Friday, July 10, 2015
Last year, Wood-Mizer’s representatives in Ukraine
came up with an advertising campaign designed to encourage their countrymen to
look around them and find opportunities within the Ukraine for employment. Many
Ukrainian young people have the perception that working outside of the country
brings the best returns, and spend months at a time away from their growing
families working in foreign lands.
“After talking to family and friends who had worked abroad about the
difficulties they experienced,” shares Alexander Tverdohleb, CEO of Wood-
Mizer Ukraine, “We asked ourselves why it had to be this way, when Ukraine
is such a large country with many possibilities if you have determination and
Alexander and his team came up with a slogan, “Earn an income in your
homeland”, and published the advert on billboards alongside roads and also
ran TV adverts with the message.
The response to the creative advertising campaign was good, and they were
contacted by a young man named Andrew, who was employed at a nearby plastic
window and door manufacturer.
“I saw the advert,” shares Andrew, “And it started me thinking
about the possibilities of opening my own business. I read all I could find about
sawmilling, and then decided to visit Wood-Mizer Ukraine’s offices. While
there, I saw a demonstration of the LT15 sawmill and it was love at first sight!
He decided that this was the route he wanted to take for his new business. To
fund the sawmill purchase, he sold his Skoda Octavia and with those funds he
bought the LT15 sawmill and an inexpensive work van. He rented a site and poured
a cement floor. The specialists from Wood-Mizer Ukraine delivered the sawmill,
set it up, and trained him on its use.
“I learned quickly,” Andrew recalls. He started sawing timber alone,
but soon was busy enough to hire an assistant who has also learned how to saw.
His customers are mostly locals who need small orders of boards for home projects
or on the farm. At times, he is able to secure larger orders. Depending on the
volume of orders, sometimes they work from dawn until late at night, and
sometimes they only are sawing a few hours during the day.
“We do not rush through orders and ignore quality,” Andrew shares.
“We offer our clients advice how to get the most out of their logs, and we
monitor timber quality carefully.” Andrew is proud to share that although
his business is new, a significant portion of the business is coming directly
from word-of-mouth recommendations from his previous clients.
Oak, larch, pine and spruce are the most common species they cut for customers.
In order to ensure quality, they keep a range of Wood-Mizer blades in stock that
are designed for specific types and densities of wood. After a blade finishes
cutting one cubic metre of finished timber, it is set aside for sharpening. They
take the blade off the sawmill before it is too dull to continue sharpening, and
also allow it to rest a few days before putting it back on the sawmill. This
results in prolonged blade life through multiple sharpenings. Once a week, he
sends used blade to Wood-Mizer Ukraine’s blade ReSharp service, and the
blades are returned shortly afterwards, sharpened and ready to cut. The largest
volume they have cut in one day is eight cubic metres.
Knowing that diversification will help his growing company withstand market
instability, Andrew has already started to build and sell pallets. He also has
identified two other areas for expansion; by adding a MP150 moulder/planer to the
LT15 sawmill, he can produce moulded columns and beams for builders, and by
investing in a mobile LT40 sawmill, he can cut timber at the client’s
Is Andrew pleased he chose to stay and not try to find work abroad?
“Frankly, trying to find work abroad would be more financially risky that
what I’m doing now,” he shares. “When you have to be away from
your family for such long periods of time, you can potentially lose out on things
much more valuable than money – your relationships. I don’t want my
daughter growing up without a father. When I worked at the factory, I often left
for work before she woke up and came home after she had already gone to
“Now that I have started my own business, I have more flexibility to plan
my schedule and spend time with my family. I have to say that thanks to Wood-
Mizer’s product, my wife and daughter have a husband and father that is
able to come home to them every night. This is the advantage of choosing to stay
at home and make it work.”
Author: Lubomir Koval, editor-in-chief of "DEREVOOBROBNYK" newspaper in Lviv,
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