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MARKET STUDIES

The Beck Group assists clients by developing valuable forest products-related market research information and business intelligence. BECK has provided clients market research and intelligence in several areas, including:

  • Demand for specific products or grades

  • Product prices levels and volumes sold

  • Customer surveys of opinions and perceptions of producers and competitors

  • Interest in new products or sources of supply

  • Export and import market opportunities

  • Assessment of market position

  • Analysis of strengths and weaknesses of major competitors

  • Identification of market opportunities

  • Identification of potential acquisition targets

CASE STUDIES

Hemlock Veneer Market Study—The Beck Group completed a Western hemlock veneer market study for a confidential client that was evaluating the potential for developing a veneer manufacturing operation in Western Canada for domestic and export markets. Beck’s assistance focused on West Coast veneer markets (U.S. and Canada). The project assessed the existing supply and demand balance for softwood veneer in the West, utilizing a proprietary database of veneer producers and consumers maintained by The Beck Group. The project also entailed providing basic market information such as veneer grades, historic pricing data, product standards, analyzing transportation economics for supply to multiple regional locations, and historic and forecasted future supply and demand for two key markets: softwood plywood and laminated veneer lumber. Growing specialty markets for mass plywood were also evaluated. Finally, Beck staff identified potential key customers and assisted the client by making introductions to these customers.

 

The Beck Group’s proprietary database of veneer producers and users, as well as our in-depth industry knowledge and key contacts, were invaluable to the client in their assessment of the opportunity and risks associated with a new veneer business.

Mass Timber Manufacturing Feasibility—The Beck Group recently assisted a confidential client by completing a mass timber manufacturing feasibility study. Beck assisted by analyzing the size of the glulam and CLT market in North America with specific focus on the Western U.S.; using its sawmill database to evaluate the supply and cost of raw materials; providing a third party review of financial modeling including estimates of capital costs, ongoing operating costs, and key metrics such as productivity, downtime, and raw material to finished product yield factors; and providing conclusions and recommendations about mitigating project risks. All of Beck’s work was summarized in a written report that the client will use to attract investors to the project.

 

The mass timber manufacturing supply chain is an area of Beck expertise based on nearly 10 years of involvement in the International Mass Timber Conference as presenters, International Mass Timber Report authors, and other project work similar to this one. The client now has the information needed to answer investors’ questions and demonstrate the project’s timely strengths.

North American Softwood Lumber Supply and Demand Balance—Over the last several years there has been a significant volume of European softwood lumber entering North American markets. A confidential client retained The Beck Group to analyze historical North American lumber production by producing region, and then to project future North American lumber production by region given key driving factors such as North American lumber demand, imports from offshore, lumber production capacity, and log supply. Beck used its mill database extensively during this effort. This interesting project identified several key trends in the North American supply chain that are sure to impact softwood lumber markets and pricing over the next several years.

 

The Beck Group’s understanding of softwood lumber markets and production across the North American continent is based on decades of research and statistical tracking. The client’s management team is now equipped to anticipate North American supply chain shifts and price movements.

Wood Pellet Manufacturing Feasibility—A confidential client retained The Beck Group to assess the feasibility of a small-scale pellet manufacturing operation in California. Beck’s roles included assessing the annual supply and cost of raw material available to the prospective operation; estimating the capital cost for constructing the equipment to manufacture wood pellets; estimating the operating costs for manufacturing wood pellets; and estimating the size of the wood pellet market and their selling price.

 

Our staff stays abreast of dozens of biomass utilization technologies, as this is a Beck core competency. This enabled our client’s management team to make a well-informed decision about the feasibility of adding wood pellet manufacturing to their existing operations.

International Mass Timber Report—Since 2019, The Beck Group has been part of the author team of the International Mass Timber Report, which is published each year in connection with the International Mass Timber Conference. Each year, Beck provides an update on the early stages of the mass timber supply chain including the cost and supply of lumber raw materials for mass timber manufacturing; the production capacity and actual output of mass timber manufacturers; and estimated market prices for CLT products. The report is available to conference attendees, or can be purchased online at: https://www.masstimberreport.com

 

The mass timber manufacturing supply chain is an area of Beck expertise based on nearly 10 years of involvement in the mass timber movement. Report readers gain valuable insights into this rapidly growing sector of the forest products industry.

Strategic Planning—The Beck Group assisted a large user of industrial lumber products in strategic planning focused on the growth of their business. Beck’s tasks included assessing historical trends and forecasts in timber availability for key species used by the company, identifying possible alternative/substitute species that could be used, assessing the survivability of key lumber producers, identifying trends and factors in the dynamics of lumber imports and exports from the U.S., and evaluating the survivability of remanufacturing operations that convert industrial lumber into millwork parts.

 

Beck helped this client effectively and efficiently assess opportunities for gaining greater control of their raw material supply chain. Key to the analysis was Beck’s knowledge and experience of timber supply, as well as our knowledge and experience regarding the long-term viability of key sectors of the forest products industry infrastructure. 

Council of Western State Foresters—The Beck Group was retained by the Council of Western State Foresters to assess the feasibility of manufacturing Wood Wool Cement and Wood Fiber Insulation, both of which can be manufactured from biomass and small diameter trees. For each technology, Beck assessed the markets for the products produced; the types of equipment needed to manufacture the products and the capital costs for purchasing and installing the equipment; ongoing operational costs; and the supply and cost of raw materials. A copy of the report is available here: https://bof.fire.ca.gov/media/gkkfdgqc/cwsf-wood-wool-and-wood-fiber-insulation-study-final-4-26-23_ada.pdf.

 

To maintain this core competency, our staff stays abreast of dozens of biomass utilization technologies. This feasibility study enabled the Council to share details of two such technologies that show strong potential to combine carbon sequestration with innovative building materials. Entrepreneurs can use the information to begin planning profitable business ventures and enable forest management that will make fire-prone communities safer. 

Chelan County Forest Products Campus—The Beck Group analyzed opportunities for developing a biomass campus designed to utilize small diameter trees harvested during forest health and wildfire mitigation forest management treatments. Using supply information generated by Mason, Bruce, & Girard, Beck identified three small diameter utilization technologies that complement each other, have secure markets for the products they produce, and that are appropriately scaled for a biomass campus. For each technology, Beck provided preliminary estimates of capital costs, ongoing operating expenses, yields, productivity rates, and financial projections.

 

Our staff stays abreast of dozens of biomass utilization technologies; biomass utilization is one of our core competencies, which enabled the client to identify a biomass campus concept based on the most current information about technologies and production, which will lead to a safer community.

Strategic Planning and Market Study—This project was completed by The Beck Group for a confidential South American client with interest in expanding its U.S. forest products market presence. The project included an analysis of a variety of products, some of which Beck staff recommended the company pursue or expand, and others for which Beck staff concluded opportunities were limited. The markets evaluated included millwork; a variety of value-added plywood products; laminated veneer lumber; thermally modified timber (TMT); and expanded E-commerce of its existing U.S. wood products. For the millwork assessment, the company was interested in developing a U.S.-based operation to complement existing in-country operations that supply U.S. markets. Beck staff assessed markets and identified potential acquisition candidates, which led to a successful acquisition.

 

The Beck Group was able to assemble a project team, including subcontractors with extensive experience in particular markets including millwork and value-added plywood, who helped develop plans and recommendations that subsequently became part of the client’s strategic plan for U.S. market expansion. Beck staff members have the knowledge, industry experience, and contacts/industry relationships that are recognized in the industry to undertake complex projects and provide valuable guidance to its clients.

Product Manufacturing Study—The Beck Group was retained by a confidential Western Canadian company to analyze the opportunity for recapitalizing an existing large-scale lumber manufacturing operation. The options that were analyzed included mill modernization focused on a smaller scale, specialty sawmill operation, and a veneer manufacturing plant for producing dry veneer for both U.S./Canadian domestic markets as well as for export to Asia. The study included estimating capital costs for both alternatives, as well as detailed market and feasibility analysis. A declining timber supply was also assessed to identify the practical level of expected timber volume availability. Beck staff members completed an in-depth assessment of the supply-demand balance in the U.S./Western Canadian softwood veneer business in assessing veneer market opportunities.

 

Beck staff members, working closely with the client’s management and staff, can extend the expertise and knowledge of even the largest forest product manufacturers in completing independent assessments of strategically important projects.

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