I never realised the depth and breadth of the word ‘scale’
□ Fish skin □ Remove fish skin
□ White deposit formed on a kettle/coffeemaker □ Libra – constellation in the Zodiac
□ Instrument for measuring mass or weight □ Tartar on teeth
□ Range of values for measuring something □ Range of different levels- lowest to highest
□ Relative size or extent of something □ Ratio of size on a map/ model/ drawing or plan
□ Arrangement of music notes □ One of two possible options- binary scale
□ Represent in proportional dimensions □ Climb up over something
In North America, scale can be used as a verb for estimating the amount of timber that will be produced from a log or uncut tree. “…the operators were accustomed to having their logs scaled for inventory control”
Today, most Frame and Truss companies would favour the North American verb definition of ‘scale’ especially if it could be accurately extrapolated for the next 18 months. Then again even if we could future ‘scale’ Australia’s or even the world’s forests, it wouldn’t alleviate the immediate timber issue. There is another definition of the word ‘scale’ that would alleviate some of the pressure points facing timber frame and truss companies today.
- To grow or expand in a proportional and profitable way
- Ability of a business to grow without being hampered by available resources when production increases.
Definitions have the ability to make things seem simple – just grow or expand your business – easy! The reality of scaling up a business – it takes time, you lose before you gain and it’s hard work. However, there are a few quick wins you can implement today to position your business for scaling up.
Quick Win #1
Use the statistics data in your software. It is amazing the data that can be pulled out of the software of your linear saw- Uptime, waste, throughput, and material costs. By analysing this information you can see where your strengths and weaknesses fall. Once you know where you are, you can work out where to go. Improve optimising to save timber. Increase output. Improve Uptime. It all starts with your current statistics. Not sure how your data stacks up? That’s what your saw supplier is for!
Quick Win #2
Analyse where the bottlenecks in your production are. Take the time to take a walk through your production cycle- starting from when the raw material is delivered and walking through the process until the finished product drives off the property. Where were the touch points? Where did staff members have to walk to/from in order to fill their role? What took the most time and could it be improved? By process mapping your manufacturing you will understand the bigger picture and where improvements can be made. It will also ensure that changes are being targeted correctly.
Quick Win #3
Keep equipment working properly – in other words – preventative maintenance. Keep your saw and other machinery clean, follow the cleaning and maintenance schedules provided by your suppliers and…. BOOK IN THAT SERVICE! Yes your saw will be out of action while it is being serviced- prevention is better than cure. Planned versus unplanned downtime! One day versus an unknown amount of time….
Quick Win #4
Keep up to date with the latest software for your linear saw. Your saw supplier should be releasing updated software regularly and you need to be installing it! You then need to know and understand the benefits- What are the new features? How can they help you? Is there a difference for optimising? Questions for quizzing your Service Engineer. New versions of the software should mean new and improved features – in other words, better overall efficiency!
Quick Win #5
Cross train employees. Ensure your team are able to complete a variety of roles within the business- operating the saw, assembly, driving. If someone is sick or on extended leave you want to make sure you have the capability in house to cover for that role. Training may take time but it’s important for the bigger picture.
Quick Win #6
Make sure you know your machines and exactly what they can do. Talk to your machinery provider and get recommendations on how you could use your machines more efficiently. No two plants operate exactly the same. Get the unique advice you need for your operation to get the most from your investments.
Quick Win #7
Have a visual plan! Set daily or weekly goals for uptime/ production/ throughput- display the goals- put it on the wall and make sure the whole team knows what the expectations are. Use the data and reports from your linear saw to track the goals and see any trends in productivity.
Quick Win #8 – The Most Important One!
People are your most valuable asset and your competitive edge. Take the time out of your production schedule to have the company BBQ, invest in the training, continue the safety seminars and daily toolbox meetings. Take the time to ask your sawyers what works well and what slows them down and then pass that feedback on to your saw manufacturer for suggestions. A temporary drop in production that prioritises your team will strengthen your culture – positively impacting every aspect of your business.
The quick wins – a few ideas to implement an immediate ‘scale up’ for your business.
Long term – automation will play a role in ‘scaling up’ and it may be more than a linear saw for your cutting.
Vekta has extensive experience in helping timber frame and truss companies ‘scale up’ through automation. All of Vekta’s machinery is designed around the customer- everything can be ‘scaled’ to meet your individual requirements, space and budget.
The Vekta PackFeeder – Eliminate the infeed bottleneck- keep your hungry saw cutting.
- Various sizes available up to 25 bunks
- Eliminates human error- the correct timber is always fed into the saw
- Frees up your team- no need to have an operator breaking their back trying to keep up with a saw..
Vekta’s StakPro Trusses and StakPro Frames – an easy automation addition
- Stacking solutions for finished trusses and frames – various levels of automation available
- Removes the necessity to manually handle the finished product
- Improves safety for your team
- Keep your staff building trusses and frames – not stacking them
Vekta’s Direct Delivery System – automation that will allow you to scale up quickly and efficiently.
- A conveyor and kickoff system that automatically moves cut components from the saw to their jig/ assembly area.
- Components arrive in the correct order and orientation
- Streamlines the manufacturing process- no need to cut a whole job before assembly begins
- Customised for every installation- it is not a one size fits all solution
- Scalable- you can add as many conveyors or kickoffs in the future as needed.
- Eliminate manual handling between the saw and the assembly areas.
The past 12 months have been tumultuous and we’re not out of the woods yet. From doom and gloom 12 months ago to a crazy busy, resources shortage. It has been a true rollercoaster ride. Scaling your operation either through quick wins or investment has never been so important. Shortage in timber? Maximise the benefit of your optimisation. Can’t find good workers? Invest in automation that keeps your existing employees focused on only the critical roles. Demand for increased volume? Make sure you’re getting the most out of your equipment.
Vekta is passionate about automation and partnering with our customers to scale today for an easier, more efficient tomorrow.