Anthony Forest Fights On

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, May. 21, 2012 12:00 am  

Anthony is excited about the implementation of several improved technologies at the plant. They include dual-path kilns, powered by wood waste and which allow lumber to move through the kilns continuously; a computerized scanner that determines the most efficient way to cut individual logs, "squeezing more value out of every log" as Anthony said; and processes that test and grade each board.

In addition, the company is somewhat protected by a measure of diversification. Not only does it manufacture lumber, it makes value-added products such as its Glulam laminated beams used in the framing of buildings.
Anthony Forest Products also has two wood chip mills, the "old bread-and-butter chipping of pulpwood into manufactured chips that are shipped to paper mills primarily," Anthony said.

And the company resides next door to Texas, which despite the downturn remains a strong market for Anthony Forest Products. "Basically, we export product to Texas and we import money to Arkansas," Anthony said.

By focusing on efficiency, cost-cutting, volume, customer service, just-in-time deliveries out of its plant in Canada and quality, the company is holding its own.

In fact, companies that once were Anthony Forest's competitors are now buying engineered wood products from Anthony,  he said. That's because the downturn forced those one-time rivals to close their facilities, so Anthony Forest Products is doing "private labeling," making items such as I-joists and putting other companies' names on the products.

Anthony called this a big compliment.

"I think we've learned a lesson about investing in hard times," he said. "You become more efficient. And when the market turns, if this one ever does, you will do better leveraging those efficiencies."

As for the future, "I look at the glass as half full because, thank God, we have some market left," Anthony said. "People are actually putting one foot in front of the other and doing things in spite of all the obstacles, and we mightily appreciate folks building anything out there."



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