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University to hold workshop to help hardwood components industry remain competitive


BLACKSBURG, Va., March 3, 2009 – The Department of Wood Science and Forest Products at Virginia Tech will hold a workshop entitiled "Remaining Competitive in Hardwood Components Production," April 20-21, at the U.S. Forest Service's Wood Education and Resource Center in Princeton, W.Va.

With business activities contracting, residential housing markets down by more than 50 percent, and offshore producers fighting to maintain and increase their share of the U.S. market for hardwood products, remaining competitive is no small feat for domestic producers of hardwood components.

While many aspects of the current business climate cannot be controlled, leading companies always want to understand the underlying reasons of events, how they will likely work out, and where there is an opportunity that waits to be taken advantage of. With a focus on the economic situation, participants at the workshop will also hear about opportunities like certified (green) components and lean manufacturing, and will meet with leading industry experts.

This workshop is designed to give hardwood industry managers an opportunity to assess the current economic situation, learn of business opportunities, compare their efforts with others in the industry, and discuss issues with industry experts. Sponsored by the Forest Service’s Wood Education and Resource Center, the National Hardwood Lumber Association, the Wood Component Manufacturers Association, and Wood Digest Magazine, and organized by Virginia Tech’s Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, the two-day workshop– “Remaining Competitive in Hardwood Components Production” will be of interest to anyone interested in manufacturing hardwood components, supplying lumber, or buying components. Participants will have an opportunity to visit Merillat’s lean component manufacturing facility, a Shingo prize winner.

For more information or to register for the “Remaining Competitive in Hardwood Components Production” workshop online, or contact Urs Buehlmann at (540) 231-9759.