2 Minutes with Sophie D'Amours
July 3, 2012
Innovation and knowledge are the centerpieces of a remarkable transformation of Canada’s forest products industry. The old vision of exporting logs and pulp is being swept away by a new paradigm of sustainable forest management, innovative and value-added products, integrated value chains and multi-company, multi-sectoral partnerships. Few people are more informed about the technologies that are shaping these changes than Université Laval industrial engineer Sophie D'Amours.
I am an engineer. My research field is to apply industrial engineering to the forestry products industry, specifically to the management of the forestry industry logistics chain. And I like to say that I am engineering business. I use technologies, models, tools of engineering to better design companies, better analyze how they can work, be competitive, and offer and deliver products as efficiently as possible to their clients.
In the forestry sector, just until recently, we had not integrated this concept of chains or business networks. There was a lack of understanding about the role or action of each player, from the forest to the client, on the industry’s performance, among other things, on the capacity of the forestry sector to achieve the expected economic, social, environmental impacts that Canadians expect. I think that with my team and my colleagues, we demonstrated the need to integrate all of the sector in the decision-making.
The forestry industry is an industry that has steered its business on the basis of a model we call “push”, this means with a lot of focus on the resource and the processing of the resource, much less focus on the markets. We did a lot of demonstrations in my team to show that we were missing incredible opportunities by maintaining this model or this steering approach and we should rather have an approach that is based on the demand, and then by a thorough understanding of the demand.
We train students - graduate, master’s and doctoral, and when these people become experts in their field, in turn, they will become multipliers. They will allow the transfer of knowledge to the community, in an accelerated way. I always think, I continue to believe that by far, the training of highly qualified personnel is the main benefit.