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A qualitative study of the Québec sawmilling industry Savoie, Anne 1998

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A Q U A L I T A T I V E S T U D Y OF T H E Q U E B E C S A W M I L L I N G INDUSTRY. by Anne S A V O I E B.A.Sc. W o o d Science, The Universite Laval, 1994 A thesis submitted i n partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of  Master of Science  in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E STUDIES DEPARTMENT  OF W O O D SCIENCE  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A February 1998 © A n n e Savoie, 1998  In  presenting  degree  this  at the  thesis  in  partial  fulfilment  University  of  British  Columbia,  freely available for copying  of  department publication  this or of  reference  thesis by  this  for  his  and  scholarly  or  thesis  study.  her  for  of  (JLJOQCL  The University of British Vancouver, Canada  financial  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  yjyrcU  Sl/ct^rflColumbia  P>W  I further  purposes  the  requirements  I agree  gain shall  that the  agree  may  representatives.  permission.  Department  of  It not  be is  that  permission  granted  allowed  an  advanced  Library shall  by  understood be  for  the that  without  for  make  it  extensive  head  of  my  copying  or  my  written  University of British-Columbia Abstract A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF T H E Q U E B E C SAWMILLING INDUSTRY. by A n n e S A V O I E  D u r i n g the late 1980s, research demonstrated the link between the continual adoption of new technologies and the improvement of sawmill performances. (Capon and Glazer 1987, C o h e n and Sinclair 1989) This was a preliminary assessment of the Canadian sawmilling industry. D u r i n g 1995, forty sawmills w i t h i n the Quebec Region were surveyed and visited to draw a qualitative portray for the Quebec Sawmilling Industry. Equipment, quality control and training were technology fields analyzed by the  research.  Cluster analysis allowed the  correlation of technologies w i t h product and market statistics. Results give information o n the existing synergy among these parameters by the identification of t w o different types of mills w h i c h have respectively high technology equipment and show high intensity i n quality control activities.  Important benefits result from the global study of technological indicators. Critical information u p o n the most specific parameters that need to be addressed to improve global sawmilling performance is provided. Training needs of the sawmilling industry are established to increase the global competitiveness of this industrial sector. Finally, the industry limits and future orientations regarding the different markets' penetration are drawn.  ii  T A B L E OF CONTENTS  ABSTRACT  n  TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF FIGURES  m vi  LIST OF TABLES  vn  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  VTH  PART L GENERALITIES 1.  INTRODUCTION 1.1 Project O r i g i n 1.1.1 Objectives 1.1.2 Importance of Quebec Sawmilling Industry 1.2 Outline  2 2 3 3 4  2.  METHODOLOGY 2.1 Description 2.2 Sample Selection 2.3 Response Rate 2.4 Respondents Profile 2.5 Limitations of the Research  5 5 6 6 7 8  PART n: TECHNOLOGIES 3.  EQUIPMENT 3.1 Literature Review  11 11  3.1.1 Review of the Different Existing Equipment 3.1.2 Process Technologies 3.1.3 Technological Improvements and Equipment's Adaptability 3.2 Quebec Sawmilling Industry Profile  11 13 14 15  3.2.1 Processing Stations Debarking.... Bucking  15 15 15 Primary Breakdown Secondary Breakdown Edging T r i m m i n g D r y i n g . . 3.2.2 Engineering  16 17 18 18 18 18  in Performance Studies Modifications 4.  5.  19 19  QUALITY CONTROL  20  4.1 Literature Review 4.2 Quebec Sawmilling Industry Profile 4.2.1 Q u a l i t y C o n t r o l T y p e 4.2.2 Secondary Products 4.2.3 Schedules Up-Dating 4.2.4 Preventive Maintenance 4.2.5 C o m m u n i c a t i o n  20 21 22 23 24 24 25  TRAINING  26  5.1 Literature Review 5.2 Quebec Sawmilling Industry Profile  26 27  PART H I : PRODUCTS A N D MARKETS 6.  PRODUCTS & MARKETS  30  6.1 Literature Review 6.1.1 Products 6.1.2 Value-added products 6.1.3 Opening frontiers 6.1.4 Distribution 6.2 Quebec Sawmilling Industry Profile 6.2.1 Products Principal Products Secondary Products 6.2.2 Sales Clientele Where are we selling? H o w do we sell? Adaptability  30 31 31 32 32 32 32 32 33 34 34 34 35 35  iv  P A R T I V : T E C H N O L O G Y - PRODUCTS - MARKETS SYNERGY 7.  SYNERGY 7.1 Equipment 7.1.1 H i g h Level 7.1.2 L o w Level 7.2 Q u a l i t y Control... 7.2.1 H i g h Level 7.2.2 L o w Level 7.3 Summary  .-  37 37 39 40 41 43 44 45  8. DISCUSSION: IMPROVING T H E INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE 8.1 Potential Strategies and Possible Orientations 8.2 Summary  46 46 49  9.  50  REFERENCES  10. APPENDIXES Mail-Survey Questionnaire Interview Guidelines Clusters Table  53 54 60 62  v  LIST O F FIGURES  Number  Page  Figure 1: Species Distribution  8  Figure 2: Equipment Distribution at the Headrig,  16  Figure 3: N u m b e r of Sawing Patterns Used  17  Figure 4: Production  33  Figure 5: Secondary Products Use  34  vi  LIST O F T A B L E S  Number  Page  Table 1: Respondents Distribution  7  Table 2: Q u a l i t y C o n t r o l Activities  22  Table 3: Q u a l i t y C o n t r o l Activities Related to D r y i n g  23  Table 4: Quebec Shipments of Softwood Lumber for 1995  30  Table 5: Variables Used i n Clustering the Equipment Technological Level  38  Table 6: Variables Used i n Clustering the Q C Intensity Level  42  Table 7: M i l l s Distribution i n the Different Clusters  43  vii  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  M y acknowledgments, as m y life for the past two years, w i l l be addressed i n both Canadian official languages, French and English. D o i n g a master is not that hard i n terms of w o r k to do on the research and o n the paper itself. What is way harder, is the necessary labor on oneself. The t w o years I spent w o r k i n g on this thesis was also t w o years I spent w o r k i n g on m y life, w i t h always new questions popping i n m y head, new dilemma to keep me awake all night. N o w that the end is close, I wonder h o w I w i l l do out there, h o w quiet it w i l l be to spend nights and days doing something else than thinking about what am I doing. W o w ! It is the only comment that comes to me. This thesis was undoubtedly marked b y distance between committee chairpersons and me, always at least 6 OOOkms between at least one of m y committee member and myself. I choose it, that is true but I do not wish this situation to anyone, not even to m y worst enemy. However, we did it and therefore I w o u l d like to thank the we. W e is firstly D r . D a v i d C o h e n , w h o m I w o u l d like to thank for the time, the money, the ideas, and the energy he gave me. Sometimes communication was, I believe, difficult but we managed to get through this thesis. Then, I also w o u l d like to thank D r . T o m Maness, w h o despite his many trips gave me a little of his time arid knowledge. There was also D r . R o b Kosak, w h o patiently answered m y questions, one after the other, always having an ear for m y complains or m y fears. I seriously o w n y o u a good thanks, I really did appreciate y o u being around. Finally, for the English part of this avantpropos, I w o u l d like to thank all of the people i n Vancouver that did share m y life and helped me through this, I w i l l not forget what the West Coast looks like! M i c h e l , merci mille fois plutot qu'une, sans tes precieux encouragements et le temps que tu m'as accorde, souvent, je dois le dire, au-dela des heures regulieres de travail, les choses auraient ete bien differentes. C'est u n complice que je quitte u n peu a regrets. Je ne peux passer a travers cette rubrique sans mentionner Robert Beauregard, de qui le projet origine.  Vlll  M e r c i pour avant, pendant et apres. U n gros merci aux filles a Laval; Johanne, Lynda, D a n y et toutes les autres. Enfin, plus pres de m o i ma petite famille; merci a vous tous Maman, Papa, G u y , France, Jerome, Louis-Philippe et Daphnee. Q u e de soleil dans mes journees et puis toujours vous avez su etre la malgre les intemperies. II y aurait encore bien d'autres gens a remercier mais la liste est trop longue; j'ai croise trop de gens sur ma route durant cette quete. Simplement, c'est la vie que je veux remercier pour sa generosite. II est vrai que parfois elle est dure et nous soumet a des epreuves qui paraissent insurmontables mais toujours plus loin elle nous mene.  ix  Part  I:  Generalities  1  1.  INTRODUCTION  1.1 Project Origin "The Nations competitiveness depends on its industry ability to innovate and improve." (Porter 1990) T w o factors motivated the Quebec and Canadian forest sector to intensify its degree of technological improvement i n sawmilling: the increase of international competitiveness i n the forest industry at large,, and the decreasing quantity and quality of available raw material. Quebec, as well as Canada, needs to innovate i n order to stay i n the W o r l d market, especially since the forest industry is a major sector of Quebec's economy. Previous research conducted w i t h i n N o r t h America have shown the link between the adoption of new technologies and the above average performance of the forest industry enterprises (Cohen and Sinclair 1992, 90, 89). In 1991, a study was conducted i n British-Columbia by D a v i d Cohen, T o m Maness, and Bob Smith to assess quality control and training activities i n sawmills. The results were interesting and led to further investigation across Canada. This project is part of that Canada wide study. This research extends the technology definition to include t w o new aspects; statistical quality control and personnel training. The first parameter is based on the expansion of information technologies and on the use of the power of such technologies i n treating data during production. The second item, training, is a critical factor for an industry that has the w i l l to master all production constraints, using statistical quality control and equipment. In other words, this research determines the existing high and l o w technology machinery combination, quality control techniques and on-line workers for Quebec softwood sawmills. Moreover, it allows the determination of concrete relationships among the three different technological factors w h i c h are related i n the raw material transformation.  2  1.1.1 Objectives  "Awareness of North American processing techniques is critical to evaluate the competitiveness of our wood products industry in a global context. Innovative processing technologies, new product technologies, and management technologies (inclusive of marketing) are key elements that affect industry and corporate success in the rapidly changing global environment." (Cohen and Sinclair 1989).  The first goal of this research is to determine quantifiable indicators for the Quebec Sawmilling Industry. These w i l l allow the determination of the impact of public and private intervention policies by establishing a parallel between present and future studies. In this way, it w i l l be possible to recognize and measure technological improvement of the industry. Equipment, quality control process and training indicators are determined by the research and give not o n l y information o n these three important parameters but also on the existing synergy among them. T o o often, o n l y one aspect is considered and analyzed. However, they should be considered all together.  Important benefits result from the global study of technological indicators. F o r sawmills, it provides critical information upon the most specific parameters that need to be used to improve global sawmilling performance. F o r the government, training needs of the sawmilling industry are established to increase the global competitiveness of this industrial sector. F o r the writers of scientific and technological policies, the benefits should allow the recognition of the main fields for further investigation. Finally, the sales and marketing departments are able to identify the industry limits and, hopefully, draw future orientations regarding the different  markets'  penetration. 1.1.2 Importance of Quebec Sawmilling Industry The Canadian forest product industry is a major contributor to total w o r l d exports of forest products. In 1994, Canada exported over 46% of the total value of w o r l d trade i n softwood lumber (Natural Resources Canada 1996). In 1995, Canada produced 59 344 000 m of softwood 3  lumber. British-Columbia is the largest producer province w i t h an annual production of  3  32 611 000 m , w h i c h represents 55% of the total Canadian production. Quebec is i n second 3  position, right after B . C . , responsible for 22% of all the Canadian production. In terms of wages and salaries, $498 m i l l i o n are spent annually i n Quebec for roughly 16 000 persons w o r k i n g i n the sawmilling sector only. It is of enormous importance i n Quebec ( A M B S Q 1996). Canada had always had a competitive advantage over other countries i n the forest products trade because of its high quality product. This product is well recognized world-wide due to the producer's reliability and consistency i n delivering a high-quality product at a competitive price, and also because of the strength characteristics of Canadian species. The whiteness and the strength-weight ratio of some softwood species are a very valuable quality on the w o r l d market (Natural Resources Canada 1996). 1.2 O u t l i n e T h e outline of the present paper is described as follows. The first section presents the methodology of the research including the respondents' profile. Then, part II cover the basic results of the study concerning the three aspects of technology; equipment, quality control, and training. Part HI, describes the products and markets' aspects. Finally, part I V establishes the synergy among technology, products, and markets, followed by conclusions regarding the improvement of the Quebec sawmilling industry.  4  2. M E T H O D O L O G Y  2.1 Description The enormous differences i n raw material supply, market focus and both public and private infrastructures resulted i n different types of questions regarding technology and equipment both for Quebec and other relatively unique w o o d producing regions i n Canada included i n the nationwide study.  In Quebec a variety of techniques were used to collect information. These included a mail survey, taped m i l l site interviews and follow up telephone interviews w i t h respondents to the mail survey. A questionnaire was developed based on the one used i n British C o l u m b i a i n 1991 by Maness, C o h e n and Smith (1993). This questionnaire was reviewed by a panel of experts from government, industry and research organizations on M a y 12, 1995. The following people participated i n the panel:  Natural Resource Minister of Quebec QLMA WIPB Forintek U. Laval Lulumco Produits forestiers Petit-Paris Produits forestiers Gatineau Stone-Consolidated - St-Fulgence Materiaux Blanchet inc. - Amos Bois Daaquam inc.  Mr,, Clement Turcotte M r . Gilles Jeanrie M r . Sylvain Labbe M r . W i l l i a m Tropper D r . M i c h e l Beaudoin M r . Charles Turcotte M r . Felix Gagnon M r . A l a i n Brunet M r . Serge Brousseau M r . Rosaire Dube M r . Francois Bernard  This group of experts recommended some changes, both i n terms of what information was to be collected and the method of data collection. They suggested that m i l l site interviews w o u l d provide more accurate information due to the technical detail required to adequately and accurately evaluate both technology and equipment i n sawmills. This type of data collection (i.e. personal interviews) is recommended i n the literature when detailed information regarding specific technical characteristics are required (e.g. D i l l m a n , 1978, Fowler, 1993). A more  5  qualitative interview outline was developed based on the advice of the panel of experts w h i c h is shown i n Appendix 1. Included was more specific information regarding equipment usage as recommended by the advisory committee.  Once the m i l l sites were completed, firms that had completed the mail survey were interviewed over the telephone to collect information required for analysis that had not been originally included i n the mail questionnaire. Twenty of the 100 surveys mailed to Quebec sawmills had been returned  and not all of them agreed to a follow up telephone interview. F o r a complete  listing of the information collected please see Appendixes 2 and 3. 2.2 Sample Selection The population and the sample frame was all the sawmills i n Quebec. A judgmental sample was selected i n conjunction w i t h M r . Clement Turcotte of the Natural Resources M i n i s t r y of Quebec. The criteria for this qualitative sample selection were m i l l size, regional location, and type of ownership. The sample is not statistically representative of the population and results cannot be inferred to the population. However, this method of sample selection was chosen at the request of government agencies to facilitate the use of the results i n setting policy for the Province of Quebec. This selection process is one reason w h y this project is a qualitative assessment of the technology and equipment use i n the Quebec sawmilling industry.  2.3 Response Rate T w e n t y sawmills returned the mail survey and an additional 40 mills were interviewed during site visits. O f these 60 samples, 39 had complete and accurate information. There were many reasons for excluding the other 21 samples. Some of the mills that completed the mail surveys were not w i l l i n g to provide additional information during the telephone interviews. Some of the mills provided information during the personal interviews w h i c h proved to be inaccurate when m i l l tours were conducted. That is they stated that they used certain technology or equipment w h i c h was not actually present i n the m i l l . In addition some mills provided incomplete information. A l l mills w h i c h did not have complete and accurate information were excluded from the analysis. Information concerning what proportion of the respondents used for the  6  analysis resulted from on-site interviews or mail surveys w i t h follow up telephone interviews is not available. Information pertaining to what proportion of the 39 complete samples were originally contacted by mail w i t h telephone follow-up and what proportion were from personal interviews and m i l l site visit is u n k n o w n . This results from coding information to ensure the anonymity of respondents. 2.4 Respondents Profile O u t of the 39 respondents, 24 mills were independent mills, while the other 15 were part of an integrated complex. In terms of volume of production, the data account for 2,4 billion board feet of lumber, w h i c h represents 43% of all Quebec softwood production. The mills' distribution by administrative region is presented i n the Table 1.  Table 1: Respondents Distribution  Number of Mills  %  Production (Mbf)  %Prod.  %Prod. Of Quebec  Abitibi-temiscamingue  9  23,1  794 189  32,1  13,8  Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean  8  20,5  706 151  28,6  12,3  Gaspesie/Hes-de-la-Madeleine  7  17,9  292 500  11,8  5,1  Charlevoix/ Cote-Nord  2  5,1  172 000  7,0  3,0  Outaouais  2  5,1  158 000  6,4  2,7  Lanaudiere/Mauricie/Bois-Francs  3  7,7  148 500  6,0  2,6  Bas-St-Laurent  4  10,3  93 000  3,8  1,6  Estrie  2  5,1  66 000  2,7  1,1  Quebec/ Chaudiere-Appalaches  2  5,1  43 000  1,7  0,7  39  100%  2 473 340  100%  43  Region  A s shown i n the previous table, the study collected data accounting for 43% of the Quebec annual softwood  production. Moreover, the study covers the three predominant  producer  regions; Abitibi-Temiscamingue, Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean, and Gaspesie. The species distribution among selected mills is presented i n figure 1. Respondent mills accounted for 43% of the annual production of Quebec sawmills. W h i l e results cannot be inferred to the population, they do represent a substantial proportion of the overall production of Quebec sawmills i n 1995.  7  Figure 1: Species Distribution  W h i l e the results cannot be inferred on the population they do accurately portray the status of the sawmills representing 43% of the Quebec production i n 1995. Thus the results are indicative of a substantial proportion of the Quebec sawmill industry. 2.5 L i m i t a t i o n s of the Research Results of this analysis are not inferable to the population of sawmills i n Quebec for several reasons. First, mills were selected using a non-random judgmental sampling scheme, which introduces a selection bias into the study. Second, non response bias was not tested, due to a lack of time and funds. A s a result, it is not k n o w n whether or not sawmills that did not participate i n the survey w o u l d respond i n a similar manner to those that did. T h i r d , three types of survey instruments,  mail surveys, follow-up  telephone  surveys and personal interviews, were  implemented i n this analysis. Unfortunately, while the information obtained i n the three surveys was similar, the way i n which data was collected varies, (i.e. the presence/absence of an interviewer, the scales that were incorporated i n the responses, open-ended versus fixedalternative questions, etc.). This introduces a systematic bias k n o w n as administrative error. F o r these reasons, results of this analysis and, i n particular, statements pertaining to sawmill production, technology and quality control programs, cannot be inferred onto the population of Quebec sawmills as a whole. However, it should once again be noted that the respondents i n this study accounted for 43% of the annual softwood sawmill production i n Quebec. A s such,  8  results can be thought of as indicative of the Quebec sawmilling industry and represent a through qualitative assessment of this sector. It is recommended that this exploratory research form the basis of a scientific and quantitative benchmark study of the Quebec sawmilling industry.  9  Part  II:  Technologies  10  3.  EQUIPMENT  Equipment is indeed a very large topic to cover. The reason is simple; equipment i n sawmills was, is and w i l l remain the key element of the transformation process. Hence, if a sawmill does not possess the equipment allowing one to process w o o d efficiently, its existence may be compromised. Comparing the resource available i n 1950 to the one available i n the 1990s, it is possible to see a decrease of the Scribner log scale from 1 950 B F per log to 60 B F today. A l s o , i n those years, a lumber m i l l could process 50 logs a day for a total of 100 000 BF/shift while today, an average size m i l l w i l l process 3 350 logs daily for 200 000 B F (Huber 1996). Obviously, the significant reduction i n the total quantity of raw material available has changed the dynamic, and forced the manufacturers to improve the process. Unquestionably different kinds of equipment exist showing different performances;  the literature review w i l l overview these tools, and the  recent research results i n this field to improve performance and reliability of today's sawmills.  3.1 Literature Review 3.1.1 Review of the Different Existing Equipment Equipment used to process w o o d i n sawmills is basically the same as it was twenty years ago and the manufacturing sequence is essentially the equivalent of those of the early 1900s' (Gephart and al. 1995). Equipment's evolution mostly relies on the little increments added to machinery as control systems or hydraulic systems, that did seriously improved the process  without  considerably changing the appearance of machinery. F o r example, through the years, the chariot coupled w i t h circular saws, the favorite headrig device used b y sawmillers i n the 1950s, was slowly replace by band saws, to improve recovery and raw material loss due to the thickness of the kerf. After that, the chariot transportation device, a fairly slow device for transportation of w o o d , was turned into hatchet chains to increase the speed of the operation (Tropper 1995).  Sawmill apparatuses were named based on the process step involved. W e find debarkers, primary and secondary breakdown machines, edgers, trimmers, planners and classifiers. T o these can be added value-added products machinery such as k i l n dryers and d r u m debarkers for pieces of  11  w o o d that are not usable as lumber. Although, as previously mentioned, these did not considerably change i n their appearance over the years, some mechanical improvements were added to the initial form of machines. Curve sawing is one example of these increments. A curve sawing machine is initially a bull edger to w h i c h infeed and outfeed rollers where added i n order to follow a log's longitudinal curve when processing the piece of w o o d (Tropper 1995). The redesign of the bull into something more technically advanced and especially more efficient allowed the recovery of a significant amount of material. Such systems are giving to the owners stability, viability, recovery increments and precision i n wood-cutting. F o r these reasons, mills are greatly satisfied a short time after installing such a device (Stirling 1996). This improvement can be qualified as a mechanical improvement. O n another mechanical level, the hydraulic part of the process certainly needs to be monitored and improved, as hydraulic devices are used to position the raw material before it enters the transformation device. Fifty years ago, no one w o u l d talk about such systems, today, they are mostly outdated because they are able not to sense the position of the material it transports. T o m o r r o w is made of magnetostrictive position sensors. This device works using the o l d principle of magnetic field properties (Miller 1996). T h e combination of mechanical devices w i t h electronic and computerized elements propelled the industry to a higher technological level. The creation of positioning tables combined these devices, allowing once again a substantial gain i n terms of raw material as well as productivity coefficient. O n this matter, some producers argue that it allows an increase of 10% i n raw material recovery (Lavertu 1994).  Finally, electronic and computerized components added to the process are certainly the most technologically  advanced  technological elements used  i n the  treatment. These  devices  contributed to improving the process by incrementing the control over the different steps along the  conversion of logs into lumber. Lasers are pieces of electronics that were  added  parsimoniously along the process either to give the operator the best vision of the raw material, or simply to read the material for further use by computers. Computers, were also massively added to the process, allowing a better evaluation of the raw material, often taking the place of  12  the operator i n analyzing data. In sawmilling, production is often a higher priority than quality. Machines are contributing to increased production rates (Tropper 1995, 1994). 3.1.2 Process Technologies M u c h more important than the equipment itself is the process technology, and management technologies. These technologies can be divided into continuous and discontinuous technologies, the  first  one  represented  by  little changes  occurring very frequently  as  incremental  improvements (Cohen and Sinclair 1992). These were well described i n the previous section. Undoubtedly, to maintain or improve a m i l l performance, the adoption of these innovative technologies is certainly a key element i n today's run for market shares (Cohen and Sinclair 1990, Porter 1990). In 1987, research conducted i n eastern sawmills of the United-States showed that the main reason for new equipment was to increase productivity and improve yield.  In other words,  increasing efficiency and volume is more important to these firms than diversification into new products or markets. (Bush and al. 1987) C o h e n and Sinclair conducted research i n 1988 on the N o r t h American Structural Panels and Softwood Lumber industries concerning the use of innovative technology. The main conclusions of this survey were that Canadian producers had invested i n four fields of production: computerization, process monitoring, productivity increases and, measurement of w o o d intrinsic properties affecting engineering use. These four sectors are representative of the technological advancement of mills and, at that time were the answer to improvement and competitiveness, according to sawmillers. Unfortunately, the study did not go any further at that time, evaluating only nine variables of the production: M S R lumber, abrasive planer, T D A L drying, computerized edger, log merchandising, small kerf at the headrig, C o n t . / H i Temp. D r y , C o m p . L o g Carriage, L o g Scan at headrig and automatic sorter (1989). A n o t h e r important study was conducted i n Quebec from 1992 to 1993, jointly b y the Natural Resource Minister and the Quebec Industrial Research Center ( C R I Q ) , trying to evaluate the productivity augmentation potential for the Quebec Softwood Sawmill. In order to establish indicators of this potential, they fixed analysis criterion for each process step. These were:  13  evaluation of the raw material, information obtained, processing procedure, implementation of the solution, and the principle regulating this operation. The main conclusion highlighted the need for increasing technologies, process control, and specialized workers i n the Quebec sawmills (Gravel 1993).  A d o p t i o n of new technologies is also synonymous w i t h equipment  replacement.  Historically, equipment substitution was established based on the functioning or the nonfunctioning of a mechanical piece or more simply, on the age of that machinery, without even thinking of performing any study or performance analysis. It has been shown that by such techniques as linear programming combined w i t h performance studies and replacement analysis, considerable amount  of money could be saved (Carino and al. 1995). Therefore, these  conclusions highlight the growing need for studying production and ensuring sufficient human resources as well as financial resources are available to the engineering department. These process control activities w i l l therefore be discussed i n the next chapter, the quality control activities.  3.1.3 Technological Improvements and Equipment's Adaptability Since equipment's technology is made of successive incremental improvements, it becomes difficult to measure the industry's amelioration over the years. Some researchers have tried to do it and interesting results emanate from these studies. In the administrative region called A b i t i b i Temiscamingue, a large study was conducted i n 1984. A m o n g the principal equipment pieces, 84 ring debarkers were counted, which represented an over-capacity. A t the first headrig, the favorite devices were the canter-canter, the canter-twin and the chip-N-Saw. Regarding the t r i m m i n g of lumber, only one m i l l used a trimmer optimizer, the others w o u l d use manual and automatic devices i n a proportion of 82% and 14%. Overall, the conclusion draws the need of improving the optimization system to increase yield and performance,  but judged  the  technology appropriate for the raw material available (Anonymous 1987).  The C R I Q study, i n 1993, recommended the enlargement of the utilization of positioning table and electronic measuring systems for the headrig, the secondary breakdown and the edging stations. General conclusions stated that, the bigger a m i l l is, the more improvements it shows (Gravel 1993).  14  H o w is the Quebec Sawmilling Industry doing i n 1995? This aspect is to be covered i n the next section.  3.2 Quebec Sawmilling Industry Profile A sawmill is made of different pieces of equipment. A l t h o u g h each m i l l has its o w n preference according to different managers and builders, general tendencies can be described. In the following paragraphs, the preferences of Quebec's sawmillers w i l l be elaborated for each process step. 3.2.1 Processing Stations • Debarking Debarking is usually among the first processing steps because by taking off the bark, it makes it easier to evaluate the raw material for further transformation and also, since w o o d chips are sent to papermills, they need to exclude impurities such as bark. The most widely used device for log debarking i n the softwood lumber industry is the ring debarker. This is certainly due to the fast speed of such equipment i n processing logs, and also because the size and nature of the raw material i n Quebec allow the use of this type of equipment. O u t of 39 mills, 36 or 92% were using such a device as the primary system for this process step. T o complete the equipment used and to recycle residues, 6 mills also used a drum debarker as complementary unit to the ring device. T w o other mills used "cambio" debarkers, the main reason for it is that they were also transforming hardwood species that need special attention. Finally, one single m i l l did not debark the raw material as it was already done when the material came to the m i l l . Bucking Stem bucking determines the length of the logs to be sawn. Contrary to c o m m o n opinions, longer is not necessarily better, because if some defect can be eliminated, it can save money and time. F o r stem bucking, many different pieces of equipment are used. Before expanding on the subject, it w o u l d be of interest to k n o w that a new tendency can be observed more and more often i n the industry. This propensity is the appearance on the harvesting site of multifunctional units, that harvest trees and do the stem bucking i n the field. A l s o , from the mills interviewed, 45% received only cut to length logs, and therefore did not need go through the bucking step.  15  A n o t h e r 13% received partly bucked stems and partly tree length stems. F o r the mills performing the bucking operation, most of them used a multiple device (86%). F o r the other 10%, they used an individual system that would allow optimization. The last 4% rather cut the trees i n the m i l l yard using mobile equipment. O n l y one of the respondent mills used a stem bucking optimization system. It is right after the bucking station that logs are sorted for the primary breakdown. That operation is performed 64% of the time. The use of scanners and lasers were used i n 76% of the cases, otherwise, logs are sorted manually or i n an automatic manner. There were also 6 mills using lasers and scanners to measure the logs without sorting. In other words, they measured the log and instantly sent it to the headrig center. In that case these lasers or scanners become part of the headrig optimization device. Primary Breakdown A m o n g all existing devices for primary log breakdown, Quebec's most popular remains the canter, w i t h a usage level of 29%. The second favorite is the canter-twin used i n 28% of the respondent mills. The headrig equipment profile is presented i n figure 2. Figure 2: Equipment Distribution at the Headrig, 30% 27%  12%  12%  1 7%  5  0  1  Canter  Canter-Twin  Carriage  Canter-Canter Equipment  16  Twin  6%  5%  .  Multifunctional Curve Sawing  It is interesting to note that 30% of the control system devices were still manually operated. Computer assisted devices were used i n 48% of the sawmills. The remaining 22% were optimized devices. Regarding sawing patterns either used by computers or by human operators, the following graphic present these proportions. Figure 3: Number of Sawing Patterns Used 21 @ 4 0 More than 40  6 @ 10 30,8%  Another important device i n sawing lumber is the positioning system since this allows one to process w o o d exactly as evaluated. O n l y a third of the responding mills had a functional log turner to position the log before the headrig. Positioning tables, recognized as a highly advanced device to process wood, were used i n only 5 mills (13% of the mills) at the headrig when the survey was conducted. Secondary Breakdown A m o n g responding mills, only 36 required secondary breakdown. F r o m that number, 58% use a bull as the principal resawing unit. Horizontal saws were also used i n 14% of the cases. The other mills used both horizontal and vertical devices. Globally, 73% of the machines are vertical array bulls and the other 26% were composed of horizontal devices. Most of the control of these apparatuses were computerized (73% of the cases).  Positioning tables are used much more  frequently for secondary breakdown than at the headrig, 10 mills (28% of respondents) utilized these computerized appliances for secondary breakdown.  17 Edging Edging is not needed for all mills, especially i n the cases when logs are very small and a secondary breakdown is performed. In these cases, secondary breakdown is synonymous w i t h edging. F o r the 29 mills having edging devices, most of them (80%) used bull edgers. The second tool used is the 3-faces edger, composed of saws and knives. Trimming Exactly  95% of the respondent mills performed t r i m m i n g prior to drying. T h e most widely  used device is the Canadian trimmer w i t h two-saws, used i n 52% of the mills. F o l l o w i n g that one is the optimizer, w i t h 45% of the mills employing it. The trimmer-optimizer is certainly the oldest optimizing device i n sawmills and, therefore its usage is frequent. Drying D r y i n g , even i f recognized as a major value-added process, is still not performed b y all mills. Financial justifications are often evoked as the main reason for not having a dry k i l n i n the yard. Nevertheless, 70% of the mills had their o w n drying k i l n . T h e y might not be drying all their production but at least they dry a part of it. D r y i n g technology has evolved i n recent years allowing more and more kilns to be computerized. Eighty-seven percent of kilns i n operations were optimized while the others were still manually operated.  Eighty-seven percent of the mills used vapor kilns, followed by direct fire kilns, accounting for 11% of the devices. Finally, dehumidification units were used. Where things become interesting is that many mills used residues as a main source of energy. Actually, 70% of all units were residue powered; 59% sawdust and 11% bark. A l t h o u g h it seems logical to use gas because of its high performance, only 11% of kilns were operated w i t h this type of fuel.  Electricity and o i l  were the least favorite device obtaining only 4% utilization each.  3.2.2 Engineering In spite of the fact that equipment constitutes a big part of the process, without engineering, w o o d transformation is simply not possible. In the engineering function is included all performance and utilization studies as well as modification decisions and design.  18  3.2.2. / Performance Studies Some mills never completed performance studies i n 1995, w i t h 6 mills out of 39 never running analysis on machine centers. Fortunately, among the other mills, 26 were regularly running such studies. Concerning the 7 other mills, they performed line studies if a problem occurs and they want to find the cause of this problem, or for example, if they want to change a machine. The responsibility for conducting these studies was under the quality controller i n 42% of the mills. Then, the engineer, if there was one, or a consulting firm managed the operation, each w i t h an 18% response rate. Finally, some mills answered that the foreman was doing the job (15%).  Modifications  Regarding the production lines' modification, the mills were asked w h o was doing it. In most cases (56% of the mills), internal resources were the ones responsible for redesigning the m i l l . In some other cases (33% of the mills), consulting firms were responsible. Other times, cooperation between internal and external personnel performed the necessary changes. What has brought the need of changing m i l l design? Most often (38%), m i l l managers answered that it was a question of increasing the efficiency and to obtain a better recovery coefficient. The second most frequent answer, w i t h 24% of the response rate, was to increment productivity and to reduce machine breakage rate as principal motivations behind equipment changes. The t h i r d answer, cost reduction was definitely an important justification.  19  4.  QUALITY CONTROL  4.1 Literature Review Quality is certainly the most " i n " w o r d of the decade, although it is not at all a new concept. In a sawmill, quality control can actually take multiple forms from the lumber size control, up to the process control and total quality management. The truth is that a wrong decision anywhere along the process is reducing the possibility of maximizing the raw material value b y the end of the transformation process (Maness 1993). It has been said that the costs of improper quality and dimension classification can reach up to 25% of the annual budget of an enterprise. In Quebec, the non-quality costs $20 billion annually, that represents 15% of the provincial G D P (Gilbert 1994). Therefore a skillful quality control program is needed.  O n e t o o l that can be used is statistical process control. B y definition, it is a technique allowing one to monitor the production and identify when the process performs i n any other way than expected. It embraces lumber size control. D o i n g statistical process control has to be done regularly for it to be useful. Previous studies have shown that thickness variation, for example, was monitored about once a shift i n the best cases (Maness 1991). It is not enough, especially k n o w i n g that most lecture devices required for real time process control are already installed under the form of scanners and material-optimizers and that therefore, they could be used to monitored the process (Maness 1993).  The management of quality is often more important than the way data is taken,  and  programs that can lead to I S O standards are therefore crucial tools. M a n y firms at the present time provide help to industries willing to implement such programs. The essential thing to remember is that the customer is king i n all quality matter; the customer is the one w h o sets the definition for quality and the one who decides if your product is above or below their expectations (Hansen 1996, Gilbert 1994).  H o w are the mills reacting to such new concepts i n lumber production? The research conducted by Maness i n 1993, shows that British-Columbian manufacturers' priorities were set on value recovery, volume recovery and finally on dimension uniformity. T o achieve this, they w o u l d  20  emphasize primary breakdown and then stem bucking, for it is there, according to their opinion, that quality is to be achieved and financial returns maximized. Regarding quality control programs, it has been shown that generally, mills producing specialty products mainly directed to overseas markets put more emphasize on quality control than mills producing commodity products (Maness, Cohen, Smith 1993).  4.2 Quebec S a w m i l l i n g Industry Profile Quality control is indeed a very large topic because many topics related to quality are grouped under that title. F o r this reason, many people are w o r k i n g for quality, and the time they are spending o n quality is also very hard to quantify. That might explain that the costs of quality are not very well k n o w n . A m o n g the three fourths of mills w h o put a price on quality, 13% admitted not spending a penny on quality control. O n the other hand, 25% spent over $100 000 a year! This difference is enormous. In between these two extremes, 23% spend an average amount ranging from $50 000 to $100 000. F o r the rest of the respondents, they spent from $ 10 000 yearly up to $50 000.  In mills spending over $100 000, it w o u l d seen that one person was i n charge of quality control on a full time basis. Indeed, 46% of the respondents have a full-time employee responsible for quality control. In another 23% of cases, a technician is i n charge of this task, and i n 5% of the mills an engineer. F o r the other mills, a production or mechanics foreman managed quality control, when he had time.  Different reasons and motivations behind quality control activities may explain a lot of this variation, as well as w h y some mills put money i n such programs or simply hire a full-time employee responsible for Q C . If a manager does not believe i n the benefits of performing Q C , then, obviously, he w i l l not be able to give material support to this activity. F o r that reason, respondents were asked about their priorities. N u m b e r one priority is definitely the customer w i t h one fourth of respondents answers. In second position comes volume recovery as a major issue, representing 15% of respondents. Dimensional uniformity (13%), costs (12%), and value recovery (11,5%) were among other answers. Respondents were asked where i n the m i l l should  21  resources be invested to be sure to attain quality goals. In order, respondents listed headrig (28%), planning and trimming (11,5% each), and drying (10%). 4.2.1 Quality Control Type M a n y types of quality control exist ranging from dimension control to preventive maintenance. What specific type of Q C is used i n Quebec Sawmills? A n d h o w is this realized? The answers are detailed i n the following paragraphs. First, it w o u l d be of interest to examine the distribution of such activities i n sawmills, shown i n table 2. T a b l e 2: Q u a l i t y C o n t r o l A c t i v i t i e s  Activities  Utilization (%)  Dimension control  100%  Standards  95%  Machine Calibration  82%  Preventive Maintenance  64%  Quality Management  44%  Logs' Identification & Source  44%  Preventive C o n t r o l  41%  Measuring Devices Calibration  33%  O n l y a few mills were using statistical process control, although they regularly take data o n the production line. O n l y 61,5% of the respondents were systematically doing data analysis. A n o t h e r 13% analyze data only if they have a problem. Moreover, only 59% of respondents could eventually establish the link between data at one w o r k station and data from another w o r k station. A n additional 10% of the respondents would be able to establish this relationship if a problem needed to be solved. Analysis i n modern terms also implies the use of computer software packages, at least for the three fourths of the respondent. The favorite software is a spreadsheet (such as Microsoft/ Excel or Lotus 123) accounting for 75% of computer users. Fiftyeight percent used dimensions control software and 33% used a database. There is a new tendency towards customized software. It is not wide spread but current users were very satisfied because this software was created especially for one specific m i l l . These were i n use i n 8% of interviewed m i l l using software i n data analysis. A m o n g the reason cited for software use,  22  performance was cited most often w i t h 68% of respondents. Another practical reason is the ease of use, mentioned 21% of the time.  Additional questions were asked regarding the drying related Q C activities. Table 3 presents the results. T a b l e 3: Q u a l i t y C o n t r o l A c t i v i t i e s R e l a t e d t o D r y i n g  Activities Moisture Content after D r y i n g D r y i n g Process Load Preparation Equipment Lumber Degradation Species Separation Y a r d Inventory Moisture Content before D r y i n g  N u m b e r of M i l l s 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 10  % of Respondents 71,8 69,2 66,7 64,1 61,5 59,0 56,4 25,6  4.2.2 Secondary Products A l t h o u g h secondary products have gained a lot of importance during the last years, their quality control seems to be insufficient. W o o d chips were definitely the most controlled product w i t h 90% of mills performing some k i n d of control over chips' characteristics. This can easily be explained b y the final destination of w o o d chips, which is paper mills. F o r that reason, chips need to be clear from bark, dirt, or any other contaminant material i n order to produce homogeneous pulp. Hence, chip quality control was done directly at the pulp m i l l b y pulp engineers or controllers. Analysis w o u l d then be sent to the sawmill w i t h t w o or three days delay, making it difficult to correct sawing mistakes. Nevertheless, these numbers w o u l d be used for a better understanding the sawing process and the knife behaviors. It is still important to mention that some sawmill have their o w n "mini-laboratory" to perform studies o n w o o d chips size, moisture or bark content. In that case, data is used as indicator for the on-going process, especially regarding the amount of bark left over by the debarkers. Unfortunately, the proportion of mills using such laboratories was not measured b y the present study.  23  O n bark, 31% of the respondent were using some sort of control. Sawdust and shavings were controlled i n only 9 mills (23%). Most likely this analysis is related to boiler devices and burning control security.  4.2.3 Schedules Up-Dating A n o t h e r aspect of quality control includes the reference table and schedules updating for on-line workers or for machines along the process. This operation is very important i n achieving a high log recovery coefficient. K n o w i n g that, the study showed that i n 18% of the visited mills this schedule updating was simply not performed. Moreover, i n another 10% mills, it was done o n l y if a problem was detected. In other words, i n roughly 30% of the sawmills, there was absolutely no consciousness about how the w o o d is sawn and about the amount of w o o d utilized. It is amazing to realize h o w much money is spent annually on high-tech equipment when resources are not available to do easy follow-up on basic parameters. Nevertheless, 56% of the respondents were regularly up-dating this schedule. Another 15% up-dated schedules if a major change occurs i n the price of lumber or i n the raw material, which can also be considered as a regular schedule updating. The person responsible for that task was most often the quality controller (38%) or, a foreman (21%). Otherwise the engineer or the electrician w o u l d do it.  4.2.4 Preventive Maintenance Preventive maintenance is starting to be c o m m o n i n Quebec sawmills. O u t of 39 mills, 25 were using a preventive maintenance program. F r o m these 25, 8 had a computerized system to manage equipment tune-up. Generally, the electrician or the mechanic w o u l d manage it (68%). Sometimes a foreman (16%) or an engineer (12%) w o u l d be responsible for this maintenance program. A n o t h e r topic similar to maintenance is machine calibration w h i c h is more popular than preventive maintenance w i t h 79% of respondent doing it on a regular basis. T o that proportion can be added another 18%, for mills performing calibration if a problem occurs. Responsibility for machine calibration was left to the electrician or the mechanics i n 50% of the cases. The foreman or superintendent was responsible i n 16% of the mills. A n operator or the quality controller were each responsible i n 13% of the cases.  24  4.2.5 Communication Machine calibration, schedule updating, statistical quality control: all these have one point i n common, they all generate data for analysis. In order that an analysis' be useful, the results need to be transmitted from staff to line-employees, as for any other important information generated anywhere i n the m i l l organization. F o r that reason, managers were questioned on the means used to transmit information. The most frequent answer was that information was transmitted orally, i n an informal way (36%). F o r other respondents, a regular meeting was the preferred method. (35%). A little less important, was written information, w i t h a response rate of 30%. A closer look to that data set revealed that if y o u were a salaried employee, manager or foreman, y o u most likely attended regular staff meeting (42%) to gather all pertinent information regarding the m i l l operation, or y o u might get part of it i n writing (35%). O n the other hand, if y o u are a line-employee or a member of the maintenance personnel, chances are that y o u receive news orally, the method most open to misunderstanding. Unfortunately, illiteracy and innumeracy are still a reality i n many mills, although no one talks about it. In this case it makes written information useless and brings the training need to the forefront. The next chapter w i l l cover that topic.  25  5.  TRAINING  5.1 Literature Review In many countries, competitiveness is now synonymous w i t h the employees' qualifications (Bernier 1996). The reason is indeed simple. The use of more specialized skills is an element of an economic vision by the enlargement  of knowledge w i t h i n an institution (Porter 1991).  Knowledge resides i n information and i n training (Gilbert 1994). Besides, today's customers are more demanding; they want quality, quality assurance, and many other value added products. F o r example, products identified w i t h bar codes are growing i n importance these days, they need more versatile workers, w i t h a broader knowledge. In addition, the increased use of computers and electronic devices creates the need for more specialized workers to keep them w o r k i n g properly. There are but a few reasons for the need to increase training i n industry.  In 1987, C o h e n and Sinclair conducted a study across the U n i t e d States and Canada for w h i c h one of the conclusions underlined the importance of broadening the knowledge of the industry's structure, strategies, and characteristics i n order to improve the global competitiveness of N o r t h American w o o d products industry (1990). Enlargement of knowledge is possible by increasing professional personnel training at the base itself; i n the mills. Already, the Quebec Government introduced on January 1, 1996, the 1% policy, forcing managers to spend 1% of the annual gross salaries o n training. A l t h o u g h this policy did not please all producers, it indeed increased the amount of training programs and sensitized most sawmillers to the importance of expenditures on such activities. It also puts professional personnel training at the center point i n enterprises by its impact on promotions, downgrading and hiring processes (Bernier 1996).  According to Porter, there is a need to create a training culture. This increment must come from managers, not from workers or their union even though they can have a hand i n it (1991). Does Quebec have that culture? Is the social cohesion to implement a professional training culture existent i n Quebec? Some industrial relations comities have been implemented but that may not be sufficient (Bernier 1996).  26  D u r i n g 1993, a study was conducted i n Quebec to assess the management practices and training priorities i n the sawmilling industry. Eighty-eight coma eight percent of the on-line workers were enrolled i n training activities and 69,8% of the salaried employees. M a i n training fields were, i n order, continuous improvement of quality, continuous improvement of productivity, preventive maintenance of equipment, quality control and assurance, and finally health and security at w o r k . A m o n g the topics i n w h i c h workers and management staff wanted to increase the training activities were lumber grading and equipment maintenance (hydraulic, pneumatic, etc.) (Anonymous 1994).  A n o t h e r study result showed that 55% of British C o l u m b i a sawmills spent a moderate amount of money, i n between $1 000 and $5 000, on outside training activities. A l s o , another 30% of mills spent below $1 000 annually on this function (Maness 1993). It is important to k n o w the importance given to training today i n Quebec sawmills.  5.2 Quebec Sawmilling Industry Profile Training, as well as quality control, has a cost. Unfortunately, this value is sometimes very hard to measure because the separation between professional education, new employee training, and daily advice is difficult to draw. Furthermore, many people either from w i t h i n the business as well as consultants, are involved i n this educational process w h i c h also complicates the cost evaluation task. Finally, training expenses sometimes includes employees salaries and on-line workers' replacement costs while they are i n training. Indeed, it makes t w o different salaries to pay. F r o m course prices to employee salaries, training may represent a large investment. F o r that reasons, many managers can not evaluate annual costs of training activities. Nevertheless, 59% of respondents still gave a price. M o r e than 38% spent over $20 000 annually o n training activities while 13% did not even spent $5 000 a year. Contrasts are big. W h e n sawmillers were asked to rate training importance o n a scale ranging from 0 to 5 (5 being indispensable), 77% of them said 4 or 5, qualifying training as a very important or even a mandatory activity. Another 18% qualified training as important (3). The last 5% w i l l confess that training is not important or that they did not give any formal training to their employees.  27  The proportion of external versus internal training was inquired o n an informative level, and results showed that 54% of training activities are given by external resources. A b o u t the type of training perform, an increasing number of people are n o w integrating continual training programs to their regular activities, w i t h 51% of the respondent having such programs. Still too few people have a quality group inside their mills (only 20% reported having them). This is quite l o w considering the number of adherents to continual training programs w h o k n o w that the two programs are closely related. The device most widely used is the posting board w i t h 77% of the mills having boards to distribute information. Besides, as previously mentioned, illiteracy and innumeracy are problems often encountered i n mills and therefore, it does not allow people w i t h this type of problem to get the information posted o n boards.  28  Part  III  : Products  29  &  Markets  6.  PRODUCTS & MARKETS  6.1 Literature R e v i e w Canada is the leading forest products exporting country i n the w o r l d . Its export value accounts for 20% of the total w o r l d export of forest products, they were w o r t h $155 billion i n 1994. Its principal export commodity is softwood lumber. In 1994, the Canadian provinces sent abroad more than $11 billion, or 46% of the total w o r l d trade i n softwood lumber. T h e principal importers are the U n i t e d Kingdom, Western Europe, the U n i t e d States, and Japan (Natural Resources Canada 1996). It is also important to k n o w that the Pacific R i m constitute an interesting potential market, and a particularly extremely competitive market because of the emergence of new players as Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Scandinavia, Chile and New-Zealand offering highly competitive prices on commodity products (Natural Resources Canada 1996, Puttock 1994).  In 1995, the major final destination of the Quebec softwoods was the U n i t e d States, taking directly 61,4% of all our production. The next table presents the total distribution of the Quebec softwoods for 1995. Table 4: Quebec Shipments of Softwood Lumber for 1995  Country  Shipment  Canada  36,0%  U n i t e d States North-east South Center North West  61,4% 24,4% 22,8% 12,8% 1,4%  Over-Seas 2,6% Europe 1,3% Middle-East 1,2% Other 0,1% Source: Anonymous. 1996. L'industrie du sciage au Quebec Association des manufacturiers de bois de sciage du Quebec.  30  Unfortunately, the N o r t h - A m e r i c a n market is cyclical (Natural Resources Canada 1996, Jean 1996). Therefore, to counter-balance these cycles, two solutions are often proposed: 1) increase the value-added products available, and 2) open the frontiers to overseas markets (Jean 1996). Before describing these options, there w i l l follow a discussion of production and product types.  6.1.1 Products Quebec's production of softwood is characterized by its spruce-pine-fir (s-p-f) class w h i c h provides 95% of its total production. Most of that production is of standard dimensions and increasingly, it takes the form of special size products (Jean 1996). A m o n g the softwood lumber, 2x3, 2x4, and 2x6 are the most favorite sizes accounting for 11, 42, and 19% respectively of the total Quebec production. Boards (1 inch thick lumber) are also produced but i n less important amounts, accounting for 12% of the total volume produced. Globally, studs represent 35% of production and dimension lumber accounts for the other 65% (Tropper 1995). O n e constraint is that from time to time, the raw material is changing, leaving huge amount of residues (slabs, edging, pallet stock, flitches, etc.) as new sources of raw material. Recently prices have declined for such residues as chips and w o o d waste. O n the other hand, prices have increased for round-wood supplies. O n e part of a solution could be green dimensioning, i.e. changing the basic production sequence to give a final shape to w o o d pieces before the drying. In other words, it means asking the consumer what he w i l l do w i t h the product to be delivered, bringing the marketing strategies to the top level of the industry's priorities (Gephart and al. 1995). Another solution is to increment the value-added products, as described i n the next section.  6.1.2 Value-added products The diversification into higher value-added products, among w h i c h engineered products are very important, is considered a future possibility (Natural Resources Canada 1996). " N e w engineered wood-products have been developed to meet the demands of the 21 Century" (Guss 1995). st  Indeed, this solution is one that many producers are willing to try i n the near future. Moreover, the fabrication of value-added products is possible not only for big mills but also for smaller size enterprises. Obviously, big firms are favored by their larger financial and material resources  31  because this allows the research and development function to be completed internally (Jean 1996). 6.1.3 Opening frontiers A s regards to broadening markets, it is important to k n o w that export market demand depends o n the need of the importing countries, the exchange rate, the availability and demand i n N o r t h America, and finally the tariff and non-tariff barriers (among w h i c h economical policies and treaties are very important) (Jean 1996, Puttock 1994). O n e impact of the North-American Free-Trade Agreement, is that the survival of enterprises i n such a new competitive framework was linked to the development or acquisition of the most advanced technologies (Bernier and al. 1991). Other studies also concluded that Canada was not a leader of technological innovation (Anonymous 1989). 6.1.4 Distribution A s demonstrated b y the study conducted i n Quebec during 1993, the distribution chain for forest products was expected to become more direct w i t h the reduction of intermediaries i n the distribution chain. That makes producers and end-users closer to each other. Often, alliances w i l l result from this rapprochement.  Frequently, alliances and especially the choice of  manufacturers included i n these groups is based on their aptitude to master the new information technologies and h o w good they can integrate these into their process (Jean 1996). Once again, it w o u l d be appropriate to find out where Quebec stands on this aspect.  6.2 Quebec Sawmilling Industry Profile 6.2.1 Products Principal Products Quebec softwood lumber industry produces many different products  ranging from the  traditional dimension lumber to value-added products, including M S R lumber. It is important to remember that coniferous species are k n o w n and recognized for their strength properties, and for that reason, softwood sawmills are i n essence producing structural lumber. O b v i o u s l y the industry is a primary one, which means that treated w o o d as well as remanufactured w o o d as  32  trusses are not primary outputs for Quebec sawmills and therefore are not included i n these figures. The actual proportion for each type of products produced by respondent mills is presented i n figure 4. Figure 4: Production  1  100,0% 90,0% 80,0% 70,0% -I 60,0% 50,0%  -I  40,0% 30,0% 20,0%  -I  10,0% 0,0% to  .< ou  10  O  2  C  3  TO  w  .a  CD  b  0i  0) d)  ^  I I  i I  0. Secondary Products Secondary products are gaining more importance i n Quebec. Their increasing value means that if a m i l l can not get r i d of its residues, it w i l l have to shut its production down. M a n y things are responsible for this fact. First, economics is an important one; burning residues is not allowed and, i f residues can not be sold, they w i l l have to be buried at a relatively high cost. Figure 5 presents the possible avenues for wood-waste products.  1  Dimension lumber: Surfaced softwood lumber of nominal thicknesses from 2 through 4 inches and nominal widths 2 inches and wider, designed for use as framing members. Boards: Surfaced softwood lumber of nominal thichnesses 1 inch. Structural joists and planks: Surfaced softwood lumber of nominal thicknesses from 2 through 4 inches and nominal widths 5 inches and wider Posts and timbers: Rectangular softwood lumber, rough or surfaced, of nominal thicknesses from 2 through 4 inches and nominal widths 2 inches and wider. Beams and stringers: Rectangular softwood lumber, rough or surfaced, of nominal thicknesses 5 inches and thicker, with nominal widths more than 2 inches greater than thickness. MSR: Machine stress-rated lumbers.  33  Figure 5: Secondary Products Use 100% 90% 80%  El Stocked • Burned  70%  B Burned  60%  • Other  50%  • Liters • Energy  40%  • Panels  30%  BP & P 20% 10% 0% Wood Chips  Sawdust  Planing & Shavings  Bark  6.2.2 Sales Clientele The buyer is priority number one for the Quebec softwood lumber producers. Whereas, 60% of them affirmed that their clients and especially the client's opinion is imperative for the good health of a m i l l : without the customer, we are nothing, they said. Another 10% gave the customer and his opinion a grade of 4 out of 5 (very important), and 15% ranked them as important. That leaves still a 15% of the producers considering the client as non-important, the only thing that matters according to them is the production.  F o r people w h o care about the buyer's perceptions, they have to collect customer information i n some way. M a n y mills simply referred to the sales department or just denoted the number of claims received to amass customer's opinion, respectively 37% of mills and 7%. Others conducted surveys (17%). Finally, 16% of respondents visited their buyers to inquire about their opinion, 13% asked for it when their clients visit, 11% of respondent d i d not collect these comments. Where are we selling? The most important market for the mills surveyed as well as for the rest of Quebec is the United States. 50,5% of the 1995 production of the m i l l surveyed was directly sent to our American  34  neighbor. In the Canadian market, 19% went to Ontario and 2,5% to the Maritimes. Quebec kept 26% of the production. A d d i n g all these numbers, the result tells that 98% of the production stayed w i t h i n N o r t h America. The 2% left-over was sent overseas.  A m o n g the most frequent overseas market cited, the U n i t e d K i n g d o m gets 0,7% of the Quebec production, according to the survey. After the U K , the Middle-East accounts for a little more than one percent, and Asia less than one percent. Strangely the regions that seems to export the most are A b i t i b i and the Chaudiere-Appalaches, w i t h a little from the Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean. How do we sell? Regarding the distribution of the products, most of the time brokers were used. O n the N o r t h American market, 61% of the lumbers sales was transacted b y brokers. In second position, always on the North-American market, agents gathered about  15% of the production.  Otherwise, some manufacturers sold their product to other manufacturers or re-manufacturers, that can rework the primary products. This happened 13,5% of the time. Finally, direct sales to the retailer occurred i n 10% of the cases. In overseas markets, agents are favored gathering 68% of the production. Otherwise, brokers were used. Adaptability A last question was asked to manufacturers i n order to verify the future perspective o n market openings and production expansion. They were asked whether or not they could produce lumber for export, especially regarding metric dimensions and quality. In almost 70% of cases the answer is yes. So w h y so few mills export? Producers were very clear about this; the price is not right, especially when compared to sending softwood to the American market. Sawmillers stated that there must be a $100 premium over the North-American price to export overseas.  Generally, sawmillers consider themselves being able to export, but it is important to remember that the Quebec sawmilling industry is a very traditional industry and distinctly non-liberal one. F o r that reason, implementing a change is often a very long term operation.  35  Part  IV:  Technology-products-markets  36  synergy  7.  SYNERGY  Subsequent to the preliminary analysis of data, a more detailed analysis was conducted i n order to l i n k the different technologies employed i n mills across Quebec to their market penetration. The first observation is that only a few mills exported over-seas during 1995. Moreover, the diversity of their products was narrow. F o r these reasons, it was not possible to study the interactions between technology parameters and the final destination of Quebec production.  The statistical method selected to investigate data relationships was a partitioning clustering technique, the K-means cluster analysis. Using this technique, it was possible to identify 4 clusters: t w o regarding the equipment optimization level, and t w o regarding the intensity of the quality control activities performed i n the sawmills. In the following pages, the t w o analysis w i l l be presented, followed b y a description of the 4 groups as well as the elements differentiating high technology mills from l o w technology mills.  7.1 Equipment T w o clusters were established based o n the technological sophistication level of equipment. The first group includes 26 mills, while the second group consisted of the other 13 mills. T h e variables used for the cluster analysis are listed below, i n Table 5. This table shows the final proportion of mills that answer yes to the initial question: do y o u use this piece of equipment? In order to perform the cluster analysis, all the initial data was coded i n binary form; either the m i l l was using the equipment (1) or not (0). Then, the analysis was performed w i t h the computer package SPSS asking to classify data into two clusters i n a m a x i m u m of 10 iterations w i t h a convergence criterion of 0,02. After that, the mills i n each clusters were grouped. Table 5 presents the summary of the proportion of mills using each piece of equipment belonging to each cluster. The exponents a and b appears when there is a significance  difference in the proportion or the average for each technology group. This difference was tested by an hypothesis test (z-test for proportion and t-test for means) at the  37  significance level of a=0,05. This is also valid for table 6, and all tables placed in appendixes. Table 5: Variables Used in Clustering the Equipment Technological Level  Equipment Aspect  Cluster 1 H i g h Technology  Cluster 2 L o w Technology  95.,7%  18,8%  b  18,8%  b  -  Lasers-scanners classification  Headrig  Computerized control  95,7%  a  Log-turner  52,2%  a  6,3%  b  Positioning table  21,7%  a  0,0%  b  for log  Sawing patterns D o not k n o w 0@5 6@10  0,0%a 13,0% 34,8% 34,8% 4,3% 13,0%  1 1 ® 20 21@40 + de40 Secondary breakdown  a  Computerized control  56,5%  Positioning table  34,8%  Trimming  Trimmer-optimizer  69,6%  Drying  Computerized unit  95,0%  25,0%b 25,0% 25,0% 25,0% 0,0% 0,0% a  63%  b  12,5% a  0,0%  b  70,0%  What makes the difference between a m i l l rated w i t h a high equipment technology level from a m i l l rated w i t h a l o w level? Characteristics of each group are elaborated i n the following paragraphs. A complete table presenting all results separated into each clusters is presented i n appendix.  38  7.1.1 High Level  The first observation regarding the high equipment level group is that the mills belonging to that group have a higher annual production than the ones of the second group. Possible explanations are that higher material and human resources are available to the first group. A mill technologically more advanced than others regarding equipment often requires lasers and scanners to read the logs prior to the headrig. The device used at the headrig will most probably be a canter-twin, with computerized control for the primary breakdown. It is also likely that a log-turner precedes the headrig to set the log defects on the proper side, often accompanied by a positioning table to complete the operation of log placement for sawing. The secondary breakdown will be computerized. For the trimming, optimizers are the most frequent devices used. Finally, drying is very important and most mills do dry their lumbers. Engineering, productivity and performance studies are regularly conducted. In this way, it becomes possible to closely follow the production output and sometimes suggest modifications to improve the effectiveness of the process. Most frequent answer among the mills' member of the high level group regarding the reason behind modifications is to increase efficiency and recovery. Quality control also has a major role for the high equipment level mills. For most of them, preventive quality control programs can be found. Both data collection and analysis are done on a regular basis. Most of them have such quality control programs because the dimensions' uniformity is crucial to them. In order to reach their quality goals, the bucking station is emphasized. Training also seems to be more important for these mills, and the average annual expenditure on training is higher for members of this group. Moreover, most of them are involved in a continuous improvement program. In summary, the mills rated with a high level of equipment are generally first class industry, leaders, and are recognized as such. These mills possess sophisticated and high-technology  39  equipment. In these mills, it is also possible to observe complete quality control programs and more training activities. 7.1.2 Low Level The profile of a m i l l belonging to the second equipment class is described as followed. First of all, it is generally a smaller sawmill than its counterparts, w i t h a more family-based management type, and most likely located i n the Bas-St-Laurent region. The equipment that can be find at the headrig device i n this type of sawmill is typically a carriage or a t w i n . This primary breakdown is most often manually controlled w i t h no precise sawing patterns employed. O n l y a few pieces of high-technology equipment (e.g. scanners, lasers, computers, or positioning table) can be found here. T r i m m i n g is generally done manually using a Canadian trimmer type w i t h two saws. The engineering department is a very small department most often organized and managed by a production foreman that also is i n charge of the performance studies. These studies are done only when there is a problem to be solved. Regarding the tables up-dating of computers or the ones used by on-line workers, is done only when there is a major change i n price or raw material, otherwise, they remain unchanged. The electrician is most likely responsible for this up-dating operation. Finally, preventive maintenance is not used i n these mills.  Quality control programs found i n mills rated l o w equipment level are of an elementary level. Sometimes data are collected but their analysis is done only if there is a production problem. Communication, i n terms of management directions, study results, or other advice, is most likely transmitted to workers i n an oral manner, irregularly, and informally. O n l y a little money is spent annually on quality control activities, and justification for quality control can be reduced to product appearance. The most important w o r k center for quality goal achievement, if there is one, is the packaging of the final product.  Training is rated 3 out of 5, or important, as well as the importance that is given to the customer's opinion. Often, client's comments are collected by the means of a survey.  40  In a few words, the mills rated lower equipment level are often family businesses where there is an enormous desire to do well. Unfortunately, the necessary knowledge and resources to play i n the major leagues are missing. 7.2 Q u a l i t y C o n t r o l The quality control activities performed by the Quebec sawmills i n 1995 generated t w o levels of intensity as for the equipment; high intensity level i n the quality control activities and l o w intensity level. The first cluster, or high intensity level i n Q C activities regroup 26 mills, the 13 other mills belonging to the l o w Q C intensity level. The variables used to established these t w o clusters are presented i n table 6.  41  Table 6: Variables Used in Clustering the Q C Intensity Level.  Equipment Aspect  Schedule Up-dating  Secondary products  Preventive maintenance  Control activities  Analyze  Links  Computer software  Cluster 1 High intensity Not doing it Price or raw material change If problem Regular Chips, control Sawdust, control Shavings, control Bark, control Not doing it On paper Computerized Dimensions Machine calibration Measuring devices calibration Preventive control Standards control Log identification and source Planning station Chipping station Packing station No Yes If problem No Yes If problem None Spreadsheet Database Sawing dimensions Other  7,7% 4,2% 16,7% 79,2% 96,2% 30,8% 30,8% 38,5% 19,2% 61,9% 38,1% 100,0% 80,8% 42,3% 57,7% 96,2% 53,8% 96,2% 73,l% 96,2% 0,0% 88,5% 11,5% 3,8% 84,6% 11,5% 4,5% 42,9% 19,0% 33,3% 4,8% a  a  a  a  a  a  a  a  a  a  a  a  a  Cluster 2 Low intensity 38,5% 62,5% 0,0% 37,5% 76,9% 7,7% 7,7% 15,4% 69,2% 100,0% 0,0% 100,0% 84,6% 15,4% 7,7% 92,3% 23,1% 69,2% 38,5% 46,2% 76,9% 7,7% 15,4% 84,6% 7,7% 7,7% 100,0% 0,0% 0,0% 0,0% 0,0% b  b  b  b  b  b  b  b  b  b  b  b  b  Most likely mills belonging the high equipment sophistication level also belong to the high intensity level in the quality control activities. The next table presents the existing relationships between the equipment and quality control clusters.  42  Table 7: Mills distribution in the different clusters.  Equipment, high level  Equipment, l o w level  Total  Q C , high level  20  6  67%  Q C , l o w level  3  10  33%  59%  41%  100%  It is then possible to draw the picture of each cluster of quality control activities' intensity. It seems of interest to k n o w that i n most cases, characteristics from the first class of Q C activities' intensity are the same as for the high level of equipment sophistication. A complete table presenting all aspects covered by the research and regrouping variables under the different clusters can found i n the appendix. 7.2.1 High Level The most frequent log bucking equipment i n sawmills showing high intensity of Q C activities is the multiple device. A t the headrig, most mills have a canter-twin unit. Often, a positioning table is found at the secondary breakdown, plus a trimmer optimizer to complete the sequence. Engineering is frequent for these mills. Schedule up-dating for example is done o n a regular basis. Most of the equipment calibration is done by the electrician, responsible for this task. Q u a l i t y control activities are important to high intensity Q C mills. Their first concern is to perform a preventive type quality control. Moreover, it is possible to observe quality control at the planning, chipping, and packing steps of the process. Data analysis is regularly done, and the l i n k between the different processing steps is established constantly. Most often, the person responsible for the quality control program is the m i l l technician. Great importance is given to quality control and for that reason, financial resources attributed to quality control activities are also high. The most important process steps for these firms are the secondary breakdown and the planning.  43  Quality is important, as is training. A lot of money is therefore invested i n personnel training. M o s t mills belonging to that cluster are also involved i n a continuous improvement program. A propos, it is interesting to k n o w that regardless of the level for equipment sophistication or the intensity of quality control activities, the more money that is invested i n quality control activities, the more money that is also spent on personnel training. It seems as though quality control and training were directly related. This connection has been shown i n 49% of the cases. The last differentiation between high and l o w intensity level i n the Q C activities is about the customers. F o r the members of the first group, buyers are indispensable and all means are used to get closer to that client i n order to better serve his needs.  7.2.2 Low Level A s for the l o w equipment sophistication level, mills belonging to the l o w Q C activities' level are mostly located i n the Bas-St-Laurent region. Perhaps they are smaller but this size difference is not significant to conclude this. Regarding the equipment used i n processing logs, often a carriage can be found at the headrig. The other pieces of equipment used throughout the m i l l are not of one special kind. The engineering department  is generally a small department, when it does exist. In that way, the  schedule up-dating w i l l be done only if there is a major change i n prices or raw material, otherwise they are kept unchanged.  F o r these firms, quality is often synonymous w i t h productivity increases or the reduction i n machine downtime. N o preventive maintenance and no data analysis is here done. It is indeed an elementary quality control program. Furthermore, very often there is no quality controller, and if by any chance there is one, it w o u l d be the engineer. F o r all these reasons, quality costs are most of the time u n k n o w n .  Training is, i n these mills, considered as important and therefore receives a mark of 3/5. Customers opinions are not very important, and are not collected.  44  7.3 Summary T w o major tendencies can be observed from the four clusters previously described. The first one is that the high-tech group, aware of the details that make the difference, also have the financial and material resources to serve the client better. O n the other hand, there is the familial business, w i t h a tremendously high level of w i l l but without the technological means to achieve desired results. T h e next chapter draws the conclusions of this research, presenting hypothetical solutions and potential strategies to improve the Quebec sawmilling industry based o n the results of this study.  45  8.  DISCUSSION: I M P R O V I N G T H E INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE  Quebec sawmills generally showed a relatively high technological level for the equipment used i n processing w o o d . Twenty-five percent of the respondents said that they spend over $100 000 annually and another quarter are motivated by quality control activities putting their customers at the top of their priorities list. The Quebec forest industry has always been exemplified b y their high technological level and the adaptability of lumber manufacturers w h i c h maintains Quebec as the second largest producing province of softwood lumber. Nevertheless, Quebec must embrace the reality of globalization. A s a consequence,  the  industry must take steps forward to better serve its clients and maintain or gain international market share. This evolution has to be taken by improving the technology used i n mills. Energy, resources and time should be invested i n quality control techniques and personnel training programs since much of the equipment is already at a high technological level. The next section presents recommendations concerning this industry progress.  8.1 Potential Strategies and Possible Orientations Cluster analysis for quality control intensity and equipment sophistication level underlined some general tendencies of both high technology mills and l o w technology mills. These tendencies are reviewed i n the next paragraphs, as well as some comments given b y leading sawmillers during the interviews.  The first consideration concerns equipment. It was clearly established that all leading edge technologies are very important. A m o n g these equipment types, the following are typical standards for the high technology m i l l , as shown by the cluster analysis: •  Lasers and scanners, adding precision when reading pieces of w o o d for further transformation;  •  Positioning table and log turners, allowing w o o d pieces to be processed exactly as analyzed;  46  •  Computerized process control i n order to optimize sawing performance;  •  A l l optimizing devices;  •  Finally, w o o d drying.  T o improve the technological level of Quebec softwood sawmills, equipment enhancement could be accomplished w i t h the addition of control systems used to process logs (only 22% of the mills used optimized devices at the moment of the data collection). A s shown by the survey, lasers, scanners, and computers are other elements that can help facilitate the process, and therefore their use should be increased. The earlier i n the process sequence that control is put i n place, the better the conversion of the raw material. C o n t r o l starts at the log bucking station since, at this process step, everything along the sawmilling line can still change. A d d i n g to equipment is a good start but may be insufficient. Engineering, performance studies, and production control are also very important variables i n improving the technological level of a m i l l as indicated by l o w use i n l o w technology rated mills. Likewise, those responsible for these tasks should be carefully chosen such that their specialization w i l l improve the efficiency of the operation. In addition, preventive maintenance seems to be of great interest to assure longevity of equipment and i n managing m i l l operations (low technology cluster members did not use preventive maintenance systematically; 43,5% of the members of the l o w equipment cluster did not use it, and 69,2% of the l o w quality control level members did not use it).  Regarding quality control, the time and resources given to these activities need to be increased. Thirteen percent of the respondents said that they were not spending money at all on quality control when the data was collected. Preventive quality control programs, allowing for a continual control on the w o o d transformation, are without a doubt the best choices; 57,7% of the members of the high quality control intensity cluster had such programs. Q u a l i t y control activities should be planned for every process step, including packing, chipping and planing operations.  Statistical quality control should also be used more widely, including data  collection and analysis on a daily basis as proven by the 88% members of the high intensity clusters for quality control. M a n y computer packages are n o w available. T h e y should be used  47  and education is necessary so that more people can use them. A good way to widen their use is by giving the responsibility to education establishments. Another possible solution is the creation of discussion group w i t h i n the different regions of the province so that different workers w o u l d could meet and exchange ideas.  Personnel training also needs to be emphasized as it brings together equipment, quality control and process control i n maximizing the raw material value. Training i n a m i l l starts w i t h communication w i t h i n different w o r k i n g levels (e.g. from the manager to the on-line worker). Research demonstrated that mills rated technologically high communicated more often i n written form and also met more often. Written information is more accurate than verbal communication and costly errors tend to be avoided. Likewise, regular meetings could provide the best means to transmit exact information to many workers, at once. Moreover, a meeting allows for the possibility of group discussion and problem solving. Continuous improvement programs are the favorite way of making employees motivated, as shown by the large amount of members of higher technological clusters enrolled i n such program. Such programs indeed allow the specialization of workers and mills, at the same time as increasing the technological level of an industry.  In 1995, the Quebec softwood market was almost exclusively North-American (98% according to this study) for many reasons including natural catastrophes (as major floods that occurred i n the U . S . during 1995). T o remain internationally competitive, the market for Quebec's lumber needs to be enlarged and the products diversified. F o r now, Quebec's production is synonymous w i t h the dimension lumber produced by all mills visited. T o integrate other markets, a shift to value-added products appears as a good solution. Moreover, many intermediaries are used i n selling w o o d to every markets. These intermediaries keep the customer away from the producers, making it very difficult to gather feedback. F o r all these reasons, it is of interest to get closer to the customer by reducing intermediaries, and i n that way, it w o u l d be much easier to produce exactly what the buyer wants.  48  8.2  Summary  The Quebec softwood sawmilling industry is one that always seeks the opportunity of new technology to improve its performance. Consequently, many high technologies are found i n mills, including a lot of scanners and optimizing devices, as shown by this research. 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APPENDIXES  53  •a  o o  .2 & S3 3 U  oo  CO  S3  •a  o o  II  ca 3  0 <o  to  "  00  .S  c  b  •a  | • • •  ' 1 *  sI  oo c  co  3  T3  O Z  '% o  -  00  .S oo  o  £• • •  w  CJ  to  co to  <U C  c  SP  co  P  e 00  3  (3  o  ^ 00  M  —  '3. ^  O  CJ «  d.  u  CO =>  ^  00  g .5  o  >,  o  >>  R 5" £ Q  &tS  o >-)  b  8.  CS 3  a  E  3 Vi  5. 'o '5 w 2 2  53  o  •S >  c3  P J2  o< 2  * T3 C3  -5  P  a 5  •&  c  &2 u  co  oo a "p a, o c IT p ~a c o  ?3  o  cd ca Q c 13 a. u a, u u a. bO 3 •a ' a •8 .3 .t? VI  .E c oo y 'S. .S ^ 3  V  O o  o  _  g  tr.  b a  =3  oo  O  •a  o  co  3  bO  Q  a  CO  00  o. ~ °" 00 u C £ T3" > .  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Type o f sawing control: manual, table, optimized. Software used for the process regulation. Modifications: why and who does them. Machine calibration, performance studies, table up-dating for each process step. Who does these tasks?  1.2.2 QC • • • • • • • • •  Q C programs, what are they? Amount o f time and resources given to such programs? Company philosophy: why is Q C important? What are the most critical process station to achieve your quality goals? Data analysis: Who, when, how? Q C report: Who, when, how? Communication Software used and why. Who is affected to Q C ? (Number o f people, study level, etc.) Customers' opinion: Is it important? H o w do you measure their satisfaction?  1.2.3 Training • • • •  Is it important? Programs? Resources? Who is responsible?  60  1.3  Products • • • •  1.4  What are they? H o w are they sold and distributed? Where are they sold? R & D for new products?  Markets • • •  W h y do you export over-seas? 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