Follow the links below to the Completed Projects section for a detailed summary of previous client projects under the following areas of specialization.
Further summaries of other projects are available on request. Other project summaries since 2015 and between 1989 and 2001 can be provided.
Russ Taylor has flown an average of 100,000 miles each year since the mid-1990s, conducting field investigations in over 30 countries around the globe. From logs to commodity wood products to specialty items, and augmented by office-based research and analysis, Russ and his global network are able to offer a complex understanding of demand issues and supply-side dynamics from global, country or product perspectives. Research and analysis can examine many market-based and competitive issues in various consuming and exporting regions – all topics critical to formulating an accurate picture of the global supply/demand balance as well as trade. Along with a long-standing focus on the US and Canadian markets, Russ has maintained a steady focus on the Chinese, Russian and European markets and industry since the early 2000s.
One particular area of focus for Russ has been softwood timber/lumber supply and its relative competitiveness, including perspectives on changing cost structures of logs and sawmills. By understanding the global sawmill industry’s scale, advantages, and changing competitiveness — including being able to quantitatively rank the largest lumber producers in North America and offshore — strategic outlooks can be made of export volumes from major supplying countries. This has been a trademark that Russ has maintained throughout his client work and in previous publications.
Product development is a fundamental facet of a company’s marketing plan. Over the years, numerous projects have been undertaken by Russ and his associates in product development/market positioning of commodity and/or specialty products in North America and selected offshore regions. A long-term focus has been on radiata pine products, both clearwood pine lumber and various moulding/millwork products. As markets change and existing products come under threat, there are always opportunities to position new or modified products. With access to a global network, Russ can select the right group of specialists for projects to help clients meet their targets with precision.
Supply-side and trade analysis
Russ has been conducting supply-side and trade analysis for over 30 years and continues to travel extensively profiling the supply-side dynamics of key producing countries, including outlooks on export volumes. As a range of dynamics impact global markets, persistent change is a given. Sometimes — seemingly overnight — new suppliers can become competitive due to sudden changes in currency, ocean freight rates, tariff and non-tariff barriers, beetle attacks, etc. The BC interior mountain pine beetle epidemic, and now the European spruce bark beetle catastrophe, provide strong examples of such rapid shifts and areas of Russ’s expertise. A strategic advantage can be achieved through access to insights and/or in-depth information about selected regions, and by tracking where new suppliers are coming from and what impact they might have on markets.
Competitive analysis and positioning
Studying the competitive positioning and relative cost structures of timber supplies and wood processing mills around the world has been an area of expertise for Russ since the late 1990s. Russ has visited some 30 countries and regions and has investigated the relative competitiveness of timber and sawmills. With a worldwide network of contacts to access relative cost information, Russ is able to provide perspectives on the competitiveness of various producing regions, including from key producing regions on a delivered log and lumber basis to selected markets. In practice, many companies fail to fully grasp the importance of this strategic information — critical to understanding their own positioning in export markets — and often find out too late that some other region has a cost advantage that is eroding their volumes or margins.
Note that a country-by-country cost benchmarking report is produced by FEA – see: https://getfea.com/publication/global-cost-benchmarking-report
Due diligence/business assessments
Forest companies, banks and other investors seeking to acquire or place a value on forest industry assets will benefit from the extensive due diligence work Russ has completed in a range of client acquisitions including sawmills, forest tenures and plantation valuations. He has been involved in teams that have successfully acquired forestry assets of over a billion dollars and conducts comparative valuations on BC forest tenures. With access to a team of experts with complementary skills — from forests to manufacturing to markets to valuation — Russ is able to take on specific topics or, when needed, put a team together to conduct an exhaustive forest industry valuation. This includes conducting assessments related to damages or contract disputes as part of legal actions, where Russ has been an expert witness in court over the decades.
Global log & lumber assessments and outlooks
When conducting regional, continent-wide or global log & lumber assessments of key producing/exporting and consuming/importing regions, accurate outlooks depend on proven expertise and expansive access to global information; Russ and his global team can offer both. Russ’s long and respected track record includes both short-term (1–5 years) as well as longer-term assessments. Maintaining a global perspective and bringing a deep understanding of the dynamics of world trade to strategic outlooks are must-have attributes when diving into any outlooks of any kind.
Note that comprehensive forecasts on North America timber, lumber, panels (and other products) are provided by FEA at: https://getfea.com/publication
Management and strategic meeting presentations
A sought-after speaker since the early 1990s, Russ has conducted more than 300 client and/or meeting presentations around the world. His wide variety of speaker roles has included numerous private presentations to internal management teams and boards of directors, as well as at industry or association conferences. With a deep understanding of North America, it is the international industry trends and market dynamics that Russ is often tapped to cover, especially with how it fits with US and Canadian markets and industries. Consequently, Russ continues to be an active speaker throughout the global forest industry. A summary of selected conference appearances is provided in the Speaker Presentation list.