April Edition
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The Wood Innovation Group

Welcome to the TWIG Monthly Newsletter, a dedicated space crafted to inspire and guide professionals like you to gather, connect, and share knowledge. Our curated events bridge the realms of tradition and innovation, creating a space for sharing knowledge exchange, propelling the value-added wood sector forward. Join us at our events to make new connections, learn new things and share a story or two. Collectively we can grow and influence the future of value added wood together 🌲

At TWIG, we recognize the potent force within our community. Your voice holds significance, and we are eager to showcase you and support your events. If you have content to share, send it our way at info@twigbc.ca.

Lightweight Mass Timber Talk

April 2, 6:00 - 7:00
Lasserre Building, Lecture Hall 102, University of British Columbia

A presentation by Hans Jakob Wagner on Co-Design and Robotic Fabrication for Computational Wood Architecture More Info+


April 3, 6:00 - 8:00
Red Truck Beer Company, 295 E 1st Ave, Vancouver

The Vancouver group meets as per usual, exploring local craft breweries in the city More Info+

Sea 2 Sky Wood Network

April 3, 6:00 - 8:00
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 277, 40194 Glenalder Pl, Garibaldi Highlands

The TWIG network in Squamish continues with a gathering at a local establishment. More Info+
**All of the up-to-date TWIG events can be found online at twigbc.ca/events/


Greetings TWIG Community,

TWIG was successful with our yearly application to our Wood First program through Forestry Innovation Investment, and we now enter our next fiscal year. Your participation and support is what allows us to continue this work so we thank you.

For this next year some of our programming will include more Timber Tech Connect events, and the 2nd edition of the Shape program which details will be coming in the next newsletter. We will continue on with our localized networks in Squamish and Victoria, building on the momentum there and helping develop the identity of them as each region is unique. What's worked well for the Vancouver network is our Wood-First-Wednesday events, due to the nature of the professionals that attend, but our other regions will have other factors that drive their formats. We are looking forward to seeing what emerges over the next year!

This month we welcome guest contributor Alice Palmer to our newsletter who wrote a thought provoking piece about value creation. The word "value-added" gets thrown around a lot in our industry, and we are eager to unpack this and bring some insight to it, and perhaps some new definition that encapsulates all those who are creating value. In today's industry, we have a lot more people contributing value to wood that just the manufacturers, and in order to advance the industry we have to expand our definitions and map out how these people work together to create wood products that customers value.

What Is “Value Creation” Anyway?

As a small business owner, I’m a real tightwad in both my business decisions and my personal finances. But that doesn’t mean I always choose the cheapest price.

Here’s an example: my beloved vacuum cleaner. I bought it 15 years ago for about $100. I could have got it cheaper if I went to Walmart or searched on Amazon, but instead I went to the local vacuum store, talked to the salesperson, tried out a couple of models, and purchased the one that would best meet my needs. It has served me well ever since (even though I’ve had to replace the filter and now the wheels are falling off).

I figure I paid about a 20% premium for the service the store provided, but it was worth every penny. In other words, there was definitely value added.

Ways to create value

In the wood products industry, the term “value added” is often used synonymously with secondary or tertiary manufacturing. However, the classical definition of “value creation” is much broader.

Business theorist Michael Porter defines value as “the amount buyers are willing to pay for what a firm provides them.” ¹ To create value, a firm can either increase the amount a customer is willing to pay for its products, or decrease the cost involved in creating the product.

Value isn’t just created by manufacturing activities. It can also be created through inbound or outbound logistics, marketing, sales, and service. For example, big box stores such as The Home Depot may pay lumber suppliers extra to provide “vendor managed inventory” services in which the supplier anticipates how much inventory the stores will need, and ensures they don’t run out.

Mass timber adds value in several ways. In addition to the manufacturing process (in which lumber is combined into panels up to 12’ wide by 60’ long), value is added in design and logistics. Mass timber is not just a product but a whole construction system: the building structure, the parts that go into it, and the process of putting them together are all carefully planned in advance. The components arrive on site right when they’re needed and fit together perfectly, reducing construction time, on-site storage, noise, and waste.

Value = margin

Thinking back to Michael Porter’s definition, is it possible for a business activity not to create value but instead destroy it? Unfortunately, yes. If the customer’s willingness to pay for the activity is less than the cost of the activity itself, the activity will lose money.
This means that companies considering offering new products or services have to carefully consider both what they will cost to create and how much their customers will value them. For example, a company considering building a finger-joint plant must ask themselves:
  • Will customers pay more for finger-jointed lumber than for non-finger jointed lumber, and if so, how much?
  • Will the price we charge be enough to cover our material and manufacturing costs?
I once worked for a company making this exact decision. My task was to call potential buyers of the proposed finger-jointed product, asking them about whether they would pay more for it than non-finger-jointed products. Many said yes. Some, however, said no – in fact, a small minority would only buy finger-joint if it was sold at a discount. For these customers, “manufacturing added” did not equate to “value added” – indeed, it would actually have meant “value subtracted!”

Adding value is hard, but still do-able

Governments tend to think of "value added" as "manufacturing employment added." However, the reality for the forest products sector is much more nuanced. Adding value isn’t so much about adding activity as it is finding cost-effective new ways to better meet customers’ needs.

I was willing to pay more for my vacuum not because it had more parts but because the sales process enabled me to choose the model that best met my needs. Rather than being “manufacturing added,” it was instead an instance of “experience added” (or even “buyer’s remorse avoided”).

In conclusion, to create value in the hyper-competitive wood products marketplace, we need to think more broadly. Keeping our customers happy is not just about making stuff but about understanding their current needs, anticipating their future needs, and finding creative ways to meet them.

How do create value for your customers?

Alice Palmer is a forest industry writer, researcher and consultant. Follower her blog Sustainable Forests, Resilient Industry at https://alicepalmer.substack.com/.

¹ Porter, Michael E. (1985). Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. New York.: Simon and Schuster.

UBC Workshops + Events

Kiln Drying Seminar

May 27 - 31st - 9:00 to 5:00

Essentials of Wood Drying

A 5-day comprehensive, hands-on introduction to drying technology taught from a practical, real-life perspective and backed with solid explanations into the scientific background of drying.
This highly-regarded workshop discusses the key processes and concepts involved in drying wood. Beginning with wood properties and moisture movement, students become familiar with kiln design considerations, drying schedules and kiln loading considerations. Other topics include drying with air, drying degrade, lumber storage and handling, control systems and power plants.

Visit the link to download the course PDF and to register for the workshop.


Register +

Next Generation Wood

One of the things our group has been talking about a lot is the future of our industry, and specifically the people who will grow up to be participants and shaping the next generation of wood innovation. Jason Chiu and the crew at CAWP has been co-developing programs in partnership with local secondary schools. The program with Mcgee Secondary started with an initial tour of cawp followed by a design critique at Magee of 15 designs from 3 classes, and will finish with fabrication at CAWP of 3 designs chosen from each class. The students from Vancouver Independent School for Science and Technology will visit CAWP for a tour and participate in 5 Solidworks sessions to teach the software and work in a design. The final part will also be a fabrication of a piece of furniture at CAWP facilities. Students through these programs are exposed first hand to the technologies and ideas driving the future of the industry, planting a seed in their minds that may inform their direction in post secondary when the begin to make choices for post graduation studies.

We are proud to be able to support this work and help inspire the next generation. To help shape a revitalized industry in BC, it's important we consider the generations who are 10+ years out and bring the industry them to show them the exciting developments going on today. The wood design and value added industries have changed significantly over 50 years, and these developments have to be made available to young students, and the teachers and guidance counsellors who are supporting them in finding their career paths ahead.

If your an educator, a teacher, or a mentor, we are keen to find ways to increase post secondary student attendance at our events. Please reach out info@twigbc.ca and lets work together to inspire the future generation of the industry.

Job Postings

Explore the world of wood craftsmanship with Rangate Woodworking Solutions. Rangate specializes in delivering wood process equipment, supplies, and consulting services to the joinery and prefab construction industries.

  • Design Engineer - Mechanical
About Rangate
Rangate North Woodworking Solutions Inc. has established its presence in the solid-wood processing marketplace by adhering to a core motto of Knowledge, Products, Connect. The company's success is evident in its emphasis on teamwork, a customer-centric approach, the delivery of uncompromising products, flexible business processes, and robust financial acumen. As Rangate expands its organization, it aims to build stronger brands and undertake new projects, introducing added responsibilities, programs, and opportunities. The company remains dedicated to maintaining capability and quality as foundational principles in its product and project deliverables.

More Info+

TWIG Futures

Come join us in our exciting mission to make TWIG an integral contributor to Innovation in BC's Wood Products Industry!

We continue our work with British Columbia Organizational Design Network (BCODN). TWIG is participating in the Building Community Organization mentorship program, an initiative nurturing the growth of BC community organizations.

We are in the stage of evaluating our current and future offerings, and determining what brings the most value to our community today, and what we can work towards that will support future growth. Our localized wood networks and events are at our core, and what we will double down on, but we see some exciting plans on the horizon that should add momentum to our cause.

We extend a warm invitation for you to join our continuous conversation, reaching out to individuals passionate about organizational development. Whether you bring expertise in board governance, organizational leadership, or offer vital services beneficial to Non-Profits, your time and energy are pivotal during this crucial evolutionary phase in TWIG's progress and the future of the Value-added wood products industry.

If this resonates with you and you are passionate about our mission, we would love to hear from you. Please reach out and connect with us at info@twigbc.ca, and we can schedule a call to explore what might be possible.

Got an idea?

Do you have a concept, product, or prototype that you want to realize? TWIG can work with you to make this happen with financial support through The Wood First Program. Carried out through the Center for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP) and its team of technical staff, we are able to provide an array of support on various wood-based projects.