Intermediaries in the U.S. hardwood lumber market: Comparing and contrasting sawmills and distributors

Omar Espinoza, Urs Buehlmann, Matthew Bumgardner, Robert Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to better understand changes in the hardwood lumber supply chain from the perspective of lumber producers and distributors and to assess the degree of judgmental convergence between suppliers and buyers of hardwood lumber. Results from two nationwide surveys conducted in 2008 and 2009 were used for the analysis. Findings confirmed a decline in demand for red oak and an increase in species diversity in the market, although a majority of sales were dominated by five species. Results also showed an increasing importance of markets for lower grades of lumber, such as pallets, containers, and railroad ties, and a decline in demand for higher-value products such as furniture and kitchen cabinets. The importance of the lumber distributor role in the hardwood supply chain also has increased. Both sawmills and suppliers have increased their offerings of customized products and services in response to market demand. The customer base is changing, with smaller, more customized orders being sold to smaller businesses. Some of the trends and changes identified are structural and long-running in nature and are not expected to change in the short term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6527-6539
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


  • Distribution
  • Hardwood lumber
  • Lumber yards
  • Sawmill
  • Supply chain


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