We recently took two valued customers to Sweden in an effort to explain how a piece of carcassing (or any other timber item for that matter) actually arrives on their building sites, to the quality and standard that they require.

The visit was that heady mix of good weather, tremendous hospitality and of course the wonderful scenery, with the highest levels of hi-tech integration at every step. It was also a helpful bonus to the guys in the mill, listening attentively to what the end user needs.

Our customers were amazed at what goes into timber production, as we watched foresters felling with highly automated equipment, bringing logs into the mill and then processing them through the latest technology of cameras and computers, ensuring the best possible yield. It wasn’t hard to justify the price of the materials, as they whizzed by in a blur of sawing, grading and machining, let alone adding the treatment and shipping costs.

Naturally, when the demands of day-to-day business return, we’ll be back at the negotiation table and our customers will only pay for what they need.

However, what it showed was that our customers want a consistent product that is delivered on time, dry and in good condition. The days of sawn lumps of wet wood, varying in width and thickness are over; what’s more, customers will pay for it up front, rather than later, in site remedials or wasted labour.

So, for all of you battling away on price, trying to find a way of shaving a bit more cost out of the equation, consider the investment being made in those places where decent material is produced and show your customers – you might find that you actually can get a higher price than you thought.