Cut-to-length operation gets boost in production and gain in fuel efficiency with new TimberPro 725 track carrier.
FLORENCE, Wisconsin – There’s nothing as self-motivating as being your own boss. That’s the way Lance Glime, owner of G&G Forest Products, Inc. sees it.
Lance has worked full-time in the woods with his father, Mike, since graduating from high school. Lance operates a TimberPro TN725-B with Risley Rolly harvesting head, Mike runs the Komatsu 840 forwarder. Lance’s wife Sue manages the office and tries to keep them both in line.
No day is trouble-free, of course. Yet across most of the 26-plus years he has been logging, Lance has had a strong partner in Woodland Equipment, Inc. in Iron River, Mich. Why? In addition to purchasing equipment from Woodland, Lance has been able to rely on Woodland Equipment during some trying times.
In January of 2013, in -20 degree weather, Lance’s Timbco and Rolly got stuck in a swamp and the motor burned out. Woodland service techs installed a new engine in the woods and got it back to Woodland to thaw out and clean. Woodland also provided Lance with a TimberPro 725 to get through the repair period.
Woodland Equipment understands that “downtime” is not a word that small logging operations can use often. Moreover, Woodland knows that loggers will upgrade their equipment when it makes economic sense for them. For Lance, that was after 20,000 hours on the third Timbco and Rolly. In the interim, responsive service, knowledgeable help, and parts availability for existing equipment is what a logger wants.
Woodland makes it a priority to make their whole team accessible to Lance and their other customers. Wayne and his service team are typically on the phone answering customer questions for hours each day. Russ Fennick, the backbone of WCS (Woodland Computer System), has been with Woodland since the inception of WCS, and Jim Lund, parts manager, has been managing the parts department since Lance was in high school.
Jules (Julius) Glime, Lance’s grandfather, and Mike purchased the business in 1959, naming it G&G Logging. Lance came on full time in 1989, became a partner in 1996, and bought his father’s portion out in 2010. “In 1989, we had a Bobcat feller buncher,” said Lance. “I cut and my dad skid. “We piece cut the larger trees.” Grandfather Jules hauled the wood.
“In 1996, we switched to cut-to-length, but mainly for safety” said Lance. “I was getting cut and was also hit by a tree.” G&G bought a Kato carrier with a Rolly head from Woodland and started CTL. “Then in 1999 we bought a 415 Timbco with a Rolly,” said Lance. Speaking of Woodland, he said “they were very good to me. In 2005 we bought another.”
On the forwarding side, changes were also made. “Way back in the ‘60s they had Iron Mules” explained Lance. “Then in the mid-80’s they went to a 524 single bunk Valmet. When we went to CTL, we went to a double bunk Valmet. Valmet was bought by Komatsu when we bought our 3rd double bunk in 2012.”
Husqvarna chain saws have been in the picture since the early days of G&G. Today, however, it is a very rare occurrence when a chain saw must be used. “I don’t carry a saw,” said. “The TimberPro [with] Rolly II takes care of cutting. I’ve cut trees about 30 inches.”
In November 2014, the veteran Timbco was replaced with a new TimberPro TN725-B with a new Risley Rolly. Lance said he could not be happier that the same design talent behind the Timbco track carrier, the Crawfords, began to manufacture the TimberPro track carrier. He wanted a track machine for the added support and stability it provides with a harvesting head.
The Rolly head that Lance purchased with the TimberPro 725 is his fourth head from Risley Equipment in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. The Risley Rolly single-grip harvester makes it possible to fell, delimb and optimize at the stump.
Woodland Equipment installed the Risley Rolly head on the TimberPro 725 track carrier. And the team did much more. It moved quickly to bring everything together for a purchase of new equipment after G&G’s long-serving carrier went down for good.
“Ron Beauchamp, Jr. got me this machine as quick as he could,” said Lance. “They got a rush on this machine” from the TimberPro factory in Shawano, Wisc.
“[We were] down two and one-half weeks,” said Lance. But it would have been much worse without the understanding and assistance of Woodland Equipment. “This is actually the second time they did something like this for me.” “TimberPro and Woodland have been great,” said Lance.
So, too, has Risley Equipment, said Lance. “Dean Isley, vice-president of the company, early on would ask questions [of equipment users],” explained Lance. And he used that feedback to make the Rolly powerful and versatile. One of the latest enhancements is replaceable bushings in the roll arms, which provides a tighter fit over time and can be replaced as needed.
“Risley values the voice of its customers, dealers and representatives as part of its intent to deliver the best value option for the user’s forestry prescription,” said Dean. Celebrating 20 years, the Rolly now serves in three distinct niches: harvester/processor, road-side processor and whole-tree chipping.
The TimberPro 725 track carrier with the Risley Rolly head was in its ninth month of service at G&G Forest Products when we talked with Lance in July, long enough to demonstrate its prowess in quantifiable terms. “I’ve gained in fuel efficiency and production,” he said.
“The track speed is excellent,” said Lance. “It’s so much more powerful – the tracks and the booms. I haven’t had any issues.”
Lance anticipates that 2015 will bring an increase in the annual production figure for G&G. In 2014, the annual production was 14,500 cords. “It was the best year to date,” he said.
Although production varies from year to year, Lance expects 2015 to be a more productive year. The biggest boost will come from the new TimberPro 725 paired with the Risley Rolly head.
G&G Forest Products is a contract logger for Minerick Logging in Sagola, Michigan. Lance cuts, according to instructions provided by Minerick, to 8-ft. lengths for pulp and bolts and to 12-ft. lengths of logs. Most of the logs are used by mills producing hardwood flooring or veneer.
“We cut mostly hardwood,” said Lance. “[We cut] some aspen.” The aspen pulp goes to the LP mill in Sagola, which manufactures OSB.
Florence, Wisconsin is the home of G&G Forest Products. Florence is part of Florence County, which on its east borders the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. “We stay within 80 miles of Florence” for most logging jobs, said Lance. And 95 percent of the work G&G does is for Minerick.
G&G Forest Products is a member of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association in Rhinelander, Wis.
Lance recalls the G&G relationship with Woodland Equipment goes back as far as the mid 1980s, or shortly after he began working with his father and grandfather. It was when G&G began looking for machines to support its mechanized operation. “I worked with Ron Beauchamp and believe that the success of the TimberPro and Woodland companies are due to their dedication to the logging industry,” said Lance.
Ron is the president of Woodland Equipment. His son, RJ [Ron Beauchamp, Jr.] is general manager. RJ joined his father in the family business in 2014 after being away for 30 years, working first for Mead Paper Co, followed by IBM, and eventually at Honeywell where he was Director of the National Strategic Accounts team.
Now leading Woodland Equipment, RJ fondly recalls growing up in the business. “I was a grubber when I was a kid – sweeping the shop floors, cleaning and painting machines, helping on service calls for 10 years,” he said.
RJ earned dual college degrees in business and computer science. The learning is life-long though. “I learn from the customers,” he said.
Listening is the surest way to refine and improve operations, said RJ. And it’s something Ron has been doing across more than 42 years. Ron, RJ and the entire Woodland team are committed to after-sale support and accessibility. “At least once a week, a customer will tell me how much they appreciate our service team – being able to actually talk to them and get help. I hear that.” Woodland also stocks a significant inventory of parts for the brands they sell, which helps loggers minimize downtime. The harvester computer system (WCS) is built and supported in-house at Woodland, so customers can get the expertise they need quickly.
“My dad was early into CTL, had a passion to do it well. WCS (Woodland Computer System) was built and paired with Rolly twenty years ago,” said RJ. “Lance has the Woodland Computer System. It’s user friendly and made for loggers – not computer geeks.”
Like Ron and RJ, Mike and Lance enjoy working together. “[My father and I] have a really good relationship,” said Lance. “He really enjoys what he’s doing.”
Lance said he always knew he would join his father in the logging business. He relishes the autonomy of being a business owner. There are “long hours” required to be successful in business, but Lance does not mind them. Like his father, he enjoys his profession.