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Smart Procurement: Changes and Opportunities in Pulp and Paper

What one thing did you get in the last ten years that made your life 10 or even 100 times more efficient? Some might say your laptop (some might say it's not your laptop!), some might say it's your cellphone, or some might say it's your key finder or meaningful habits you developed. But think of it: what one thing did you get in the last ten years that made your life dramatically more productive?

Bring this same type of positive change into your pulp and paper mill, and you have smart procurement.

What Does it Take to get Smart Procurement Into Your Mill?

Smart procurement is at the leading edge of automated procurement, but - for those of you wondering or concerned - it still requires the same number of employees in purchasing. While smart procurement automates tasks, it does best in limited capacities where it doesn't require any creativity and complex problem solving. It's not designed to do the "heavy lifting", but the "tedious lifting". People do the oversight, the heavy lifting, and creative problem solving still.

When bringing smart procurement into the mill, start by speaking to everyone who will have their hands in the process from upper management to people on the floor, and get their buy in. After all, smart procurement is a tool, and everyone needs to understand and be comfortable with the tools you have. Everything works better this way.

What Comes Next?

Smart procurement really can't be covered without discussing the next step, which is integrating smart procurement with a smart mill. Advantages of smart mills are many, and - touching briefly on the subject - include a vast array of capabilities such as:

  • Retiring and current workers' vast knowledge being captured into the system
  • Workflow being simplified
  • Production having information on supply and demand
  • Customers having real-time information about supply and demand
  • Information about demand changes being transferred to all others in the supply chain, making communication and delivery easier.

Smart procurement is the beginning of a whole new level of operating, and there's a lot of focused interest in helping mills reach these new, more efficient milestones.

What's the Future of Smart Procurement?

This is where it gets exciting. What can you imagine? What do you order regularly or cyclically, and how could you integrate that into a smart system?

Case in point, there's even serious mention of having trees signal when they're ready to be cut for the mill! That'll be some interesting technology for sure. Imagine getting those signals at the mill: the trees telling you they're at an optimal state to be harvested.

That's incredible.

It's not a question of if smart procurement is coming to mills. It's a question of when.



 


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