A Qualitative Investigation of Competition in the U.S. Hardwood Lumber Industry
Competition in the U.S. hardwood lumber industry was investigated through interviews with company executives. The largest and smallest companies in the industry were found to be the most production oriented. When the competitive strategies of the companies were categorized using Porterâs (21) strategic typology, Overall Cost Leadership strategies were found to be the most common. Some companies utilized dual Overall Cost Leadership/Differentiation strategies and Differentiation strategies. Focus strategies were found only as part of a dual Overall Cost Leadership/Focus strategy. The majority of companies compete for customers based on quality, customer service, and price. Proprietary grading is an important competitive tool for a few larger companies. The most frequently reported trends in the industry were, shortened distribution channels, increased specialization in the products sought by lumber buyers, and movement of the inventory carrying function back to the producer.
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