Cofely rethinks its wood sector transport system with DDS Logistics

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To prepare for the forthcoming boom in wood fuel demand, Cofely (part of GDF SUEZ) has chosen DDS Shipper for its logistics infrastructure. DDS Shipper is a high performance transport management computer solution developed by DDS Logistics, the French leader in the industry.

Is wood the material of tomorrow? As far as energy production is concerned, there is little doubt about it. GDF SUEZ’s affiliate Cofely, which designs and implements energy and environmentally efficient solutions is preparing for a sevenfold increase in the use of wood for energy production in France by 2015. From 200.000 tons currently, wood fuel consumption should thus rise to 600.000 tons in 2012 and 1.5 million in 2015!

In response to this trend Cofely has decided to initiate a complete overhaul of its production and logistics organization. The company is planning to increase the number of wood-fuelled systems. Their number should grow from 180 to 210 by 2015. Within the next four years, four new logistic platforms should be opened in addition to the 11 existing ones.

Optimizing transport to guarantee volume delivery

For transport, Cofely is starting this year to make changes for the future. The objective is to secure volumes while keeping prices unchanged for customers: wood must remain competitive and attractive environmentally and economically speaking. To better manage inbound (from wood supplier to logistic hubs) and outbound (from hubs to boilers) freight, the company has turned to a transport computer systems specialist, DDS Logistics.

Until November, DDS Logistics will be deploying its DDS Shipper solution at every Cofely’s wood logistic platform. Early testing is being carried out at the Rouen site for the supplies of three boilers. “We wanted a tool that works out of the box, that is easy to deploy, and that allows us to optimize our transport organization. Although it’s not our core business, transport is crucial for our activity and for the growth of the wood sector. What DDS Logistics brought us was advice but above all a committed team we could rely on” Cofely energy purchase director Francois-Xavier DUGRIPON comments.

Once it is up and running at all sites, the software solution will give Cofely the following possibilities:

  • Control of transport flows and costs: the software automatically selects the carrier with the best value in terms of quality/lead time/cost that is located near the area to serve. It also makes it possible to pre-invoice providers to ensure visibility into transport costs.
  • End-to-end shipment tracking: in case of incident, a “Tracing and Alerts” functionality issues an alert so that the problem can be worked around and the delivery duly completed. The list of tasks to complete can be generated using the alert engine which is very proactive.
  • Calculation of transport-related CO2 and other greenhouse effect gas emissions.

“Wood-fuelled boilers are carbon neutral so it is possible to do something against the greenhouse effect. What we wanted was a “meter” allowing us to measure and limit the impact of our transport activity on the environment. This functionality will allow us to calculate the volume of greenhouse gas emissions of each one of our carriers and boilers” François-Xavier DUGRIPON explains.

“CO2 calculations will be based on actual mileage. Carriers will enter the distances covered in kilometers and the weight carried. These data will be processed and a CO2 emission report will be issued and sent to each unit so each site can be monitored” DDS Logistics CEO Jérôme Bour comments.

In addition, Cofely is considering alternatives to road transport. Waterways are favored over rail, which requires very large volumes. The company has made a commitment of using waterways from 2011 to ship 30.000 tons of wood, that is to say over 10% of its current flows. DDS Shipper will also be used to manage flows for these alternative modes of transport.

The fuel wood industry utilizes the calorific energy contained in the various forms of wood: forestry and pruning waste, sawmill by-products… Fuel wood is used in boiler plants that are designed to cover hot water or heating needs either in full or in part. The French forest grows by 100 million cubic meters per annum, of which 60 millions only are harvested. By 2015, Cofely will use from 1 to 2% of this growth.