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foresty management system


Iggesund Paperboard is one of the largest manufacturers of virgin fibre paperboard in Europe. The UK based operation is centred at a medium sized paper mill based at Workington in Cumbria. A key part of the Workington plants success is that it maintains and manages its own forests in Dumfries and Galloway, Perthshire and the Highlands. However, Iggesund only use the top two thirds of the Douglas fir and the Scots Pines which are grown in its Scottish forests. The remaining third is used to produce timber that is sold to local and national companies for use in construction and carpentry. It is this particular aspect of the company’s business process on which I would like to concentrate.

Each forest has its own manager who is responsible for the timber sales operation. For several years the managers of the forests have been wishing to upgrade their paper based filing system to a computerized system. This system is outlined below. Unfortunately, due to staff shortages in the company I.T. department they have been unable to find the time to develop a new system. Regrettably, the forestry manager’s budget is limited and he cannot afford to purchase an off-the-shelf package.

After brief discussions with a member of the I.T. department, and with the manager of the Forest of Ae (near Dumfries) I decided that I would to like to try and implement a system that would help the manager of the Forest of Ae keep track of his customers, contracts, orders, products and haulers. Due to the recent staff cut backs and existing projects the I.T. department have been unable to offer me any type of support or spend anytime with me to develop the system. However, they agreed it might be beneficial for me to develop a prototype system that then could be modified by them to suit the specific needs of the forest manager in the future.

The forestry manager only has basic I.T. knowledge as the company offers no formal I.T. training, but regularly uses a company laptop for word processing. He also has access to the company intranet, email system and the internet over a secure ISDN connection and he is familiar with online form systems used for ordering over the internet. He currently uses a paper based filing system to look after customer details, orders, contracts, product and hauler information. This system has become increasingly difficult to maintain, and become a burden on the manager’s time.
The Forest of Ae is over two hours drive from the Workington based I.T. department. It would be impractical to expect the forestry manager to maintain his own databases, as supporting users at this distance is a tricky business for the company I.T. department. Therefore, it was suggested by a member of the I.T. department that it would be sensible for the database to be located centrally, and maintained by the I.T. department.

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