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Optimising the wood supply chain

Forest products companies, logistics specialists and researchers have been working closely with FIEA to design a practical technology program, Wood Supply Chain Optimisation 2010. It will be profiling new tools along with successful strategies that have been adopted to improve planning, logistics and operations through the wood supply chain. This new technology series runs in Melbourne on 19-20 May and again in Rotorua on 24-25 May.

“We’re very fortunate to have attracted companies who are at the forefront of designing world class optimisation models and business inventory software solutions for forestry companies. These systems are being used by global forest products companies – including many in Australia and New Zealand – to improve their returns from the forest through to the market,” Brent said.

International and local companies will be outlining through a series of Australian, New Zealand, North American and European case studies, just how forestry and wood products companies have adopted some of these new tools. The financial and operational impacts that enterprise and logistics planning has had on their bottom line will be the focus of the presentations. “International industry leaders, HALCO Software Systems, Remsoft Inc and Progressive Solutions Inc from Canada and two USA companies, Tieto Forest & Manufacturing and TRIMBLE will all be presenting in New Zealand and Australia in May,” said Brent.

From enterprise planning systems that maximise financial performance through the entire supply chain, technologies that have been developed and are being used by some of the more innovative Australasian forestry companies will be discussed for each stage within the supply chain.

Optimising value recovery through improved harvesting systems will cover innovative log merchandising operations and some of the harvest optimisation systems that have been set up recently by companies and contractors working with Hancock Forest Management and HVP Plantations.

One of the areas where significant savings and productivity improvements are being made is in forest products transportation. Depending, of course, on the region, but forest landing to mill transportation can be some of the most expensive costs relating to wood production. A number of systems have been developed that provide web platforms for log production and inventory management, wood supply tracking and electronic docket generation. Integrated forestry transportation systems are significantly reducing transportation costs, increasing production by maximising transportation capacity, reducing loading time in the forest and improving loaded efficiency, automated docketing and dispatch.

Forestry companies that have been working recently on optimising their loading, wood transport and distribution such as Forests NSW, HFMNZ and HVP Plantations along with the technology providers will be discussing the very latest systems that have been developed in truck routing and scheduling.

Materials handling, packaging, freight forwarding and distribution developments, key issues facing the freight, shipping and transport industries and remote sensing and real-time tracking of logs and wood products will also be covered as part of Wood Supply Chain Optimisation 2010.

Another real potential for improving efficiencies and traceability through the wood supply chain is the use of electronic product coding and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Forestry companies and the logistics sector increasingly are paying much more attention to RFID technologies, particularly as tag costs have come down markedly over the last few years and as new technologies have been developed for tag design, fixing mechanisms and reading. Increasingly RFID is competing with established systems like barcoding. How the forest products industry – both sawmilling and forestry companies – are employing RFID technologies internationally will be outlined along with opportunities for adoption of the technology locally.

For more information on Wood Supply Chain Optimisation 2010, visit