For today's logger, the training process varies, and can often be informal or passed down from generation to generation. The workforce is also highly variable in terms of age and experience, which proposes the challenge of how to design a training program that meets the needs of both populations. Despite these challenges, one constant is true – a well-trained equipment operator is a productive operator.
Whether your logging operation includes just a few machines or a large fleet, ensuring your crew has proper training and education is crucial, and will have a big impact on your bottom line. Here are the facts in terms of profitability, efficiency and safety:
Proper equipment operation can have a substantial impact on fuel efficiency. This starts with training the operator in fuel-saving practices such as idle-time reduction and running each machine at the proper rpm for the application. Operators who train on simulators or equipment off the jobsite can develop the work habits and motor skills they need faster and more efficiently than operators who learn these valuable skills on the job – formal training quickly pays for itself.
Proper maintainance training helps minimize equipment breakdowns by operator error, which in turn reduces costly downtime and unscheduled operating costs on the machine. Quick, daily checks help prevent problems before they occur, which is why ensuring that your crew is properly trained to conduct daily checks and regular maintenance is a preventative step to avoid interrptions and keep your business running smoothly. These daily checks may seem small, but go a long way toward keeping your machines on track and on the job. A well-maintained machine is also more likely to provide better fuel efficiency over a longer period of time.
The most important part of a forestry machine is the operator, which is why general safety training, equipment safety training, communications and safe operating procedures should be an essential part of any logging operation. Not only is safety training necessary for the well-being of your crew, it is also an important step to keep your machines operating efficiently and issue-free. Playing it safe with regular inspections will go a long way toward optimized working conditions for your crew, increased productivity, reduced downtime and lower operating costs – it really does pay to include safety inspections in your maintenance routines.
A final word of advice – when in doubt, be sure to regularly consult with the manufacturer of your equipment and engines to discuss safety and training concerns.