- Originally filed by Managing Editor of Timberman Jim Bowden, Friday the 25th of August 1985
Major efforts in developing new markets for cypress framing and adoption of a quality control program have won the Queensland cypress industry first prize for product development in the 1985 Timber Innovation Awards.
Members of the Cypress Division of the Queensland Timber Board accepted the trophy and award-winning certificate at a gala timber industry dinner in Brisbane on August 16.
In mid-1983, the cypress industry in Queensland accepted the fact that unless it improved its image in the marketplace it would soon be overpowered by the professional approach taken by the seasoned softwood industry.
Initially, a market survey was conducted in southeast Queensland by Market Facts. Although the survey covered a small sample, and was limited to builders and architects, the survey report was very clear in respect of areas where action should be taken.
Two factors covering pricing and distribution were considered the responsibility of individual companies while the other two covering timber quality and user product knowledge should be handled by the industry.
One of the first actions taken was to create an identity for the product quite distinct from other pines. ‘Cypress’ was adopted in lieu of ‘cypress pine’ and the industry organisation became the Cypress Division of the Queensland Timber Board.
This new identity is now included on all promotional and technical brochures produced by the cypress industry. It was also announced in trade newspapers and journals.
Although quality control, particularly for structural cypress, was considered an essential part of an ongoing marketing plan, the industry felt it was essential to keep cypress in front of designers, builders and consumers.
As a result, two new brochures covering “cypress for framing and trusses” and “cypress for walls and ceilings” were produced.
The brochures were designed in a standard format for ease of identification and included practical/technical information to satisfy the product knowledge requirement which the market survey report had recommended.
A third brochure on ‘cypress for floors’ is currently being prepared.
The cypress industry believed these brochures would satisfy short-term needs until the Quality Control Program was fully operational and could form the basis of a major seminar program for designers and builders.
Late in 1984, the Cypress Quality Control Program formally commenced. By-laws governing the operation of the program were drafted and an identification logo for use in branding was designed and adopted and is in the process of being registered as a trademark.
Membership of the program covers more than 70% of cypress sawmillers in Queensland.
Independent audits are made of each participating sawmiller by TRADAC’s quality control officer. Checks are also made on both visual stress grading and proof grading operations. The cypress industry was the first to adopt proof grading as a reliable and efficient method of grading timber and at this stage there are 10 proof-grading machines operating within the cypress industry in Queensland.