Breaking Out

Waratah gears up for boom year

The Waratah factory in Tokoroa has been gearing up for a boom year, as sales of its harvesting and processing heads take off around the world.


Demand for heads has been building in recent years as forestry continues to recover in most international markets, particularly in the Americas, and mechanisation continues to supplant manual methods.


Waratah estimates it leads the market for harvesting and processing heads worldwide, with the Tokoroa facility concentrating on larger models, while smaller ones come out of its plant in Finland.


A series of changes that have been introduced by Waratah at Tokoroa have increased productivity and will allow the factory to exceed its production volume targets in 2017.


Barry Gates, Production Manager at the factory, says: “In the last six-to-twelve months we’ve had a significant increase in production with all the changes that we’ve introduced.


And it’s all been achieved without having to resort to additional overtime, he adds. In fact, the amount of overtime put in by staff has dropped, whilst the number of employees has remained largely static.


Staff aren’t keen on working overtime anyway, as they prefer to be with their families on weekends, so the need to produce more heads during the regulation 40 hours has become a major focus for Waratah.


Mr Gates took NZ Logger on a guided tour of the factory last month to explain the improvements that have taken place...


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