News

Will New Trucking Regulations Eliminate Lean Manufacturing in Woodworking Plants?

July 16, 2018

Over the last 20 years woodworking facilities have worked extremely hard to implement Lean Manufacturing in order to improve efficiency, eliminate waste, and improve delivery and profitability.  Besides changing the mind-set of employees, one of the key components of Lean Manufacturing is just in time delivery of raw materials.

Up until recently this was not a major concern.  In 2018 Obama mandated regulations became effective which requires truckers to use an Electronic Log for all time spent driving.  This mandate has removed thousands of trucks from the roads, reduced the number of hours that a person may drive, and caused rates to increase 400-500%.  The biggest concern is that now instead of taking a few days to find a truck and have a load of lumber picked up it is sometimes taking weeks and even a month.

The end result is that companies that used to plan their deliveries down to a day or a week are now forced to inventory over 30 days worth of raw material or face a shut down.  This is counter to the principles of Lean Manufacturing which stress just in time delivery to eliminate tying up valuable resources that will hopefully be matched to incoming orders.

The big question is, will changes in the trucking industry change the way that woodworking facilities produce their products?  Will over 20 years of work be eliminated in a few months?  What can be done to bring things back the way they were?

Since 1929 the WPMA has focused on providing our members with information that can help them remain competitive and prosper in a global economy.

For more information please contact Philip Bibeau, Executive Director at 978/874-5445 or visit our website at www.wpma.org