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9 Tips For Finding Wood Suppliers In Canada

There are a whole host of benefits to importing your wood from wood suppliers in Canada. This North American haven certainly has the forestry and natural wood supply to p


Canada Cross Border Freight
October 7, 2019
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There are a whole host of benefits to importing your wood from wood suppliers in Canada. This North American haven certainly has the forestry and natural wood supply to provide your company with some of the best quality wood in the world. An astounding 140 wood species are native to Canada alone. Each of those could help you to provide a unique quality product that no competitor could hope to beat. 

Finding wood suppliers in Canada is far from impossible and can be accomplished successfully by following some important tips. These tips include: identifying the specific types of wood that you plan to import, developing an inventory strategy, negotiating purchase and volume rates, establishing a transportation plan and more.  

Following the 9 tips below will ensure you find the right wood supplier to help your business thrive. 

1. Settle on the Specifics of What You Want

First, you need to settle on what it is that you’re after. This is the case when it comes to any business purchase, but it’s especially important when you’re considering importing. This is a time-consuming process, after all. While it is worth the wait if you get things right, ordering items that aren’t 100% suited to your needs will lead to wasted time that your business can’t afford.

To avoid that, do your research to get an idea of the type of wood you need to get the results you’re after. This level of planning ensures that you know exactly what you want by the time you start contacting suppliers, and that makes sure you never need to face silly and costly mistakes later on.

2. Decide How Important Sustainability Isdecide how important sustainability is

Sustainability and the ongoing efforts towards that goal are increasingly crucial for some businesses in the modern climate. A company that has put sustainability at the heart of its ethics should undoubtedly consider this before importing wood from anywhere to avoid reputational backlash. 

Admittedly, choosing wood suppliers in Canada tends to be a good move here. Canada is recognized as a global leader in sustainable forest management thanks to stringent Canadian forestry laws. That said, jumping into an ill-informed wood investment here could still do some damage or leave you trusting a non-compliant company.

If sustainability is an issue that matters to you or your company’s reputation, then make sure you seek suppliers that operate in accordance with best sustainability practices. One way to do this would be to find suppliers who are approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), 22% of worldwide certifications are held by Canadian companies. The FSC will also work to make sure companies all along the supply chain are keeping with said regulations. That guarantees no hidden surprises crawl out of the woodwork along the way.

3. Know What Types of Wood You Want

Once you know the purpose of your wood and the ethics you want behind it, it’s time to consider the actual types of wood available. This is especially essential given that, as mentioned, 140 wood species found in Canada are native to North America alone. As such, you’ll need to do your research to understand your options here.

Some of the primary wood species you could benefit from importing out of Canada include:

  • Sugar Maple, the most iconic Candian tree, is native to both Ontario and Quebec and produces a hardwood quality lumber.
  • Western Red Cedar, a quality lumber softwood species found on the West Coast of Canada and even into the U.S.
  • Paper Birch, the provincial tree of Saskatchewan that’s particularly beneficial for sustainability thanks to fast population growth.
  • Yellow birch, a hardwood deciduous tree that grows all over Quebec. Abundant and again beneficial from a sustainability standpoint.
  • The Lodgepole Pine can be found across Western Canada and is widely distributed at fair prices. Deforestation due to logging is an issue, so worth bearing in mind from a sustainability standpoint. 

By researching these wood species and more, you can make sure that you’re knowledgeable when you do reach out to wood suppliers in Canada. That can save you time searching for the best wood, and should even secure you the best deal in the long-run. 

4. Determine the Amount of Inventory You Need and How Often You’ll Need It

Determining supply and demand is always vital with business stock, but getting this right is especially important when buying from wood suppliers in Canada. You can’t just order an extra unit or two if you get this wrong. Instead, every single shipment you make is going to need its own budget and a larger time frame than you’re used to from local suppliers.

Of course, most business owners would still consider the benefits of quality lumber imported straight from North America entirely worth the effort. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re going to need to plan if you want to make this work. For one, you need to be 100% certain that you’re shipping the correct amount of wood with your first order. That means making sure you consider how much wood you need right now and in the coming months. If in doubt, it might be worth looking at your previous sales/business logs. Consider how much wood you’ve used in production until now, and use that as a starting point for importing.

Even once wood arrives, you’re going to need to think ahead when it comes to repeat orders. With a little forward-thinking, you can make sure you maintain a continuous cycle of the wood products you need. What you can’t afford to do is wait until you’re down to your last few pieces before reordering. Instead, work out roughly how long this supply will last, again turning to your previous sales and production logs. This may change over time, but forming a basic idea will give a baseline to work with for now that helps you to keep on top at all times so you never need let customers down.

5. Reach Out to Multiple Suppliersreach out to multiple suppliers

Most companies will reach out to multiple suppliers when it comes to their stock but never is this more important than when you’re importing products. To develop lasting and workable long-distance supplier relationships, you need to be sure that you’ve chosen the absolute best compatibility match for you. One thing’s sure; settling on the first supplier you come across could soon see you struggling with general importing processes and communications. Instead, make sure that you reach out to multiple suppliers to get a broad idea of your options. With each interaction, it’s worth considering/asking about critical aspects of business such as:

  1. Pricing. How much is a supplier compared with others you’ve spoken to? If more, how do they justify the extra cost? Would they be able to price match?
  2. Stock. Your best bet would be a supplier who caters for all your wood needs, so comparing stock lists is always beneficial.
  3. Company ethics. As discussed, understanding company ethics is vital to businesses with sustainability at their heart. Ask about this even with companies found through FSC.
  4. Supply capabilities. If you need large amounts of wood stock, you need to know that a supplier can provide it. Make sure that they have the capacity/workforce necessary.
  5. Ease of process. You’d soon regret signing up with a company that uses long-winded reordering processes and communications. Make sure that you check out the ease of operation from every supplier you come across to find the best option. 

6. Clearly Communicate Your Needs

As you’re considering the above, it’s beneficial to be as transparent as possible about your needs. Long-distance business communications require transparency to work. If you withhold information such as expected demand or potential business growth, a supplier may agree to a contract under a false impression of what you’re expecting. This could lead to business-supplier relationship breakdowns, as well as leaving your supplier unable to provide the products you need. That’s not good for either party, and it’s something you can avoid by simply being as honest as possible in the first place. 

In general terms, this need for honesty is most applicable from a supply standpoint. It’s no good signing up with small-scale wood suppliers in Canada using a modest first order, then suddenly springing double or triple that amount on them next time, even if your research shows they can handle it. Be honest about whether orders are liable to grow over time, and by how much. 

Be clear, too, about the frequency of your orders. You should already know this, and passing the information along is fundamental. A company may only be able to fulfill large-scale orders on an infrequent basis, after all, but having to do so regularly is a different matter.

Lastly, clear communication can be a huge help with regard to your set budget. Instead of asking suppliers how much their wood costs, you may find it beneficial to be upfront about the money you’re setting aside for this purpose. That makes it more likely a supplier will fit with you rather than charging you over the odds, especially if you promise them some level of representation overseas. While it isn’t always easy to discuss money in these candid terms, doing so is vital the moment you open communications like these. 

7. Negotiate Purchasing Rates if Possible

Being upfront about the budget isn’t the only way to gain supplier rates that suit you. In most cases, you’ll find that it’s also possible to negotiate prices in other ways. This is always beneficial when it comes to developing long and sustainable supplier connections. 

Admittedly, not every supplier will offer this, and you may find that those with the most reasonable rates are still worth your time. In many cases, though, it may be possible to agree to reduced rates for large volume or regular orders (yet another reason to be as transparent as possible). 

As mentioned, suggesting your budget rather than asking for a cost estimate is always a good way to open the negotiation floor here. Equally, asking outright for bulk discounts to be written into a contract often leads to desirable results. 

Remember that you need to prove why a connection with you would benefit your chosen wood suppliers in Canada to achieve these privileges. The best leverage you have here is, of course, expanding their business reach. By promising to list them on your website or keep their logo on your wood, you should be able to agree on a good deal indeed.

Equally, committing to a long-term contract with the potential for significant growth is always worthwhile. This proves that you’re not intending to switch suppliers the moment someone better comes along, thus making discounts far more useful for the company in question. 

Even if a supplier is unable to reduce costs, there’s no harm in seeing what you can get for your money. Once you broach the subject, the chances are that most suppliers will at least provide you with some additional benefit because you’ve made that negotiation effort.

8. Determine Logistics and Transportation of the Wooddetermine logistics and transportation of the wood

As you may have already guessed, your efforts here don’t stop when you find wood suppliers in Canada that suit your needs. In fact, you could argue that the hard work begins from this moment, because this is when you need to consider shipping. 

Wood is bulky and unwieldy to transport even locally, so considering how you’re going to get it from Canada regularly can be a real headache. Some suppliers may offer to take care of shipments themselves but, honestly, you would be best off taking the reins here. Suppliers are liable to use their own outsourced companies, and thus charge you extra for their time and the shipment itself. 

By comparison, determining logistics and transportation yourself with companies like R+ L Global Logistics could see you saving costs and achieving arrangements that are best suited to you. Some things to consider during this deliberation process include:

  • Budget: How much are you left with for the sake of transportation?
  • Form: What form of transportation (boat, air, road, etc.) would best work for logistics, budget, so on?
  • Speed: How fast do you need your stock to arrive/how does form impact that?
  • Communication: How easy will it be to communicate between the supplier and transportation company?

These are just some primary considerations, but they can help you to start working through the technicalities to ensure you go into transportation with your eyes wide open. 

9. Finalize Details through a Written Agreementfinalize details through a written agreement

Once you’ve found your supplier and have begun working through the technicalities of shipment, it’s time to finalize things with a written agreement. No different from working with a supplier close to home, a contract makes sure that everyone knows where they stand. It also guarantees that you’re both committed to an ongoing business-supplier relationship. 

Within the agreement, include everything that you’ve agreed upon with your chosen supplier. Thanks to your transparency about your needs, this should be a comprehensive list that covers every possible aspect of this business relationship. Taking the time to write everything down also ensures that you’re able to lock down any discounted prices that you’ve agreed upon when moving forward. 

Of course, contracts like these need to be signed, and this isn’t as simple as asking a supplier to visit you in the office one day. Even across countries, though, signing contracts is now relatively easy thanks to technology. One simple option would be to sign the agreement on your end and then scan and attach it to an email for your supplier to do the same. Or, you could turn to an e-sign platform like DocuSign for ease and security. Electronic signatures are recognized in both the U.S. and Canada.

As simple as clicking a button, this could ensure that your agreement is finalized and that both parties have access to electronically stored copies of their contract. 

Ship Wood from Canada with R+L Global Logistics

Here at R+L Global Logistics, we offer extensive shipping and logistics services to businesses, including overseas operations like those you’ll need now once you have a Candian supplier. We can move machinery and more

As a world-class provider of international shipments, we’ve worked with multinational businesses as well as small-scale operations. We offer long-distance shipping to suit you by either air, ground, or ocean. We work in many cross border states and cities, including Oroville, Washington. And, we do it all with extensive experience and end-to-end point of contact support to make your life easier. In fact, our mission statement as a business is literally ‘to empower businesses worldwide to ship smarter.’ We really do put customer satisfaction at the heart of our services.

It’s fair to say, then, that working with us could be just the thing to get the best possible product and efficiency from your wood suppliers in Canada. Whether you need to ship wood furniture or you need help learning how to ship freight to Canada, we have you covered. Given how much trouble you’ve gone through so far, it’s essential to make sure your efforts don’t go to waste. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call at 855-915-0573 or fill out a form below to contact us and get started. 

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