention centre itself,” he said.

Besides Whistler’s abundance of wood, keeping the GBM in the resort helps to keep the invitation-only event small in order to keep that face-to-face interaction, according to Cunningham.

“For the buyers and the sellers the real advantage of this conference is that it gives them that opportunity to interact in a little more of a relaxed setting,” Cunningham said.

There was also plenty of opportunity for delegates to enjoy Whistler.

“They go golfing, they go up the gondola. Its spectacular scenery and they love it,” Cunningham said. “A lot of people bring their spouses with them too and compared to being somewhere stuck in a hotel, we intentionally design the conference with a lot of free time.”

It’s important to have the conference each year in order to attract new buyers and allow smaller B.C. companies to sell their B.C. wood products to the large international market, Cunningham added.

“For a large- to medium-sized company trying to sell to a huge market in China, if they have never done business in a place like that before it can be quite daunting for them to jump on a plane and fly over there and start looking for people to buy their product.”

Source: Whistler Question Local News – September 15, 2011

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A few thoughts, observations, and ideas that may be of interest to industry.

With the end of summer quickly approaching, the BC Wood trade show season for the US market begins. October is an extremely busy, with 3 trade events taking place during the month. First up is the AIA Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, followed by the AIA Mountain States in Keystone, Colorado, finally ending with the Sunbelt Builders Show in Austin, Texas. Outside of the 4 time zone changes, I should at the least pick up a decent amount of air miles.

I have discussed the various strengths and opportunities I see in each one of these markets in past issues of the Wood Connections newsletter, but suffice it to say, I think the potential for BC manufacturers to develop market share in these states is good. Our program is designed to use the trade event as a platform to connect with key buyers and decision makers in the region. We then follow-up the trade show with a mission component, including individual meetings directly with these buyers at their offices, or on site touring their construction projects.

It is last minute and the Hawaii event is all but sold out; however, there are still limited opportunities for members to participate in the Colorado and Austin events. If you are interested or want more information, please contact me ASAP. Also, if you are unable to participate directly, but would like to get leads and have your promotional materials delivered first hand to these buyers, send me an email to further discuss. There is a nominal charge, but it provides manufacturers with a way to test the waters in these markets with a minimal investment.

As always, if you have any further comments, questions, or need more information on the US market, please feel free to contact me at dfarley@bcwood.com

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The 2011 Global Buyers Mission, held September 8th to 10th welcomed almost 700 delegates to Whistler, for the third year in a row. This year we were pleased to welcome 38% new exhibitors and close to 75% new buyers to the event, offering excellent opportunities for Canadian manufacturers to build new business.Pre-qualified international buyers came from Australia, Eastern Canada, China, India, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Vietnam, the United States, and the United Kingdom. We were pleased that the majority of our buyers were new to the GBM again this year,

Minister of Jobs, Tourism & Innovation, the Honourable Pat Bell, joined us at the Roundhouse Event Thursday evening, then welcomed our delegates and officially opened the showroom Friday morning.

Products on display at the 2011 GBM included timber-frame structures, engineered wood products, pre-fabricated housing, treated lumber, windows, doors, cabinetry, flooring, western red cedar products and other value-added and specialty wood building products.

Many thanks must go to our funding Partners this year including our Platinum Partners: Natural Resources Canada Wood Export Program (CWEP), Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd. (FII), and Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC); our Silver Partners: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau (CSSB); and our Bronze Partners; HSBC Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). We were pleased to again have the collaborative effort made by CSSB and the Western Red Cedar Lumber & Export Associations (WRCLA & WRCEA) in recruiting participants and assisting BC Wood with the organization & delivery of the event.

Stay tuned for the full Partners Report which we hope will be available for you in the next Wood Connections.

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By Roy Manion

Global Buyers Mission:

I am sure you will be reading many articles on the GBM in this Wood Connections edition and this one will be no exception; however, this article will focus on just the Architect & Designer Program portion of the GBM.

For the A&D’s, the program began with Thursday’s Living and Building With Wood seminars, which we are pleased to report were among the best we have ever had and accordingly, received excellent reviews from those who attended.

On Friday, we introduced a new program for the architects and designers. In the past, we have take tnhem on site tours of some of the finer projects in Whistler. However, this year, in lieu of site tours, we opted for an architect’s only session with the manufacturers. One of the key reasons is that in previous years, while architects and designers walked the exhibit floor along with the buyers, many exhibitors didn’t get a real chance to talk to the A&D’s. While A&D’s wanted to learn about various products, they really didn’t want a sales presentation and in other cases they would look at a booth from a distance and if there wasn’t an immediate interest, they would simply walk by. In response to all this, Friday afternoon’s, Speed Learning Architects & Designers Only Session was developed.

For the A&D’s, we were able to provide them with Educational Credits for participating in the afternoon session. The A&D’s were broken up into small groups (maximum 4 people) with a specific agenda that required them to visit one of two preselected streams of 10 manufacturers, with each group starting at different exhibitors booths – sort of like “speed dating”.

For the participating exhibitors, they had to prepare 15 minute educational mini seminars which they gave to each of the 10 groups in their “stream”. By the end of the day, many exhibitors were hoarse – a sign they did a lot of talking which was a good thing.

As the program was new, neither the manufacturers nor the A&D’s quite knew what to expect. For many, this was the first time they gave an accredited educational seminar to the A&D’s. The A&D’s, for their part, were pleasantly surprised that they received educational sessions and not “sales pitches”. Some even said they were the most intense series of seminars they had ever attended.

One of the many positives from the session is that A&D’s were expected to sit in on presentations that they initially felt were of no interest, only to find that in some cases, an interest did indeed exist. In at least one case, an architect and exhibitor found a common interest and as a result, the exhibitor could be supplying a major project the architect is working on – a situation that would have never developed without this particular session.

The consensus is that both sides want the program to continue next year.

Architect Program:

Now that the GBM is mostly behind us (we are still collecting surveys to determine what we did right and where improvement is required), we are moving onto our regular A&D programs with a number of activities already booked for October.

Specifiers Guide:

As we have mentioned in the past, the Guide is available on 2GB flash drives which were given out at the GBM. We now have the Guide on-line, in hard cover and on flash drives, which means that we have all the architects and designers requirements handled. If you wish to have your company included in the Specifiers Guide, please let me know.

As always, we welcome your company participation in any of the programs relating to architects, designers, contractors, and local governments, or if you just require additional information, please contact me at rmanion@bcwood.com. If you aren’t quite sure if the aforementioned group should be included in your marketing activities or how to go about doing it, again, just get in touch with us. We would be pleased to provide answers to any of your questions.

Please note that I will be on vacation the weeks of September 26th and October 3rd, returning the day after Thanksgiving.

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When British Columbia’s value-added wood sector opens its Global Buyers Mission Thursday at Whistler, Kun Wang will be one of a record high number of Chinese business people attending the three-day trade show.

For the first time in its eight-year history, the premiere trade show for British Columbia wood products is attracting more buyers from China than from the United States.

Twenty-four Chinese companies have signed up for the Global Buyers Mission, compared to 22 U.S. companies. Add to that list 13 Japanese companies, 11 Korean companies, eight from India, five from Taiwan and five from Vietnam, and Asia’s emerging role as a buyer of B.C. wood products becomes much more clear. Sixty-eight of the 99 business delegations at the event come from Asia.

The purpose of the event, put on by the trade association BC Wood, is to bring international buyers of wood products together with B.C. value-added manufacturers, who generate $4.85 billion a year in export sales. Products on display range from kitchen cabinets to log homes and cross-laminated timber panels, a relatively new product aimed at replacing concrete in commercial construction.

China’s growing interest in B.C. wood products is just another chapter in China’s need for resources to fuel its manufacturing, Wang said in an interview before the conference opened. Investors and buyers alike are seeking out new sources of supply, he said.

But differences between the two business cultures often make closing a deal difficult, Wang said, especially for small-to-medium-size businesses in both countries. Even getting a visa can be insurmountable for a medium-sized manufacturer in a Chinese city where there is no Canadian visa office, he said.

On the Canadian side, a sawmill may want to develop ties with Chinese manufacturers but does not have the in-house staff that the larger companies have to forge cross-Pacific links.

That’s where the Global Buyers Mission comes in, bringing Canadian companies in direct contact with potential customers. Wang expects the conference to be fertile ground for his company, Youtal Supply Chain Management Inc. He specializes in bridging the business gap for medium-sized businesses, both here and in China, by providing services and reducing the risk for Chinese investors.

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US Market Update

On September 2nd, 2011, posted in: Industry News, Markets, Product Sectors, Trade Events, Trade Shows, USA by Comments Off

A few abbreviated comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest to Industry…

I just returned from a short trip to the Austin and Dallas Fort worth region of the State of Texas and was pleasantly surprised with what I found. I recently read a report on the top housing markets in the US and in terms of new home construction, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth were all in the top 10. In fact, the report suggested that on a per capita basis, Austin, Texas led the way in new housing construction this past year.

The report, it seems turned out to be fairly accurate, at least by what I could find out in talking to builders and distributors, and touring the residential construction projects taking place across the region. Austin has a number of medium and high-end residential subdivisions currently under construction and most builders that I spoke to were very busy. Homes in the sites that I visited were typically selling for $850,000 and up and many were sold before construction had actually begun. That is something that I have not seen since the heady days of 2005 -2006 housing bubble when the US had in the neighborhood of 2.3 million housing starts.

Anyways, I bring this up for two reasons, one is that the style and construction of the housing that I viewed lends itself well to the type of building products supplied by our members; think red cedar shake and shingle roofing ,wood trim, and facia and a significant use of architectural and decorative wood materials on the interior. Secondly, BC Wood will be participating in the Sunbelt Builders Show taking place this Oct 20 -22 in Austin– the center place of all this construction activity.

The city is economically driven by a young affluent workforce mainly employed in the high-tech sector. Dell computers and IBM both have significant presence in the Austin region and these two firms employ over 30,000 workers alone. Add to that, Austin is the state capital and is home to the University of Texas, and you have a vibrant, economically active region that for the most part has been relatively immune to the downturn faced by the rest of the country.

The opportunity to develop market share in Texas and in the Austin, Dallas corridor in particular seems good. The Sunbelt builders show will provide an excellent venue to meet key builders, architects, and distributors in this market. I have limited space, so if you think this may be a market for you or if you want more information, please feel free to contact me at dfarley@bcwood.com

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Every year we bring a new group of buyers from Japan to BC Wood’s GBM in Whistler. To be honest, this year I was quite worried about who from Japan would be willing to travel overseas considering everything that has happened since the March 11th earthquake. However, it turned out that there were many people that despite everything did not want to miss this opportunity to visit Canada and meet with potential suppliers. As a result, we have another great group of 24 Japanese industry professionals coming for the GBM.

The core of this year’s delegation is a group of nine interior design professionals. Through our participation in Tokyo Designers Week we have become quite close with Hiroko Machida who not only runs her own interior design schools (Machida Hiroko Academy), but is also credited with being one of the first to bring “imported housing” to Japan from North America. She personally wanted to attend this year’s GBM and then decided to organize a group of interior designers she is connected with to come with her. For this reason, our extended mission this year is going to focus on how wood is used in Canada both as a finishing material and structurally on buildings that would typically not be built in wood in Japan. Hiroko and her group are also excited to see new and innovative products when we get to Whistler.

The rest of our delegation is made up of a wide spectrum of companies spanning the Japanese housing industry including trading companies, WRC specialists, a sawmill, log home builders, import housing companies, as well as general building products importers. One new interesting member of our delegation is a company based in Japan that maintains all of its manufacturing facilities in China. They currently already use Canadian SPF, but are now looking for other lumber from Canada including hardwoods. Hopefully BC Wood members will be able to meet all of our Japanese guests in Whistler and I encourage you to stop me on the show floor if you would like a specific introduction.

See you in Whistler!

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The Global Buyers Mission is just around the corner and is expected to be a tremendous opportunity for BC Wood members to connect with customers from the Asian markets. By now, companies exhibiting should have the complete list of buyers that are registered and attending next week’s event. Currently, we are expecting over 38 buyers from China looking to meet with Canadian companies.

Members that are looking to connect specifically with a Chinese buyer that they are interested in are encouraged to connect with Mr. Jeff Li, BC Wood’s in-market rep in Shanghai at li@canadawood.cn . If members have any questions about the Chinese market and BC Wood program activities, please contact David Pao at dpao@bcwood.com

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Roy Manion

 

GBM:

Since our last Wood Connections, the architect program has been almost all about the GBM – almost! After a slow start with sign-ups, we will again have a great turnout from the architect and designer community and we will have an even greater turnout this year than we last year. This is a great testament to the draw that our industry provides.

All of the exhibitors who will be giving presentations to architects on Friday afternoon have either completed their presentations or are currently putting the final touches on them. It is somewhat of a challenge for those who have never presented to architects in the past as the presentations must be educational and generic. As most of us are sales people, it is tough not to be overtly promoting our companies and products. However, based on the presentations we have received, I am very pleased with the caliber of them as they are all very professional and I think it will be a mutually beneficial event for both the architects and the companies involved.

Architect Program:

While the past couple of weeks have been mostly about the GBM, we still continue on with other programs. In this regard, we are now up to 5 L&L sessions that we have booked for the month of October, as well as continuing to work with companies in our industry to assist them in their pursuit of architects.

As we do with all of our Wood Connections reports, we welcome your company to participate in any of the programs or if you just require additional information, please contact me at rmanion@bcwood.com . If you aren’t quite sure if architects (and contractors) should be included in your marketing activities or how to go about doing it, again, just get in touch with us. We would be pleased to provide answers to any of your questions.

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