“We were not happy with our previous purchasing program,” explains Florian Dietze, head of office and wood waste sales at Ladenburger’s production site in Kerkingen/DE. “It was difficult to do analyses and we were only able to plan and manage our log stacks by using Excel spreadsheets which we created ourselves.” Additionally, the old program did not have a reasonable archive which meant that documents regarding haulage orders could not be stored.
“We were looking for a software solution with a paper-free, staffless receiving department and an automated, digital and time-saving display of our business processes in the areas of log and wood waste management, logistics and invoicing,” tell us Dietze. The software faces a big challenge. Every day, 150 log trucks arrive in Kerkingen, and 45 truckloads of wood chips, 22 loads of sawdust and 8 truckloads of bark leave the production site.
Ladenburger Forstservice as pioneer
Steffen Häußlein, who has been part of Ladenburger’s management since August 2017 and responsible for the purchase of log wood, founded Ladenburger Forstservice in May 2018 which then took over the log harvest. Häußlein had already gained experience with CFBusiness - Zenith, Trimble’s sawmill manufacturing execution system for raw wood, at his previous employer Klenk Holz of Oberrot/DE, and introduced this system at the in-house forestry service. At the end of 2018, Ladenburger invited tenders at its site in Kerkingen. In May 2019, Trimble Forestry of Wolfegg/DE was awarded the contract. “We looked at several providers, and our colleagues from Forstservice had a very positive impression of Trimble Forestry,” comments Dietze. Last summer, the company started implementing the new Trimble system and on January 1, it was ready to go.
Business documents in real time
“We are experts in log purchasing,” says Hamish Bruce, Business Area Manager for the DACH region at Trimble Forestry. CFBusiness is a wood procurement and contracting software which was developed for the entire log value chain.
“CFBusiness is suitable for companies of all sizes and types which work with raw wood,” emphasizes Bruce. Business documents, such as wood lists, freight and haulage orders, delivery notes and invoices, are provided in real time. Via CFXchange participating companies can view their information immediately after they have been generated. Delivery notes, measurement data and invoices, including the related PDF and ELDAT data, are ready to be accessed. Via a link in an e-mail, the company is informed about any news. “We hardly need paper anymore and save ourselves one employee in the receiving department,” says Dietze, referring to higher efficiency.
Initially, all master service agreements and individual contracts, including conditions for assigning logs to the various assortments as well as surcharge and discount agreements, are entered in CFBusiness. Ladenburger Forstservice, state forests and better organized suppliers deliver woodpiles complete with volume, number of logs as well as GPS coordinates in ELDAT format, which are imported. On the basis of provision notifications, Ladenburger gives haulage companies removal orders for the woodpiles which include GPS coordinates. “Ex works”-suppliers receive a call-off list which controls the delivery.
At the truck terminals, the drivers enter their ID, name, license plate number of the truck, volume, number of logs and “last loading of the batch” in the delivery note input mask on a touchscreen. The scanning of a barcode or QR code is also possible.
Real-time log removal from stacks
“During the deliveries, logs are removed from the stacks in real time in the Trimble program,” says Trimble project manager Carla Köhler. “After the measurement at the factory entrance, a classification overview shows whether the information in the delivery note is within the defined parameters (green) or whether something is wrong with the number of logs or the volume (red),” adds Dietze. Status reports show which types of wood and how many cubic meters are still in the forest, in storage awaiting measurement or how much is already measured. “With Trimble Forestry CFXchange, the suppliers receive real-time documentation of their deliveries and the measurement logs at the end of the shift,” explains Köhler and adds. “Suppliers appreciate it because it allows them to recognize quickly when excess thicknesses or lengths have been delivered.” “Invoicing is done in the middle and at the end of the month,” says Dietze. The batches can be billed separately or on one invoice. A financial accounting interface forwards the data.
Fast paper-free measuring
The Springer short log sorting has a Microtec system control which receives the CFBusiness delivery notes via XML interface. After the measurement, CFBusiness transfers the XML measurement data and PDF protocols to the CFBusiness measurement database (WEV). The Jörg log measuring system in combination with the Holtec cross-cut system makes it possible to process 1400 m³ of long logs each day. The plant management is done by CFBusiness. The Jebe system converts the measurement data from TXT files and enters the data in the WEV database.
Delivery notes of both the short and the long log terminal can be entered manually in CFBusiness in just a few minutes.
The operator of the log infeed can view the data immediately. The receipt of the log wood used to take 15 minutes because the driver had to go into the booth, and papers had to be exchanged and archived as well. “The system is fast. Often, the wood is already measured and sawn before the truck leaves the premises,” informs operator Josef Bosch. “Trimble has already carried out a number of projects with Jörg Elektronik. Now, the Microtec interface is added,” explains Bruce.
Trimble sends the data to the box entrance with log values in euros and cubic meters. Both the preparatory work and the box storage managed by the sawmill’s software via an interface.
Wood waste management
“The customer contracts can be accessed through the wood waste contract module so that it is easy to see how many collections have been approved. The contract quantity and the allotments are calculated automatically, and that works really well,” explains Dietze. “It is also nice to be able to scan notes and memos. We always wanted to do that in order to improve internal coordination in log purchasing and wood waste sales,” emphasizes Dietze.
Sawn timber for the entire group
With its sawmill in Kerkingen, Holzwerke Ladenburger supplies sawn timber to the entire group. In 2019, one million m³ of short and log spruce logs were transformed into glulam, solid structural timber (KVH) and planed timber. This year, an increase in capacity of 150,000 m³ and a third shift are planned. In the night shift, mainly small-diameter logs are to be cut. The bark is burned in the 10 MW power plant and used for heating the production site’s 16 drying chambers. The company plans to start up its first own pellet plant (30,000 tons/year), in Bopfingen, which will be equipped with a Trimble software, in October.