Forestry Company Branches Into IT

Published: Tue 16 Sep 2003 12:39 AM
Forestry Company Branches Into IT
Rotorua-based forestry service providers, PF Olsen and Company Ltd (Olsens) have successfully branched out into software development.
What started as an in-house project five years ago to upgrade their financial and planning processes, ended up a uniquely tailored resource management software tool kn own as Forest Information and Planning System (FIPS).
This system has re cently been purchased by Timber Management Company Ltd (TMC), who now manage Kaingaroa Forest.
Olsens Chief Executive, Peter Clark, says that his co mpany launched into software development because there were no other product s that could do the job at the time.
"Managers of small to medium- sized businesses often balk at the cost of IT development, seeing it as a bo ttomless pit of expense, but our initiative was sufficiently new and bold at the time that we attracted government support from Technology New Zealand. The TMC purchase shows that Tech NZ confidence was justified," Clark s ays.
Olsens developed FIPS by engaging a small Rotorua software company, Integral, and although some would see this as a high-risk approach, it ended up giving the company a significant edge, costing only a fraction of a big- name system, yet providing all the functionality.
Clark says their main aim was to increase productivity. "FIPS offers a single-entry process for both process control and General Ledger accounts. The cost of entering d ata has been slashed and project management reports are available on-line, i n real time from anywhere in the world."
FIPS has enabled TMC to s et up their information management systems in record time, and allowed the c ompany to continue trading during the change-over period from Fletcher Chall enge Forests.
Clark says that winning the TMC contract was their biggest hurdle. "The purchasers of software and IT delivery service solutions are naturally cautious when dealing with smaller firms, such as ours, but i n this case, end-users were able to see the benefits of our ability to make very rapid software changes in response to evolving business needs."

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