The Swedish forest industry is increasing its pace of digitalization

Photo: Tieto

The role of IT for companies within the forestry industry is becoming more and more innovative, which showed in increased investments in IT during 2016. At the same time, only four out of ten companies have a formulated strategy for digitalization, and only every fifth company has set up a dedicated unit specifically for digital innovation. This is indicated by Tieto's IT-barometer, which has surveyed the Swedish forest industry's attitude towards digitalization.

Today Tieto's annual report "The forest industry's IT barometer" is presented. The report shows that the investment in digitalization and IT continues in the Swedish forest industry. But still, only four of ten (41 %) companies have formulated a digital strategy.

The forest industry has great confidence in the commercial benefit with the opportunities that digitalization offers. In particular, it is the access to real-time data for the planning of logistics, production and database based decision-making support that is highlighted. Nine of ten (91 %) see great opportunities in these areas.

"Having a better picture of the current situation and being able to control operations with data in real-time is regarded as being the next potential breakthrough in the forest industry. Today there is already lots of information in the value chain, but it needs to be made accessible in a smarter way in order to provide efficient decision-making support. The report shows the need for developing a clear IT-strategy which can make the most of the opportunities of digitalization", says Mikael Zachrisson, Senior Business Consultant at Tieto.

The IT investment in recent years is considered to have greatly contributed to increased profitability according to half of the respondents, but the difference between the sub industries is big. Out of representatives for companies relying on forestry and sawmills, two of three (65 %) replied that the contribution has been great, while the corresponding proportion for companies dealing in pulp, paper and biofuels is lower, one of five (19 %).

Three quarters (77 %) of the Swedish forest industries decision-makers state efficiency and productivity as the primary focus of IT-activities. The CEOs who were asked are very unanimous and make this choice to 95 %. This is where they differ from their Finnish colleagues, where a majority (60 %) elevate business development and innovation as the primary focus for the IT-activity.