Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify distribution channel research needs given the variety of distribution channel challenges among Swedish sawmill companies. Design / methodology / approach: Explorative case study research Findings: The paper proposes a typology of sawmill distribution channel challenges, as well as aligns research needs with distribution channel type. The typology is based on i) number of sawmill units within the firm, in combination with ii) distribution channel heterogeneity. Significant management decisions and research needs are identified for the different types. Research limitations / implications: This research makes tentative statements regarding typology of sawmill distribution channel challenges and potential research needs in the Swedish sawmill industry with regards to the respective typology. However, further research is needed in order to validate these results. Contribution: This paper focuses on the sawmill industry distribution channels, which is a neglected but important area for sawmills’ competitive advantage. The paper also contributes to research by applying contingency theory and typology as an approach to deal with the variety of sawmills’ distribution channel challenges.