May 28, 2018

Wood traceability - an important production value factor

Johan Halling

Product Owner, Tieto Wood & Fibre

Knowing each batch of your incoming wood inside out, with automated stock-keeping in real time, you will not only manage your inventory more efficiently but also realise cost savings in production.

Forest industry managers don’t often mention wood traceability as a key requirement when striving for more streamlined production and better cost-efficiency. From a production efficiency standpoint, however, it is an underlying priority, perhaps unconsciously understood as a given.

The age of the material in the woodyard is important to know when planning the correct raw material mix for production. Wood age correlates directly with its dryness, so knowing the moisture content of every batch stored in the woodyard largely determines what type of production it can be used for, and in which proportions, to achieve the targeted quality in the end product.

Knowledge is success

Successful production planning needs accurate and up-to-date information on what kinds of material you have where in the woodyard. You also need to minimise the quality degradation of your inventory while in storage waiting for production.

To achieve both goals at the same time, thereby ensuring cost-efficient raw material consumption, you need an inventory management system that can help optimise stock operations, providing exact and comprehensive information about the inventory to the mill personnel.

Efficient use of raw material requires full traceability both upstream and downstream from the woodyard. From forest to mill, you need to know the stand where the wood was harvested, the species, assortment, harvest time, and moisture content when the material is received. From woodyard to production, you need to be able to determine the correct mix, create corresponding picking orders and update the inventory automatically as soon as the required quantity is delivered for production. All this is only possible if you have all the pertinent information on the material at your fingertips.

Processing all this information efficiently involves huge amounts of data, both about the material itself and its findability in the woodyard. You need to automate the process for both speed and accuracy as far as possible with minimal room for error or delays.

Success follows a system

Efficient inventory management is important for all roundwood and chip consumers, whether pulp mills, sawmills, plywood mills or wood terminals.

Ideally, it comprises a transaction-based system that keeps track of individual raw material entities. It stores data about each batch, such as volume, amount and weight along with characteristics such as assortment and origin. It uses vehicle-mounted mobile computers with wireless GPS positioning, linking business and operations. It allows tracking each batch from the time it is delivered to the mill to the time it is consumed.

Optimise your stock operations

Tieto’s inventory management system TIFF Inventory, part of Tieto Integrated Fibre Flow, automates all the necessary functionalities of a cost-efficient forest-to-production supply chain with full end-to-end traceability.

TIFF Inventory collects information on the material from the forest to the mill at the reception and stores this information together with the position of each individual bundle in the woodyard and the time each bundle is delivered into production. The data on the material being in digital form allows its use in all your production and business systems.

Designed to work in demanding outdoor environments, TIFF Inventory involves a map-based solution with 20 to 50-centimetre bundle positioning accuracy. It helps mill personnel to ensure up-to-date information on stock content with regard to assortment, wood age, origin and other configurable key indicators. Covering all processes from the truck arriving to the mill gate to loading the bundles for production, it provides a real-time view to your storage balance and makes production planning a breeze.

When you are aiming for a more effective turnaround in your woodyard at a lower cost and automated stock-keeping, get in touch.

For further reading, please download our TIFF Inventory Solution Paper.

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