Wood products manufacturing—a valued tradition in the Northern Forest—provides jobs to more than 20,000 people in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and northern New York. The industry remains an important part of our forest-based economy even as it faces ongoing stress from overseas competition and an aging workforce. Wood products manufacturing creates markets for wood, which helps forestland owners keep forests as forests, and supports employment for loggers, truckers and related workers.
The Center is helping the industry hone its competitive advantage through two initiatives so it can continue to provide good jobs in our communities. The Transformational Innovation Program provides financial support and technical assistance to help wood products manufacturers implement innovations that can profoundly change their businesses.
"We couldn't have so successfully achieved our recent expansion—including absorbing 40 new employees—without the assistance of the Center and Jeff Howe. They're helping a very traditional business sector find new ways to be successful in a global economy."
The Center offers financial support to help manufacturers adopt innovations that can transform their companies, making them more competitive and helping to secure and expand the number of jobs they provide. The initiative focuses on changes that can make a major difference for the company—such as Lean Manufacturing,Mass Customization, and Transformational Organizational Development.
Financial support for projects in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and northern New York can range up to $20,000 (or more in extraordinary cases), covering up to half the cost of using outside expertise to pursue key innovations. Smaller projects are also welcome. Our team will work with companies to help identify projects that have the most potential for transformational change.
Innovation Profile: Read how Maine Wood Concepts used the Innovation Program to update its management approach and organizational structure. Read more.
Regional Wood Products Consortium
The Center has worked closely with the industry to implement our wood products programming by creating the Regional Wood Products Consortium. The Consortium is a collaboration between the Northern Forest Center and the wood products manufacturing industry in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and northern New York. The Center coordinates the Consortium, which has five industry trade association partners: the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association, the Maine Wood Products Association, the Empire State Forest Products Association, the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, and the Wood Products Manufacturers Association.