Building trust bolsters the brand

31 January 2018

A key focus of Keith Fryer’s just-ended term as Timber Trade Federation president has been increasing market faith in timber in terms of legality, sustainability and performance. In its Trusted Timber campaign, he writes, TTF members now have a great opportunity to further enhance popular perceptions of wood

Firstly, I’d like to wish all TTJ readers a happy, healthy 2018 – whether it will be wealthy is another matter. New years are times for resolutions, most of which are conveniently parked as the realities of daily life roll in.

So, as we get stuck into the things that make our organisations tick, it’s probably a good time to at least put together a few things that would be good for us and the timber industry.

I had two wonderful years as president of the TTF and now as that role is entrusted to the more than capable hands of Charles Hopping, I take the grand title of immediate past president – something many Americans may wish was the title of their present incumbent. This allows me a chance to look back at what we did, focusing on the good bits, of course.

The key thing is that TTF membership really does separate member companies from non-members. Our RPP systems have been giving reassurance that members check their supply lines and ensure that they have high levels of security for legality and sustainability for many years. Now, through the Plywood Review and swift action by members, we’ve brought in strictest levels of scrutiny through third-party testing and verification of species and performance against standards and descriptions.

Many said we wouldn’t manage to do this, let alone achieve it in just over a year, but we did, because our members knew it was crucial.

Now they will reap the benefits; our Trusted Timber campaign will tell architects, specifiers, merchants, large end users, buying groups and other trade associations that using TTF member companies gives total reassurance, whereas buying from non-member companies makes that certainty far harder to define.

This is a deliberately overt line of promotion and might be seen as slightly aggressive, but for too long other organisations have been able to ride on the back of all the TTF’s hard work. Now it’s time to put your money, quite literally, where your mouth is.

And it’s not stopping there. The TTF is reviewing treated timber to put an end to some of the poor practice out there, which is mainly due to a rather laid back approach across the industry. Customers ask for ‘treated’ timber with no strategic thought process about what type or specification and no monitoring or checking that what has been asked for has been supplied.

Well, that’s going to change. TTF members will be able to provide a strong level of verification, as we have done with plywood. Now we’ve learned the way to process this, we can roll out other improvements as well and each one will strengthen the brand.

Trusted Timber – what else would you really want?

It’s one way to make 2018 a wealthy one.

So, happy new year to all and all the best to Charles Hopping as he takes up the challenging, but incredibly rewarding role of TTF president.

Keith Fryer