August 22 – 25, 2018

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA| USA

Lessons from Automotive Suppliers
for Wood Products Manufacturers

Friday, August 26th 2016 from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM 

Session Code: BMG3
  Location: B303 (located in Building B - Level 3)

Presented by: Virginia Tech

Speakers: Urs Buehlmann, Professor: Virginia Tech; Mathias Schmitt, Management Consultant: White Rock LLC and Omar Espinoza, Assistant Professor: University of Minnesota

This workshop will focus on describing management tools used by automotive suppliers to survive in their cutthroat business environment. Serving a market that encompasses numerous suppliers but only very few, large buyers force suppliers to be highly competitive on a global scale. What tools are such suppliers using to achieve this level of performance? This workshop will show examples ranging from Lean, to Six Sigma, to Kepner Tregoe to describe how automotive suppliers continuously improve their performance to sustain their business. The application of these tools to woodworking companies will then be discussed.

About the Speakers:  




Urs Buehlmann: Professor, Virginia Tech Department of Sustainable Biomaterials, focuses on manufacturing systems and on assessing industry competitiveness. Urs has given special focus to the impact of foreign competition on the wood products industry and its relationship with the U.S. housing market. He practices and promotes Lean Principles as a way to improve business results.

Urs has more than 15 years of experience working in industry, including serving as General Manager of Enkeboll Designs, Carson CA.




Omar Espinoza holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. He worked for seven years as manager of a medium-sized wood products manufacturing company. He obtained a Master in International Business, and a Master of Science and Doctoral degrees in Wood Science and Forest Products. He joined the University of Minnesota’s Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering as Assistant Professor and chairs the Forest Products Management Development Institute; an initiative to support the Forest Products Industry.

His past research work focused on several aspects of forest products manufacturing, such as lumber drying, process improvement, quality management, supply chain management, energy efficiency, and performance measurement. He is interested in investigating how to incorporate market performance, process excellence and environmental sustainability into development and management of wood products, to improve the competitiveness of the industry.


Mathias Schmitt is Managing Partner, White Rocks LLC, which focuses on company turnarounds/restructurings and Lean transformations across industries. Mathias has been actively involved in lean transformation projects around the world – throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. Additionally, he worked with executives of Fortune 200 companies on M&A and divestiture activities as well as strategic initiatives. He also has led the establishment of business, market, and competitive intelligence programs to drive organizational understanding of the business environment.

Mathias has more than 10 years of experience working in industry and management consulting. He currently serves as a Regional Continuous Improvement Manager with Yanfeng Automotive Interiors and is the global lead on Value Stream Flow.