Better use of new technology for operational efficiency

Finding more efficient ways of getting work done is absolutely critical in the forestry business. Most forestry companies realise that every bit of time freed up from manual, cumbersome or duplicated processes means better results, more staff capacity and better profitability.

The PF Olsen Group of companies have had a long focus on process improvements and efficiency gains – as a service provider in particular, it underpins what we can offer clients. In Australia, one of the areas we have identified recently is better use of technology in the field. This has been an area that foresters and researchers in Australia and New Zealand have been interested in for some time. However, the progress has been reasonably limited, largely because of the prohibitive technology and development costs.

The advent of tablet-style devices which are now very powerful, can be fitted with GPS and telecommunications, come in a range of sizes and are now quite affordable. There are a new range of possible applications that may be able to deliver measurable data collection efficiencies.

PF Olsen Australia is currently trialling the application of GIS and in-field operational mapping using various tablet devices and a number of different software applications. There are GPS solutions available for this type of application, but they tend to be quite expensive and therefore prohibitive to general use. The advantages are clear, if this trial proves successful, and include:

  1. Less scope for error by double handling of manual maps.
  2. Greater efficiency by capturing line work and operational details (attributes) at the same time.
  3. Reduced desk time required to load and process data.

Following the GIS trial, we will be looking further to see how we can use this technology to capture and load up other types of operational information from the field, such as quality control, safety and environmental incidents.