Dave Anderson, operations manager, Sig Nordal, owner, and Amy McNutt, sales coordinator, comprise the front office staff of Transco Mills Ltd. in Maple Ridge, B.C.
Transco Expands Through Exports
By Wayne Miller
Maple Ridge, B.C.—Transco Mills Ltd., located here, recently began exploring overseas markets in Europe and Asia with the goal of increasing sales and with an eye on increasing production volumes. The company, one of the oldest roof decking companies in North America, recently joined the North American Wholesale Lumber Assoc. (NAWLA), and is reaching out to numerous distribution and retail companies to increase North American sales too.
“The world gets smaller every day,” said Sig Nordal, general manager of Transco. “Instead of relying entirely on the North American market, we are expanding our marketing in Europe and Asia. We are taking steps to take advantage of this malleable world.”
Transco Mills specializes in roof decking, a product that can be used as structural support in ceilings and second story floors. The company purchases approximately 2.5 million board feet of lumber annually, which is used for tongue and groove, rejoint, V pattern and center mount offerings in 2x6, 3x6 and 4x6 thicknesses.
Dave Anderson, operations manager, is pictured on a forklift stacking finished products.
Nordal said wood decking has many benefits over steel cement, including environment and cost. According to the United Kingdom-based Athena Project, wood products are more environmentally friendly in total energy use, greenhouse gases, air and water pollution, solid waste and ecological resource use.
“We are an industry leader in roof decking because we are able to produce basically any given product within reason,” Nordal said. “I think what separates us from other suppliers is consistent quality, consistent customer service, our experience in the industry and our selective process. There is not a stick of wood that goes out of here that hasn’t been graded twice.”
Nordal said Transco has become a “company of preference” because the firm regrades all of its wood to select grade. “We take No. 2 and Better and regrade it all,” he said. “Hence, our product is superior in terms of quality, both structurally and in appearance. Equipment is not the key thing. The key thing is knowledge of the roof decking business and roof decking products.”
Transco’s clients are located throughout North America and are named in the who’s who of the lum
Norm Nelson, Richard Bakke and Ryan Wallman are shown stacking and grading the finished product.
ber and lumber distribution business in both Canada and the United States. Transco roof decking is utilized by both residential and commercial projects for structural and aesthetic purposes. The decking serves as a solid permanent roof deck, as well as provides a structural base for any type of roofing material.
To make its products, Transco most commonly uses Douglas Fir, Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF) and Western Red Cedar, species common to British Columbia, but also imports Yellow Cedar from Oregon and Washington. According to Nordal, timber decking provides enhanced qualities in insulation and soundproofing over steel decking. All of the Transco roof decking is congruent with grading rules 127B and 127C. Transco decking is available from fine hardware stores across Canada, and select lumberyards and retailers in the United States.
The company operates an air-drying system that can hold 75,000 to 100,000 board feet per charge, and features planing and predrilling for its tongue and groove products.
All offerings are also air or kiln dried to 19 percent or less moisture content, but the firm can run green per customer request. Transco also dries a majority of its products in its yard when weather is good, bringing it back inside for the final stages. The firm has three full-time graders and one part-time grader in its warehouse.
Richard Bakke and Ryan Wallman are pictured stacking finished product after the ends have been trimmed.
Dave Anderson, who was recently promoted to production manager, said Transco can run many specialty patterns, including log cabin, D-log and double tongue and groove. The company’s inventory varies based on production runs, incoming sales and the time of the year. Anderson noted the facility runs 40 hours per week, but employees are very flexible in their hours.
“Just because we run 40 hours a week doesn’t mean that we won’t be here if a customer needs something,” he said. “We have employees who are more than willing to come in and load a customer’s truck after hours or unload if we’re receiving a shipment.” Transco has had a long-standing policy that customers pick up their products at the Maple Ridge yard, transporting them by truck.
“We have an average turnaround of a week to 10 days, and there’s not a customer out there who isn’t happy with that,” Anderson added. “Customers come back because we provide a quality product and are consistently working to improve.”
Anderson added that he regularly hosts production meetings to keep all employees abreast of production schedules and other needs. “We have regular production meetings so everybody understands what direction we’re going in. I keep all of the guys informed on things we need to get the job done, and to encourage them to keep the quality up.”
Nordal, a native of Iceland, said Transco has been working hard recently to change its image from a production-based to a marketing-based firm. The company is also in the process of obtaining certification through the Fore
Ryan Wallman moves a forklift carrying rough timbers.
st Stewardship Council (FSC), which should be completed by June. Ultimately, Nordal said, “the client is the boss.”
“Our customers are really the top matter in this company,” he said. “We have maintained very close customer relations, and go out of our way 24/7 to be available and to please customers. It’s a true team effort throughout the whole mill, and we’re all on the same page.”
Nordal said Transco also takes humor “very seriously. Humor is also a big part of how we run the company. If there’s not humor in a company, then something is wrong.”
Nordal said Transco can also increase its production capacity, and is contemplating adding another shift. “We will be making some improvements and other purchases to increase our output,” he said.
In the future, Nordal said, he hopes to continue to grow his business both in North America and around the globe.
“Specialization has contributed to a much more cost effective production base in the company, and
Ryan Wallman is shown adjusting the planer.
allows us to be more aggressive in the U.S.,” he said. “We are able to offer all products at a very competitive price in the U.S., and have a very strong customer base. We want to build even better relationships in the long run.”