Mason Forest Products Inc.
- Written by: Mason Forest Products Inc.
- Produced by: Mason Forest Products Inc.
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
The year 2012 marked the 30-year anniversary of Mason Forest Products Inc. (Mason Products). However, there wasn’t a big company party, dinner or cake. “We got out an hour early, that’s about it,” laughs Greg Langford, the executive sales manager at Mason Products. This is because Mason Products operates on a business as usual, work hard for the client every day philosophy, and it’s this customer satisfaction-focused attitude that is one of the reasons why the specialty cuts design operation has remained successful for three decades.
That doesn’t mean Langford and his fellow employees aren’t appreciated, however, because it’s the dedicated staff that allows Mason Products to retain its roster of valued clients. The company, founded in 1981 by Danny and Judy Mason, remains family owned and operated and remains dedicated to manufacturing what clients need according to their individual specifications. Tailoring every job is an extremely involved process, which is why it’s all hands on deck at Mason Products, and those hands include an owner’s.
“Danny is here 24/7,” says Langford. “He helps manage sales and company finances.” Along with Danny, who remains Mason Products president, the majority of the small 30-person staff has been with the company from the first decade. For example, Langford has been with Mason Products since 1987, bringing with him several years experience with a company called Louisiana Purchase working in mill sales. Now he applies his skills to Mason Products’ chosen niche: manufacturing custom wooden shipping/crating products, primarily to the industrial sector.
A Cut Above
Mason Products operates two major facilities – one each in Ruston, La., and Pontotoc, Miss. – while the sales staff is primarily located in North Hattiesburg, Miss. From these remanufacturing plants Mason Products has the capacity to provide products to clients located from the “Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes,” says Langford. The company also has the ability to service clients who wish to ship products overseas.
Mason Products is a unique operation, because it doesn’t have specific set product; the company’s team is capable of manufacturing whatever clients need according to their individual specifications. “We’re very versatile,” says Langford. “We can find a way to do what anyone needs. We have a variety of different saws and drill holes. We can put patterns in wood if necessary … anything like that. In the course of a week we are cutting four to five loads a day, each one of those loads different from the next. We’re not manufacturing the same thing day in and day out.”
Although the units Mason Products generate vary, boxes, wooden shipping and packing crates make up the majority of sales. Whatever a client needs in order to ship its product, Mason Forest Products will find a way to make it happen. As an added bonus, Mason Products’ production process is environmentally conscious. Mason Products utilizes low-grade lumber rejects, what could be considered “waste,” and turns it into a product. This kind of recycling makes the company’s business unique, because Mason Products operates from the end of other companies’ supply chains. Mason Products gets a great deal of material from lumber mills and salvage lots; any wrecked or wet loads that can’t be used by these providers, Mason Products takes them and turns them into a useable product.
Keeping an Eye on Supply
Langford summaries the niche Mason Products has in the industry as follows: “We cut supply wood to a certain size; there’re just not a whole lot of people doing that.” Being highly specialized, and customer satisfaction minded, has helped Mason Products develop a positive reputation and considerable market presence over 30 years, though the company’s niche has not been without its share of economic challenges.
Langford explains it takes certain checks and balances to remain profitable during a recession. Langford says the company survived by “watching inventory, [and] making sure we don’t overstock or purchase anything we don’t need. We also took into consideration how much our customers could afford at the time.” Some cold calling is done by the sales team, but doesn’t make up the majority of business. Langford ultimately attributes Mason Products’ success to word of mouth and repeat clients. The team is aided in its networking efforts through affiliations with industry organizations such as the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA).
With an expanding sales team, Langford is positive the company will grow and prosper in the future. The sales team has newly established reps in northern Alabama and as far as Portland, Ore. The company traditionally generates nearly $24 million in annual revenue, and Langford believes managerial decisions in 2013 will reinforce future growth through the purchase of new equipment to expand production and possibly the addition of more sales team reps along the West Coast. Continually striving to offer its customers value and variety, Mason Forest Products Inc. will continue to provide custom products while operating on a proactive, hardworking philosophy, day in and day out.
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