Product consistency and quality are top priorities for one of eastern Canada’s oldest sawmills. “When our customers open up a bundle of Lulumco studs, they all look the same,” co-owner and Sales Manager Yoland O’Connor says of the uniformity of the Luceville, Quebec-based company’s products. Lulumco produces wood studs in four lengths as well as bed frame components.

The company sells products mainly to lumber wholesalers and distributors who then supply retail outlets and home improvement stores, including Home Depot.

“Seventy-five percent of our products go to the United States, with our major market share being in the New England area,” O’Connor says. The company’s other U.S. markets include Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina. 

Lulumco was founded in 1892 as the Luceville Lumber Co. It was a family owned business until the mid 1980s.

Milling Procedures

All of Lulumco’s products are produced in a single sawmill. The milling process includes sawing logs, drying wood in a kiln, and dressing wood and cutting it to size in a planer mill. 

Lulumco recently added to its milling capabilities with the purchase of a rotary mechanical lug loader manufactured by Inotech Fabrication Inc. of Quebec. The loader has improved product production and requires little maintenance, O’Connor says. 

The company runs one production shift, allowing it to keep up with equipment maintenance at night, a practice that enhances the quality of its products. 

“When issues come up during the day, we have our full complement of staff on site to solve all problems immediately so we don’t have to stop production,” he adds. 

Sustainability Focus

The company mills raw material from 76,000 cubic meters of forestland it owns as well as from private forest owners. Forest stewardship is a top priority for the company. “One of the most important things for us is the work we’re doing in the forest in terms of cutting trees and planting them back,” O’Connor says.

Forest management is performed through regeneration and selective cutting during final harvest. The company also performs pre-commercial and commercial thinning. “The pre-commercial thinning is used to space out the stems, thereby enhancing growth of the remaining trees,” the company says. “The commercial thinning is used to provide room for the most promising trees and accelerate their growth in diameter.”

Lulumco is in the process of applying for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. The certification recognizes the sustainability practices involved in the company’s harvesting and use of trees. The Forest Stewardship Council was created in 1993 “to change the dialogue about and the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide,” the organization says.  

“FSC certification provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value,” it adds.

The company is a member of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association and the Quebec Forest Industry Council. 

Bouncing Back

O’Connor says he sees the company’s immediate future as bright after recent difficult years for Lulumco and the Canadian sawmill industry in general. While the slowdown of the housing industry in the last five years has led to the shuttering of mills across the country, Lulumco has maintained ties with most of its key clients.

“We’ve cut in all the places where we could cut, so we can stay competitive and modified our processes to work faster at a lower costs,” O’Connor says. The company has also increased its business within its home country.

A dedicated staff and a base of long-term clients are key to the company’s weathering a difficult economy. 

“We have customers we’ve been selling to for 40 years and have been at about the same size as a company for that time,” he adds. “Business is picking up slowly but surely; I see us working with the same accounts well into the future.”

Lulumco enjoys similar loyalty from its staff, many of who have worked for the company for a number of years. “Our culture here is fun, and the atmosphere is very good,” O’Connor says. “Our people are always smiling and happy, not stressed out; this is the place to work for.”

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