Article by Tom Trone
John Deere Forestry

“There’s an app for that.”
A few years ago, as the smart phone revolution really took hold, that phrase reminded us there was an application for nearly every possible need. Since that phrase was first ut­tered, the number of apps has grown exponentially. From organizing your grocery list to managing your fi­nan­ces to simply killing time, there truly is an app for everything, including forestry and logging.

There are plenty of apps that loggers can and do use in different situations. Navigation apps help with routing and location searches. Flashlights, weather alerts and emergency location communicators help keep jobsites safe. Financial apps help keep track of expenses. There are also administrative planning tools that help loggers manage daily tasks.
Also, contrary to what many young people will say, you can also use a smart phone to talk to people. These are easy to use and inexpensive, often free.

With the ubiquitous nature of smart phone apps, it seems only logical that the next step would be apps created specifically for logging.

Daniel Turner thought the same thing, so he looked for a logging app that would help his business. But he never found one that did exactly what he wanted it to do. So he took matters into his own hands.

You might remember Turner from my column last month. He is a young logger from Stockton, Mo. who is passionate about not only the success of his family-owned business, but the entire logging industry. Turner Logging LLC is a prime example of a logging operation that has successfully embraced technology to positively impact the business.

This year Turner took his use of technology to the next level by developing an app. Recognizing an opportunity to streamline his business, and understanding that mobile technology is the future, Turner worked with a software developer to create Timber Tracker. His goal was to create an app designed for loggers, by loggers.

“I’m always looking for simpler and better ways to do things. There was nothing out there to meet my business needs like Timber Tracker, so it was a perfect time to take a chance and go for it. The app has been extremely helpful to date, especially in an industry like ours where time is money,” relates Turner.

He says Timber Tracker enables him to estimate the timber harvest, price the products, and prepare and send a quote PDF to customers. He hopes it will become a one-stop place for loggers to get online and find exactly what they need from any jobsite. The app was developed by The App Pros, LLC of Springfield, Mo. and will continue to evolve.

“We can keep track of number of logs and footage; instead of mailing receipts or an invoice, just a simple click and it sends an email. Removing time, guesswork and paperwork has sped things up tremendously. You can be anywhere, any time and re­ceive an update. The property owners are also more in the loop,” Turner advises.

John Deere has also been offering mobile applications to the logging industry for several years. The apps are designed to work with JDLinkTM, John Deere’s remote monitoring system.

Users have access to real-time information about their machines’ whereabouts, and production data and code alerts, which provides optimum performance and compliance with preventative maintenance tasks.

John Deere also created GoFell mobile application for M-Series track-type feller- buncher customers available for iPhone® and Android®. The app was designed to assist operators in understanding machine controls, settings and diagnostics.

GoFell acts as an operator’s quick reference guide, providing loggers with instant access to information about feller-bunchers and tips to customize the operating experience to maximize productivity.

As a logger, you demand more uptime; fast, accurate diagnosis of machine problems; rapid, effective service response and the right part, the first time; better fuel economy; and closer tracking of machines and operators for more efficient operation. While app technology alone will not make or break your business, it will make success more probable.

More importantly, Turner’s creation of Timber Tracker is an example of what can happen when a logger embraces technology as a way to make his business more efficient and streamlined.

What’s important is to remember that technology offers a multitude of re­sources to help you do your work smarter, faster, and easier. If technology can improve your productivity even just a little, it could mean the difference between success and failure.