Operations management

Created by : SME Team
Date : November 2007

The Excel tool for operations management has been developed on the request of SME. This tool allows a better follow up of the production operation time. The information can be sorted by production number, date, employee’s name or simply by operation. The tools also include performance indicators covering a limited period of time to simplify the user interface.

Based on the principle that nothing can be improved unless it has been measured, the Excel tool for operations management was developed to help businesses improve evaluation of their operating times. Production time data are very useful in operations planning, operation chain balancing, project profitability, and manufacturing cost implementation. The tool helps to define non-value added operations and those that could be improved.

As needed, the Excel tool for operations management can be used to manage the whole production system or specific projects.


Insert files

The document requires the use of macros.  To activate macros, select “tools” in the top menu, then “macros” then “security”.  The recommended security setting is “medium”.  Open the document and then click on “activate macros” while the document is opening.



Kiln Drying Planning Tool

This tool was developed in collaboration with Natural Ressources Canada.
Date : Augus 2008

Using air drying prior to kiln drying of the lumber offer a great potential of energy savings and productivity increase by reducing kiln drying operation time. The present FORAC drying energy tool will help the production manager of a lumber mill to develop a strategy for planning the usage of air drying operations in combination with kiln programs in order to improve the overall efficiency of the drying operations. The final strategy will specify for which products to make use of air drying, at which period of the year and in combination with which kiln (possibly using different technologies) and kiln program. All of this is done taking into consideration the planing production schedule, the availability of green lumber and the storage and kiln capacity.


Tool installation

When you download the tool from Internet, you get the file “Kiln Drying Planning Tool Setup.zip”. You first have to unzip that file and then double click “setup.exe” which will proceed with the installation. The installation will create a new start up program menu item “Kiln Drying Planning Tool” under “FORAC”. If you accept all the default options of the installation, the program will install itself in the default “Program Files” Windows directory under “FORAC\Kiln Drying Planning Tool\”.



Procurement management

Created by : SME Team
Date : Summer 2007

This Excel tool was developed for helping cabinet makers to manage their procurement, but can be used for any manufacturer who wants to better control it. Using a data table, it allows a company to manage its purchases by supplier, by project, and/or delivery date.


Managing procurement by supplier

Managing by supplier allows the buyer to manage the products list and their associated prices previously negotiated with each supplier. Moreover, the history of the purchased products and prices paid are available by supplier. It is possible, for example, to know, for each supplier, the value and quantity of annual purchases.

Managing procurement by project

Managing your purchases by project makes it possible to control quantities and costs of raw materials consumed all along a project. Analyzing your cost by project and doing “Post Mortems” thus becomes easier.

Managing procurement by delivery date

Managing your purchases by delivery date simplifies follow-ups with suppliers when reception dates are not respected. A good follow-up with suppliers allows for a better production planning.


The following links presents how to use the tool and the Excel tool.

*The document requires the use of macros.  To activate macros, select “tools” in the top menu, then “macros” then “security”.  The recommended security setting is “medium”.  Open the document and then click on “activate macros” while the document is opening.



Planning of the drying and finishing operations

Created by : Jonathan Gaudreault

In collaboration with: Sophie D'Amours, François Léger, Alain Rousseau, Steve Harvey
Date : June 2005

A simple step to improve the planning process

Improving the planning of the drying and finishing process has many advantages for a sawmill. In the short document that follows, you will discover which methods can be put in place to improve this process. The author concentrates on short term improvements in a context where the planning is done with the help of a spreadsheet type program

Planning of the drying and finishing opérations - Document PDF 80 K [French only]


A series of tutorials accompany this document. They explain the functionalities which can be integrated to the planning tools, based on spreadsheet type programs. The examples described are for Microsoft Excel



Planning rail car loads

The tool is made for the loading of a rail car with softwood of various dimensions. When a load contains products of the same quality, thickness and width, but different lengths, loading becomes more complicated. 

This tool allows planners to quickly calculate the optimal load of bundles when lengths are different.  The objective is to maximise the space used in the car, so that it is filled to capacity.


Using the tool :

  1. Indicate the length of the car.  The bundles will be loaded to fill the car as much as possible.
  2. Indicate the number of bundles.  For example, you could say that you have seven bundles of different lengths.
  3. For each separate bundle, indicate its length and the number of bundles of this length to load.  You need to indicate lengths in ascending order.
  4. Click on the button “Plan load” to start the planning tool.


Reading the results 

Each line represents the maximum load for each row in the rail car.  Therefore, you will know the number of bundles to place in each row in function of their length.  The Total column represents the length used by the bundles in the row.


New! Excel version of the tool.

Download the tool



Statistics applied to forestry

This formation introduces the concepts required for the evaluation and quality control of forest management activities. It focuses on basic elements of sampling theory and implementation of statistical compilations necessary for silvicultural prescriptions, monitoring interventions and follow-up after intervention. The references used in this training are inspired by the information needs related to activities in public forests. However, it is important to note that the principles presented are universal and that they can be implemented in different contexts and fields of expertise.



Understand the basic principles of sampling and estimation to apply them judiciously when situation demands.

More specifically, this training has the following objectives:

     o implement the sampling concepts for the realization of a sampling plan;

     o justify the choice of the type of observation point (plot size);

     o justify the number of plots to carry out (to calculate the sample size);

     o use statistics to evaluate the reliability of results;

     o know the limits of estimating rare events;

     o compare 2 samples.


Target audience

  • Foresters and professional engineers responsible for sampling for inventory of interventions and for monitoring of forest interventions.
  • Managers and plant managers, sales managers, responsible for production planning at the tactical and operational level.



Click on the link to access online formation [in French only]