Wood Business

Introducing technology in the woods

Incorporate tech in your operations to embrace the change

January 23, 2023  By Jim O’Halloran

Manufacturers are being asked by their customers to help not only drive production, but also to drive efficiencies on their jobsites. Photos courtesy of John Deere.

As new technologies enter the market, it’s important to keep in mind the impact it will have in the woods. The forest industry is always evolving and to keep up with the change, there are a variety of steps that can be taken to fast-track efficiency while incorporating smart solutions into your operations.

There are many challenges that the industry faces every day, sparking the demand for solutions to help overcome those challenges. 

There are a variety of new and unique solutions available in the industry with the goal of driving efficiencies in the woods that drive greater profits for your logging operations. But these solutions aren’t always in the traditional form of iron and horsepower. They are complimentary tools that help you get the most out of the traditional equipment by connecting your machines to each other, to you, your office, and to the other stakeholders you rely on to help make your business successful.  

For many years, the manufacturing focus, based on customer demand, has been on building bigger, stronger, and faster machines to increase production. We are now reaching a point where most manufacturers are being asked by their customers to help not only drive production, but also to drive efficiencies on their jobsites. By leveraging machine and data capabilities through technology, we are embarking on a journey to provide solutions that help you make smarter, more efficient, and cost-effective decisions on and off the jobsite. 


Incorporating technologies and data monitoring capabilities help make your machines easier to operate and capable of adapting to different conditions with less reliance on the skill level of the operator. We often hear a key challenge in this industry is finding and retaining skilled, productive operators and we understand this is a critical variable in the cost of operation for a business. 

Training new operators can be expensive. Providing simple and effective machine solutions that are easier to operate, reduces the overall learning curve for new operators, reducing costly expenses and machine downtime. In today’s machines, we are seeing smarter solutions to help increase efficiency and provide a safer jobsite overall. 

When looking to incorporate a new technological solution into your production, it’s important to keep in mind the benefits it will provide not only to your business, but also to your operators. By focusing on where your inefficiencies are, you can easily identify ways to manage your business more seamlessly. 

Today, the operator pool has taken on a whole new identity, one that is completely different from what it was decades ago. With a wider variety in skill levels and backgrounds, many operators have incorporated tech into their daily practices already, making it easier to coach those early in their careers or support those looking to increase their on-site performance.

As a result of the increased technologies on machines, business owners can also collect more precise machine data in near real-time, providing better management practices and better machine diagnostic capabilities that help protect the assets on your jobsite. This results in smarter business decisions and more insightful operator coaching.

For many years, the only way to get the most out of your operation has been dependent on machine performance, fuel burn, and brute force capability – all variable inputs that often work against each other.

There is also the biggest variable in the woods – the operator. But the reality is, the success of your business cannot rely solely on the productivity and efficiency of any one machine or any one operator. 

Your success relies on your entire system working together seamlessly to increase production with the lowest costs possible. So, making it easier to manage all jobsite variables makes them more consistent and predictable.

We highly encourage all business owners looking to incorporate technology into their operations to embrace the change. This industry is listening closely to its customers, and as a result, these technology solutions were developed as an immediate response to customer demand, helping to increase efficiency and jobsite intelligence. 

Technology can not only help with machine learnings, but also help increase the comfort level of your operators, helping shape the future generation of loggers. It may take time to adjust to these new solutions, but the time spent learning upfront is well worth the challenges it will help combat down the line. 

Those looking to learn more about technology before taking the next step are encouraged to reach out to fellow loggers and business owners to hear first-hand the impact technology has had on their operations. 

Technology is a powerful tool, and when utilized to its full capabilities can take your business to the next level. The possibilities of forestry technologies are almost endless, and as machine capabilities continue to improve, the industry will improve and grow as well. 

Jim O’Halloran is the global product marketing manager for John Deere.

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