Unfortunately, the market never demands our products in the same proportion as our
supply. Yet as producers, we must do something with the low-grade material in order
to use the high-grade wood. As public pressure has limited timber supplies, putting
these precious resources to their highest and best use has become imperative. Most
of our experienced managers, have developed a level of understanding, and therefore
an intuitive method of dealing with changing supply and market conditions. Yet with
so much complexity, and so many alternatives, it's difficult, if not impossible
to know how best to process a supply of timber. We develop optimization systems
that capture mill management knowledge, organizes the complexity, and solves for
the most profitable combination of material and processing resources.
Mill configuration is a common challenge faced by our large timber and wood companies
with multiple facilities. Over the years, we've built processing mills around local
wood supplies. In some cases, these supplies have either dwindled or no longer exist.
Market changes are also affecting lumber and plywood mills that now must compete
with LVL and OSB and paper products. The result unfortunately, has led to mill closures.
Evaluating and reaching such hard decisions should only be done in the context of
the entire company's mill configuration. The value of each mill is best determined
by understanding how its capabilities fit within the entire company. For example
it may be necessary to change a mill's product mix or practice a different transportation
pattern, in order for it to remain effective. We develop systems that use the optimization
approach to find the best mill configuration.
The new materials and technologies that are being introduced into our industry necessitate
a constant re-evaluation of the economics. The industry has begun to redefine itself
as the "fiber products" instead because the combined use of synthetics with wood
has become more common. Technologies that can upgrade chips into competitively engineered
products are changing our economic assumptions of the entire supply chain.
Importation of hardwood species are being considered for their strength characteristics
in supplying materials to the production of LVL. Optimization has proven to
be an ideal approach to finding "least-cost" formulations and recipes. We develop
systems that easily evaluate the benefits of using new technologies and materials.