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Report, 2008

Strategy transformations of the Swedish sawmilling sector 1990-2005

Hugosson, Mårten; McCluskey, Denise


Prescriptive strategy theories have previously led to conclusions that sawmill firms lack strategy. However, by using Ansoff’s(1979) explorative capability approach, we contribute the finding that the Swedish sawmilling sector underwent threeunobserved strategy transformations between 1990 and 2005. These transformations, their triggers and outcomes were:Market channel strategy transformation. The shock of poor financial results in the “unexpected” downturn of the early 1990striggered a break with traditional agents, who had been the sector’s sole market channel. Instead, firms established their ownmarket channels, and built direct relationships with customers. Product value adding strategy transformation. Informationabout customers’ needs triggered a transformation in the sector’s offerings - from wet commodities to specified goods, whichwere of higher value to customers. This involved firms enhancing their production capabilities in the mid 1990s. Service valueadding strategy transformation. Triggered by perceived new SCM opportunities, firms enhanced their distribution logisticscapabilities around 2000 so that they could offer customers specific logistics and distribution services.These three strategy transformations occurred in all sampled firms. Each firm had strategy nuances, regarding its choice ofcustomers and its offerings. The findings also reveal that establishing customer relationships was a key development: product andservice value adding strategy transformations were often facilitated by cooperating with customers. Moreover, customerinteractions provided a basis for managers to increasingly see the unique value of their firm’s particular resources and capabilities;and, focus their business activities on customers who specifically value those attributes. This new interpretation of sawmill firmstrategy illustrates the need for applied researchers to assess contemporary theoretical debates, and select analytical frameworksthat can give new insights into actual practices.


strategy; strategy transformation; sawmill firms; matching customers with resources

Published in

Studia Forestalia Suecica
ISBN: 978-91-85911-96-7
Publisher: Skogsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

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