• Business Intelligence
  • Business Analytics

Nelson Forests

Innovation is at the heart of Nelson Forests' approach. It is committed to supporting innovation amongst its contractors but is also continually seeking to incorporate industry-leading practice in its logistics and business intelligence systems.

Nelson Forests Ltd (NFL) owns 80,000 hectares of high quality radiata pine plantations in the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions, of New Zealand.  More than 600 people are employed, and the company harvests 1.5 million m3 of log sales annually. 70 percent of the logs harvested are processed by local sawmills into products for the domestic and export market.


Nelson Forests engage a range of contractors to support their production and woodflow.  Logs are loaded onto trucks and then the weights are recorded at the weighbridge. Nelson Forests schedule operations up to 5 years in advance. However, when comparing actual daily production to plans, some deviations occur in the numbers due to not all wood leaving the site on the same day, thus not showing a true level of actual production.

Nelson Forests use log processing machines in their forests; these machines remove branches and measure and cut through the trees. They also capture the data of the tree specifics, size and length, as well as stock held on site each day. In the past, this data was processed on a monthly basis to provide insights into actual production levels at a granular detail of species, grade, site and short end diameters.

“Nelson Forests Product predictions are now more accurate, and their customers can be confident that NFL will deliver the volume of wood they have ordered, and that we will continue to deliver the quality and quantity of wood they require.”
Nigel Brabyn
Business Performance Analyst


Montage had already supported Nelson Forests with the daily automation of the budget, forecast and weighbridge actual data. In order to provide more exact information and extract data that was available on a daily basis, Montage were tasked to incorporate the logging machine data into the nightly uploads to deliver daily insights.

Montage analysed the logging machine data files and set up a process to extract the desired information and make it available to Nelson Forests on a daily basis.

The information was delivered and made available to a wide range of staff and contractors via a set of Tableau dashboards.


Nelson Forests no longer need to wait until the end of the month for their woodflow results, the information for the previous day is available first thing on the next day. Insights from prior day data can be actioned the following day of the activity, whilst still fresh in mind. The up to date data allows detailed woodflow analysis which looks at production across time for harvest units, contractors, species and grades, to name but a few.

Nelson Forests no longer have an annual payment to make for the processing of their data and provision of reports as the solution is automated and owned by NFL. The one-off investment had a payback of less than a year, whilst also providing a much more flexible ability to analyse their data on a daily basis.

NFL have further improved insights into their activities which enable them to get the right products, from the right harvesting crews, to the right customers, at the right time. The up to date data and Tableau dashboards greatly help NFL in understanding true production, support contractor efficiency initiatives and also improves overall logistics due to knowing tree volumes and specifics that are in the Forest and have not yet passed the weighbridge.


The one-off investment had a payback of less than a year, whilst also providing a much more flexible ability to analyse their data on a daily basis.