Digitisation of the Forestry Industry

The Case for Digitisation of the Forestry Industry

My father started his company in the forestry industry exactly forty-five years ago. Back then, typewriters, mail, calculators, and telex (which was later replaced by fax) were the main tools required to conduct business.

 

Due to language barriers and geographic distance, trading houses were engaged to act as an outsourced export department, whose main task was to manage orders, oversee the supply chain, open markets, provide financial security, ensure compliance and organise logistics.

 

Despite the advancement of technology, surprisingly little has actually changed in global trade and most of all, in the forestry industry. Essentially computers and the software within are just quicker versions of the same old tools like typewriters, fax, calculators, and mail. The conveniences of modern technology have not delivered on automation of processes or their elimination to global companies. If anything, processes have become more complex, and most surprising of all is that commodity traders profiting from information and geographic arbitrage are more than ever before. Technology should have automated processes, reduced the number of middlemen, and enabled closer integration with various partners and institutions.

 

In global trade and especially a complex industry such as forestry, which is a highly inefficient market, there exists no price index. The price is determined by what can be motivated based on recent transactions or rumours, supply availability requires old personal relationships, and demand is subject to brand power.

 

Meanwhile, the market is not simplified by the fact that a seemingly endless amount of product combinations exist due to a high degree of product differentiation, thanks to factors such as fibre quality, interpretations of grading requirements, moisture content, value-adding, and finally lengths - all exist in parallel in a global market with language barriers and non-stop business and information flow, there should be significantly more efficient tools available to companies to choose from than what is available today.

 

Today a significant amount of time is spent on non-value-adding processes such as coordinating with colleagues or partners, calculating offers, tendering goods or logistics, sending offers, drafting documents, approving, analysing performance, and much else. According to our estimates with leading industrial companies, this takes up to 25% of the export and logistics teams' time.

 

Most importantly, companies work in information silos - both internally and with external partners. Due to the lack of a common framework, colleagues and partners are forced to coordinate and update via email and chat, and organise in manually updated excel sheets, folders, and personal notes, that in turn reduces efficiency, transparency, and visibility - ultimately affecting profitability and accountability as operational complexity and compliance have changed the business model to work with large bulk orders with lower average price instead of the opposite.

 

The lack of integrated sophisticated systems providing business decision support as well as supply-chain analytics and visibility is itself a risk that otherwise requires constant human assistance. When instead of minimising resources used whilst maximising profitability, customer satisfaction should be the goal.

 

We are changing this starting today - because the supply chain doesn’t end when the goods are loaded onto a truck in the factory - it's only the start. Our promise is to deliver tools that automate manual processes, enhance cross-border trade, increase profitability, and remove middlemen that combined significantly improve efficiency, transparency, and accountability - by orders of magnitude.

 

We are proud to introduce Timber Exchange - a digital platform and toolset for sawmills, importers, and forwarders to collaborate more efficiently that provides users with a common workspace that streamlines Trading, Supply-Chain Visibility, Intelligence Discovery, and Accountability. Which, in turn, saves time, improves document flow, supports the sale of smaller batches, and thereby increases the price per unit.

 

Today we automate all the key processes across Trade, Logistics, Document flow Analytics, Tracking, and News consumption that, when combined in a virtual collaborative supply chain, is the foundation of our next vision which we hope to unveil soon. A global industrial company's single most important differentiating asset and competitive advantage is the flexibility and efficiency of its supply chain.

 

We look forward to serving you and helping you become significantly more efficient. Feel free to reach out to us anytime regarding any issue.



Dubai Wood Show 2024

Timber Exchange will be at the Dubai Wood Show 2024

Dubai Wood Show, now in its 20th edition, stands as the premier destination for wood specialists worldwide. All set to be hosted at the Dubai World Trade Centre from March 5 to 7 in 2024, this annual event has evolved into the Middle East and North Africa region's largest wood and woodworking machinery trade show.

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