Kevin Toohill, CEO of Trimble Forestry: “The large investments in IT and technology makes Sweden interesting”
Canada / Sweden
Through the collaboration with ForestX, Trimble Forestry will make a long term commitment to the Swedish and Nordic markets.
– It’s amazing how efficient and advanced the Nordic forest industry is, says Kevin Toohill, CEO of Trimble Forestry.
In this interview made in March 2021, he gives his views on the Swedish willingness to invest, talks about adaptation to the Nordic market and what a Finnish sunrise feels like.
Kevin Toohill has previously been responsible for Trimble Forestry in Europe, and during that time he was based in Finland for a year and a half. After that experience and through his continued work in international forestry, he has a firm opinion of the forest industry in the Nordic region:
– It is clear how Nordic forestry always strives for more efficiency, it’s amazing how advanced it is. It is a technically advanced and dynamic region, it is fun to work there!
– I was also impressed how much of an identity the forest and the forest industry have in the Nordics. It is such an important part of culture and the economy. In Canada it is not at all central in the same way, it is a different dynamic, says Kevin Toohill.
Looking for new technology
For the past three years, Swedish ForestX and Trimble Forestry have been collaborating on the Swedish market. Sweden is one of the world’s largest forestry countries, so it is an exciting market from that perspective, says Kevin Toohill.
– But what makes Sweden particularly interesting for Trimble Forestry right now are the large investments in IT and technology that are being made, he continues. This lines up with what we at Trimble have been doing in development and investments. The timing is good, there is a lot of activity in the Swedish market and many are searching for new technology and for replacing old systems.
Kevin Toohill in particular mentions the transition to VIOL3 as a crucial part of entering the Swedish market.
– Everyone, us including, was waiting for the next platform to come, and now it is here with all the opportunities it provides. Now that it’s happening, we’re ready to jump in.
Trimble Forestry provides a product suite with modules for the entire forest industry’s value chain, Connected Forest. There are functions for, among other things, planning, planting, harvesting and transportation.
– Our products are about integrating and optimizing the entire supply chain. The great value lies in a combination of having standard platforms and collaborating with partners such as ForestX to adapt it to the local needs of the market, says Kevin Toohill.
Partner with industrial knowledge
Today, Trimble Forestry operates worldwide. North America, South America, New Zealand and parts of Europe are on the company’s map. Sweden is, as Kevin Toohill puts it, “The next frontier”. And the approach is the same whatever market they enter:
– Take the core of what you have, adapt it to the local market. That’s how we work everywhere, says Kevin Toohill.
– All regions we work in have different systems for integration, reporting and regulations. In Sweden, all three parts are affected and it is more comprehensive and more detailed than in other regions. I see two aspects of it:
- The product platform we have is built to be adapted to different systems, it is a requirement all over the world.
- The collaboration with ForestX means that we have the local expertise, technical capabilities and the industry knowledge.
– It will be a significant effort, but it’s something we have done before, says Kevin Toohill.
– We will have components and modules that will be very specific to the Swedish market. We provide everything needed to operate locally, but it will still be the same core as in the global platform. It allows us and our customers to save money and we can benefit from the common technology.
Investments and development take place continuously within the Trimble Group.
The entire Trimble Group annually allocates $ 500 million for research and development.
– Trimble Forestry is currently investing over six million dollars annually (over 50 million Swedish kronor), specially in Connected Forest research and development, says Kevin Toohill.
Focus on digitization
The collaboration with ForestX in Sweden is well established after a few years.
– It is an ideal partnership as our areas of expertise and our interests are very well aligned. ForestX is very focused on digitalization and we add platforms and products to the collaboration. What we look forward to now as ForestX grows and expands is that we focus on the products and ForestX is focusing on the customers in Sweden. We’re relying on ForestX to take the knowledge of the Swedish market with us, so that we can develop the products in the right direction.
– This is a deeper partnership than we usually have. In other markets, we have grown organically. Through the collaboration with ForestX, we can scale up faster and act quicker than we could do ourselves. The first three years have been really exciting!
The Finnish sunrise
“What I will always remember from Finland is the sun in all seasons. It is the experience of darkness and light and to see a sunset at midnight, if you can even call it a sunset then.
Then it was the darkness of winter, which I still found comforting in some way.
At one point I was in Helsinki and had just arrived from Stockholm and a meeting with Christer and Carl from ForestX. It was March and I arrived at the tram stop and the sun rose. And I remember very clearly that I could feel it in my face. It was the first time I had seen and felt the sun in months.”
Trimble’s Forestry Division offers SaaS and enterprise software to improve the productivity and sustainability of the world’s most recognized integrated forest product companies, forest managers, conservation organizations, government departments, finished product manufacturers, and the partners that connect the global forest supply chain. Trimble’s Connected Forest™ solutions manage the full raw materials lifecycle of planning, planting, growing, harvesting, transporting, and processing.
ForestX combines industry experience, practical business knowledge and a portfolio of unique IT solutions. ForestX creates efficient flows, from forest to end product. We do this by digitizing the forest industry. ForestX has offices in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Pune, India.