Opportunities for development of local forest markets: the case of Amish furniture manufacturing
In: Meyer, Spencer R., ed. IUFRO Small-Scale Forestry Conference 2012: Science for Solutions Conference Proceedings; 24-27 September 2012; Amherst, MA: 16-19.
A dramatic decline in the production of hardwood furniture in the United States has had profound impacts on employment and hardwood markets. Against this backdrop, the Amish-based furniture manufacturing cluster in Ohio has expanded and hardwood lumber consumption by the cluster is significant. Recent research suggests that 71 percent of firms in the cluster expanded during a 3-year period from 2006-2008, even as the overall domestic industry contracted. Another measure of success (and indicative of the small size of many of the firms) is the finding that a plurality of firms (46 percent) began their operations by retrofitting existing buildings (often farm buildings), but that most firms had since expanded by constructing new facilities (56 percent). Clustering has enabled several competitive advantages related to supply chain management, productivity, and distribution, and has led to local forest-based development. For example, a considerable volume of wood manufacturing inputs, and final product sales, are based on local and regional markets, although finished products are distributed throughout the United States. The Amish furniture cluster in Ohio is a case of a small-scale solution that can compete in a global market, and therefore benefit forest landowners through development of local forest markets.
Keywordsfurniture; clustering; competitiveness; Amish; hardwood markets; local
Bumgardner, Matt; Graham, Gary; Goebel, Charles. 2012. Opportunities for development of local forest markets: the case of Amish furniture manufacturing. In: Meyer, Spencer R., ed. IUFRO Small-Scale Forestry Conference 2012: Science for Solutions Conference Proceedings; 24-27 September 2012; Amherst, MA: 16-19.