Logs Direct, a Lancashire manufacturer which produces over 20,000 tonnes of kiln-dried firewood and logs each year, has doubled productivity, boosted profit, and created new jobs, by embracing a digitalised approach to its operations.

With the support of Made Smarter, the government back support scheme for innovative manufacturers, the Lancaster-based company recently invested £40,000 in a kiln monitoring and heat-recovery system.
Through being able to access performance data from its kilns in real time, Logs Direct was able to improve the efficiency of several key manufacturing processes.

As a result, it has been able to cut down drying times by half – significantly boosting its production capacity – while producing an improved end product.

Since adopting the new technology, the family run business – which employs around 50 staff – has also enjoyed a turnover growth of 15%, reduced its energy bills by a third, and expanded its workforce.

Stephen Talbot, Sales Director at Logs Direct, said: “Over the years we have developed innovative approaches to improve our productivity and quality, but we had come as far as we could on our own. Made Smarter has been instrumental in allowing us to move forward with a greener, more efficient and cost-effective drying process, and given us the confidence to look at the next steps of improvement.”

In addition to enabling Logs Direct to ramp up production through the use of smart sensors and other technological interventions, Made Smarter also helped to develop digital leadership skills within the business.

As part of that, Logs Direct’s Finance Director Liz Foulds undertook the Leading Digital Transformation programme, a fast-track course which has given the company additional tools and expertise to support its ongoing digitally-enabled growth strategy.

To read the full Logs Direct case study, go here.

To find out more about how the Made Smarter programme can support creative, innovative and ambitious manufacturing businesses across Lancashire, go here.