American Forest Management partners with INFLOR to drive forest technology innovation
INFLOR empowers the United States’ largest land consulting and real estate brokerage firm to offer efficient forest technology to their clients across the globe
Land Consulting and Real Estate
- Endless opportunities for integration with both INFLOR and external solutions
- Allowed expansion to become a global business
- Introduced a new solution to the U.S. market
- Increased security and flexibility
- No longer relies on internal resources for system configuration
- Easily provides reports to clients worldwide
- Ample cost savings
- Reliable, efficient INFLOR customer support
- Closer integration between operating groups
- Positioned as a leader in industry technology
With INFLOR as their trusted partner, American Forest Management (AFM) has expanded to become a global business by meeting changing industry demands with more integrations, reduced costs, and better solutions. The largest land consulting and real estate brokerage firm in the United States’ use of INFLOR’s robust solutions has allowed them to expand, increase security and flexibility, save both time and money, and bring their team closer together.
For over 55 years, AFM has been helping landowners manage, sell, buy, improve, and enjoy millions of acres of land across the timber growing regions of the United States and Central America.
With hundreds of employees in offices across the country, the company provides landowners with individualized local services while still being able to leverage their vast technical resources as a national company.
Stephen Eddins, Director of Technical Services at AFM, is responsible for the oversight of data management, GIS, information technology, and system development. “Our vision is to be able to make the ownership of land more rewarding, and for people to experience the full potential of their land,” he explains. “We do this by helping our clients find the best solutions for all areas of technical land management.”
Before INFLOR, AFM utilized their own data management solution that was customized to the Southeastern United States. For almost twenty years, this solution functioned for their company, but once they began expanding their business in other regions of the U.S. and Central America, AFM realized they needed to make a change in order to meet their clients’ objectives in the fast-paced world of natural resources technology.
While Eddins and his team first considered expanding their old solution, they quickly realized that it would be more effective in both time and money to partner with a company like INFLOR to utilize a new solution than improve and upgrade their own.
The main AFM and INFLOR teams that worked to implement the INFLOR solution at AFM Headquarters.
From left to right: Stephen Eddins, Antonio Tatagiba, Stephen Keider, Esther Cushing, Igor Reuter, Marcos Outeiro.
When they began searching for a new solution, AFM had decades of experience using different timberland management solutions, so they went in with the knowledge to find exactly what they wanted for their clients. Eddins and his team quickly realized that INFLOR was offering the security and flexibility they were looking for in a solution with a high potential to grow over time.
“The first year we worked with INFLOR was mainly spent getting to know one another, so that we could discern exactly what AFM needed. We went in with an idea of what we wanted, but over time it expanded. There are many changes that we didn’t even envision back then that we’re incorporating into the system now,” shares Eddins. “Spending that initial time getting to know each other allowed us to work in a more efficient manner as the project progressed,” he concludes.
The collaboration between the INFLOR and AFM teams allowed them to reach the conclusion that AFM could benefit from utilizing INFLOR Forest along with GISagri and Cloud Services & Hosting with the option to add other solutions as needed in the future.
Eddins (AFM) and Reuter (INFLOR) testing the INFLOR GISagri app on a tract managed by AFM in South Carolina.
They were testing the GPS positioning and capture, and the user experience when consulting maps and reporting workflows offline.
Expansion of market share
When AFM began searching for a solution like INFLOR, they were at risk of losing market share with some of their timberland data management clients if they did not find a solution that would allow them to expand outside of the Southeastern United States.
INFLOR allowed AFM to expand far beyond any single region of the U.S. and offer their clients mobile, cloud-based solutions that allowed their business to grow. “Many clients like to pair their technology services with other services like land management, real estate, and some of the other services that AFM offers,” explains Eddins. “Sometimes working with the data management services we offer through INFLOR can help our clients become more familiar with our business, and increase their interest in expanding into other areas of business with AFM,” he shares.
Opportunities for integration
One of the key benefits that INFLOR offers AFM in their solutions is the ability to layer INFLOR applications to simplify the usage of the modules for AFM users. By understanding AFM’s needs within certain modules, INFLOR has created a workflow layer that provides integrations between the processes for a simpler user interface.
Additionally, INFLOR can add external integrations to the AFM workflow depending on what each of their clients needs. “The opportunities for integrations that INFLOR provides AFM is key for our clients. Our clients may want an integration with their enterprise resource planning (ERP), log accounting system, growth and yield solution, harvest scheduling or inventory. We start with INFLOR, but then we integrate with these other items as needed for our clients. Whether they know it or not, our customers have greatly benefited from the relationship we’ve cultivated with INFLOR,” explains Eddins.
The opportunity cost for AFM to not have to hire or contract employees to maintain a version of their previous data management solution was exponential.
“For the cost of just a few in-house developers, we can tap into all of INFLOR’s team of capabilities and employees,” explains Eddins. “INFLOR handles our systems development and administration, and their solutions help us save time in compiling reports for clients in multiple regions. These benefits that we’ve gained from partnering with INFLOR are not just for AFM, but ones that anyone who decides to use INFLOR in the future will experience as well,” he concludes.
AFM also no longer has to utilize internal resources for system configuration because they use INFLOR’s cloud-based (SaaS) solution. AFM can rely on INFLOR for servers and security which saves on costs because they no longer need internal employees dedicated to those tasks.
Closer integration between operating groups
The core INFLOR user group that AFM started with has expanded to reach many different areas of their business over the years including GIS, land management, inventory, harvest planting, growth and yield, log accounting, carbon accounting, and more.
The expanded use of INFLOR solutions at AFM has allowed for closer integration between AFM operating groups instead of each team being compartmentalized within the company. “We’re working so much closer together with our employees across all regions now than we ever did before. With separate solutions, there was a trend of working in silos causing a reduction in collaboration. With INFLOR, we have truly become a global firm,” Eddins states.
Positioned as a leader in industry technology
The INFLOR solution makes technology more readily available to AFM employees, partners, and clients than ever before.
“We had to make this change in order to stay at the forefront of technology in the industry,” explains Eddins of partnering with INFLOR. AFM now has the ability to use mobile applications and generate specific reports and workflows that help improve their overall efficiency. They have also effectively eliminated areas of their process where errors used to occur between the field and the office and optimized workflows around those findings.
AFM data manager using the INFLOR Forest solution at the AFM Headquarters in North Carolina.
AFM plans to continue evaluating the different solutions and services available to them from INFLOR that will help their clients find the highest level of success in their investments.
“Forest technology has been a focus for many years, but it will remain at the forefront for the foreseeable future,” Eddins shares of the importance of technology in the forest industry. “Incorporating carbon, remote sensing, drones, satellites, increasing frequency/resolution of output, and ESG with a database management solution will be vital for companies who want to continue to grow and thrive. The ability to consolidate, calculate, and synthesize on-demand forest metrics will also be a major focus area for the industry,” he explains.
A true partnership for innovation
The relationship between AFM and INFLOR is a true partnership focused on how they can be mutually beneficial to one another, and bring innovative technology to the forest management industry. “It’s been a lot of INFLOR being beneficial to AFM, but in the future some of our local expertise in the U.S. can be an asset to INFLOR for some of their existing clients that seek to expand in the future,” explains Eddins.
“The development of our partnership with AFM allowed us to understand how to develop our systems to add more value to companies in the United States when using INFLOR solutions and services,” explains Antonio Tatagiba, CEO at INFLOR, of their valued partnership with AFM. “Working with AFM has also provided us with a substantial set of knowledge about the U.S. forest industry and allowed us to create a network of potential business partners,” he shares.