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Our Client operates 10 sawmills across Canada and the United States. They process a wide variety of woods including: eastern white pine, which is highly recognized as the natural choice when quality is preferred for everlasting interior and exterior applications; softwoods, which is a natural choice for construction or home improvement projects; hardwoods, coming from Atlantic Canada and are among the finest in the world; and northern white cedar, which is a natural alternative to pressure treated wood offering natural resistance to decay and insect damage. Their products range from value-added to kiln-dried hardwood, in addition to custom services like width, length, color sorts and custom grading to NHLA standards.



  • Developing and implementing a uniform Management Operating System (MOS) across each sawmill site.
  • Training and on-the-floor performance coaching of key personnel to continually improve their processes.
  • Improving productivity to reduce operating costs across the sawmill operations.

Assessment Findings

  • Work Time

  • Non-effective Time

  • Production lines were down due to repetitive equipment breakdown issues.
  • Not maximizing the capacity of the production lines by using the different mixes of wood.
  • The crewing of the lines was not properly balanced from one position to another.
  • Operators had trouble properly aligning the logs on the carriage.
  • No standards developed with the Operators accountable for the decisions related to accepting or rejecting logs.
  • When the Supervisors were on-the-floor they spent the majority of their time “available” for employee interactions (watching and waiting for employees to ask them question).
  • Supervisors generally let the current levels of work activity follow its course, leaving the employees to manage the process themselves.
  • The budgets and the line rates used for planning purposes needed to be revisited and adjusted.
  • There was no mechanism in place to solve problems identified through the use of the current management tools, systems and processes.

In the Maintenance areas:

  • Employees waited for equipment breakdowns.
  • They were given one assignment at a time with no back-up activities.
  • No joint effort existed between maintenance and operations to develop effective maintenance programs.
  • There was no follow-up on the lines related to efficiency during the course of the shift.

PVA's Response

  • Enhanced and implemented Management Operating Systems (MOS) with a focus on planning, communication of expectations, in-the-field follow-up and reporting mechanisms.
  • Reviewed production line target rates and expectations specific for each mill related to optimizing the levels of productivity, quality, safety, yield, grade, and customer service.
  • On-the-job training and performance coaching was provided to the Management Team to effectively implement and sustain the improvements and changes.
  • Improved the frequency and quality of Preventive Maintenance work being completed.
  • Implemented line balancing models (labor, equipment and materials) to balance and optimize the production flow at each Mill.
  • Implemented a formalized problem resolution mechanism to manage operational variances identified during the shift.
  • Across all sites, trained Project Coordinators to support the changes and to perpetuate the results being attained in the sawmills.
  • Developed a joint awareness program with Supervisors and employees to maximize the impact of sawing patterns and practices on yield and grade recovery.

The Results

Hover over graphs for more information

  • 30% improvement in the saw mills FBM per hour worked ratios.
  • 20% improvement in the planer mills FBM per hour worked ratios.
  • 30% increase in the shift output levels (FBM).
  • 20% reduction in equipment downtime levels.
  • 50% reduction in overtime levels.
  • Implemented “best practice” methodologies and capacity models for each work station.
  • Preventive Maintenance programs were improved.
  • Increased the level of proactive supervisory behaviors from 8% to 45% by focusing on regular tours and communication with line crews.
  • All improvements were linked into the Client’s existing Corporate Reporting System.

Reduction in Hours Worked Per 1,000 FBM

Forestry Sawmills Hours Worked Per 1,000 FBM

Increase in Percentage of High Grade Recovery

Forestry Sawmills High Grade Recovery %

Increase in Savings

Forestry Sawmills Savings

Long Term Work Continuation

  • A Client Coordinator was trained and certified during the PVA engagement.
  • A quarterly audit program of the new Management Operating System was developed and implemented with the Coordinator.
  • PVA conducted audits over 18 months to ensure compliance to the continued utilization of the Management Operating Systems.
  • These Audits resulted in recommendations and action plans to further identify additional opportunities for improving operations.

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