Forest view

Creating Transparency for Smart Forestry

Written by Abigail Speak
Digitalisation has affected forest industries in many ways, from growth of online news media decreasing the need for traditional newspaper to an increase in online shopping that causes higher consumption of packaging materials.

Industry has responded well to the change in demand, with new bio-materials solutions replacing plastic in many areas. At the same time, biofuels are increasing their footprint as one of the most sustainable energy sources and wood-based sustainable products are more popular and more widely accepted than their plastic equivalents. Digitalisation is transforming and optimizing business towards better performance and higher sustainability.

We have come a long way, with tracking and optimization of operations possible from the forest to the mill and finally all the way to the end consumer. As in many industries, forestry ERP systems have traditionally been reliant on legacy systems that are often highly customized, which creates a challenge in adopting new technologies. Legacy systems make business performance measurements more difficult to generate, because it is necessary to piece together information from a number of fragmented systems to form the overview.

As technologies evolve and new opportunities for automation emerge, it is important to keep the technology landscape flexible and adaptive, taking into account machinery that provides vast amount of data as well as older machinery that doesn’t provide any data. The question is, what is the optimal way to connect, manage and optimize this unconnected environment?

IoT (Internet of Things) technologies provide a suitable basis for overall connection even in relation to the inherently unconnected aged machinery. It is important to establish what the weak links within the process are and fill in those information gaps to make it possible to leverage the vast amounts of information that the newer machinery is capable of providing. This can provide transparency across the whole operation, allowing the visibility required to measure and improve.

In many cases within the forest industry, visibility of forest operations is fragmented at best. It is seamless integration throughout the process that is required to gain meaningful transparency and digitalisation creates new ideas and enables optimization. Everything starts with visibility. What you can see, you can measure. What you can measure, you can improve.

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