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Matheus Esteves

Quality and Forestry Business Manager at Dexco


Simplification and proximity to enable the promotion of culture

After a decade of stabilization and even reduction in wood prices, Brazil is now experiencing increasing expansions of planted forest areas. Some forest assets, from small to large, started to make sense with the new projects inaugurated, expanded and planned. The uses and consumption of wood grew, whether for energy, panels, pulp and paper, exports, and this accelerated the harvesting of forests and, immediately, the reduction of the average age of these forests in the country.

The race to reforest these areas and expand into new ones has gained a pace never seen before, even with the latest increases in the prices of pesticides, fertilizers, fuels and machinery, which went against this need. The diversity of thoughts, the result of the different schools experienced by professionals, has been important to review what is essential and guarantee the maintenance of quality levels. The creation of collaborative and participatory environments has catalyzed the exchange of these experiences.

But what's new about planting and caring for a forest? In general, in Brazil, replacements and expansion of these assets are taking place in edaphoclimatic environments that are different from those already known by professionals and former teams. Opportunities in prime areas, with high site rates, flat relief and low-cost logistics give way to slopes, smaller areas and regions with less productive potential.

The typical rural worker profile no longer exists, and not only training becomes more intense and necessary: the proximity of managers, their communication skills, the exercise of empathy and providing well-being, taking care of their teams of tractor drivers, rural workers, operators, security guards, drivers are being the most successful models for delivering results.

In order to maintain and exceed process and forest quality indicators within pre-established margins, Dexco, in addition to training and exchanging experiences between more and less experienced people in the operational units, has been strongly involved in positioning the teams that measure and monitor quality, on the See and Act principle. The opportunities for identifying anomalies are as great as the opportunities for re-establishing processes within these predicted margins, through proximity, guidance and the establishment of compromises.

We have overcome that phase in which only the quality teams owned the subject and acted as delivery inspectors. The evolution occurred and continues in the contribution and orientation of the teams:

1. At the time of process assessments as they occur and what we call first-level assessments;
2. At the time of forest quality surveys at 45 days, helping to direct priority operations;
3. In forest assessments from 3 to 12 months, with excellent reflections together with managers and joint establishment of targeted action plans.

Dexco's processes and forests , and also for LD Celulose (Dexco and Lenzing union) and Caetex Forestry (Dexco and Usina Caeté union), works on evaluation fronts of silviculture processes, harvesting, wood yard, mechanical maintenance and evaluations of forests with 45 days, 3 to 6 months and 12 months. The group is made up of professionals with different profiles and previous experiences, ranging from extensionist engineer, technician, specialist, analyst, programmer developer. And, here, we are pleased to share that teams made up of profiles that complement each other generate value, results and a good working environment.

Today, quality teams are perceived without feelings of fear, but as helpers, with the same purpose, and partners in anticipating deviations that may occur. Since the acquisition of the first drones in 2016, the monitoring routines and schedules of the quality teams became frequent and soon decentralized, with the availability of similar drones in the operational units so that they could be used as another work tool.

At the operational units, we maintained the strategy of using portable, robust equipment that can help quickly and easily, in time for any interventions (example: weed competition , damage caused by ants, erosion). To support and streamline the numerous forest assessments, systematized and carried out by the quality team, the quantitative analyzes of survival and stocking at 3 months of age, previously done completely manually, have given way to an automatic counting system developed internally by the team and with an accuracy that can reach 98%, in the case of high quality forests (high planting homogeneity and no interference from weeds or similar).

The automatic seedling counting system developed internally used various forest characteristics to compose an image bank capable of sustaining the precision required in quality forest situations. For cases where there is interference in viewing the seedling or planting heterogeneity, the system continues to improve its database.

Monitoring the action plans built in the evaluation of processes and forests, agreed with the operational units, is part of the area's attributions, as well as promoting, together with the areas of development, nutrition and management, genetic improvement and mechanization, the necessary support and operations support.

Edwards Deming's phrase, a reference in quality management, that “you can't manage what you don't measure, you can't measure what you don't define, you can't define what you don't understand, and there's no success in what you don't manages”, remains current, and the understanding and internalization of the concepts of process quality and, consequently, what is expected from the delivery of our forest product, must be mainly in the routines of those who carry it out. This is the greatest purpose and what we most aim for as a quality area. Finally, to ensure success in promoting a culture of quality, we need to build a strong relationship of trust, closeness to the teams, internalization of concepts and alignment of all in the same purpose: to always improve.