Evolving and adapting
It’s never been more challenging to grow a forestry business
June 5, 2023 By Mike Friederici
How do loggers better prepare for the challenges ahead? In many cases, evaluating your forestry equipment is a great place to start — there has never been a better time to get smarter and more adaptable.
Investing in equipment that can be rebuilt, leveraging new technologies and partnering with trusted, informed dealers can all help support your current and future business needs. With the right maintenance and fleet strategy you can leverage your equipment to help retain and attract operators, improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase safety, all while meeting current and future sustainability goals.
Replace inventory with information
Improving productivity and reducing expenses are top goals for any logger. But knowing how to get there can be the biggest challenge. Technology advancements in forestry equipment, like telematics, can capture real-time data – helping you complete projects with greater insight, collaboration and efficiency. And as technology continues to improve, connectivity for remote forestry locations is easier than ever before. Software updates can be sent directly to the machine on the jobsite without having to wait for a technician to arrive.
When leveraged properly, data has enormous potential – it can unlock meaningful insight to help reduce costs, minimize downtime and identify problem areas or operator-induced fault codes on your equipment. The right dealer can support you on this journey by setting up instant alerts, monthly reports and identifying areas of opportunity or improvement.
As technology has advanced, so has the quality of equipment. Longer oil change intervals and filter quality is extending machine life, helping to lower operating costs. And as fuel costs soar, more manufacturers and dealers are investing in hybrid and electric machines that can support alternative fuels such as diesel blends to help lower operating costs. Hydraulics are also getting smarter. These new enhancements are making good operators great, while also keeping them safe, comfortable and happy.
The right equipment can help you stay productive, but it can also help attract and retain operators by improving working conditions and safety. And in a time where every industry is experiencing labour challenges, keeping employees safe and happy is an important part of your recruitment and retention strategy.
Getting the most out of your equipment
Ever increasing environmental regulations and stricter emissions standards mean companies need to work smarter to achieve sustainability targets. Gone are the days of trading in machines for a shiny new piece of equipment earlier than needed. Forestry companies of all sizes can make a big impact by opting to rebuild equipment, instead of buying new. A rebuild involves replacing parts, changing out components, calibration and adjustments, with the end result being a like-new machine.
Rebuilds reduce overall waste and minimize raw material used to produce new parts and equipment. This is crucial as companies are accounting for the carbon output that’s the result of purchasing a new machine. Plus, equipment can be rebuilt multiple times and owners have the choice of keeping legacy tier emission standards or rebuilding to a higher tier emission standard. This means equipment stays in production for multiple lives and it saves non-renewable resources from the landfill, while reducing equipment costs and contributing towards sustainability goals.
New machine availability and machine value prior to the rebuild also play a factor in your decision. Understanding your equipment’s history, its condition and what maintenance it may or may not need, can provide both cost savings and environmental benefits. A dealer can work with you to understand machine analytics, value, overall condition and whether a rebuild is worth the cost.
Timing is also an important consideration if you’re considering a rebuild. Supply chain disruptions combined with labour shortages are increasing lead times for new equipment across the globe. This is especially challenging in an industry like forestry where customers are accustomed to walking into a dealer and buying new equipment on the spot for whatever job they have coming up. So, planning ahead and creating an equipment strategy is as important as ever.
Relationship with dealer is important
The forestry industry is no stranger to hardships and has always had to adapt to the ever-changing economy. Just when one crisis seems over, another one hits. If it’s not a beetle outbreak or forest fire then it’s a looming recession, mill closures or supply chain issues. Maintaining or growing a logging business has always been hard – and today, it’s even harder.
But, imagine a world where you’re better equipped to meet current and future challenges. Your business is productive, efficient and profitable. Having a dealer that works with you means everyone – financing, parts, technology, service and sales – is working together to find the right solutions for your business. Today’s dealers have evolved beyond simply supplying equipment to customers. End-to-end solutions are helping to provide advanced data insights, driving value and return on investment.
Now is the time to think about your relationship with your dealer. Is it meeting your business needs in an open and transparent way? Does it help prepare you for future growth while mitigating risks? Although there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel just yet, evolving and adapting to a new way of doing business can help ensure a bright future for Canada’s forestry industry. That means investing in quality equipment that can be rebuilt, while leveraging new technologies to help drive efficiency and increase productivity, while keeping costs down.
Mike Friederici is the industry manager, forestry and earthmoving at Finning Canada.
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