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September 2023 Message from our CEO

September 2023 Message from our CEO

  • August 30, 2023
  • by Greg Pray, President and CEO

Charting our Digital Future…

More and more, it’s clear that “visibility” is one of the biggest problems we have in the hardwood plywood (or overall building materials) market.

If we knew, for example, what demand would be for our range of products every day for the next two months, we’d be able to dial in the raw materials we’d need to the nearest penny and hour! 

Our logistics team could line up drivers, trucks and rail cars. Our production schedulers, crews, supplies and packaging materials would all be poised to perform in a perfect orchestration.

At Columbia, we don’t dwell on the fact that we’ll never have perfect visibility. However, we still seek it because we challenge ourselves to overcome obstacles like that with focused, problem-solving efforts and a strong dose of applied analytics.

We look at “problems” like this and address them as “opportunities.” We know we can always do better, and we put ourselves to the work of doing just that.

I’m very much encouraged by a lot of work we’re doing behind the scenes to take advantage of technology throughout the Columbia organization. We’re in the middle of what we call a “Digital Transformation,” in which we’ll unify our legacy systems, embrace new processes and enjoy additional “visibility” that escapes us today.

There’s a lot of technology going into the production process as well, including robotic equipment that’s gentle enough to handle face veneers!

I’m even more excited about the benefits our customers will receive when Columbia leverages all of this — quality, availability information, order accuracy, quote speed and even predictive purchasing recommendations are all advantages we plan to offer. 

As we get closer to delivering benefits like these, you’ll be hearing a lot about them.  Until then, I’m interested in hearing from you.

To Columbia’s employee-owners:

I hope you’re anticipating, working on and adjusting well to these upcoming changes. Is there anything we can do to better support you? Reach out to Tammy Zakovec, our Change Management Specialist, at tzakovec@cfpwood.com with your thoughts.

To Columbia’s distributors and partners:

Whether you’re starting to implement a digital transformation or you’ve already done so and are in the midst of adapting, our team at Columbia Forest Products wants to help however possible. Is there a way we can make your efforts even more effective? Please contact us now at: CFP.CEO@cfpwood.com .

I hope your summer has been a great one.  Thank you for your business and your thoughts. See you in the future!


Greg Pray

President and CEO

Columbia Forest Products


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