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Manufacturer's sales are increasing despite a slump in lumber industry.

Manufacturer's sales are increasing despite a slump in lumber industry

Although there is a slump in the forestry and construction industries, one lumber manufacturer in the Kirkland Lake area surpassed its sales projections for 1990, and it expects to do so again this year.

Mike McCollough, vice-president of Northern Pressure Treated Wood, said his company has been operating at full capacity for more than a year and will continue to do so in the immediate future.

"This (1990) has been our second best year. We are operating 24 hours per day for five days per week," he said.

Northern Pressure Treated Wood's primary products include pressure treated utility poles, mining timbers, guard rail posts and bridge timbers.

The products, cut and supplied on contract for buyers such as wholesalers, the Ministry of Transportation and utility companies, are produced to fill individual orders. The only product which is manufactured year round is utility poles.

Although the company's market share varies from product to product, McCollough reported that it has 40 per cent of the provincial market for utility poles.

"It is hard to point to a definite figure when the frequency and types of contracts change often. For example, although we have the 40 per cent (of the utility pole market) we don't have five per cent for lumber," said McCollough.

With fluctuations in demand for several products, the company's staffing requirements also fluctuate. The company employs an average of 40 people, but that number increases to 52 during the peak season when the lumber is cut and dressed.

While most companies in the lumber industry are keeping a tight reign on their purse strings, Northern Pressure Treated Wood is contemplating an expansion.

McCollough reported that the company is currently looking at two plans for an expansion of its physical plant. One of the plans will be implemented once demands for the company's products increase.

"There is not enough demand currently to justify an expansion at this time," he said.

However, the future expansion will not include an expansion of the company's market area. McCollough said that Northern Pressure Treated Wood is satisfied with serving the Ontario market.

"We like our local market, besides there is a plant in Quebec, and Manitoba is too far to compete, given high freight charges," he said.

Northern Pressure Treated Wood operates a second plant in Quebec as a separate company.

McCollough reported that Northern Pressure Treated Wood has been testing a new wood preservative which is safer to apply.

Obtaining the technology for copper naphtenate from the United States, Northern Pressure Treated Wood is the first company in Ontario and only the second in Canada to use the product.

Currently using the compound exclusively in the production of utility poles, McCollough said "there has never been a safer product, but we will require more data before radically changing all of our products."

Located on approximately 600 acres of land 15 kilometres east of Kirkland Lake, Northern Pressure Treated Wood purchased its existing plant from Martin Lumber in 1985.

COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Northern Pressure Treated Wood
Author:McDougall, Douglas
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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