Improving efficiency in logistics operations of the wood fiber supply chain

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Virginia Tech

There is a gap in the research regarding applications of Lean tools in the wood fiber supply chain. A Value Stream Map (VSM) tool that focused on identifying Lean waste in logistic operations was developed and applied to three case study firms: a paper mill, a sawmill, and a logger. Using the VSM tool an absence of structured methods to select and assess suppliers was found, which promotes a fluctuating environment for suppliers. Therefore, a tool that implements a hierarchy system to categorize suppliers was developed, verified and validated. Through the use of the VSM implementation the author found a lack of information sharing between supply chain stakeholders, which causes a reactive environment for the industry. Improvements in wood flow planning, tract allocation, truck scheduling, and communication were projected as a future state of the system. The annual potential savings by implementing the projected improvements in the total cost were as follows for the paper mill, the sawmill, and the logger respectively: $306,232, $312,085, $756,504. As a result of the findings obtained through the VSMs, a supplier selection model was designed. The tool was implemented into software for the wood industry. The tool was then verified and validated. The verification process consisted of comparing the output through previously known results and was performed through seven interviews with different stakeholders. The appropriate application of the supplier selection tool improves the way in which companies in the wood industry select and assess their suppliers and guarantee that the best alternatives are selected.

Supply Chain, Value Stream Map, Lean Logistics, Analytical Hierarchy Process, Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution