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Putting the “Crosshairs” on Moose and Maintenance Systems

Interviewer's Note: Frank is a native of Maine and has been an avid moose and bird hunter for many years. He leads Bowater's maintenance systems project and has experience in successfully implementing...

December 1, 2003  By Pulp & Paper Canada

Interviewer’s Note: Frank is a native of Maine and has been an avid moose and bird hunter for many years. He leads Bowater’s maintenance systems project and has experience in successfully implementing EAM systems on a corporate-wide basis.


Bowater is in the process of implementing a common maintenance system for 11 mills in the U.S. and Canada. Currently, four mills with over 1,200 users are implemented (all modules). Average implementation time/mill is 3-4 months. The system is running from a centralized data centre — with one database for the U.S. mills and one for Canadian mills. The implementation includes eight common “best practices” (e.g. pay on receipt), nine common interfaces (e.g. payroll), and standardized stores, vendor and asset hierarchy.


Lanzl: Frank, what’s the most important factor in hunting moose and how is this related to mill maintenance systems implementations?

Windle: Finding a moose is the most important step in the moose hunting process. Fortunately, moose and their “sign” are stamped from the same mold or “Cookie Cutter”, making identification easier.

Equally, the “Cookie Cutter” is the single most important factor in maintenance systems implementations. Maintenance and procurement practices must look the same across the enterprise. Additionally, stores, vendors and the asset hierarchy must be standardized as well as common interfaces to other systems. Following the “Cookie Cutter” tactic takes the guesswork, risk, time and cost out of the process, making implementation easier.

Lanzl: What weapons are used to hunt moose, and how does weapons selection relate to mill maintenance systems implementations?

Windle: If you’re referring to weapons of moose destruction, my choice is a scoped 30-06 sighted-in for 100 yards. Others sometimes use pick-ups, 18-wheelers, or locomotives. I’ve found the high calibre rifle to be the best fit for my requirements.

Likewise, fit is critical when selecting mill maintenance systems. You must know your basic objectives for your maintenance and procurement business to understand what will fit best for your enterprise. If one objective is enterprise-wide procurement, then scalability, multi-currency, e-procurement and the ability to use one source of data is very important. System scalability may not be that important when implementing a system for, say, a single sawmill.

Lanzl: How do you sell the idea of spending your free-time moose hunting to your wife? What has this got to do with mill maintenance systems?

Windle: First, I involve my wife, Christine, in a simplified form of moose hunting, called fishing. Occasionally, I let her fish or drive the boat; only if I’m not in an important tournament. Secondly, if I come across a need for additional help, I look to her to help plan the hunt. I typically start by letting her plan the meals.

Achieving top management buy-in for mill maintenance process improvement and maintenance systems implementation is a similar challenge. There are two components, ROI and a compelling business case. We calculated mill and enterprise-wide ROI then we wrote a compelling business case called the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) strategy. We also provided information on common best practices, mill readiness audits, and common system configuration. The EAM strategy was presented to management, maintenance and procurement personnel plus the project teams.

Lanzl: To wrap-up, how would you summarize the steps involved in hunting moose and mill maintenance systems implementation?

Windle: There are nine, almost identical, easy steps in each process. But, there is one major difference — the emphasis on the workload. Most of the “heavy lifting” in moose hunting occurs after the moose is shot. With mill maintenance systems, the “heavy lifting” is the standardization of processes and data, which must occur prior to implementation.

Fundamental StepsFundamental StepsMAINTENANCE SYSTEMSMOOSEIMPLEMENTATIONHUNTING1 Get Commitment1 Get CommitmentConvince CEO, CFO and top leadership to fund systemsConvince Christine that moose huntingimplementation using ROI and compelling business case.is good for our marriage.2 Communicate2 CommunicateDevelop an enterprise maintenance systems implementationGet a good moose call and keep calling until you findstrategy, and present to every mill manager, shift supervisor,a moose…even if this takes several days.VP, maintenance, purchasing agent, and accountants.
3 Form Strong Teams3 Form Strong TeamsForm core teams and mill teams with representatives fromHave at least one strong guy on team in casemaintenance, procurement, accounting and systems.you have to pack 10 pound chunks.4 Select Software, Build Infrastructure4 Select Software, Build InfrastructureRemember to test software, computers, and telecomGet a 1,000 foot cable, 4×4, pulp truck, and skidder.requirements for enterprise wide scalability before you buy.
5 Best Practices and KPIs5 Best Practices and KPIsDevelop best business practices with a focus on the mostTo keep the meat clean, haul out whole moose first,critical areas, plan work, standardization, and cost tracking.then slice and dice.6 Workflow6 WorkflowDevelop authorizations for routing of requisitionsIf you have a poor sense of direction,and work orders.use a GPS to avoid getting lost in woods.7 Standard Template7 Standard TemplateConfigure the software and do not customize the software.Always go for moose during moose season,
not a salmon hunt near a cutting operation.8 Readiness Assessment8 Readiness AssessmentAudit for mill readiness, i.e. best business practicesDon’t forget your ammo and the keyimplemented and resources trained.to your mobile gun vault.9 “Cookie Cutter” Implementation9 “Cookie Cutter” ImplementationUse the same software, best business practices, data andMoose burgers should always fit on a standard bun.technical standards for every mill; this will cut support costs
and improve systems uptime.

PPC does not endorse or recommend any weapons of moose destruction, nor does it endorse any particular moose hunter’s attitude towards his wife or comparison of such to mill maintenance systems. PPC warns its readers that any such comparisons may result in shooting oneself in the foot.

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