The furniture, flooring, cabinets, millwork, and window and door sectors purchased 8.3 billion board feet of lumber and 12.7 billion square feet (3/8'' basis) of panels in the US in 2000. It is estimated that 23.5% of this product was purchased as components and this trend is expected to increase. The most common type of component, purchased by value-added manufacturers in both the US and Canada, are cut-to-size blanks. The machinery for producing blanks is relatively economical and there is not the same need to invest in the design, distribution, and marketing needed for final products.
While there is some resistance to the use of alternative species in component-consuming industries, species such as yellow birch and yellow poplar are making inroads, thereby creating more viable opportunities for underutilized Canadian species. As value-added companies consider outsourcing wood components rather than purchasing lumber and panels, it is important for the wood products’ industry to understand how this trend will affect the attributes demanded in their products, and the opportunities available to them for further processing.