Our master students recently participated in a 4-day excursion in the Vogtland-region, and learned many different aspects of forestry and wood products through visits in local forest areas and companies. This blog post series, written by the participating students themselves, highlight some of these encounters!
FORESTRIS AG is a forest service Company located in Vogtland in the region of Saxony, and it offers diverse services like management of privately owned forests, timber harvesting operations, timber marketing, forest management plans, forest engineering services, landscape engineering and wood preservation for buildings. It is the bigger service provider of the region and most of the plots managed by the Enterprise are small-medium sized plots, with and area of less than 100 ha. The enterprise was founded in 2006 and since then it has been growing with the clients and with the increasing timber Price. In the lasts years, the company has had a high turnover, about 7,000,000 € per year. Nowadays, the company counts with qualified woodworkers working in the field and on the other hand with employees working in the forestry engineering sector. What seems to be a problem for the company is finding specialized forest technicians in the region, they took more than two years in finding a pilot specialized in the skidder, a heavy vehicle used in logging operations for pulling out cut trees.
Most of the clients are concentrated in Saxony, mostly in Vogtland because it is a city with larger areas of forest and with a high number of private owners. Also, the main activities are in Vogtland because the employees live there and there are no additional costs for the Company (traveling costs). Nevertheless, they also have clients in other regions.
Actually, the total area of private forests in the region of Saxony is 30,000 ha, and 6,000 ha are currently managed by the Company representing 1600 clients. This indicates that there is still a great chance for the company to grow and increase their management area. The Company has years of experience in solving forest owners’ problems, the most important fact is that they listen to their clients and have a trust relationship with them, they are a flexible company and know how to recognize business opportunities. They specialized mainly in forest management, bark beetle problems of red spruce, thinning operations, and harvest operations of hundred-year-old forests. The company sells between 8,000 to 10,000 m3 of firewood per year. The profit margin depends on each type of service and depends also on the timber price.
Likewise, they encourage and treat very well their employees, keeping them constantly motivated by recognizing them with good salaries, friendship, good working environment, constant training courses, long postpartum vacations for men and women, etc. On the other hand, the company mainly invests in technology, strategy, software, and education. Their advertisement management is through the webpage, Facebook, and the newspaper. The CEO and owner is also the head of the Association of Forest Companies in Germany, where is discussed important decisions, political decisions, common interests and they search for better prices.
At the present time there is a good development for forest service companies, only less than 35% of the land it’s a regular managed forest in the region and it’s a good opportunity to keep growing. Finally, the general manager of FORESTRIS AG states that the key of this business is the quality of the job they perform, only in this way they can keep their customers loyal to them and happy, and its a way to become known in the environment and the best marketing technique.
By: Mariafé Cornejo