NorSask Forest Products specializes in the production of eight and nine foot stud lumber, and has a capacity of 140,000,000 board feet annually. Over fifty percent of their product is shipped to and consumed in the mid-west USA with the balance being sold to Canadian retailers and brokers. Currently, as a result of market conditions the plant is running at about fifty percent capacity but that is expected to experience a dramatic change for the positive as the global home building market re-adjusts. The company is also seriously considering re-tooling, allowing them to access the burgeoning Asian market.
According to Trevor Reid, NorSask’s President and Chief Financial Officer, “As a company we have adjusted very well to the current market conditions. Since all of our products have to be taken to market by over-the-roadtrucks, we have gone to a ‘just-in-time’ inventory and delivery system which makes life a lot more simple for our customers.”
Reid went on to explain that NorSask’s ownership is somewhat unique in the Canadian sawmill and lumber business. “We are 100% owned by the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, a consortium of nine First Nations. It is very important to our owners to keep our staff of over sixty employees gainfully employed and to provide the Tribal Council with a positive return-on-investment. Our loyal employees and Volvo have helped us do that… just look at what our Volvo wheel loaders have done for us. Almost 30,000 hours on the meter of each machine, with virtually no downtime… I wish I could make that same statement about some of our other (branded) heavy-equipment.”
Asked what his secret is to be able to get such positive, high-hour endurance from the company’s two Volvo wheel loaders, Chuck Brander was quick to respond. “We hire good operators and simply follow Volvo’s recommended maintenance schedule. We change the oil and filters along with all coolant elements every two hundred and fifty hours and all fuel, transmission and hydraulic filters every five hundred hours. The only time we depart from Volvo’s recommended maintenance schedule is in the winter. It can be minus 40 Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit) for days here in the winter and we will change to a synthetic oil and grease package then. Other than that, we just follow Volvo’s operator and maintenance schedule.”
Just across the road, NorSask’s neighbor and wood chip customer, Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp owns a Volvo L150E wheel loader. “Our loader easily handles 250,000 tons of bark, chips, sludge and grit annually,” states Dwayne Mysko, Wood-room Resource Leader. “Our operators work our loaders pretty hard, but we were able to get over 25,000 hours and 135,000 kilometers from our 150 before we had engine concerns. Even at that, when it was in our shop we checked all the brakes, transmission, differentials… the works, and everything was still just like new. Maintenance-wise Volvo has been a good machine for us.
So let’s do a little recap of Volvo Construction Equipment’s history in Saskatchewan. NorSask Forest Products with two Volvo wheel loaders both with almost 30,000 hours on each meter and no serious maintenance concerns. Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp Mill; one Volvo wheel loader with over 25,000 hours on the meter and only an engine replacement, while all other major drivetrain and hydraulic components were just like new. Redhead Equipment, still a family-owned business, now with stores in Regina, Saskatoon, Lloydminster, Swift Current and Estevan, Saskatchewan, has grown to be one of Volvo Construction Equipment’s premier North American dealer groups. There seems to be little question that these two Canadian forestry resource companies along with the Regina-based Redhead dealer group have proven that one of the best ways to experience an historical, positive, heavy-equipment, Return-On-Investment is to spell it V-O-L-V-O.
Why not start enhancing your ROI by giving your Volvo Construction Equipment dealer a call?