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How Clustering Dynamics Influence Lumber Utilization Patterns in the Amish-Based Furniture Industry in Ohio

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Preliminary studies have suggested that the Amish-based furniture and related products manufacturing cluster located in and around Holmes County, Ohio, uses sizeable quantities of hardwood lumber. The number of firms within the cluster has grown even as the broader domestic furniture manufacturing sector has contracted. The present study was undertaken in 2008 (spring/summer) to develop lumber use estimates specific to Amish manufacturing and provide more detail regarding the impacts of clustering on lumber consumption patterns. Results, based on 196 firms responding to a survey, suggested that lumber use ratios (bd ft per employee) differed among firms of different sizes and type of product manufactured, but in aggregate was similar to the broader US furniture industry. Red oak was the most commonly used species. Local suppliers of hardwood lumber and components were used extensively by most firms. The study confirmed that the Holmes County furniture cluster was important to regional hardwood demand, facilitated by well-developed supply chains that enable high specialization and enhance aggregate productivity among the numerous small manufacturers.
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Keywords: Amish; clustering; furniture; hardwood lumber; manufacturing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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