Application of Lean in the Forest Products Industry

Shawn Crawford, MS candidate, Virginia Tech.

The application of lean in the wood products and furniture industry is a relatively well known concept, specially in the Appalachian Region.  Recent surveys suggest that Virginia wood products and furniture industries have heard of terms like lean management, lean manufacturing, and lean thinking however, are unfamiliar with the tools that make up these terms (Fricke, 2010). The segments of the sector with the highest amount of lean awareness and implementation were engineered wood, manufactured homes, household furniture manufacturing as opposed to sawmills and wood container and pallets with the lowest amount of awareness and implementation (Fricke, 2010).

There is a great need for process improvements in the Forest Products industry, specifically lean.  Lean thinking is the philosophy, as it applies to manufacturing, of doing more with less (Womack and Jones, 2003).  By incorporating lean tools like value stream mapping, production performance and efficiency can be enhanced without throwing high energy consuming automated systems or technology to improve the process.  The lack of R&D suggest that the forest products industry has a high potential for saving energy if they use lean tools like benchmarking and create a pull production system as opposed to pushing the product through.  Lean manufacturing allows an operation to enhance production performance which has a direct correlation on energy consumption.  For example, a production process that doubles throughput while using almost the exact same equipment cuts energy consumption in half.

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WORKSHOP: Quantitative Decision Management

Presented by Henry Quesada, Assistant Professor of Business Management and Operations Research, Virginia Tech

Workshop description:

Decision making techniques can be defined as a collection of qualitative and quantitative analytical tools that allows business and process managers to outline and analyze potential scenarios when searching for solutions given a specific problem or situation.
Participants in this two-day workshop will learn how to use different quantitative tools to build models and integrate computer applications to solve current business and manufacturing problems.

  • Course outline:
    • Basics of decision making
    • Spreadsheet basics
    • Basic statistical concepts
    • Data generation using Montecarlo methods
    • Forecasting
    • Inventory control models
    • Design of experiments
    • Linear programming
    • Queue Analysis
    • Markov Analysis
    • Simulation


  • Workshop objectives:
    • Understand the basic steps for decision making
    • Understand the main applications of a variety of decision making techniques
    • Learn how to integrate computer applications such as spreadsheets with quantitative decision making tools
    • Understand how to incorporate decision making tools in simulation modeling


  • Who should attend:
    • Managers who wish to increase their decision making skills by introducing quantitative tools into their work environments
    • Engineers interested in formulating better planning tools for their supply chain management, optimization of manufacturing processes, and general process modeling for continuous improvement
    • Business process engineers in service industries interested in learning quantitative tools to model and optimize processes
    • Marketing researcher looking for proven techniques to analyze marketing data
    • Researchers in need of learning quantitative methods to test ideas and concepts


  • Unique value of the workshop:
    • Application of the techniques and tools to sample problems to facilitate the learning process
    • Integration of decision making tools with computer applications such as spreadsheets
    • Focus on managerial aspects and less in the mathematical details of the techniques. Participants are required to have basic knowledge of algebra.
    • Participants will develop unique skills to incorporate “easy to use and implement” decision making tools into their daily activities


  • Location and Registration
    Workshop is scheduled for October 18-19, 2012 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center in Roanoke, VA.


  • Registration fee
    Workshop investment is $400 and includes:
    •Certificate of attendance. Ask for CPU credits.
    • Two coffee breaks and one lunch per day
    • Material print outs and spreadsheet templates

To register please follow this link. For further details or questions please contact Henry Quesada at or 540 231 0978.

Instructor summary:
Dr. Henry Quesada works for the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia has an expert in business management and operations research. His academic program focuses on process improvement for service and manufacturing firms and he has over 12 years of experience as a consultant and researcher in medical device components, forest products, microelectronic, financial, and telecommunications industry sectors.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Dr. Henry Quesada at (540) 231 0978 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. TDD number is (800) 828-1120.


WORKSHOP: Energy Reductions using Lean Thinking

Sponsored by

Organized By 

  • Department of Sustainable Biomaterials at Virginia Tech


 The purpose of this workshop is to inspire new visions and strategies which address the most pressing energy challenges for contemporary society; it will create new ideas for usage of Lean Principles in reducing energy use and costs. It will also promote collaboration between scholars working across disciplines on Lean Thinking and Energy.

The Lean House

Key Values of Workshop

  •  Attendees will have a better opportunity to understand lean and potential energy savings with the implementation  of lean principles into their process.
  • Presentation of an Energy toolkit to identify wastes related to energy, environment, and the processes.
  • Attendees will be exposed on “How to use Lean principles for Energy Savings”  using real applications
  • Participants will be introduced to Energy Management Systems and their benefits

Tentative Agenda

September 27, 2012. 9:00 am-4:30 pm.

  • Welcome and overview
  • Current and future scenaro of Energy in Virginia. Joseph Jones, Director of Executive Affairs. Appalachian Power.
  • Lean Thinking Principles. Henry Quesada, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
  • Break
  • Energy Audits using Lean Thinking. Henry Quesada, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
  • Energy Management Systems. Tyler Gill, Enernoc Systems
  • Lunch
  • Industry case study I. Brian Bond, Associate Professor, Virginia Tech
  • Industry case study II. Jon Bluey, Building Science Project Manager, Community Housing Partners.
  • Closing comments and questions
  • Adjourn

Relevant to

  • Plant Managers, Quality Engineers, Process Engineers, Procurement Managers, Supplier Chain Managers, Purchasing Managers, Plant Engineers, Energy Managers, Energy and Environment Engineers and Medium Enterprise Manager
  • Anybody who is interested in energy savings


Roanoke Higher Education Center

108 North Jefferson Street
Roanoke, Virginia 24016
(540) 767-6100


$50. Includes coffee breaks, lunch, and materials. To register, please follow this link. Please contact Dr. Henry Quesada at  if you have any questions or need more details.   CEU will be offered for this workshop.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Dr Henry Quesada at (540 231 0978) during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations 5 days prior to the event. TDD number is (800) 828-1120.