How TimberTracks™ can analyze trends in harvesting and identify best practices that lead to optimized supply chains

An optimized supply chain uses resources efficiently and cost effectively. Supply chain optimization is complex and often has counterintuitive thought processes throughout. The need to understand value within a supply chain and the interrelated influences is what makes exceptional supply chains.

It is necessary to track and warehouse data to begin to understand the interrelated influences within a supply chain. Analytics applied to the warehoused data will paint the picture of which factors within the supply chain have a direct effect on others. It is not just identifying the factors that affect each other but quantifying the effect that realizes the value of data tracking. The key to identification and quantification is lots of quality data. The more data available and the higher the quality of the data, the easier it is to identify patterns, trends, and outliers.

TimberTracks™ is the first data warehouse that collects data for the entire forest industry in British Columbia. Some participants in the industry have select data but there is generally a lack of robustness and validation of quality. TimberTracks™ has been built from the ground up to be robust and to validate quality of data.

What does being robust mean? TimberTracks™ is built on a SQL database platform, hosted on Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) server farm, and uses 256-bit grade SSL security. Some of the world’s leading enterprise technologies underpin the TimberTracks™ system. But that’s not what we mean by robust. Robust for us means that we have developed a detailed data collection and querying system that allows us to analyze every data point against every other data point together or separately. Our Blocks productivity module has up to 163 separate data points for every block. Our Roads projects has at least 47 separate data points for a simple road project. Our hourly Equipment module has up to 69 separate data points.

We not bragging about the number of data points or creating a difficult system to use. Every data point has a purpose. Every data point is easily entered. Every data point can be analyzed. Statistical analysis can be done and correlations can be found. The purpose was to build a system that determines all potential data points that can be tracked and validated to provide flexibility to identify factors that will optimize the supply chain.

Validation is the key point of data collection. It does not matter whether you are collecting hundreds of data points or a single data point. Garbage in, garbage out. Our selection of data points was to be based on data that we could audit and validate as real. We do not accept data at face value. We conduct random audits of data and it must be backed by real information. Hours worked by phase? We expect to follow the trail of timesheets to payroll. If a worker put eight hours on a timesheet, we expect to be able to track those eight hours to a paystub and bank records proving the worker was paid for those eight hours.

For TimberTracks™, validation goes beyond just accepting data from our subscribers and randomly auditing. The confidence in TimberTracks™ as a robust and valid data warehouse for the forest industry is also put to the test. We have committed to having independent third-party’s conduct specified procedures audits on our work. We have taken these measures to provide real assurance and confidence in our work.

So what does all this mean? It means that TimberTracks™ can analyze trends in harvesting and identify best practices that lead to optimized supply chains. We can identify what makes harvesting successful and what makes it unsuccessful. We can identify which factors influence outcomes of performance. More importantly, we can quantify the impact. Spending $0.10/m3 to fix a problem that causes $0.60/m3 increase elsewhere in the chain is not a solution. But identifying and quantifying spending $1.30/m3 to fix a problem that creates $3.21/m3 cost reductions elsewhere in the supply chain is a solution. This is optimizing the supply chain. More importantly, it makes the BC industry more competitive.