Optinex

Erik Skärberg got the forester job he didn’t know existed

Göteborg

 

A job as a forester in Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. Working on sawmill projects in Europe and highly involved in the development of new digital solutions for forestry. Erik Skärberg, 28, has the forester job he never knew existed.

Since November 2021, Erik Skärberg has been working as a business developer at ForestX in Gothenburg, Sweden

ForestX is the fast-growing upstart on the digital development scene in forestry. In four years, the company has grown to nearly 50 coworkers and runs projects in Sweden and Europe.

 

The customer list includes well-known Swedish forestry and sawmill companies such as Sveaskog, Setra and Sydved. Outside Europe, the company has customers in Denmark, Germany and Austria. In Austria, ForestX runs projects together with Rubner and Pfeifer Group.

 

Since Erik Skärberg started at ForestX, he has worked in projects towards sawmills and with the development of ForestX’s own optimization system for sawmills; Optinex.

 

– I started directly in ongoing projects and worked side by side with Oskar Selmeryd, a colleague with a lot of experience from the tasks I now also have.

 

One third of ForestX employees in Sweden have an education and professional background in forestry. This means that there is a great deal of support and knowledge in everything concerning forestry.

The tasks of the business developers with a forestry background vary and follow the course of the project. In Optinex projects, which involve sawmills, it may look like this:

 

– We know what information we need in the project and then we analyse the sawmill’s available data and help with what data needs to be further developed. Then we process this into a model of the sawmill. Simply a digital copy with all activities, products, resources and market conditions. Once we have the complete model, Optinex can then find the optimal production plan for the sawmill and explore new scenarios.

 

An important part of the project is also to educate the users in the programme and which working methods need to be developed in order to make the best use of the benefits of the programme, says Erik Skärberg.

 

Erik Skärberg enjoys his life as a consultant.

 

– It’s very varied. You get a different perspective when you work with different customers. It’s developing for yourself too.

 

– We really develop the very latest support for the forest industry and it’s fun to work at the forefront of digital development.

 

ForestX has its own experienced system architects in Sweden with experience from forestry and works on the digital solutions together with ForestX’s development team in India. Erik Skärberg, who has a technical interest himself, also gets to take part in the development work with requirements definition and testing from a user’s perspective by understanding the customer’s needs.

 

The fact that working life could also include projects in Europe was not what Erik Skärberg had expected during the education to be a forester. But ForestX has several large customers in Europe, and the projects there lead to new insights and knowledge about the industry.

 

– There are some differences in how we work in the forestry and sawmill industry in Sweden and how they do it in Austria and Germany. For example, they work with a much larger number of products at the same sawmill, and they are big on further processing, especially glulam.

Name: Erik Skärbärg

Does: Business developer at ForestX

Favorite tree:

Pine

– As an orienteer, there’s not much that beats running through a nice pine forest.

 

Best nature experience:

–Cycling holiday with MTB in Grövelsjön and Ramundberget. Fantastic mountain environment.

Favourite apps:

Strava

UDisc

Spotify

 

 

Want to know more about ForestX?

Follow us on LinkedIn 

 

We are always looking for people with forestry education and the desire to work on the digitalization of the forest!

 

Want to talk more? Contact:

Erik Skärberg

Patrik Anderchen

Carl Barck

Carl Barck and Christer Lindqvist: “The goal is for ForestX to be the app store of forestry”

Gothenburg
In this year’s summer interview with CEO Carl Barck and Marketing Manager Christer Lindqvist, you’ll get the background to ForestX’s large increase in turnover, how digitalisation is the only way forward in the future of forestry and why you should always turn to ForestX first!

Growth every year

 

ForestX has increased growth by 50% every year for the past three years! There are many explanations behind these large increases:

 

– We have a broader customer base, we simply have more customers in more segments, says Christer Lindqvist. Nowadays, we can be found in various companies in forestry, the wood processing industry, the paper industry, and the construction trade.

 

– We are on track with our growth and we are now well on our way to becoming the “app store of forestry”.  If you are in the industry and looking for smart digital solutions, then you should look at us first. We are a platform for great digital solutions, there is simply always a solution for you and your business with us and our partners.

 

– It is worth pointing out that we are not just a service company, we are also a product company with the latest and most modern technical solutions, says Christer Lindqvist.

 

During the year, ForestX together with Trimble Forestry, has invested in the development of Trimble Forestry’s Connected Forest product suite. Together with Trimble, a Swedish version of Connected Forest has been developed. The work has been done by ForestX’s teams in both Sweden and India.

 

– It is the first and perhaps the only modern business system for the forest industry to be developed in the last 20 years. It is based on modern technology and is easily accessible through web and cloud services. Users get full control of their information for forestry operations, says Christer Lindqvist and continues:

 

– The great benefit also lies in the fact that it is mobile, scalable and fully adaptable to customers’ own operations. Now we are ready to seriously roll out the systems on a broad front, which feels incredibly good after several years of work together with Trimble, says Christer Lindqvist.

15 employees in India

In Pune, India, a team of 15 people has been built up during the pandemic years. From being seen only on screens, Carl Barck and Johan Eriksson were able to visit the team in June 2022.

 

– Now it’s time for us to establish an office in Pune, that was part of the purpose of the trip, says Carl Barck.

 

– But of course the most important thing was to finally meet. We have the best development team available for the technology we use. The team in Pune has extensive experience of working with the forestry industry and the specific requirements that the forestry industry places on its IT solutions. The team in Pune is fundamental to our success in delivering to customers.

 

The rate of recruitment in India has been high, and Carl Barck sees that the company in India will continue to grow at the same pace.

 

– Over the years, we have also worked out good forms of cooperation between Sweden and India. We operate as a seamless company. We really are one company, even if our staff operate from different parts of the world, says Carl Barck.

 

Great interest on LinkedIn

During the year, ForestX has invested in marketing communications and has a strong presence on LinkedIn.

 

– Things are happening all the time in our company and we want to tell people about it. We also see that it is appreciated and that there is great curiosity about what we do, says Christer Lindqvist.

 

Other marketing activities planned for the autumn include breakfast meetings all around Sweden.

 

– We want to meet our customers in person and tell them about everything we do together with our partners. Keep an eye out in our channels this autumn, says Christer Lindqvist.

 

Ongoing recruitment

– Our people are the foundation of everything, and we have an incredibly dedicated team both in Sweden and in India, says Carl Barck.

 

– We continue to recruit, we have a constant need to get more people into our teams, both on the forestry and technical side, and in Sweden and in India.

 

The growth on the personnel side also means that ForestX is present in more locations in Sweden, the latest addition to the ForestX map is Umeå. Since last summer seven people joined the company in Sweden, five in India.

 

– We are simply always looking for people! We are looking for the best people who want to change this industry. We see great success in bringing different skills together to make real change. Here there is room and opportunity for both those who are new to the industry and those with long experience, says Carl Barck.

Extended management team with Johan Bergström

As the company has grown, so has the need for an expanded management team. In the spring of 2022, Johan Bergström took his place in ForestX’s management team. Read more about it here.

 

Optinex in operation in several countries

Optinex is ForestX’s unique end-to-end solution for optimizing planning in the woodworking industry. Optinex is in operation at many companies in several European countries.

 

– We can truly say that the product is established. We now know that it is a complete solution for planning and optimization. We will be presenting Optinex in more detail at the Wood & Technology Exhibition at the end of August in Gothenburg, says Carl Barck.

 

What can be perceived as complex becomes simple with our solutions, says Carl Barck.

 

Digitalisation a prerequisite for sustainable forestry

Everyone agrees that we will see increasingly selective forestry in the future. ForestX’s digital solutions will be a prerequisite for coping with the demands of the new era.

 

– It is obvious that the amount of available timber will decrease. We must conserve resources and be extremely efficient in the use of raw materials and energy. Our solutions help our customers do just that, says Carl Barck.

 

– Forestry will need to work on a smaller scale. Maintaining productivity and profitability requires more digitalisation and the right tools. What can be perceived as complex becomes simple with our solutions, says Carl Barck.

Dianthus new partner

This year, ForestX’s partner network has been expanded with Dianthus, a GIS specialist based in Boden in the north of Sweden.

 

– We bring together the best and the brightest expertise through our network of partners. We see that there is mutual value in this type of collaboration, says Christer Lindqvist.

 

Read more about Dianthus here 

 

Projects during the year:  

 

A selection of this year’s projects that demonstrate the breadth of ForestX’s mission

 

  1. Sveaskog and ForestX launch KingPin – a new AI tool that increases the value of forests:
  2. Long-term management at Setra
  3. New projects at Rubner

ForestX expands: Business Developer wanted in Europe

ForestX is a Sweden-based IT consultancy and product company that works exclusively with the digitalization of Scandinavian and European forestry.

We’re now looking for a German speaking Business Developer in Europe with knowledge of wood industry and/or technical educated.

 

The forest industry is rapidly digitizing, and we are there to help our customers with the right tools to make the most of it. We see a great interest in our services and products in Austria, Germany and Italy.

 

We are looking for a Business Developer with an understanding of wood industry processes to realize these values for our customers.

 

As a Business Developer at ForestX, you will be responsible for project implementation and training of Optinex, the world’s most advanced planning and optimization tool for wood industry.

 

OptiNex is a business support tool for the timber industry for planning, posting and financial calculations.

 

At ForestX, you will be involved in cutting-edge digitalization projects at some of the largest companies in the forest industry, in Europe and in Sweden.

 

More on Optinex in Europe: 

 

Major European project with Optinex

 

 

Glulam planning in Austria

 

 

Swedish saw mill testing Optinex for tactical planning

 

 

We work in teams where different skills are combined to achieve the highest customer value in operations, technology, and process.

 

About you:

 

► Experience from wood industry and/or technical educated.

► You are able to communicate easily in German and English.

► You have the ability to effectively prioritise and complete tasks in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.

► You have the analytical ability to see connections in large data sets and draw conclusions from them.

 

About the work:

 

► Participate in the development of project plans, defining business objectives and measurable results with our clients.

► Model and analyze scenarios for wood industries in our advanced optimization tool OptiNex.

► Be responsible for requirements gathering and anchoring of customer needs.

► Responsible for an efficient communication between us, customer and other stakeholders.

► Create and develop a long-term and value-adding relationship with our customers.

► Travel is part of the job.

 

We are currently about 45 coworkers in Gothenburg, Dalarna, Stockholm and Pune, India.

 

This is ForestX

 

We are currently about 45 coworkers in Gothenburg, Dalarna, Stockholm and Pune, India. Through collaborations, partnerships, and various networks, we attract unique expertise. Our mission also includes being proactive and helping our partners to develop their products for the European forest market. Together with our competent consultants, we will ensure that the forest industries have the best possible decision support as we face the green transition.

 

Working at ForestX

 

We have both generalist and specialist wood industry skills, so there is a natural exchange of knowledge and support in our work. We work in teams where different skills are combined to achieve the highest customer value in operations, technology, and process.

 

We offer challenging and varied work with great opportunities to influence solutions and work arrangements.

 

Send your application to carl.barck@forestx.se

New projects in Europe with Pfeifer

Göteborg 

 

ForestX and Pfeifer continue to work together. After the successful project when ForestX developed OptiNex Glulam together with Pfeifer in Austria the two companies look into new ways of digitizing and optimizing timber manufacturing processes.

 

In December 2021 Stefan Hammerl, director of IT and Andreas Schierle, director of process and project management at Pfeifer, were on a visit to Gothenburg where they discussed upcoming projects. ForestX recently developed a new application within OptiNex for tactical planning for Pfeifer’s glulam production.

 

Pfeifer

Andreas Schierle, Stefan Hammerl, Pfeifer and Carl Barck and  Johan Eriksson, ForestX, continue to work together after the successful project developing OptiNex Glulam.

 

Furthermore, Pfeifer is planning to implement OptiNex in other fields of business as well. Therefore, Pfeifer and ForestX are currently planning to continue their successful cooperation.

 

  • The cooperation with ForestX is very valuable for us as we are not only looking for technical solutions but also for a partner with deep understanding of timber processes who helps us identifying the best fit within our organization and system landscape, says Stefan Hammerl, Director of IT at Pfeifer.

  • It’s inspiring to work with customers like Pfeifer who wants to and dare to work with the latest digital work tools in the sawmill industry. It’s in the collaboration with committed customers like Pfeifer we can make OptiNex even better. This means we can always meet the requirements and needs of the industry, says Carl Barck, CEO of ForestX.

Easy to test the outcome of different cases

Göteborg/Färila 

ForestX is now in the final phase of a feasibility study with Setra. What can Optinex achieve in a Setra sawmill? 

 

In the feasibility study, ForestX has built a full model of Optinex for Setra’s sawmill in Färila. The model mimics and reacts like the real sawmill with a few simplifications.

 

 

Oskar Selmeryd is project manager at ForestX and explains what sawmills like the one in Färila can achieve by using Optinex:

 

1. Crystal ball

 

– Optinex works like a crystal ball! What happens if we want to sell this type of product to this imaginary market at this imaginary price for the coming quarters?

 

– Or what happens if we change the distribution of products. How does it affect the production plan and net profit? We can model different scenarios and then evaluate. You can simply try what effect different types of business have on the net result. And it can be done continuously all the time.

 

2. Alternative calculation

 

– What effect does it have if we change market and products? How do we manage production, other commitments we already have and what does the utilization rate look like at the sawmill? Optinex can provide answers to all of this, Oskar Selmeryd explains.

 

3. Changes in the supply of raw materials

 

– The raw material supply can be changed; the material has a different diameter than planned, or comes in a different length distribution. Optinex can then show what effect it has on the saw, how the ability to pay changes and how to manage its previous commitments based on the change.

 

The customer Setra early on raised the question of what requirements are placed on the organization for Optinex to function best.

 

That part is therefore already included in the feasibility study.

 

– There must be an organization that can receive the tool. Who is responsible for maintaining the product, for example? says Oskar Selmeryd. We have simply looked at the organization linked to the use of Optinex.

 

– We have also looked at how Optinex can be technically integrated in the company. This is a completely new tool that they have not used before at Setra, then it’s important that you address both the technical and the organizational issues early, so that it doesn’t just land in someone’s lap when it’s done.

 

The feasibility study began in October 2021 and already in January 2022, Setra can see and evaluate how Optinex works in their particular case.

In the feasibility study, ForestX has built a full model of OptiNex for Setra’s sawmill in Färila. From January 2021 Setra can start testing and evaluation how OptiNex work in their processes.

About Setra:

 

Setra is one of Sweden’s largest wood industry companies. The company has eight production units around Sweden, seven sawmills and a processing unit where Setra manufactures glulam components and KL wood.

Setra is 50 percent owned by Sveaskog and 49.5 percent by the forest owners’ association Mellanskog. Other shares are owned by 1,500 smaller shareholders.

The group includes the subsidiaries Setra Trävaror, Pyrocell and Setra Wood Products. Setra has approximately 800 employees and sales of approximately SEK 4 billion.

About 65 percent of sales consist of exports to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

ForestX in new major European project: Tactical operational planning at Rubner

During fall 2021, ForestX began work on three projects at the wood processing Rubner group in Austria. Rubner has operations in 20 locations in four European countries with over 1,300 employees.

 

The first project includes implementing tactical planning with OptiNex. Then follows a project with operational sawmill planning with OptiNex and a project for planning for glulam.

 

– It is a great acknowledgement to have a new big project with a strong European wood group as Rubner, says Carl Barck, CEO of ForestX. 

 

– We got new experiences from the Central European wood industry in recent work in the area, which we bring into the new project. We meet a great interest in digitizing all parts of the work process from our European customers.

Leading planning tool integrated with SAP S/4HANA for glulam industry in operation at Pfeifer in Austria

Gothenburg/Imst

 

Europe’s glulam industries needed a complete solution for planning production with a seamless integration with SAP S/4HANA.

Johan Eriksson and colleagues at ForestX developed a module to the company’s existing product OptiNex. 

 

OpiNex is a unique optimization planning tool that uses the full power of IBM Watson.

 

Since January 2021, the application has been in operation at Pfeifer group in Austria.

 

A large part of glulam planning in Sweden and around Europe takes place with excel sheets and simple computer support. The introduction of OptiNex Glulam means a direct step into a digitalized way of working for the wood processing industries who choose the application.

 

– OptiNex helps us to implement our business strategy with regard to the digitalization of production-related business processes in a consequent manner, says Stefan Hammerl, head of IT applications at Pfeifer.  


Johan Eriksson, solution architect, ForestX and Stefan Hammerl, head of IT applications, Pfeifer

– This is one of the most fun projects I have completed. We have worked closely with Pfeifer’s planners and they are happy with the tool. We have been able to do exactly what the customer wanted, says Johan Eriksson, solution architect at ForestX.

OptiNex Glulam can be configured to take into account a number of parameters in the optimization of the planning of glulam production, for example:

  1. Minimizing waste.

  2. Machine utilization.

  3. Optimized flows in the factory.

  4. Available raw material.

  5. Finishing operations. 

The scheduler can easily prioritize the various optimization parameters during use, depending on the current order mode.  

Unique optimization model for the customer

– We have developed a unique optimization solution where the model can be adapted to the customer’s needs. The solution is integrated with other modules in OptiNex. In this way, the solution becomes more complete, says Johan Eriksson, ForestX.

OptiNex Glulam is a true SaaS (Software as a Service) solution. The optimization engine is upgraded to use the industry leading capabilities of IBM Watson cloud optimization. OptiNex is seamlessly integrated with the business processes in SAP S/4-HANA, minimizing manual work and reaching a high level of security and availability.        

– Our event driven architecture is built from the ground up for maximum flexibility when integrating with customer solutions. Both regarding transmission methods and message formats, says Johan Eriksson, ForestX.

– With ForestX, we have found a partner who, on the one hand, understands our business model and, on the other hand, has transformed our – sometimes – very complex requirements into a scalable and user-friendly system with OptiNex, says Stefan Hammerl, Pfeifer.

Everything started in the summer of 2020. The integration of OptiNex Glulam was part of Pfeifer’s SAP S/4HANA implementation project. The integration project started in August, in early autumn ForestX was able to demonstrate parts of the application and in December tests and adaptations were made. In January, the application began to be used in production.

During the implementation phase an agile project team with optimization specialist, architects and planners from Pfeifer was formed. The project scope included adaptations of customer specific UI, Integration and Optimization models tailoring. With a team well experienced from similar projects we could learn from each other and complete the goals and timeline.

In early March 2021, Johan Eriksson and his team were in a phase of “hyper care”. In this phase, ForestX has extra resources in support for end users to ensure a smooth rollout.  

OptiNex Glulam is in operation at the Pfeifer facility in Imst, Austria since January 2021.

Digitized process

Other glulam manufacturing industries could become more digital in their production through OptiNex Glulam; the module can be used both in industries with a high degree of customer adaptation and in those that manufacture standard dimensions.

Johan Eriksson and colleagues are also looking at how the application can be developed to also include cross laminated timber, CLT. The method is common in Europe, but new to the Nordic countries. Cross laminated timber is used, for example, for house building where wall elements are completed in the factory. Everything from doors and windows to electrical outlets are removed from the wall modules. And what good would a smart planning tool do in these processes?

Johan Eriksson looks into the future:

– Well, you do not have to lay the wood with the best quality in the spaces you know will be removed…  

More about Pfeifer 

Pfeifer is a leading company in the European wood industry. In their eight facilities in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic Pfeifer practices their philosophy. Passion for timber – Passion for our work with conifer wood.

Pfeifer headquarters in Imst, Austria. The company has more than 2 000 employees in eight facilities in three European countries.

With Pfeifers more than 2,000 employees the group transforms the raw material timber in a precious range of products. A clearly structured range of goods builds the basis of the Pfeifer Group success. In over 90 countries, people trust in our products.

pfeifergroup.com

ForestX team on the project

JohanErikssonForestX

Johan Eriksson

Lösningsarkitekt

Area of focus
Problem solving, streamlining and automation.

Oskar Danielsson

Lösningsarkitekt

Area of focus
Problem solving, streamlining and automation.

webb_6659

Prasad Patole

Senior Technical Lead

Area of focus
Senior System Dev. with 10+ years experience from Microsoft Technology, MS Azure development and Azure Devops.

webb_6611

Pooja Rakade

Lead Software Engineer

Area of focus
Senior System Dev. with 5+ years experience within Microsoft Technology. Pooja has worked with solutions for the forest industry in the past (4+ years).

ForestX AB acquires the planning tool OptiNex

ForestX AB acquires the planning tool Optinex from LGJ Konsult AB


Optinex is a unique planning and optimization solution for the sawmilling industry. A holistic and dynamic planning tool for strategic, tactical and operational planning in the sawmilling and processing industries. OptiNex is today used by Martinsons wood, Södra timber, Siljan timber, Holmen timber, SCA Bollsta and Gällö Timber.


“In our vision to digitalize and create value for the industry, OptiNex is exactly the kind of product and solution that fits our offer” says Carl Barck, VD ForestX.


“Within ForestX we can offer expertise in both IT solutions and operations around the sawmilling processes. The acquisition of OptiNex strengthens us further, not least since Lars-Göte Johansson will also be part of ForestX” Carl explains.


“OptiNex is an amazing product that in a unique way solves the business complexity that sawmills and woodworking companies are facing. When it comes to making the right choices, OptiNex is the product for you. The current customers who uses OptiNex, will with this acquisition, have a long-term and strong supplier for many years to come. Furthermore, I see good opportunities that the product will reach a larger market both in and outside of Sweden. For me, ForestX with its clear offering to the industry and solid business competence is the natural choice to ensure that OptiNex continues to develop further.” says Lars-Göte Johansson


About ForestX.


ForestX is an IT company with roots in the Swedish forest industry. We deliver business value to the entire value chain from forest to the industry by combining technology, process and operational competence, together with industry unique solutions.


Our Consultants 


Passionate about business development and value creation with a clear customer focus.


Our Products 


Carefully selected to create value in our customers’ most critical business processes.


Our partners


Complements our offer to a complete solution for our customers.


Please read more at www.forestx.se