Cheer Up Things Could Be Worse

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My dad had a quote on the wall outside of his office. I was having a bad day and someone said to me. “Cheer up things could be worse.” So, I cheered up and sure enough things got worse.

I didn’t understand it when I was a kid, but now as I look back at it, I constantly laugh. Doesn’t that feel so true. You try to have a good attitude and cheer up, but things just keep getting worse. My personal philosophy is that “Life is messy but beautiful.” There are ups and downs in life and in lumber markets. Everyone warned me that the Hardwood industry likes to get together at the industry meetings and gripe and complain. Now that I have been in the industry for a year, and not a great year at that, I can say that is not the case.

More than anything I would say the industry is made up of realists. They paint an accurate picture and share opinions of what could make things better, but it is not complaining nor is it self-pity. In fact, it is the opposite. I am amazed at how proud everyone is to be in this industry and are committed to it through the good times and the bad.

I think most sawmills, concentration yards and distributors expected things to be worse this year. There are a lot of factors impacting markets. Ties and pallet stock are steady but not good enough to make up for the lower price of grade lumber. Even this segment is struggling to stay above the old normal. I think we all want to see a new normal that is not as low as the old normal. But to get a new normal we also must be willing to give up on the old normal ideas, pricing material at the last possible second in the good markets or ramping up production at the slightest hint of a market uptick. There are no easy alternatives to these.

Good customer relations and diverse options are critical. Slow and steady wins the race as long as the race is the long-term ROI. I am not trying to tell you what is new for your business, but I can say that we need to think new to be new and we must do it in the good times and the bad. So, there is no sense procrastinating hoping for the good days to make changes. In the meantime, Why Knot: Cheer Up Things Could Be Worse.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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