- Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
- Industry: Manufacturer of cedar, appearance and specialty, and dimension lumber
- Number of Locations: 9 production and 3 sales offices in Canada, US and Asia
"We did a complete shift and increased our export business by 60%. We acquired two new mills and were able to put them straight into LumberTrack. We wouldn't have been able to accomplish our business initiatives without access to the type of information and reporting that we can today."
Colette Peterson, Director of Sales, Accounting and Administration | Interfor
Interfor's business has transformed in recent years. Larger now with new mills, a broader product range, and a stronger Asian market presence, Interfor acknowledges that its adoption of LumberTrack business software is what has allowed them to grow, prosper and be globally competitive.
LumberTrack Allows Interfor's Volume to Scale Up 30%
Interfor increased volume by 30%, with much of the increase coming from the Asian export market. Interfor's management remarks that they couldn't have managed the growth and shift in markets without LumberTrack.
"Our company had grown through acquisitions, and we had several different sales systems," says Colette Peterson, Interfor's Director of Sales Accounting and Administration, explaining that they continued using the order and inventory management systems in place at each location acquired.
"Depending on who you were selling to and which mill you were selling from, you had to go to a different system," says Keith Power, General Manager of Information Technology. "There was a lot of administrative overhead tied up in operating and maintaining multiple systems. When we acquired a new location, it would take us months to figure out how we were going to integrate it."
In late 2007, Interfor ordered LumberTrack and began the process of analyzing, reviewing and standardizing the processes in each of their facilities. They began rolling out LumberTrack in 2009 in their nine production facilities and three sales offices, completing the implementation in April 2010. Since then, volume is up 30%.
"We wouldn't have been able to accomplish our business initiatives without access to the type of information and reporting that we can do today, with everything being in one database. We put LumberTrack in place so that we would be able to grow," says Peterson. "We acquired two new mills during the implementation, and we were able to put them straight into LumberTrack. We know we can acquire something and it will fit the bill.
Supports Shift to Overseas Export Market
Moreover, when sales to the US housing market dropped, Interfor relied on LumberTrack in its shift to Asian markets. Interfor collaborated to design the export functionality needed to support its extensive and changing export profile. "We were shipping mainly to Japan and mainly bulk," recalls Peterson. "We did a complete shift and increased our export business by 60%. Now we have 90% going by container and only 10% going break bulk. We manage all of our logistics and documentation in LumberTrack now."
Similarly, Interfor collaborated to enhance and streamline shipments from Canadian production facilities into the United States. "We needed customs documentation and export tax calculation. And we put in EDI to send electronic information to our US broker."
Consistent and Faster Sales and Logistics
"LumberTrack has helped quite a bit in our sales offices," says Peterson. "We've been able to get rid of a lot of manual processes, such as producing export documents."
Mark Bettencourt, Finishing Superintendant of the Hammond Cedar Division, elaborates. "LumberTrack has unified the way we do things. All the sales orders across the company are entered the same way, the invoicing is done the same way, and we pay vendors the same way companywide."
"We have more control between our sales orders and shipments. LumberTrack flags it if you try to put the wrong product into a shipment, so there's less risk of mis-shipment," Bettencourt continues.
Power adds: "We're definitely more efficient in terms of our ability to complete transactions on a day-to-day basis, and report on them. We have shaved a few days off our month end reporting process."
Timely, Accurate and Detailed Inventory
"LumberTrack is a very good program that provides us a consistent way to manage sales orders and show the inventory," says Bettencourt, going on to explain that LumberTrack's TagTrack tagging stations are deployed throughout the production facilities to track inventory at different stages of production. "We keep track of all inventory at all our mills through LumberTrack, which is a testament to the program since our mills produce a wide variety of products. LumberTrack does a good job of maintaining inventory in a well-organized way that allows us to see what's there and what's not.
"We're trying to sell what we produce. From our sales offices in Canada, US and Japan, we can see inventory companywide in real- time," says Peterson. "The cedar division is like hardwood, where we want to know the details of what's in a package of random width and length. The white wood is more of a commodity that doesn't require as much detail."
"LumberTrack hasunified the way we do things. All the sales orders across the company areentered the same way, the invoicing is done the same way, and we pay vendorsthe same way companywide. And LumberTrack flags it if you try to put the wrongproduct into a shipment, so there's less risk of mis-shipment."
Mark Bettencourt, Finishing Superintendant of Hammond Cedar Division
"However, timely information is critical in the commodity business," says Power. "With LumberTrack, we have just-in-time stats available to us at the click of a button. Information is much more reliable, much more accurate, and much more timely."
"Having that real-time visibility has been a huge improvement from where we were," says Bettencourt, adding that LumberTrack will help with future acquisitions and expansion. "LumberTrack is going to take whatever we throw at it, because it's pretty much doing all aspects of the lumber business now."
"This project has putus ahead of the curve. Other major forest companies are struggling with theproblems that we have resolved with LumberTrack."
Keith Power, General Manager of Information Technology
Interfor Positioned Well for Global Competition
"We hold up LumberTrack as a success story inside the organization," remarks Power. "We reference it as an example of a project well executed."
"Prior to LumberTrack, the systems we had were mostly in-house, which has the advantage of making changes at your own pace when you need it," Power recalls. "But with LumberTrack, we've found LumberTrack customer support has been very responsive in providing needed enhancements in a timeline that fits our requirements."
"This project has put us ahead of the curve. Other major forest companies are struggling with the problems that we have resolved with LumberTrack. It will take them years to implement systems at their sites, and we're already there."
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