cally have limited time, top-tier contractors find ways to give back to their communities and stay involved in industry organizations. Many actively serve on local or state boards, and some serve as town government officials. Involvement leads to contacts and every contact knows at least one person who may want to sell timber. The importance of family was evident throughout all interviews. Even though this was not part of the original questionnaire, it came up time and time again. Successful loggers work hard to maintain a home life and work balance. They not only respect their valued family time, but that of their employees as well. “I’m not going to ask people do things I don’t want to do. I’m going to spend time with my family,” remarked one contractor. A happy employee is a safer, more productive employee. After analyzing the data, Farrand and Benjamin outlined the workshop that would both reveal good data and establish a process that participants could use to identify areas for improvement and/or innovation. Farrand felt strongly that the workshop should
be named to convey that successful loggers should build on the strong fundamentals they already have in place. “Loggers are resilient; they are flexible and they are survivors,” noted Farrand, “We wanted to provide them a system that would help them improve in any given area of their business.” Farrand came up with Strengthening What’s Already There, or SWAT.
PATH To Success One of the workshop tools is the PATH Program (Planning and Analysis in Timber Harvesting). It was created by Bick in 2010 and is basically a highly formatted Microsoft Excel spreadsheet designed to help contractors track and manage their costs. Creating PATH allowed Bick to simplify something he had been doing with loggers all along. “I had been teaching loggers how to do these calculations by hand in workshops for years, and I was frustrated with how much time it took. I wanted to simplify the calculations and shift the focus to analysis and comparisons that could help loggers make decisions about operations
and investments,” he stated. One of the goals of this project was to calibrate PATH by putting an emphasis on hourly machine costs, harvest system balance and productivity, and an analysis of process improvement data. By sharing a comprehensive overview of this program loggers see how easy it can be to analyze their own data and make decisions crucial to a culture of continuous improvement.
Building Block After participating in the workshop, loggers have a better understanding of the idea of continuous improvement, the theory of management, the power of people and the value of fine-tuning their business. They also realize that they share many challenges with other loggers. Here is what Whitney Souers, Vice President of Treeline, Lincoln, Me., had to say about participating in the program: “The biggest benefit I got from the SWAT program was the realization that if you are going to make it in business there needs to be constant
TIMBER HARVESTING & WOOD FIBER OPERATIONS
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