Achieve Total Process Reliability Improvement

In two weeks Greg Folts, president of Marshall Institute, is presenting a paper with a client of ours, Columbia Forest Products (CFP), Old Fort NC, at the 2010 Maintenance Reliability Technology Summit (MARTS) in Chicago, IL. The paper, also released as an article in Maintenance Technology’s March issue titled 'Total Process Reliability the ‘Columbia Way’, details the recent reliability improvements CFP has achieved. More than just presenting the successes, the article discusses what CFP did, the key factors for their success and the roadblocks they overcame.

For those who are not attending the conference and haven’t already read the article, we have summarized some key points for you here. First, let’s fast forward to the current day and we’ll work our way back to uncover the reasons for their success.


Customer Service & Quality
CFP achieved a 50% reduction in post-purchase product inquiries.

PM completion has improved 52%.
The site now kits 40-50% of its jobs (up from 0%).

Overall rejects have improved by 71%.

Production per man-hour has increased by 17%.

Operators and maintenance personnel work in partnership and feel true ownership over their equipment and processes. Shop-floor wrench time has increased, and the plant is running more efficiently. CFP has achieved real culture change.

Factors for success

Corporate Culture

Columbia Forest Products

What drives and sustains CFP's reliability initiatives is their "Columbia Way" philosophy. Built on a lean background and company-wide in scope, this improvement philosophy is a way of life at the company. It permeates structure, communications, relationships, processes and problem-solving.

CFP’s leaders not only commit to leading change, they are servants to it. They support the pursuit of total process reliability earnestly. They openly communicate with all employees to challenge leadership if they appear not to ‘live’ the philosophy.

At CFP, communication is upfront, open and two-way. Leadership communicates clearly with employees about the emphasis on equipment reliability and how employee involvement is essential to its success. In return, company leaders expect employees to communicate with them about problems and successes. Given the fact that the company is employee-owned, employees receive quarterly profit and loss statements so they can see the results of their efforts.

Training has been key to CFP success.

  1. Firstly, it acted as a tool to communicate and raise awareness of the reliability initiative; the company’s desired goals and each person’s role in that goal
  2. Secondly, it facilitated as a tool for relationship building between operations maintenance and engineering through events like Basic Equipment Care
  3. Thirdly, it raised the skill level in the organization to ensure that individuals had the right skill set to attain their goals

As for the tough economy, CFP is more than just surviving by staying focused on their reliability journey. They believe that if they hadn’t implemented this reliability program they’d be struggling to survive. They have achieved major successes for sustained improvement including culture change, maintenance-system improvements, stronger inter-department relationships and leadership commitment. Despite these gains Columbia Forest Products realizes these are milestones on a much longer journey.

So here’s to CFP for their great effort and superb achievements. One thing we are sure about is that they will not become complacent, not as long as the ‘Columbia Way’ permeates their culture.

Do you have any similar experiences? Or have comments or questions about CFP? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you!

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