Hancock’s ‘Every Board Counts’ campaign includes an employee pledge consisting of 12 key statements to ensure every board manufactured at their sawmills meets or exceeds customers’ expectations.
HANCOCK LUMBER — Making Every Board, Customer, Employee Count
By Terry Miller
Casco, Maine—Hancock Lumber Company continues to cultivate a higher purpose among their employees, introduce innovative manufacturing processes and expand their operations, carrying on a 164-year family tradition of producing Eastern White Pine boards that are among the finest in the world.
Once again, Hancock has raised the bar to enhance their customer-based work environment, focusing on forming better relationships between the buyer and the employee responsible for the customer’s individual order. Matt Duprey, vp sales and marketing, explained, “Hancock’s marketing and sales team have developed a new concept—our ‘Every Board Counts’ campaign; an employee pledge consisting of 12 key statements to ensure everyboardmanufacturedatour sawmills meets or exceeds our customers’ expectations.What that means is that every board that goes through the hands of our employees and on to the customer will be in its bestformfromstarttofinishand we’ve gotten our employees’ commitments to make sure they’re taking ownership in their part of the process.” Hanging from the rafters in each mill are 16’ tall banners proudly boasting the ‘Every Board Counts’ logo and employee commitments.Hancock realizes that living up to their customer promises takes the combined teamwork and focus of all Hancock’s employees. “Ask any grader who the customer is for the boards they are grading that day and they will be able to tell you,” said Duprey. “And, there is a good chance that the grader has met the customer at some point duringacustomervisittooneofour mills.”
Perhaps the biggest project is the complete upgrade to Hancock’s Casco planer mill facility, which started late last fall and continued into the winter of 2012. This project includes the replacement of the manual trim tally system with a new automated trim and tally system, along with an automated end stamping station.
“On the walls of our planer mills and sawmills you will find, “Do whatever it takes to meet the needs of your customers–deliverunsurpassedstandards in quality,” Duprey continued. Hancock Lumber’s focus is on being a “Customer Centric” organization, said Kevin Hynes, COO Hancock Lumber. “Wearecultivatingacultureat Hancock where the customer and the employee have an actual ownership feeling of the products they provide and purchase. They can both take pride in the fact that they know that ‘every’ part of the process was done the right way ‘every’ time.”
“We start with some of the best wood fiber in the world, Eastern White Pine, and then we deliver on our promise by providing our customers with the grade, tally, package size and delivery time-frame they need,” Hynes continued.
Although Hancock Lumber has worked hard for the past 164 years to satisfy the needs of its customers, never in its history has this commitment been stronger.
Evidence that the new concept is becoming a natural part of Hancock’s daily operations, several of their employees from the seasoned lumberman to the newest member of the team offered positive feedback regarding the employee pledge and culture.
Hancock completed construction at their Pittsfield Operation on a building that houses a new Weinig moulder. This facility will bring the total number of planing/moulding operations to six.
On-board for 11 years, saw filer Jim Emery said, “My responsibility as a saw filer is to assure that when the saws leavemyroom,theyperform and do what they are absolutely sup- posed to do. I’ll talk to the operator and we’ll discuss how the saws are running. The person that’s watching the boards that come out, they’ll communicate back via radio and let me know if I’ve got thick and thin boards. So that’s either telling me that I need to make my curve a little bit bigger or make my curve smaller. It’s priority hit- ting these numbers and understanding my job. It’s a good feeling as an employee that I’m able to take a piece of steel and make it work out there.
“I go out and I look at the board. You’ve got yield, production, and grade. That’s telling me if we’re hitting these numbers. If we are, it sounds like my saws are doing what they’re supposed to do. The accountability aspect really makes me enjoy the challenge of my job.
“That’s what ‘Every Board Counts’ means to me,” he continued. “It starts right here in the filing room and when it leaves here, you have to know that it’s going to perform.”
Five-year boiler/moulder operator Jason Hunt offered, “‘Every Board Counts’ means that our customers are so valuable to us, we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that every board is exactly what our customers want that individual board to be.”
“‘Every Board Counts’ means that every board that goes to the customer should be a usable board,” six-year planer mill manager Wilbur Reynolds explained. “All sides, all faces—starting from a log to a board, to the kilns, to the planer mill—every board that comes out should be in its best form as a usable board.”
Five-year boiler/moulder operator Jason Hunt offered, “Every Board Counts means that our customers are so valuable to us, we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that every board is exactly what our customers want that individual board to be.
“That means I take my time in the grinding room and make certain that the grind is precise. I make sure that every piece that comes off the moulder is top quality.”
Sawmill department leadman Troy Manson, who has been employed by Hancock for eight years, said Every Board Counts is not necessarily a new direction for Hancock. “We’ve always stood behind our quality. We have our internal customers, our external customers, and we need to know, meet, and exceed their expectations. Every Board Counts is when you’re looking at something and you know it’s done right. The focus is on delivering just what the customer wants, giving them the control.
“It’s not about how fast you can pro- duce. Nobody comes down and tells you to hurry up. If you’re addressing an issue, that issue takes priority. It’s a good feeling to know that aspect is appreciated and welcomed. It’s quality over quantity.”
Eight-year lead man Jeff St. Peter added, “Every Board Counts is a future. We’ve got a job to do and we’re going to do it right from the start, which benefits us when we finish. The amount of pride that goes into each process here at Hancock is something you don’t see every day.”
Wayne Morrell, who works in the sorting department, said, “We make the best of every board that comes through our area and it’s rewarding to see the finished product and know that you had a part in creating it.”
Wayne Morrell, trimsaw operator said, “We make the best of every board that comes through our area and it’s rewarding to see the finished product and know that you had a part in creating it.”
Among the newest members of the Hancock family, Chad Glidden, who was employedinOctoberof2011 said, “‘Every Board Counts’ includes watching our waste, which is respectful to the environment. I like working for acompanythatrespectstheir resources—theenvironment,their employees and their customers.” Ensuringthattheirfacilitiesremain modernandefficient,theteamsat Hancock constantly look for process improvementopportunities,another way they continue to enhance the customers’experience. Recently, Hancockcompletedconstructionat their Pittsfield Operation on a building This facility will bring the total number of planing/moulding operations to six. “We are extremely excited about the tremendous amount of flexibility we now have to run small orders and shorten the lead on pattern orders,” said Jack Bowen, VP Sales.
Also at Hancock’s Bethel facility, the company is building onto the existing planer mill building to enable the current moulder operation to expand its footprint. “With this expansion, we will be able to increase our trimming and sorting capabilities, greatly improving the flexibility of this operation; more sorts, more patterns, shorter lead times for our customers,” said Mike Halle, Bethel Finish Products Manager.
Perhaps the biggest project is the complete upgrade to Hancock’s Casco planer mill facility, which started late last fall and continued into the winter of 2012. This project includes the replacement of the manual trim tally system with a newautomated trim and tally system, along with an automated end stamping station. The addition of automatedsortingbins and the lengthening of the current building will increase the number of sorts from 21 to 40. “This is a big project for us and we want to get it right so we are spending a significant amount of time finding the right equipment and designing the best layout,” said Mike Shane, General Manager, Casco Facility.
These expenditures are all focused with the customer in mind, one of Hancock’s core philosophies.“These investments are being done in order to continue toprovideourcustomers withasmanyoptionsaspossible,” said Matt Duprey.“The company will benefit from a product flow/automationstandpoint,butthebigwinner here is that we are providing our customers from three facilities with unmatched product sorting, packaging and end-stamping capabilities. Our formula between our mills has always had flexibility and quick turn- around times, but these new expenditures will really put us in an even better place for what today’s market demands are with our eyes on what tomorrow will need also.”
Sawmill department leadman Troy Manson has been employed by Hancock for eight years.
Hancock Lumber operates a diverse arrayofbusinessesledby Kevin Hancock, the 6th generation president of the company. The family- owned and operated company operates three state-of-the-art Eastern White Pine sawmills that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified, seven retail lumberyards in Maine and New Hampshire, two Bargain Barn outlets, one 7,000 sq. ft. kitchen, bath, window and door store and a land division with 15,000 acres of timberlands open to the public for recreation. The company is a member 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.