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Logging and Sawmilling Journal November 2014

December/January 2015

On the Cover:
Equipment manufacturer T-Mar Industries is addressing the increasing volumes of second-growth timber on steep slopes in B.C. with its new Log Champ 550 grapple yarder. The first Log Champ 550 is being used by new owners Southview Forest Services Ltd. on Redonda Island, on B.C.’s lower coast, yarding second-growth fir. (Cover photo and story photos courtesy of T-Mar Industries)

The forest industry worker gap—and becoming ‘cool’
The forest industry can no longer assume the huge workforces it has been used to in the past are still going to be there when it needs them. It now needs to capture the hearts and minds of its future workforce—in short, it needs to be considered a ‘cool’ and lucrative career choice.

Safety champion
Don Banasky, president of the Truck Loggers Association and vice-president of operations at fast-growing Tamihi Logging, is a champion of safety in B.C.’s coastal forest industry.

Winning the sawmill battle—and the war
Saskatchewan’s L & M Wood Products is winning the employee training battle, with a program that was actually designed for training people on the manufacturing line in World War II.

True multi-purpose head
B.C.’s Tolko Industries has been trying out the GP grapple processor head, produced by Pierce Pacific, and after six months the multi-purpose GP head has been able to prove its stuff successfully in two different types of trials in the B.C. Interior.

Canada’s newest sawmill revs upLakeland Mills’ newly completed sawmill in Prince George, B.C., is like no other sawmill built before it in terms of production, employing the very latest technology to attain the maximum recovery and value from its available wood fibre—but with a very strong focus on safety.

The New Lakeland Team

More stringent WorkSafeBC
investigation techniques being
introduced

Sinclar Group a PowerSmart leader

Lakeland’s—and the Sinclar
Group’s—rich community history

The Edge
Included in The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions and FPInnovations.

New grapple yarder for British Columbia loggers
Working with its industry-leading design expertise—and with an industry heritage reaching back decades—T-Mar Industries recently introduced the Log Champ 550, its new steep slope grapple yarder designed to take on the increasing volumes of second-growth timber in B.C.

Going four-wheeling with Waratah’s new head
Waratah’s new 622C 4x4 multi-tree processing head with four roller drive is getting solid praise from the folks at McNeil and Sons Logging in the B.C. Interior, where it makes for a solid harvesting combo with a John Deere 2154D carrier.

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Saskatchewan’s L & M Wood ProductsWinning the sawmill battle—and the war

Saskatchewan’s L & M Wood Products is winning the employee training battle, with a program that was actually designed for training people on the manufacturing line in World War II.

By Tony Kryzanowski

Achieving the demanding multiple objectives of training new employees quickly, avoiding costly errors, cross-training employees, and providing a positive work environment was a constant battle for the builders of military equipment during World War II.

And it is an ongoing battle for many Canadian forest companies today.

But L & M Wood Products in Glaslyn, Saskatchewan has found a training program developed in the U.S. in the 1940s to boost industrial production and support the war effort that is now delivering meaningful and measurable results for the company in all these areas.

It’s called Training Within Industry (TWI) and it focuses primarily on standardization in the workplace, something that Zane Delainey, co-owner of L & M Wood Products, says is not common, but is badly needed in many sawmills.

The company can manufacture up to 144 different wood products and the work flow based on customer orders can change almost on a daily basis. They produce dimension lumber and timber products in dimensions from 1 X 4 to 12 X 12 and in lengths from 8’ to 16’.

“What we came to realize is that while there are no standardized jobs, there are standardized ways of teaching people those jobs quickly,” says Delainey. “The flexibility of TWI was great because we could take a person who might be running our debarkers one day and they might be working in our firewood department the next day, or the planer or over in the remanufacturing area. We had to be very comfortable that we were training the right way.” The business has 90 employees and about 65 per cent are First Nations.

Since starting down the TWI road in 2012, they have developed over 150 job instruction breakdowns. Delainey says they have witnessed a dramatic drop in employee turnover. Four years ago, the company processed close to 300 Records of Employment—last year, they processed only about 30. They also have a file with about 200 job applications in it.

TWI was implemented at L & M Wood Products on a pilot basis soon after a period of significant transition at the company, with new ownership taking over in 2011. They are the brothers Zane, Pat and Brent Delainey, and fortunately, they had considerable knowledge about the business’s sawmill and woodlands operations.

Zane began with P & E Logging in 1990, which is the business’s logging contractor, and he went on to complete his accounting and business management training before joining the staff at L & M Wood Products as a bookkeeper. He worked his way up to become general manager of the company eight years ago and then partnered with his brothers to purchase the company.

P & E Logging is also a Delainey family company, owned by the three brothers, and they have participated in TWI training as well so that their operations mesh with the sawmill’s requirements.

Zane says that they heard about TWI while attending a seminar sponsored by the Saskatchewan government and hosted by FPInnovations, at a time when the government was looking for ways to help the forest industry get back on its feet.

“At the seminar, they showed how they had taken farmers and trained them on how to assemble aircraft, just from applying the Job Instruction module from TWI alone—and it really fit in well with what we were trying to do here,” says Zane.

That triggered the pilot program to implement TWI’s Job Instruction module at L & M Wood Products.

Saskatchewan’s L & M Wood ProductsOn the equipment side, L & M Wood Products has three Morbark debarkers to feed a carriage and an Optimil chipper canter line.

TWI is a program that applies to all company personnel from owners to line workers and consists of Job Instruction (JI), Job Relations (JR), Job Methods (JM), and Job Safety (JS) components.

Each module consists of 10 hours of classroom instruction, usually taking over a week to complete, with two hours of classroom instruction per day followed by one-on-one work between the FPInnovations instructor and key individuals. The instructor follows up in a few months to get feedback on implementation and to suggest where tweaking might be required.

Roland Baumeister, FPInnovations Member Relations Manager, says that the forest products institute has been providing TWI training since 2011 and has had hundreds of participants go through the various TWI modules. Initially, it was aimed primarily at small to medium size enterprises because with fewer supervisors often wearing many hats, they were more challenged with providing quality supervisory training.

“What we were seeing is that organizations were having challenges in implementing new knowledge,” says Baumeister. “We looked at TWI as an opportunity to provide some structure to help transfer knowledge, particularly from our research programs as well as our best practices manufacturing knowledge.”

He says the main benefit that each company that has participated in TWI training has reported is that the time needed to train individuals within their operations has been reduced considerably.

TWI has become more popular over the past decade—particularly within the manufacturing sector—because of the need to transfer knowledge with older, experienced workers leaving the workforce, as well as the need to train new hires more quickly in areas experiencing higher staff turnover due to competition for workers from a variety of industries.

Job Instruction (JI), the first component that L & M Wood Products initiated, teaches how to effectively breakdown a job and provides a methodology for trainers to successfully deliver instructions for individual tasks. The focus on this module at L & M Wood Products was on owners and department managers, because they would be the ones delivering the training to their staff.

“L & M Wood Products was a good candidate for TWI because they were experiencing high turnover in their workforce and they were trying to engage with First Nations in their area,” says Baumeister. “Overall, they were looking for a structured way to transfer their knowledge and manufacturing practices.”

JR (Job Relations) teaches the foundations of positive employee relations. This module trains supervisors in methods to identify and resolve problems when they occur by teaching a proven method of getting the facts, weighing options, deciding, taking action and checking results.

Participants in JM (Job Methods) training are taught how to break down jobs into their constituent operations. The aim is to produce greater quantities of quality products in less time by making the best use of people, machines, and materials. One of the results from applying this training at L & M Wood Products was to put employees into much more productive positions. Initially, that led to a drop in employees from 70 to 60, largely because some employees were in positions that should never have existed, but employment has now increased to 90 because of increased production.

JS (Job Safety) focuses on environmental health and safety, leveraging the skills learned in the three primary modules. It helps supervisors engage employees in identifying potential hazards, and eliminating them, in conjunction with their training and knowledge. It also teaches supervisors a method to analyze the chain of events leading to accidents and hazardous situations.

Saskatchewan’s L & M Wood ProductsL & M Wood Products discovered a training program developed in the U.S. in the 1940s to boost industrial production and support the war effort—called Training Within Industry—that is now delivering meaningful and measurable results for the sawmill in a number of areas, including training new employees.

L & M Wood Products has completed all JI, JR, and JM modules, and implemented the final JS module in September.

TWI implementation at the company occurred during a significant period of growth resulting from the acquisition of more wood fibre. This happened when Weyerhaeuser’s Forest Management Area (FMA) in the northwest area of Saskatchewan was reallocated. L & M Wood Products’ softwood allotment of white spruce, black spruce and jack pine doubled from about 75,000 cubic metres to 163,000 cubic metres. They also harvest 40,000 cubic metres of hardwood, which they sell to Meadow Lake Pulp.

In 2010, they produced 15 million board feet of wood products. In 2013, that had increased to 21 million board feet and that was expected to increase another 12 per cent to 24 million board feet in 2014.

The increase in wood fibre has helped the company diversify its product line to include more value added products aimed more toward the agriculture industry and industrial applications, as demonstrated by their focus on supplying large timbers. It has also allowed the company to expand its geographic reach and customer base. But with growth comes challenges, and TWI has been an effective tool to address those challenges.

Delainey says in past years, a long term employee was someone with over 20 years’ tenure. In today’s world, that might be a person with over two years’ tenure.

“In order to make things work properly here, we had to find a way to make sure that someone who started today could productively be doing a job within four hours,” says Delainey.

Saskatchewan’s L & M Wood ProductsA Porter scanner was recently added to the Optimil chipper canter line at L & M Wood Products to better optimize their wood product recovery.

Among the changes implemented at the sawmill was a switch from five eight-hour days to four 10-hour days, meaning that employees had one less travel day and the company could draw from a larger area. They also focused on more First Nations hires, visiting many of the surrounding communities and setting up programs to encourage more participation by providing transportation to work from the communities, and a meal program at the sawmill with the cost coming off employees’ paycheques.

Working with the JR module and implementing programs like these helped to establish good relationships between managers and employees.

P & E Logging adjusted its work schedule, making the transition from seasonal to year-round logging, which has helped to retain employees.

Higher production and productivity is leading to capital investment. About three-quarters of a million dollars is being spent to optimize the sawmill’s trimsaw and recovery edger. The company is working with Wolftek Industries on both of these projects.

L & M Wood Products has also established a new wood residue and firewood department that offers a new engineered wood product for playgrounds through a new company called L & M Wood Residuals.

Significant change has occurred at L & M Wood Products since 2011, largely through implementation of TWI, and it’s all been positive.