Inland West Business Trends

Share this...

Inland West Business Trends 1
By Terry Miller President

Across the Inland West region lumber sources that were contacted said that their marketplaces were challenging, at the time of this writing, and that this may be due in part to the excess of inventory with certain species.

In Idaho a lumberman said that with his company being a multi-product, multi-species mill, he has noticed some fluctuation with several different species and products. “White Fir dimensional products in particular have been very flat, while our Cedar board business has continued to remain strong.”

He noted that his sales continue to remain steady, adding that activity is adequate to support the amount of lumber that they produce.

His company offers White Fir dimensional lumber, Cedar boards and various Pine boards in a variety of grades and thicknesses.

“I sell to wholesale distribution and large retailers,” he said. “It appears to me that commodity sales are down, while specialty items, like the Cedar boards, are still selling pretty well.”

When asked if he is having issues with maintaining his labor force, he noted that while he is able to maintain enough employees to cover all of the shifts that they currently run, they would not be able to add another. He stated that they are maxed out on labor.

Another lumber spokesperson in Idaho noted that his market is proving to be challenging as his customers continue to be concerned with the economy.

“Sales are more challenging than they were six months ago, especially for me as I specialize in Pine and Cedar, and we are seeing an over supply of Ponderosa Pine right now,” he said.

He noted that his company as a whole sells Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, Cedar, Idaho White Pine and Spruce-Pine-Fir, in a variety of grades and thicknesses.

He noted that his company sells mainly to distribution yards, wholesalers and home centers. “Their sales seem similar to ours. There is demand and the lumber is moving, but we aren’t seeing anyone that is wanting to stock up on inventory. Instead our customers are buying on a need-to basis.”

A lumber saleswoman in Montana said that she has noticed that her market is spotty, at the time of this writing. “There is a lot of inventory out there from what I understand,” she said, adding that she believes that her company is doing about as well as it was six months ago, but that they are doing worse than they were a year ago.

Her company offers Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, Larch, White Fir, Engelman Spruce Lodgepole Pine. “We offer dimension items in 2×4-2×12, Ponderosa Pine in 1×4-1×8, Douglas Fir boards in 4-12 inch and the inland species are 5/4 and 6/4 thicknesses. We also offer pattern stock.” She added that Ponderosa Pine is their brightest spot.

She mentioned that transportation has become very easy to schedule, with shipments that used to take them a week to 10 days to schedule taking less than 24 hours now. “We are continuing to remain positive. We are hoping that the market will turn around and that people will calm down and get back to work,” she said.

By Terry Miller

Editor, Marketing Consultant, and Third generation publisher. With Miller Wood Trade Publications since 1983.

Share This

By Terry Miller

Editor, Marketing Consultant, and Third generation publisher. With Miller Wood Trade Publications since 1983.

E-News Signup

For news and updates, subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Recent Articles
Related Articles
Softwood Forest Products Buyer
Cadance Hanson

Northeast Business Trends

Northeastern Softwood lumber suppliers reported, at the time of this writing, a variation of market activity. A contact in Massachusetts said that the market is

Read More »