Knowledge Database

Here you can find extension and academic articles, and tools developed by our research group. The tools and articles cover a range of different subjects to help increase the competitiveness of your business. Althought the articles and tools are mostly based on wood products industry cases, they are still applicable to other industries. These tools and articles are free and you should use them on your own risk.

Financial tools and articles:

This MS Excel Spreadsheet shows how to develop the three most important financial statements: Income, balance sheet and cash flow statements. It also calculates the most used financial ratios.

Capital investments should consider not just the purchasing prices but also periodical costs and benefits. This MS Excel template shows an example on the purchasing of a CNC equipment for a kitchen cabinet manufacturer. The template uses the Net Present Value method to select the best choice of out three possibilities.

Business management: 

This article (in spanish) in page 11  shows the basics on Business Process Management (BPM). BPM is business process improvement framework that can help a firm to better align their business processes with customer, operational, and financial goals.

When financial considerations are not enought to decide among different purchases of manufacturing equipment for instance, the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) can help to compare the options using non financial data. This template use the AHP method to help you select among three different equipment options.

Innovation tools:

The House of Quality. This tool was designed to improve the functionality of a wine barrel. The template incorporate also product innovation tools such as Voice of Customer Window, TRIZ 9 screen tool, and TILMAG. For more info please contact Henry Quesada at quesada@vt.edu

Continuous improvement:

This article introduces Lean Thinking with applications in wood products industry.

Cost accounting is a critical part in business management. Understanding how raw materials, labor, and overhead are charged to functional units or production orders is fundamental knowledge every manager should have. This article covers the basic principles behing cost accounting.

For those interested in learning more about inventory control and lean thinking this article could help you.

Combining lean thinking with energy savings techniques is an extremely effective way to decrease manufacturing cost and impact other business dimensions such as environmental sustainability. We have developed an energy audit tool based on data from the Industry Assessment Center (IAC). To download the tool use this link.

This publication will help practitioners and academicians to understand what factors impact the sustainability of continuous improvement (CI) initiatives. There are many reasons why a CI could fail. In this research we studied employee perception of the CI process in four different industries across two different regions for a 14 months.

Supply Chain Management:

Our group recently published a book chapter on supply chain management basics. You can download the book chapter by following this link.

Marketing:

Our research group conducted a project to study opportunities for Appalachian wood products in Central America. The project was funded by the Federal State Improvement Marketing Program (FSMIP) at the  U.S. Department of Agriculture. The final report can be downloaded here.

Education, Learning, and Teaching:

In 2010, our research group started a course in Global Issues in Sustainability. The course has a goal to introduce students about sustainability and how it is applied in a developing country. The course includes a field trip to Costa Rica, one of the World’s most sustainable countries. After the research group’s first experience, we wrote an article to explain how the course works. You can download the paper here.

During 2010 we surveyed wood products firms to understand their perceptions about online-training education needs. The results of the survey can be found here.