Cut through your problems with new ideas
Gary, head saw filer for a sawmill in southeastern Oregon, told Session 4 of our Leadership Development Lab:
“In the spring of 1992, I was the head saw filer in our Paisley, Oregon saw mill. Jim, our CEO at the time, approached me about the possibility of applying stellite to our band saws. At first I really didn’t know what he was talking about. I had never heard of satellite for band saw blades. This would be a change! I must admit my first reaction was fear. Whatever that stellite was, I was afraid that it wouldn’t work, that I wouldn’t be able to make it work. Jim went on to explain the potential benefits, which included that stellite tipped saws cut the sharpest, which speeds up productivity, run the longest between saw changes, which eliminates mill downtime. These two benefits combined would help improve our overall productivity. This would help reduce our overall costs and improve our competitive position. Jim told me that from his research, he had found that satellite saw blades were the first choice of all modern high recovery benchmark sawmills.
“After some discussions with maintenance and operations, we decided to look into the possibility of buying the equipment required to apply the stellite to our saws. The superintendents of our Lakeview and Paisley plants and I flew up to Systematic in Kirkland, Washington to look over the used stellite equipment that they had available. We decided that this equipment would successfully meet our needs. We purchased the stellite application equipment and arranged for it to be shipped to our Paisley
mill site. After the equipment arrived, we busied ourselves installing the machinery. After just a few weeks of testing, we were able to successfully apply the stellite to our saw blades. There were a few space problems. We moved some things around, and got rid of some obsolete equipment, junk that was just cluttering up our space. By working through the problems, the stellite program became a success and is now used throughout all of our plants.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is not to be afraid to try new technology, new ideas, and new approaches to doing my job. The action I call you to take is to embrace new technology, new ideas, and new approaches. Be a pioneer of change, not a resistor to change. The benefit you will gain is a new sense of accomplishment and you will be in the game for the long term.”
What new ideas, approaches or solutions to old problems have you brought to management this month? In the best of all worlds, Gary would have brought the idea of stellite to Jim, the CEO. Your company knows about most of the problems you are aware of. No one needs a list of more problems, challenges, or opportunities. Managers want solutions, recommendations, backed up with specific facts, including costs and an anticipated return on investment. As you gain a reputation for proactively solving problems, your position will be secure and your progress will be turbo charged.