Manufacturers produce log poles for power and communication lines. A 60-foot (18 m) pole would typically cost between $1,700 to $3,000. Naturally, manufacturers want to maximize their capital dollars, so counting and measuring wood poles correctly is extremely important. Losing even one single pole can cause significant losses to revenue.
Why it matters - wood pole service life
Actual pole service life is influenced by
several factors including the specification, the quality of treatment, the conditions to which the pole is exposed, and how well the
pole is maintained during use.
Many pole producers record the date of pole installations along with the supplier, wood species, and treatment details. They may also register inspection dates along with any supplemental treatments applied and, finally, they record when the pole is changed out.
Wood pole prices vary, according to American Timber and Steel, a 40-foot treated utility pole ranges from between $400 and $600 depending on its class type. So, a 60-foot pole would typically cost between $1,700 to $3,000.
Pole producers tend to prioritize log count to log volumes - the log lengths are an indicator of the estimated volume of wood poles. Counting wood poles sounds like an easy task, but quite often it is a laborious chore to perform. But why?
As mentioned, typically the value of the logs is in the hundreds, or even in thousands of dollars. Meaning that forest managers count small piles, or only deliver a few packages at once. Indeed when measuring smaller piles, it is possible to make mistakes and the efforts in measuring soon become a waste of time. They eventually need to mark every log because they might miss it or double count it. After the first attempt, all the logs have marks.
But how do pole producers prove the amount of logs in the pile?
For example, let's assume that there are 200 logs in a pile. After recounting and marking the logs again with different spray paint, often the total amount of logs is different to what was counted the first time.
The problem with measuring logs manually is that it is tough to prove it. It is the seller's word against the buyers - and often the amount counted do not correlate. It becomes even more challenging if the logs are moved to another location, or a section of logs have been taken away or added to the pile. If the logs are transported to a sawmill then even though the mill has measuring lines or scanners, errors still occur. Lastly, add in that logs could be unloaded to a wrong place or a delivery mixed up - the mistakes in log count and volume continually build up.
Pole counting is like counting all the loose pencils in a box. There are a lot of logs and conducting inventories is often time consuming and laborious. For more substantial manufacturers, it may take up to 3 working days every month to do inventories. Wood poles themselves have a higher value than the log itself. To quote a prominent client of Timbeter from the US “if Timbeter avoids losing us only two logs per month, then the costs of using the software outweigh the lost logs and even return greater profits.”
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