During the Valentine’s Day snow storm of 2007, Poulin Lumber Inc had a building collapse under the 3+ feet of snow that fell in a 24 hr period. Even though we consistently remove the extra snow load from our buildings, the massive amount overnight proved too much for one of our structures to handle. The following morning, we were faced with cleaning up a disaster as quickly as possible to allow us to return to our normal operating capacity, and supply the material and service that our customer base relies on.
One of the most important facets of an operation such as this is to have a clear plan, and one “go to” person coordinating ALL the efforts, in order to keep the process flowing smoothly, and to keep everyone focused on a single goal; a sort of “Disaster Manager.” Without having an individual acting as a hub for the recovery, much time and money can be wasted, and confusion and inefficiency can quickly set in. We also found it imperative to have a good working relationship in both our community and our industry, as these relationships returned many timely offerings of help, clean up assistance, and general offers of good will. With these ideas behind us, we were able to clean up not only the disaster, but also the enormous storm remains in a matter of a couple days, and were back to normal operating conditions promptly.
Before rebuilding in the spring, we actively solicited ideas from ANY employee who wished to contribute to the design of a replacement building before we finalized plans, and received overwhelming feedback from our yard and inventory management staff. The results were astounding, producing a replacement building that is more efficient, safer, worker friendly, and ultimately, more profitable than our original replacement design. Staff members who utilize an asset daily often have much more insight than those of us who simply manage it.
Poulin Lumber Inc.