As with most global supply chains, the timber industry is in a perennial search for end-to-end visibility - an arduous objective considering the market fragmentation and the data silos that remain unused across the value chain. With stakeholders drawing wafer-thin profit margins from timber operations, visibility into the value chain becomes crucial, as this could help them with demand forecasting and in optimizing sourcing patterns.
Supply chain opacity runs deep within the industry, be it with the number of stakeholders or pricing complexities, allowing stakeholders within adequate visibility to profit off geographic arbitrage. The Timber & Technology Conference 2021, organized by supply chain automation platform Centersource Technologies, hopes to democratize information across stakeholders - including timber producers, sawmills, importers, and forwarders. The event will shed light on global market conditions and the technological possibilities that companies can leverage to navigate the timber industry without hiccups.
The conference would discuss market conditions across major geographic pockets of timber production and consumption like Russia, China, Europe, N.America, and the MENA. Experts from major timber supply chain stakeholders like Holzkurier and Scandinavian Chartering will speak on timber market trends and how they will hold out over an increasingly volatile future.
The timber markets are notoriously localized, which complicates the pursuit of visibility. Understanding trends would help companies looking to invest capital within a specific timber asset class in a geographic pocket, ensuring they maximize opportunities while reducing fundamental investment risks.
Besides sourcing-related discussions, the event looks to shed light on the congestion and capacity strain playing out in the global transport corridor. The breakbulk cargo industry, which timber supply chains overarchingly rely on, has been suffering from congestion across major ports of entry to N.America and Europe. This has led to increased lead times and unforeseen delays, complicating operations.
The conference would help stakeholders gain perspective on how automating their supply chain operations can help gain efficiencies beyond workflow optimization. For instance, automation can help transition the labor force from repetitive tasks like answering calls and sending emails to taking up more value-added tasks.
Aside from automation, keynote speakers will address possibilities behind track-and-trace technology and the role the Internet of Things (IoT) plays in ensuring stakeholders can monitor real-time freight location. In situations where transport networks are under considerable duress, real-time location visibility would mean stakeholders can stay ahead of volatility and delays, ensuring smoother conversations with irate customers who await timber delivery.
Panel discussions will see panelists deliberate on the timber market outlook and how technology can alleviate trade barriers and predict volatility within the freight market. One such panel will specifically discuss US lumber consumption and how integrating B2B digital tools can help stakeholders have seamless transactions.
Ocean visibility will be a running theme throughout the event, with sessions providing shipping market insights and highlighting the need for enterprise asset intelligence across the supply chain. The conference will also see CargoX's chief business development officer Vjeran Ortynski coming out with a major announcement. His address is expected to provide insights for exporters running timber operations based in Egypt.
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