Sherwood Lumber’s Corporate Culture Creates A Better Business Model
Headquartered in Islandia, N.Y., Sherwood Lumber Company has over 80 associates and services more than 1,800 lumberyards.
Islandia, N.Y. — Sherwood Lumber Company’s tagline, ‘We’ll be there,’ was born of the company’s corporate culture.Sherwood adopted ‘We’ll be there’ because they have been there—for their customers as well as their employees—right from the start.This deliberately cultivated sense of reliability and longevity began with a friendly, familiar approach to doing business.
Sherwood Lumber is a family-owned corporation. Founded in 1956 by Bernard Goodman, Sherwood started out in Roslyn, N.Y., with three employees and 125 clients. Today, headquartered in Long Island, the company is owned and operated by Bernard’s son, Andrew Goodman, and has over 80 associates servicing over 1,800 lumberyards. Andrew’s son, Joshua, is Director of Marketing for the company.
Though the company has enjoyed steady growth over the years , the Goodman family has been careful not to lose the family feel that earned solid customer trust. This has been a critical component of success in a commodity market like the lumber industry.
‘We’ll be there’ is a tagline embraced company-wide. Because Sherwood Lumber employees are treated as part of a family, each finds it easier to think, “How can I be there?” for the customer at every touch point. The personal gesture—that follow-up phone call or extra visit to the lumberyard to ensure a smooth transaction or sort through an issue with a customer comes from a culture of inclusion and respect that starts at the top and pervades the company.
John Kelly and Joe Benogche, ProBuild Inc., Middletown, N.Y.; and Andrew Goodman, Sherwood Lumber Co., Islandia, N.Y.
“At Sherwood, we all work together for one common goal: to be there for you when you need us,” said receptionist Danielle Cofane.
This atmosphere has been refined by Sherwood throughout the life of the company. The lumber industry feels comfortable working with a company that has a family feel to it, because that appeals to their own personal beliefs. People have a desire to work with good people, and perceive families as comprised of just that.
What gives Sherwood an advantage over much larger suppliers is its deep commitment to consistently provide outstanding service and supply superior products. This commitment grows from a corporate culture that makes it easy for employees to adhere to the company’s fundamental philosophy.Sherwood employees are committed - as a team - to exceeding customer expectations; they’re committed - as individuals, to being respectful and protective of one another.
Why? There are several reasons, each ingrained in the Sherwood way of treating people. All Sherwood Lumber associates are encouraged to offer suggestions, seek solutions and adapt on the fly to the ever-changing business climate.Because Sherwood management has always valued employee insight, Sherwood associates feel empowered to respond directly, and creatively to the immediate demands facing their customers.
“I enjoy working for an independent company in which each employee is an integral part of what makes up the business,” said Geoff Berwick, director of Risk Management. “We’re all called upon to think like owners and make decisions that extend the goodwill of our company to both our suppliers and our customers.”
When employees are encouraged to think like owners, the ensuing combination of freedom and accountability motivates Sherwood associates to truly understand the needs of each customer. Sherwood has established an employee base that’s highly motivated to meet and exceed the needs of their customers.
Steve Howe and Diana Blodgett, Howe Lumber Co. Inc., East Brookfield, Mass.; and Bill Giguere, Sherwood Lumber Co., Islandia, N.Y.
“If your staff believes that they matter, that their opinions matter, the company soars,” said company President Andrew Goodman.
Sherwood also encourages social bonding among the company’s staff.Sherwood Lumber employees go bowling together. They attend each other’s birthday parties. The promotion of this positive, inclusive culture makes employees feel valued and respected, giving them greater job satisfaction, which carries over into more enthusiasm for customer service.
Job satisfaction also reduces turnover, which allows Sherwood to maintain an institutional memory that runs deep. Customers benefit from knowing that their Sherwood representative can tap into that knowledge base, and feel confident that Sherwood understands their various and unique business needs.
Finally, Sherwood Lumber is fair in its compensation packages. Employees know that the company’s revenues are distributed in a fair and equitable manner.
Following these simple tenets—essentially the same set of shared beliefs you might instill in any family or team setting—Sherwood Lumber has managed to thrive in the highly competitive, rapidly changing commodity lumber industry.
Robin Gardner, Boozer Laminated Beam Co. Inc., Anniston, Ala.; Dennis Bott, Georgia-Pacific, Atlanta, Ga.; Nancy Aguiar, Sherwood Lumber Co., Islandia, N.Y.; and Melissa Borrack, The James Group, New York, N.Y.
Sherwood Lumber is a national leader and innovator in the lumber and building materials industries, specializing in quality lumber and panel products. With over 60 years at the forefront of the industry, Sherwood's extensive product knowledge, expertise in managing inventory and deep commitment to their partners, allows them to be there for their customers and vendors in ways few other distributors can. Sherwood Lumber is headquartered in the Northeast with locations throughout the U.S.