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Customization led to efficiency improvement

In the successful “4m China” project Setra has optimised timber lengths to get the best possible load factor. As well as satisfying customer requirements, the project has resulted in efficiency improvements in raw material, handling and transport. Without investments or costs.

The “4m China” project is a good example of how Setra works to satisfy customer requirements while increasing efficiency, improving logistics and optimising raw material utilisation. The project began in summer 2014 and six months later, in January 2015, production of the new timber length started at Setra Färila. The project team represented all steps on the production chain from raw material to market.

“It was our customers in China who make cladding that required 4-metre lengths since this would give a better load factor in the containers. We have therefore chosen to niche our production based on their requirements,” says Henrik Bertilsson, Sales Manager Asia & New Markets, who ran the project.

Lower costs and reduced handling
Work to produce the new length starts out in the forest where half the timber for Setra Färila is crosscut to a length of 4.05m. The length of the finished product is set to 3.985m which gives a few centimetres to play with when the 12-metre long container is loaded.

“It’s only one and a half centimetres off a 4-metre length which the customers don’t have a problem with. This is normal practice in the industry. As a result of our project, customers only have to handle one length and there are fewer containers,” says Henrik.

From a logistics perspective the “4m China” project means that Setra Färila now loads 55 cubic metres in a container which reduces the sea-freight cost per cubic metre. The increased load factor from sawmill to port also helps to lower costs, while the number of products and containers handled is reduced. From a market point of view Setra now sells those dimensions where there is best yield and good production. This has been well received by customers and also provided increased earnings per cubic metre compared with decreasing lengths.

“Our timber suppliers have been a great help by both simulating the changes in crosscutting and implementing the change so quickly. The inflow from the forest of 4-metre lengths is still somewhat uneven but improving all the time. The good news is that no investment or extra costs have been incurred to achieve this,” says Henrik.

Working methodology behind successful implementation 
Mattias Forslund is the Mill Manager at Färila and has only good words for the project. He gladly names the working methodology as a contributory factor to the highly successful implementation. “Since everybody was involved in the process we avoided unpleasant surprises later in the project. We also carried out test runs and test sorts with smaller quantities which gave us security prior to the major changes and showed what needed to be adjusted before going live. We haven’t rushed but analysed the effects already at an early stage. Everyone involved has known what was to be done and why. The bottom line is that a good basis leads to good decisions,” concludes Mattias Forslund.

Text: Katarina Brandt
Photo: Emil Nordin & Christian Ljung