Russell Coulter, general manager of Hancock’s Bethel mill operations standing by the new Weinig Hydromat 2000 moulder.
HANCOCK LUMBER CO.—Innovating, Evolving And Thriving
By Terry Miller
Casco, Maine—Hancock Lumber Co. has a history that spans approximately 162 years. Since 1848 the company has been servicing the forest products industry with quality Eastern White Pine products by way of continued innovation and a knowledgeable staff, according to Chief Operating Officer Kevin Hynes. “Throughout the economic downturn we haven’t stopped making improvements,” he explained. “We are constantly innovating and looking for ways to improve and become more efficient.”
The firm’s recent installations include a Weinig Hydromat 2000 moulder. Vice President of Sales Matt Duprey said, “We installed an additional Weinig moulder at our Bethel, Maine, facility, which will complement the moulder we have in Casco. So we now have two moulding facilities to handle our pattern production.”
Hancock Lumber Co.’s new Weinig Hydromat 2000 moulder. Photographed are the in feed, moulder and out feed/sorting area.
Customer service oriented, Hynes said the decisions made at Hancock Lumber Co. are in direct response to the needs expressed by the company’s clients. “We work diligently to see things from the point of view of the customer,” he said. “Expediting the product from order to finished goods as efficiently as possible for our customers is imperative, which is part of the reason we went with the Weinig moulder,” Duprey added.
Pattern manufacturing is about 25 percent of Hancock’s business. “Twentyfive percent and growing—it is a large portion of what we do,” Hynes said. “As time goes on, what customers need and want grows too. They’re looking for better quality, shorter lead times, and smaller runs. We’ve adopted an attitude that we are truly a partnership with our customers and what they need is what we’re going to provide. So when we looked at our pattern business we realized that we were outgrowing the one moulder in Casco. So we installed the Weinig moulder at the Bethel facility.”
Mike Halle, Bethel planer mill manager standing by the Pro Stand radial adjustment machine, which ensures the new moulder’s knife stock is 100 percent accurate.
“One of the major reasons for this was so we could have more pattern capacity with a high quality machine, with high quality finishes,” Duprey said. The Weinig Hydromat 2000 can be used for applications from 2-inches wide up to 12-inches wide and according to Hynes, is the industry’s leading moulder. “This is the third Weinig that we’ve purchased for our planing and finishing facilities,” he said. “We are now using this machine with four people operating it versus a whole planer mill with up to 10 people running it. Cost effectiveness is right there,” Duprey said. “Having the ability to run smaller 12-inch patterns is really key for us and an asset to our customers.”
Hancock Lumber Co. held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony when the new moulder came on line. “This is a huge win for Hancock Lumber Co. but it’s also a huge win for our customers,” Duprey said. They get the service, the flexibility and the timeliness and we become more efficient. We wouldn’t be able to do these things if we didn’t have great customers.” In fact, Duprey said the company’s clients cut the ribbon themselves. “We had our customers cut the ribbon because it was really a tribute to them for partnering with us and creating a relationship that lasts.”
Mike Halle standing next to a wall of Wp2/Wp4 Pickwick pattern from the new moulder in Bethel.
The people at Hancock Lumber Co. realize the importance of maintaining customer relationships in good times and in bad. “The orders our customers place today are not truckloads or half truckload orders, they’re a unit of this and a unit of that. They’ve had to change the way they do business and we’ve adjusted to accommodate them,” Hynes said.
Continuing the path that has brought the firm success, a new project is already underway at the company’s facilities in Pittsfield and Casco, Maine. “We have a small rip line in our Bethel facility that allows us to do value added rips with a higher quality ripped edge, like an S4S edge,” Hynes explained. “We didn’t have one in Pittsfield or Casco, so we’re installing that equipment for the purpose of taking low grade lumber and ripping off the edge defects to grade a nice high grade board that otherwise would have been used as an industrial board. These are boards that are often Select grade and the only issue is the edges.” Duprey added, “These lines are going to give us flexibility to come into new markets and at the same time increase the value of return that we get out of every log.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony with Kevin Hancock, President and CEO of Hancock Lumber Co. photographed here with Hancock’s customers in attendance for the new moulder grand opening.
“We’re operating our mills to meet the requirements of our customers in terms of volume,” Hynes continued. “The ripping operation gives us the flexibility to take an 8-inch board and make two 4- inch boards if the demand for 4-inch increases. If we need more 6-inch high grade lumber, this allows us to take 8-inch grade lumber with edge defects and rip it down to 6-inch, creating the opportunity to produce what the market demands.”
According to Hynes, intense dedication and diligent work goes on behind the scenes at Hancock Lumber Co. “There are a lot of things going on that nobody ever sees,” he said. “One of the things that we do at the beginning of every month is forecast what our customers need in the coming month based on their ordering history and what we know about each customer. Then we make adjustments to our production, maybe we saw a little more 6-inch or rip a little more 8-inch, and that all gets done before the month starts so we’re ready to hit the ground running to meet the demands of the customer.”
Jamie Place, Eastern Forest Products; Vincent Micale and Bernie Nugent, Warren Trask Company; and Matt Duprey, Hancock Lumber Co. in front of the new Weinig Hydromat 2000 moulder at the grand opening event.
“When we go into a different market or make a different product for a particular customer, we make sure the product is exactly what that customer is looking for,” Duprey said. “Our goal is to create long term relationships so we get inside the clients operation and see exactly what they need and what they’re manufacturing so that we can offer the best product available. That creates repeat business and it cements the relationship. When a customer buys our product they know they’re getting something that’s world class and that they can be successful with. We’ve created a partnership where we know what they need and what their requirements are because we listen to them and provide them with a product that they can make exceptional products out of.”
The team that makes up the sawmill division at Hancock Lumber Co. consists of 200 people, and according to Duprey, the sales team is made up of “every individual on our staff. From the log buyers, the forklift drivers, our office personnel, our leadership team, the executive team, those that operate the sawmill, the planer mill and the dry kilns; we’re all salespeople,” he explained. “There’s not an employee on our line that doesn’t know who the customer is that they’re manufacturing product for. If you have anything to do with how the customer receives our wood and how well that customer succeeds with our wood, you’re a salesperson at Hancock Lumber Co. We have at least 200 and we’re proud of what they do and the fact that we’ve created a culture within our company where everyone makes a difference and we all know the end result is to produce a product that our customers can succeed with.”
Kevin Hynes, Hancock Lumber Co.; Steve Texiera, Timber Trading Group; Tim Seale, Timber Trading Group; and Jack Bowen, Hancock Lumber Co. in front of the new Weinig Hydromat 2000 moulder at the moulder grand opening event.
Additional key personnel on the sales team include Kevin Hancock, President and CEO; Jack Bowen, Vice President of Sales; Wayne Huck, Scheduling and Sales Support; and John Kohtala who manages the Pine sales to the company’s 10 retail locations in Maine and New Hampshire.
Hancock Lumber operates a diverse array of businesses. Three state-of-the-art Eastern White Pine sawmills that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified, 10 retail lumberyards in Maine and New Hampshire and a land division with 15,000 acres. The firm is members of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) and Northeast Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA). For more information visit the company’s website at www.hancocklumber.com.
Kevin Raven-Yard, warehouse and kiln manager at Hancock’s Bethel Mill operations in front of product produced by the new Weinig Hydromat 2000 moulder.