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Ala sawmill is located in Ljusne, just south of Söderhamn. Half of its production is shipped abroad. The other half is transported by road to different destinations in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia.

The sawmill is part of Stora Enso’s Wood Products business area. They focus on selling value-added products, not least of which is jointed material for window frames. Christer Rosén, manager of the sawmill, started working at Ala sawmill almost ten years ago and since then has also worked a period at the now closed Kopparfors sawmill (which was also part of the group).

“I came back to Ala sawmill in 2013 and then started as production and maintenance manager. I noticed that we lacked control over our maintenance. There were a lot of emergency problems but we didn’t know how many as there was no systematic documentation,” he explains.

“The lack of control also meant that we didn’t know how high our maintenance costs were, but we suspected they were high,” says Christer Rosén.

 

A professional approach

Ala sawmill had two alternatives: invest in developing their own organization or see what they could gain by bringing in external maintenance suppliers. The latter seemed more realistic, so they invited tenders from Jernbro and three other suppliers.

“During the selection process, we particularly liked Jernbro’s professionalism in the approach they described. It was just what we needed, structure, planning, follow-up and documentation,” says Christer Rosén.

The goal is of course to increase availability to increase our production capacity. Moreover, part of the plan is that maintenance costs are gradually reduced as efficiency increases.

The commission includes transferring the co-workers at the sawmill who work with maintenance to Jernbro.

It was therefore the same competent co-workers as before, so there was no difference. Jernbro, however, strengthened the team with two people: a maintenance manager and a maintenance engineer. Even here they benefit from Jernbro being a large organization with an established network.

“There are plenty of opportunities to bring in more competence when needed, both from their own units and in the shape of other contractors in the local area. This is a great strength.”

Create conditions

At the time of the interview, a year has passed since March 1 2014 when Jernbro took responsibility for the maintenance at Ala sawmill. During this year, a lot of time has been spent on creating the conditions for starting to work with availability. We have implemented a maintenance system, developed the preventive maintenance and created a structure for handling work orders.

“Already during this year we have achieved a reduction in maintenance costs, so the total economy is better. I cannot say that we have seen any measurable results when it comes to availability yet, but that is according to plan. At the beginning, depending on the level we were on before, we agreed that we would need at least six months more to improve availability. I am totally convinced we are on the right track.”

Previously there was no maintenance system in operation so there is no baseline to compare with. A system has been introduced as well as a production control system.

“So quite a lot of time has been spent on structural changes,” says Christer Rosén.

Processes that give structure

Peter Dahlgren started working as maintenance manager at Ala sawmill directly when Jernbro got the commission. This role was new for the organization.

“Working at a sawmill was new to me, but I have worked with maintenance for 39 years,” he says.

He describes how a large part of the practical solution to the sawmill’s problem with lack of control and structure has been to prioritize preventive maintenance.

“We have our own proven process for structuring and performing maintenance, the Jernbro Maintenance Way, and it has been highly suitable in this assignment too.

The maintenance agreement at Ala sawmill lasts until March 1 2019. Jernbro will continue to work on getting the new system and structures to work with regular follow-ups of the defined sub-goals.

Christer Rosén, who took over the role as manager of the sawmill in the summer of 2104 does not exclude extending the agreement in the future.

“The component factory is not included in the agreement at the moment as maintenance there has been outside the rest of the business. But it is not impossible that Jernbro will come in there too,” he concludes.

About Stora Enso Wood Products

Stora Enso Wood Products offers wood-based solutions for everyday living and housing needs. Its product range covers all areas of urban construction. The further refined products include massive wood elements and housing modules, wood components and pellets. A variety of sawn timber products complete the selection. Wood Products is a global business with more than 20 production units in Europe, including Ala sawmill in Ljusne.

“Already during this year we have achieved a reduction in maintenance costs, so the total economy is better."
Christer Rosén, Stora Enso Wood Products

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Berndt Johansson Business & Product Development Manager +46104831183 Contact

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