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Workshops to highlight mass customization

The Regional Wood Products Consortium, a collaboration between Sustainable Forest Futures and the wood products manufacturing industry in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and northern New York will conduct a series of specialized one-day innovation workshops on mass customization for the wood products industry.

Mass customization is a business model that takes advantage of advances in manufacturing and information technology to produce made-to-order items that from the customer's perspective are customized to fit their unique preferences, but from the manufacturer's perspective are built with low cost and short lead times.

Products that are co-designed using this approach are often sold at a premium and can help companies attract and retain customers, serve new market niches and insulate themselves from mass-produced commodity goods, according to the trade group.

This workshop is geared to leaders of small- and medium-sized wood products companies and will be repeated in five locations throughout the four-state region on the following dates:

  • April 26 in Augusta, Maine
  • April 27 in Concord, N.H.
  • April 28 in Randolph Center, Vt.
  • May 10 in Utica, N.Y.
  • May 11 in Glens Falls, N.Y.

Each workshop will feature presentations by leading experts on the subject of mass customization as it relates to opportunities within various sectors of the wood products industry. Featured presenters will include wood products manufacturing experts Urs Buehlmann of the Virginia Tech Department of Wood Science and Forest Products; Torsten Lihra of FP Innovations, a wood products research institute in Canada; and Russ Kahn of 20-20 Technologies.

A key segment in each workshop will feature an individual company leader's personal experiences on mass customization and how they have overcome the challenges to make it a key part of their business strategy.

Workshop participants from the consortium's region will be eligible to receive specialized follow-up assistance including, but not limited to, a pool of grant funds that Sustainable Forest Futures has to help cover a company's cost, as may be applicable, in pursuing activities stemming from the workshop.

All workshops are co-sponsored by Sustainable Forest Futures' trade association partners including the Wood Products Manufacturers Association, Maine Wood Products Association, New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association and the Empire State Forest Products Association.

Any wood products company in the region is eligible to participate in any of the workshop sites at a special subsidized registration fee of only $25 per person. For information, visit

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