A journey that never ends

At the Marlboro Mill, every year is part of a journey. As each New Year rolls around, we are encouraged to up the pace to achieve continuous improvement in safety, quality and reliability.

Throughout each annual journey, we are guided by Mill Manager Bill Edwards’ philosophy: “Do the right thing and everything else will take care of itself.” He believes that by applying this philosophy correctly to reliability, quality, safety and talent development, the results can be a culture of teamwork, engagement, innovation, continuous improvement and the agility to adapt to changing priorities and business needs.

Last year, the Marlboro team faced some big obstacles right from the get-go. Between the start and finish lines of a paper machine rebuild in January and hosting Domtar’s Board of Directors in December, there were many challenges, changes and achievements. Along the way, the mill passed a number of significant milestones and ended the year with an all-time safety record.

Doing the right things

For the Marlboro team, the transition to thermal paper grades was not the only challenge of 2013. As in every previous year, a successful journey requires doing the right things and doing them well throughout the course.

Giving back to the community has always been a core value for the mill and last year was no different. Activities included a lakeshore clean-up by our EarthChoice Ambassadors, a reading program for over 4,000 school-aged children (Reach for the Highest Branch), a donation campaign for the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association (Dump-the-Cup), proactive safety challenges for employees to benefit the local food bank and Habitat for Humanity, and a Christmas gift drive for underprivileged children. The mill also hosted a Junior/Senior tour for six local high schools and a Manufacturing Day event for community leaders.

The mill also hosted the Paper Machine and Pulp Dryer Functional Team meeting as well as the Metso Annual Papermaking School. Throughout the year, over 15 mill tours were given to major customers and internal employees.

To end the year, the mill hosted Domtar’s Board of Directors and the Senior Management Committee. We gave our guests the full Marlboro experience, including a close look at the recently converted paper machine. One director was quoted as saying, “I would have paid money for that tour.”

Critical leg

The most critical leg of the annual journey is ensuring employee safety. The mill strongly believes that the goal of each day is for every person to return home safely to their family. With programs and events such as Take-Two, Spot-the-Hazards, Proactive Safety Contests, Health Fairs, Risk Assessments, critical reduction techniques, safety training, sharing best practices, among others, the mill negotiated safety hurdles like never before.

In July, Marlboro celebrated 365 days with no recordables. The mill was recognized in September at the annual Mill Manager’s meeting with numerous safety awards, including the inaugural Tom Detwiler Safety Pinnacle Award, given to the Domtar mill with the best overall safety performance for the year.

In October, Marlboro surpassed Domtar’s and the mill’s record of consecutive days with no recordables and crossed the finish line by ending 2013 with its first ever calendar year with no recordable incidents. On December 31, the mill was at 521 days with no recordables.

As Bill Edwards sums up, “I can’t say enough about the efforts of the Marlboro team in 2013. There is a lot to be proud of, but to get through all that we went through as successfully as we did without a safety recordable is something that we all can feel very good about. This only happens by having a team of folks that work well together, are dedicated professionals and come to work every day with the right attitude. Let’s keep the journey to excellence moving forward in 2014!”