Université Laval and École Polytechnique de Montréal
The production chain for a forest product can stretch from harvesting in remote landscapes to milling, processing and manufacturing. It’s a much more complicated process than the typical assembly line. That’s why management innovations, like value chain optimization, were never applied to the forest industry. The sector was thought to be too complex, with too many variables.
Canada now has an edge in using value chain optimization to maximize the economic impact of the forest industry, while helping to minimize environmental impact, thanks to the work of the FORAC (De la FORêt Au Client – Forest to Customer) research team. Previously, the focus had been on achieving efficiency in each business unit. Value chain optimization looks at achieving efficiency across the whole network.
FORAC solutions have helped solve problems related to logistics, transportation, inventory and other functions. Companies and clients use web-based decision-making platforms developed by FORAC to model processes that include harvesting, mill operations and manufacturing. Forester companies can also develop harvesting plans that include measurement of environmental impacts. These tools are used around the world by forest companies and by manufacturers that rely on wood products.
By partnering with industry, FORAC’s research, knowledge and applications have promoted better informed decision-making across the forest value chain.
Established in 2002 under the leadership of Professor Sophie D’Amours and several colleagues at the Université Laval, FORAC Research Consortium has included experts in forestry, wood science, industrial engineering, strategic management and scientific management. Their achievements have earned them the 2012 Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering from NSERC.