L & E Stover Enterprises - Resources

Is your kiln team streamlined?

Written by: Lee Stover and Evan Stover

February 20, 2017

Kiln management strategies differ from company to company, but senior kiln operators are always tasked with ensuring quality and keeping pace with other parts of the company. Collecting data and analyzing it are essential parts of these tasks, but in many deficient operations senior operators collect data but do not have the time to analyze it.

In streamlined operations, highly skilled senior kiln operators spend the majority of their time processing and analyzing information, planning and coordinating drying operations, mitigating problems, monitoring quality, and preparing reports on kiln production and quality. From our point of view, up to 60% of a senior operator’s time should be spent on these tasks
(click here for our outline of essential duties).

For a senior operator to accomplish all of their assigned tasks and advance operations successfully, more basic operations absolutely must be delegated to more junior operators who spend at least a part-time effort assisting the senior kiln operator. A kiln assistant’s tasks should include supervising the loading and unloading of kilns, monitoring operations, processing samples, collecting data and samples, and making adjustments as directed. These assistants must be skilled enough to follow directions properly and identify problems as they arise. These employees are essential for maintaining kiln operations at full capacity.

Kiln assistants gain essential experience that prepares them for potential future promotions, but their assignments are flexible and can be adjusted to meet plant needs.

In the spring of 2017, we are offering a new, two-day course that provides the essential knowledge that kiln assistants need. We will cover the properties of wood and water, reading and understanding kiln schedules, proper sampling techniques, and troubleshooting operations. Our guest instructor, Sam Richardson, will provide students with industry know-how about what senior kiln operators want to see from their assistants.

For more information about this course, or to discuss optimal organizational structures, call Evan at 814-935-3870. To register a participant in our Kiln Assistant course, click here.

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