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March 2023 Message from our CEO

March 2023 Message from our CEO

  • March 1, 2023
  • by Greg Pray, President and CEO

Getting Back to Blocking and Tackling

OK, here we are…well underway with 2023, and managing everything we can to be an even more ready, willing and able supplier for you.

I’m happy to report that Columbia Forest Products is seeing some very good “returning to normal” indicators that will have us on a much better footing than we’ve experienced over the last three years!

We’re especially encouraged in two critical areas.  Across the board, labor turnover rates at our mills have decreased and stabilized.  This is an essential factor in our operating continuity, quality and productivity, as you can imagine.  Our teams are now “whole,” and can function as they were engineered to do.

On the non-human capital side, we’re in a much-improved position in terms of log supplies for our green end mills.  This gives us the means to assure our customers that we’ll have the veneer core materials we need to fill their trucks and future orders.

We’re also seeing material availability loosen up in other important areas.  EuroPly blanks, for example, and Bending Core.  And to satisfy the ongoing demand for 10’ veneer core panels, we’ve expanded our capabilities to deliver on that important product.

We don’t expect as many market gymnastics this year (but I think we’re ready to face them if they spring up).  We believe 2023 will be more like 2018 or 2019… more typical and familiar competitive situations that will keep us on our toes.  The kind of atmosphere where Columbia can show its best, when we can routinely make (or beat) promise dates, ship on-time and complete, and with no (bad) surprises.  Basic blocking and tackling.

Speaking of blocking and tackling, make sure to read Nick’s piece where he compares the calculations of Super Bowl wagering to what we do to forecast market conditions…

Finally, you’ve known my thoughts about the fellow employee-owners here at Columbia, and the commitment we’ve made to our customers, each other, our communities and the natural environment.   

Well, with Spring around the corner, there’s a timely story about a very special thing happening right outside our Newport, Vermont veneer mill.  It’s early enough to maybe inspire you to get your backyard garden ready for the planting season – or to help out in a community garden in your area.

As always, we at Columbia thank you for your business and your consideration.