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The Day Before Christmas, A Loggers Tale

By: Wendy Farrand, Owner Of WFarrand Consulting

T’was the DAY before Christmas, when all through the woods,
Not a creature was stirring, all asleep like they should.
The skidders were parked on the landing with care,
In hopes that their operators soon would be there.

The cutters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of tall timber danced in their heads.
I kissed Ma in her kerchief, and donned my skullcap
Then headed to the jobsite, and not for a nap!

When I arrived on the landing, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my cab to see what was the matter!
Away to the hardwood, I flew like a flash.
Then I turned on a dime, and fell onto my Ash.

The sun on the crest of the new-fallen snow,
Made me feel I was dreaming with nowhere to go,
When all of a sudden what should I see,
A right jolly old elf peering out from a tree!

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Building Safety Culture Takes Commitment, Communication

From the ‘People Power’ column in Timber Harvesting magazine

By: Wendy Farrand, Owner of WFarrand Consulting

They say “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” which means a logging contractor may have the best business strategy in the world, but if the culture is weak or corrupt, it can destroy strategy in a heartbeat. So, if you have a low bar for what your business stands for, or how employees interact on the job, most certainly your crews are not producing at their maximum potential.

Leaders in the woods should not leave culture to chance. Company culture is more important now than ever. Focusing on culture can improve business relations inside and outside of your business. From the inside, if you put culture first, it will have a positive impact on morale, production, communication and turnover. From the outside, a strong balanced culture can attract the best operators and support staff into your business.

Culture is important in any type of business, but for those who work to move the wood, it’s more important than ever. A strong ethical culture can help set the bar for how the public views the industry we love, which always seems to be under a tightly focused microscope.

What Is Culture?

The culture of a company usually reflects the owner’s ideas for what he or she sees their company standing for. Stated in the values the company wants to uphold and reinforced by the mission statement, a company’s culture lets the world know how they will be conducting business. It’s often considered a company’s personality. Culture can propel a business forward, or hold a business back from reaching its maximum potential. It’s another one of those intangible things that consists of elements invisible to the human eye. So yes, in the woods your crew has a culture, and if you haven’t been paying attention to that culture, it may be working against your business strategy.

Culture sets the standard for how employees interact with each other. A culture where crew members feel criticized can breed secrecy. When dealing with expensive equipment and extremely dangerous situations the last thing you want in the woods is secrecy. So in the logging industry a company’s culture may eat strategy for breakfast, right after it devours your employees for a midnight snack. Respect for safety is one element to building a strong culture within a logging company.

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Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show Brings Appealing Blend

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From the September 2018 issue of Southern Loggin’ Times magazine.

Looking for a skidder, loader, cutter, sawhead, processor, chipper, mulcher or delimber? Considering a different tire brand? In the market for a truck, trailer or lowboy? Shopping for insurance? Interested in a loader or skidder contest or continuing education opportunities? Want to help support Log-A-Load for Kids? Hungering for some of the South’s best fried catfish and fixings? Want a shot at winning two $1,000 cash drawings? Craving for some entertainment? Looking for activities to entertain the kids? Want to buy a unique carving made by a chain saw artist? Interested in getting the autograph of Swamp Logger Bobby Goodson?

You’ll find all these opportunities and more at the 16th biennial Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show, set for September 21-22 at Mississippi State University’s John W. Starr Memorial Forest and Charles E. Burkhardt Pavilion & Site near Starkville, Mississippi (state highway 25 south). Most of these opportunities are available for the low $25 admission that’s good for both days. Spouses not business-active and children under 18 do not have to pay but are required to register.

Since its founding in the early ‘80s, the family-friendly event has become the South’s most popular live/static forest-focused venue, thanks to its blend of the latest equipment, technology and services; continuing education sessions for loggers and foresters; crucial support from Mississippi State University; cash door prizes; various contests; children’s activities; delicious meals prepared on site (Saturday); and tie-in meeting of the Mississippi Loggers Assn. (Friday night).

Approximately 90 exhibitors will demonstrate or display some 130 product brands and types of services, while overall two-day attendance is expected to again approach 7,000, according to Misty Booth, Show Manager.

Mid-South will again offer continuing education tent and field classes for loggers and foresters. Loggers can earn up to 11 hours in category 1 by participating and can receive up to six hours of category 2 credit (3 hours each day) simply by attending the show. Foresters can earn up to 9 hours in category I-CF. All sessions begin each day at 9 a.m. and change on the hour. More information will be available at the show registration area.

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New Phloem App Lets Loggers Track Trucking

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From the July/August 2018 issue of Timber Harvesting magazine.

The new Phloem mobile app allows loggers to track loads of timber from the woods to the mills, provide wait times at mill scale houses and allow users to report any issues encountered at mills. Developed by Savannah, Ga.-based forester and 30-year industry veteran Dean McCraw, Phloem (pronounced flow-um) is a community-based app that allows for real-time tracking and information sharing.

“Truck drivers can use Phloem to know what’s happening at the mills in real time and they can avoid problem areas,” McCraw says. He also hopes to combat timber theft by eliminating double weighing or falsifying timber origin information. Within the app, data is attached to the origin point of timber and with only one set of data per load there’s no way to forge multiple records or data.

Phloem is designed as a community app, allowing users to share real time information on the mills they utilize. It works best when more people are part of the community, feeding the app with information about turnaround times and mill delays that is then shared with the rest of the community. (This is similar to the Gas Buddy app that helps people find the lowest-price gas stations based on information provided by other users in the app’s community.)

A truck driver (or loader operator, foreman, company owner, etc.) selects the mills they deliver to, essentially signing up for alerts about those mills from others who deliver there as well. You can then select which mill you’re planning to haul a load before the truck ever leaves the woods. Even if you’re deep in the woods and your phone has no cellular service, the app stores the information until the phone connects. You can then put the smart phone away—no phone use while driving—because Phloem will track the trip to the mill and detect when the driver reaches the scales. The app then automatically starts keeping track of the turnaround time, ending once the truck returns to the scales. “At no time does the app require user input while the truck is in motion,” McCraw says. Even if the mill is holding trucks outside the scales, the app will detect it from within a set distance and will ask the driver if he (or she) is waiting. The driver indicates yes, and it starts calculating turnaround time from that point (but only if GPS tells the app that it is close to the scale house for a period of time, so no one can really lie about it).

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