Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (Al-Pac) operates the newest single-line, craft pulp mill in North America, situated two hours north of Edmonton, Alberta. Their close proximity to the Fort McMurray oil sand developments results in high competition for workers.
Planning the “log flow” – the harvesting, loading, storage, and transportation of timber – is enormously complex. Al-Pac would dedicate several days of intensive planning with their team of experienced operational staff to find a feasible solution. They engaged Darkhorse Analytics to review and improve this process through analytical modeling with the goal of improving both the efficiency of the plan and the job satisfaction of their transportation fleet.
We worked closely with Al-Pac’s management, dispatch, woodlands, and transportation teams to ensure that the tools developed and the process implemented would be both useful and easily adopted by the end users.
Together, we designed and implemented a two-prong solution based on two separate models. The first addressed Al-Pac’s long-term planning needs for up to 18-months in advance, and the second provided detailed route scheduling plans on a weekly basis.
We delivered the models to Al-Pac to employ in their strategic decision-making. The log flow model ensures a long view is maintained while the truck scheduler deals with the tactical issues of scheduling individual drivers and operators.
Beyond the value of ongoing recommendations made by these tools, Al-Pac reduced the planning burden on its staff and gained a deeper understanding of its logistics considerations allowing them to make clear operational decision.
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