Log procurement is a multi-step process that starts from production planning and ends with log reception at the sawmill.
Log and biofuel procurement are taken care of either by companies’ own forest organisations or subcontractors, as well as various selling organisations. Plans for procurement, logistics and reception of wood are drawn jointly between buyers and sellers.
Mills’ raw material usage can be anticipated and planned on a rough scale already for months ahead. These plans are then converted to more accurate weekly and daily plans, in which precise details as regards species and volumes are set.
Another crucial factor – on top of volumes, properties and timing – is the mill price of the raw material. Furthermore, their need to have operative plans for transportation and reception. At the centre of this planning and steering is to keep the stocks of raw material at a sufficient but not too high level as standing, roadside or mill stocks.
Usually, the raw material flows are rather even, and the requirements can be predicted with a certain accuracy. At pulp and paper mills the production is continuous and there are seldom stoppages. In mechanical forest industry, mainly because of fluctuations in the market situation, changes are more common.
Summer maintenance breaks are also used. The log procurement should work seamlessly at all conditions and during all seasons. The quality of roundwood should also remain good, even though the storage times are sometimes longer.
Fellings are the first step in the production chain for wood-based products. Already at this point the possible customer or end product demands should be taken into account. At the core of the planning process, the production unit need to get the right type of raw material at the right time.
At this point, also the interests of various operators have to be taken into account. Division of labour, responsibilities and tasks are set case by case, according to structures and operational models of those involved.
Efficient and high-class operations are the cornerstone for the steering and follow up of logging operations. The properties and volumes of wood have to be as expected and agreed. At this point also all aspects of nature conservation are important and the aim is to minimise the effects of logging operations to the area in question. The subcontractor obviously strives for good results through sufficient planning and close follow up of the operations. These days modern technologies are used in the planning and operations.
Logging instructions are given by the buyer’s representative, most commonly the logging organization or the forestry association. The body holding the logging rights must also ensure and convey to the logging operator that the logging area parameters are correct.
The buyer for the logging area usually gives parameters for the desired types and sizes of logs. If the forest machine operator is in charge of the logging, the forest company does not always give cutting instructions for each and every site. In this case, it is sufficient that the logging operator knows the agreed general measurements for different types of roundwood.
IT systems in logging operations
Logging operations are planned and steered with data from the sites and also with real time felling information.
There are various IT systems
- assisting the decision making
- data transfer
- machinery and logging operations and
- the follow up of production and other operations.
Wireless data transfer and the use of mobile devices have a central role in logging operations, because the data has to be in real time.
In logging operations, a large part of the data is tied to a location and hence it is shown as a map.
There is a universal data transfer standard in use, which has been agreed between the machinery manufacturers and the users of raw material.
Forestry operations are planned and steered in different companies with their own, integrated systems and applications.