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How will digitalisation boost forestry operations?

Digitalisation is advancing rapidly across the value and supply chains of forest-based industries. The first wave of digitalisation has focused on technologies and tools to increase operational efficiency, including e.g. enhanced utilisation of big data and automation of processes. Currently, we see the second wave advancing with digitalisation of interfaces, which includes e.g. new communication and service channels to customers, and digital trading platforms. In the emerging third wave we foresee digital disruptions re-shaping the market environment, and new business models revolutionising markets and supply chains.

As the world’s population grows, so does our demand for fibre, fuel and food. All three need land, and forestry is facing increasing competition for land and water. While bioindustry development is booming, natural forest resources will not be enough and plantation forestry must renew its operations as well. Moving beyond supplying pulp and paper producers and wood products manufacturers, global forestry players must now meet increasing demands from new bioproducts and bioenergy producers, compete for land and water with food growers, deal with changing societal beliefs about sustainability, and comply with complex environmental regulations.

Forestry plantations also play an important role in creating a low-carbon world. Increasing scarcity of land and water means that we need to be able to increase productivity and produce more from less. This calls for efficient utilisation of land and biotechnologies to meet the needs of local and global markets. Plantations can also decrease the pressure on natural forests, since they often produce raw materials that would otherwise be sourced from natural forests.

But what are the solutions that will help forest operators to respond to increasing demand, increase efficiency and increase productivity? Understanding and foreseeing the whole supply chain is the starting point. Digital solutions created during the last few years will help operators to tackle issues with wood supply chain management – from planting to forest management and from harvesting to logistics. Forest operators must identify the most relevant digital solutions, establish partner networks and create an ecosystem, as well as establish relevant analytics and optimisation systems to ensure high-quality decision making.

New digital solutions are changing wood and biomass supply chains

It’s obvious that digitalisation will transform the forest industry and enable intelligent forest management and harvesting solutions. Smart data gathered from the forests enables more efficient operations covering the whole supply chain. New technologies and digitalisation are rapidly changing all the steps in the wood and biomass supply chain. As an example, satellite imagery and remote sensing based technologies already facilitate an accurate inventory and measurement of forests at the individual tree level. This data can be fully integrated to planning of wood purchasing, procurement and harvesting operations, as well as planning of wood processing, such as sawmilling, connected to market demand and end use, integrating the whole forest-to-end use chain. When connected to block chain type of technologies, this data can be used for monitoring of certification, chain-of-the-custody, carbon stock etc.

The fast development puts considerable pressure on the industry but also offers new possibilities for business planning and optimisation of forest and wood supply strategies, operations and sourcing. To cope with the change, businesses need to identify and implement the best digital technologies and look for value-increase through operational excellence.  The key is to identify the most relevant digital technologies and partners, make sure that the data and analysis cover the whole supply chain, and use state-of-the-art analytics and optimisation systems to ensure high-quality decision making.

Digital solutions will enable e.g. better forest planning (so called “precision forestry”), integrated logistics optimisation, and improved linkage of environmental and social aspects with commercial forestry. Utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI) will facilitate fully automated forest appraisals/valuations, fire protection, forestry planning and monitoring, plantation silviculture, carbon balance inventory, etc.

Pöyry Smart Forestry combines key elements to ensure competitive advantage

Pöyry’s Smart Forestry concept combines all key elements to ensure operational excellence and competitive advantage in an increasingly digital business environment and supply chain. Our integrated solutions cover the whole wood/biomass supply chain - from establishment and management of forests to the end use of wood and biomass products - focusing on the following key areas:

  • Supply chain and systems integration through digitalisation
  • Value maximisation through in-depth market intelligence and modelling tools
  • High efficiency through state-of-the-art technologies
  • Continuous value increase through operational excellence

Pöyry has pioneered the development and application of state-of-the-art solutions for sustainable forestry and wood/biomass supply around the world. We support our clients globally to define the best approaches and technologies to enhance shareholder value and operational efficiency. Digitalisation facilitates a step change for increasing integration of the supply chain, with massive data sets used for better decision making, planning and monitoring of operations.

Our solutions enhanced by digital tools offer major benefits to our clients.

  • Higher precision data available very fast, in many cases on a real-time basis.
  • Advanced analytics of big data facilitate improved predictability and insight of interdependencies, greatly enhancing the quality of forecasting and ability to identify future discontinuities.
  • All these are connected to powerful visualisation of results, outcomes and findings.

Partnership with Simosol enhances our digital capabilities and services

Pöyry’s approach is based on cooperation with the ecosystem of technology providers and the selection of best suppliers to ensure fit-for-purpose solutions for various types of clients around the world. Our partnership with Simosol improves the availability of state-of-the-art digital forestry solutions to our global clientele. The digital offerings include a range of software products facilitating optimised forestry operations, as well as tailored digital solutions. These include e.g. remote sensing-based forest inventory integrated with optimisation of wood sourcing/supply strategy and forestry operations, as well as highly automated forest valuation/appraisal.

The new solutions will provide an excellent basis for our clients to reap the benefits of digitalisation in the form of improved operational efficiency, new interfaces and platforms, and new business models. They facilitate enhanced preparedness for various future scenarios, discontinuities and disruptions. The core of our value proposition remains unchanged. We provide global experience, insight and solutions adapted to local conditions – in all parts of the world.

Contact information

Saara Söderberg
Head of Industry Management Consulting
Petteri Pihlajamaki