A Century of Mastery in Wood Transformation: Champeau’s Innovative Journey  

Champeau is a fifth generation, family-owned hardwood transformation company based in St. Malo and Frontenac, Quebec, with operating facilities totaling 225,000 square feet. Employing over 230 workers, Champeau specializes in the primary and secondary transformation of wood. The company utilizes locally sourced wood to produce various high-quality wood components, catering to industries such as musical instruments and sports equipment manufacturing.

Champeau integrates advanced technologies to enhance manufacturing precision, quality and efficiency. Utilizing AI-powered ripping lines and automated cross-saw lines, the company optimizes wood in a way to minimize waste while maximizing lumber value. Specific machinery, including moulders, doweling machines and lamination stands, plays a crucial role in the production process, enabling Champeau to meet diverse industry standards and client specifications.

The company is renowned for its production of high-quality dowels and billets, particularly for the sports equipment and musical instruments sectors. These products require precise specifications for grain pattern and structural integrity to ensure performance and durability. Champeau’s expertise in wood selection and processing allows it to produce components that are not only reliable but also of superior quality, maintaining stringent control over the entire production chain from raw material to finished product.

 

Sustainability and Locality

Champeau’s operations are deeply rooted in sustainable practices, particularly in how they source and utilize raw material. The company primarily uses Northeastern wood species, including hard maple, yellow birch, red oak, white ash, and soft maple, which are sourced as close to their mills as possible. This approach not only reduces transportation costs and environmental impact but also supports the local forestry industry and economy.

By focusing on local sourcing, Champeau ensures a shorter supply chain and greater control over its environmental footprint. The proximity of the wood sources allows for fresher materials and reduces the carbon emissions associated with long-distance transportation. Moreover, Champeau is committed to utilizing as much of each log as possible, minimizing waste and increasing efficiency. This philosophy extends to selecting and processing wood in a way that maximizes the yield of high-quality components from each log, whether for sports equipment, musical instruments, or furniture.

Champeau’s sustainability efforts are also evident in their manufacturing processes. The company employs advanced technologies that enhance the precision and control of wood processing, further reducing waste. These technologies include AI-powered grading and ripping lines and automated cross-saw lines, which ensure that each piece of wood is selected with maximum accuracy, preserving the integrity of the materials and optimizing the use of each log.

Kaven Fauteux, the Sales Manager at Champeau, offers a unique insight into the company’s focus on sustainability and local sourcing. He believes that Champeau’s commitment to these principles is not just about environmental stewardship but also about building a sustainable business model that supports the local community and economy. Kaven appreciates the company’s efforts to maintain a key balance between operational efficiency and ecological responsibility.

“I was drawn to Champeau because I wanted to be part of a company that understands the importance of locality and sustainability in their operations. We’re not just processing wood; we’re part of a community that values the forest and its resources. Our approach ensures that we’re not only producing high-quality products but also contributing to the sustainability of our local environment and economy,” says Kaven.

Through initiatives like sourcing locally and maximizing log utilization, Champeau demonstrates that economic success and environmental responsibility can go hand in hand. This commitment is reflected in every aspect of their operations, from the choice of wood to the manufacturing processes and beyond, underscoring Champeau’s role as a leader in sustainable wood manufacturing.

 

Start With Why

Champeau’s strategic approach in marketing and product adaptation profoundly embodies the philosophy highlighted by their Sales Manager, Kaven Fauteux. Drawing from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, Fauteux stresses the significance of recognizing the core purpose behind their activities, “if you know why you’re in business, then it’s going to be easier to relay that message to the people you’re talking to. Our reason is to continue to better optimize the value of every log that we encounter. We ask, ‘How can we make sure that our forests are being used to the best of our ability and that we can continue to do it on a sustainable basis for the next hundreds of years?’ So that’s really the why.”

By aligning their business practices with sustainability, Champeau ensures that their operations honor their commitment to optimal resource use and environmental stewardship, reflecting a forward-thinking approach that prioritizes the planet and future generations.

 

Tyler Holt is the Editor of Wood Industry / Le monde du bois magazine. He has a master’s degree in literature and publication, and years of experience in the publishing and digital media industry. His main area of study is the effect of digital technologies on industrial and networked production.

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