Or CLICK to download a pdf of this article
Loggers’ Success Tied to Embracing Technology and Diversifying Operations in 2011
While economic challenges are not new to the logging industry, logging communities in the United States have been particularly hard hit over the past three years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of loggers employed in the U.S.dropped from approximately 59,000 to 47,000 between December 2007 andDecember 2010 — a workforce reduction of twenty percent. Job losses have slowed in recent months, but the industry remains at extraordinarily low levels of employment. The prospects for recovery may well hinge on the industrylearning from the past and adopting new operations strategies going forward.
For North American logging contractors who have survived the challengesof the recession, two specific strategies can help make the most of every business opportunity in 2011: embracing information technology and diversifyingtheir operations.
Embrace Technology to Maximize Performance
John Deere’s JDLink™ Machine Monitoring System, for example, provides state-of-the-art access to fleet location and utilization and maintenance management tools.
By remotely connecting logging contractors and dealers to equipmentin the bush, such monitoring systemsprovide up-to-the-minute data, including average fuel consumption, drivingdistance per load, completed loads,and tree species and assortments. With ready access to this data, loggers are able to quickly make educated maintenance decisions. The result is better Nate Clark, Manager, Forestry Marketing, John Deere efficiency across machine performance, increased uptime, and lower daily operating costs.
Diversify to Boost the Bottom Line
There is also power in numbers. Some loggers and contractors haveopted to form larger logging businesses.
Ultimately, loggers must create competitive advantages for themselves in a market that increasingly necessitates innovation to win more contracts and achieve profitability.
AOL Logger of the Year says Diversification a Key
The logging industry is moving toward diversification.
I’m always looking for the technology that’s going to improve the way we do our job.” AOL Logger of the Year says Diversification a Key He adds “There is nobody else who does full-circle service like we do. If you do it in the woods, we do it.”“He was one of the first loggers to diversify his business,” said AOL executive vice president Jim Geisinger. “Every business has its own business model, but I think there are others that look to him as a very successful business.”Miller’s secret to diversification? No one job is more important than another. That advice is serving him well. Miller Tree Service, which employs 140, is alive and well during one of the hardest times for this industry.
This page and all contents ©1996-2015 Logging and Sawmilling Journal (L&S J) and TimberWest Journal.