In the spring, DataPolarna took part in something called Team 49 at Martinsons Sågverk in Kroksjön just south of Skellefteå. Improvement teams are one of the building blocks of Martinsons’ ongoing quality system MQS. The goal of the team, which includes Site Manager Jens Wikström, Production Manager Vehicles Mikael Björk and several truck drivers, is to find methods and ways of working that can reduce the number of moves of timber packages in the finished stocks of processed timber.
Martinsons Sågverk in Kroksjön, formerly Wallmarks Såg, is one of the more successful sawmills along Norrland’s coast. Martinsons bought the sawmill, a company with a high level of industry competence in the production of processed and customised products for the construction trade, building firms and industry, in 2003. The sawmill was then rebuilt to increase the capacity further. As well as the production of sawn and planed timber, the mill focuses on processing construction products, from painting to pressure treatment.
Site Manager Jens Wikström explains that they work with the so-called Martinsons Quality System:
“MQS, as we call it, is the generic name of our work on constant improvements in the workplace. Much comes from the production philosophy Leanproduction, and the aims of MQS include increasing contentment in the workplace and efficiency of working routines, increasing productivity and safety, and ensuring quality and delivery reliability.”
As part of this process, a number of improvement teams have been set up in the last two years to look at the so-called value flows in the production. In short, it is about overseeing the whole, from raw material to delivery to the customer.
One team, known as Team 49, has spent twelve weeks working on “Value flow processed” and focused its efforts on “Stockpiles finished product stocks processed”.
“The work process is based on planning, implementing, controlling, and forming habits and methods. One important step is to conduct a thorough analysis right from the start so the work process runs effectively throughout the project.”
The process looks closely at ways to reduce the movement of timber packages in the stockpiles, as every lift and move takes time and increases the risk of damage to the package. It also aims to reduce the number of old packages in the stockpiles.
The aim of the project that Team 49 has been working on is to reduce the movement of packages in a particular set from 6.26 to 5 moves before loading – a figure that at first sounds low, but it equates to a 20% improvement in efficiency, which saves considerable resources and, in the end, of course, has a positive effect on profitability.
Jens explains that they are happy to work with competent external partners that can contribute thoughts and ideas.
“This is where DataPolarna comes in, as it has long experience of working on improving logistics in the sawmill sector. It can see things in a different light to us as we easily become blind to it.” Anders Marklund, MD of DataPolarna, explains that Martinsons has used SawInfo for several years and that this is a requirement to be able to make these measurements.
“This is about further developing the analysis tools in SawInfo, which will make the product even more useful to our customers.”
The measurements that have now been made show very good results, and there have already been indications in parts of the warehouse where the moves have, in principle, been halved compared with the same period last year.
“Our idea is that later on we will be able to make stock suggestions and recommend how and where every package should be placed after packages have been collected from the stockpile. For example, maybe the rest of the packages shouldn’t be put back into their previous locations. Who knows? We hope to be able to answer this a little later,” says Anders.
The team also includes two truck drivers, as they work with moving the timber packages daily and thereby have great insight into the normal flow.
“When there are changes, it is common for people to be a bit sceptical and not want us to change, as we have always done things in a particular way before and the new way may not be better. But now the truck drivers have been involved in influencing their everyday work and have contributed very good input to the project. The other truck drivers have also been given detailed information on the way we work and think and what the results look like so far. They then feel part of it in a completely different way, which is a condition of this succeeding in the long term,” says Mikael Björk.
And when it comes to the results, Site Manger Jens Wikström is very satisfied so far, as the goal of Team 49’s work has been more than reached.
“We can’t really see the end results for a year, when we will have comparable figures for the whole year, but as it stands now, everything points to excellent figures. And we also believe we can see many other positive effects, including in the form of involvement by DataPolarna, which has been really supportive with much good advice and shown how we can use SawInfo in more ways than before.”