Digital revolution in the forestry industry


Written by Ivar

August 13, 2019 | 3 min read

There are probably parts to any profession, where the person couldn’t wait for a robot to kick down their door and steal some part of their job. In traditional industries, there are still many processes that take up an unreasonable amount of workers’ time - for example, due to numb manual labour or tedious paperwork. 

At Thorgate, we want to help digitalize and optimize all those processes and free up people’s time. In this article, we explain how digitalization can help the forestry sector work more efficiently, cut costs and generate more revenue.

Estonia is said to be the most digital country in the world and over half of this digitally advanced patch of land is covered with forests. It’s no wonder the Estonian forestry and wood industry is already undergoing a digital revolution. Digital solutions are actively in use in all parts of the forestry lifecycle.

Managing forests - software can help manage the growing timber, plan and organize maintenance, evaluate forest health, etc. 
Managing logging work - you can get a real-time overview of timber quantities in the cutting area, transportation, sawmill and the storage area. From optimizing truck routes to tracking the logging process to managing employees - you have up to date information to plan and organize work more efficiently (e.g. Vaheladu). 
Transactions with the forest material - forest transactions include heaps of paperwork from reports and sales contracts to deeds of transfer. Document management system built specifically for forest unions and timber management companies (e.g. EPMK) transforms electronic waybills and sawmill measurement data into acts and invoices, gives an effortless overview of the statistics and helps plan future cuttings. 
Protected areas - forestry goes hand in hand with strict regulations and nature protection and it’s important to keep up with all the relevant information. Simple digital solutions can check automatically that your timber is not from a protected area (e.g. key habitat, holy places or natural areas). 

All in all, digital solutions help access and systemize data sets in real-time and transform it into different documents. This way forestry companies can make better choices more operatively and avoid simple human error. Thorgate knows exactly how the timber industry works because of its close ties to the forestry sector. We have worked together with Vestman Grupp, one of the biggest forest managers in Estonia since the very beginning of Thorgate. Vestman Grupp also owns part of Thorgate. During our 8+ years of experience with the forestry industry, we have already helped over 100 companies across the world with UX, process optimization and software development. It’s hard to find a product development company that knows more about forestry than Thorgate does. Delivering innovative and user-friendly products to traditional industries is our passion and our challenge. 

To put all this into a more practical perspective, here are two examples of our forestry projects that have improved day-to-day lives for hundreds of companies.

EPMK documentation management system: EPMK is forest union who helps smaller forest owners and logging companies sell their timber in larger quantities. Buying and selling timber is transformed into electronic waybills, sawmill acts and invoices with a couple of clicks. It’s best suited for companies that deal with buying and selling big quantities of timber. 

Vaheladu for processing an ongoing inventory of timber: Managers can see in real-time how much wood is still in the forest, how much is cut by harvesters, how much is transported out by forwarders, how much is in intermediate storage, and how much is on the way to the end storage. Vaheladu is currently used by 250+ companies and is most suitable for mid-sized to large companies. Such a solution can help any business that deals with logging and transportation of timber from many different cut areas. 

Want to find out how your forestry business could increase efficiency and remove bottlenecks? Get in touch with our forestry expert Ivar Merilo to discuss the options and schedule an e-meeting.

If you have an idea but you're wondering what is the best way to start, take a look here: Start with an MVP

Or just get in touch with us and the industry experts can help you with your questions!