After lunch we visited a business split into two parts providing materials for two groups of customers. One part is Appalachian Timber Services which produce railroad ties and related products. The other part, Strata Worldwide makes wood products that aid in mine supports. In 2012 they employee 70 people. This company no longer has a rail spur so must ship all products by truck.
Railroad ties being processed. They are cut to size, the ends are plated to prevent splitting an they are perforated so that the treatment will penetrate the wood.
At this part of the business, workers pre-make bridges using specifications provided by the customer.
Wood pieces cut to specifications for the mining industry.
These post used in mining for roof supports are notched at the top and banded with steel wire to prevent their failure when used as roof supports for coal mining.
Appalachian Timber Services buys these already cut from suppliers then processes them as explained above. Today, they have a hard time getting enough of these to keep up with their business demand. They have had to scramble to find timber outfits to supply their raw product. Their # 1 supplier, Coastal Lumber closed last year. Other suppliers have went out of business too.
Why do you think this is the case?
How could the company solve this problem?