Decline in the U.S. Furniture Industry: A Case Study of the Impacts to the Hardwood Lumber Supply Chain


  • Shawn T. Grushecky
  • Urs Buehlmann
  • Al Schuler
  • William Luppold
  • Ed Cesa


Furniture industry, hardwood markets


Traditionally, the wood household furniture industry has accounted for a sizeable portion of total hardwood lumber use in the United States. However, for more than a decade, imports have gained an increasing share of the hardwood furniture market, and lumber consumption by this industry has declined dramatically in the last 5 years. We used a case study methodology to investigate the impacts of this decline on the hardwood lumber supply chain. Eleven companies within the hardwood lumber supply chain were chosen as cases: 3 furniture manufacturers, 5 primary producers, and 3 components manufacturers. Seven core questions were asked during each interview and primary producers were asked two additional questions. Questions ranged from the impact of lean manufacturing techniques to the effects "green" certification may have on the industry. Furniture manufacturers appeared to be more optimistic regarding the future of the domestic furniture industry compared to the primary and components manufacturers. Furniture market declines have been quickly replaced by the cabinet and solid wood flooring sectors; however, the supply chain must continue to strategically develop new markets in the event of a housing sector slow down.


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Research Contributions