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Lumber Blue Book Celebrates 10 Years of Industry Service (Part 1)

General News

2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of Blue Book Services’ launch into the lumber industry.  Milestones like this provide reasons to celebrate, reflect and look ahead.  We are extremely proud of the accomplishments we have achieved in the past decade and look forward to continued enhancements going forward.

In this first of a three-part series, we trace the history of Lumber Blue Book.

In 2009, the lumber industry faced the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.  Housing starts were at a 50-year record low.  Wood product prices and production had tanked.  The U.S. economy had been in recession for 18 consecutive months.

Exasperating these conditions was the abrupt 2007 closure of Lumbermens’ Red Book, the industry’s “go-to” resource for sales prospecting and credit risk for over 100 years.  The President of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) at the time commented in a 2008 press release that NAWLA members were “flying blind.”

NAWLA subsequently formed a special task force of top lumber industry professionals to research business information providers from other industries to find a new solution for the lumber trade.  This task force, led by Chris Beveridge of Skana Forest Products, Inc., ultimately determined the best industry solution came from Blue Book Services, Inc., a business information provider serving the fresh fruit and vegetable industry since 1901.

With over a century of experience in the produce industry, Blue Book quickly extended its service to the unique needs of the lumber industry.  A team of data specialists, IT professionals and credit rating analysts collaborated to launch the initial service in 2009.

“Looking back, it’s remarkable how much we accomplished in such a short period of time,” reflects Mark Erickson, Sr. Vice President at Blue Book Services who helped lead the implementation of Lumber Blue Book.  “We literally started with nothing, and within a few months had launched access to over 10,000 company listings.”

That database has grown significantly over the past decade.  Today, the breadth and depth of information is unmatched.  Lumber Blue Book reports on over 22,000 lumber companies throughout North America.  This data is updated in real time and is easily searched and sorted for sales representatives to generate leads and call lists.

Next week, we’ll look at the ways industry sales professionals have leveraged the value of Lumber Blue Book to grow their top line.

Mark Erickson is Sr. Vice President at Blue Book Services Inc.