An in-depth knowledge about any vertical is imperative for its success and subsequent growth. The wood industry is no different but what sets it apart is that despite its history, certain practices have not evolved to keep up with the times. Woodworking along with farming and metal working are one of the oldest professions for mankind, but the innovations one sees in farming and metal working are missing from the wood industry.
The conventional wood industry is in a state of saturation, however due to lack of innovation there is a void. This presents us with a huge opportunity by providing value addition to conventional services and products. Here are some challenges that one might face while entering into this vertical and the subsequent suggestions to counter them.
Knowledge of the Material
Wood is such a versatile material that it can be used in all industries and sectors in some way or the other. One needs to recognize the constraints of using wood in a particular application and solving for these constraints. Therefore it is essential for anyone entering this sector to understand that wood is a living thing and it has various behavioural patterns. Different species of wood behave differently in diverse climatic conditions.
One needs to consider expansion, contraction, warping etc before selecting the wood species and the grade of that species for their intended application.
Nexus of carpenters and traders
Purchasing wood today is not as simple as it can be for the end consumer. The customer is unaware about the type, form, quality and quantity of wood that they require.
Carpenters and traders have a relationship that is based on commissions leading to the elimination of a transparent marketplace for the consumer. Customers unknowingly purchase excess wood and are compelled to deal with the wastages because of unavailability of processed wood that suits their needs.
One can add value by educating and guiding the customer in purchasing the correct type, quality and quantity of wood for their intended requirement. If your venture can provide a transparent platform to connect customers with traders, you can create a long lasting relationship and legacy for your brand.
Lack of Skill Sets
Carpentry as we know has been around for millenniums. A profession whose demand has only grown should have led to an increase in the number of its skilled workforce over time. Unfortunately, this is not the case with skilled carpenters. In India, carpenters have been paid solely on the basis of their time spent which acted as a disincentive to the more adept carpenters. Due to this practice, the future generations of these experienced workers did not continue in the field and resulted in loss of knowledge and experience in the industry.
Globally, the average age of a worker in forestry has increased tremendously. Moving forward, we need to ensure these professionals are provided the necessary training and incentives to encourage future generations to continue working in this field.
Educating the Consumer
Consumers are always looking for hassle-free and no-maintenance materials with minimal service requirements. This led to people opting for synthetic materials instead of using solid wood. Today the consumers are more aware of the adverse environmental impact of these synthetic materials and are consciously looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Wood from sustainable sources are an ideal alternative in various industries including construction, furniture along with many others.
Wood as a material is extremely durable with minimal chemical treatment unlike most synthetic materials. If the right wood is chosen and maintained regularly, it can last lifetimes. Educating the customer on the advantages of using wood over other materials plays a crucial part. You can create a platform where your panel of experts can share in-depth knowledge and educate the customers about the various aspects involved in selecting and maintaining wood.
Wood is a precious resource and we need to judiciously use it to conserve it for our future generations while increasing its application across sectors. Today, we stand on the brink of a major change in the woodworking industry with not enough companies adding value to this industry. Education and wood engineering is the need of the hour and we all must work towards bringing about this change.
About Mr. Avijit Marwah, Director, EvoWood
Mr. Avijit Marwah did his schooling from GD Goenka Public School in Delhi and graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2010 with a degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering. Following the legacy of wood in the family, Avijit, a 5th generation entrepreneur co-founded a startup in the modular kitchens and furniture space called Modspace in 2015; which has been acquired by another company in the interior space. Mr. Avijit Marwahcomes with a rich experience of more than 8 years in manufacturing and operations in the woodworking and the modular industry.
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