Friday Offcuts – 9 August 2019

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So, this week, more calls for the NZ Government to review its policies relating to forestry. They come hot on the heels of submissions made late last week on the Government’s zero-carbon legislation. The farming community have been voicing their growing concerns about mass afforestation potentially distorting land markets in favour of forestry and the risk posed to rural communities. It’s being reinforced by several emotive stories from farmers during the week about recent land sales and the impact that the “Billion Trees Policy” is having on farm sales and conversions.

Other commentary highlights why large-scale investors, particularly overseas investors looking to diversify their investment portfolios, are currently eyeing up New Zealand forestry. With the current low rates of return on investment, forestry appears to be an attractive option, not so much for the returns on the crop but for growing trees for carbon trading. The attraction here is that there’s a cash flow throughout the growth cycle, there is the very real potential for a significant upside to carbon prices and Government policies are currently conducive to investment. The article and link to the full commentary is included in this week’s issue.

In the technology space this week we take another look at the growth of automation and the change that this may have on employment. The Future of Jobs 2018 report suggests that companies achieving the most significant performance improvements are when humans work alongside AI and machines in the workplace. Already, in the retail environment, humans and robots are working together in a major way, as is staff retraining. E-commerce giant Amazon is for example spending US$70 million retraining about a third of its 300,000 American workers. We can expect the same changes will be seen here - in our own industry – in the not too distant future.

And finally, remember the movie Avatar? Directed, produced, and co-written by James Cameron back in 2009. Filming is already underway in New Zealand on the three sequels. If you cast your mind back, other than those four-metre tall blue Na'vi and outstanding graphics, central to the movie’s plot is the Pandoran Neural Network. All living organisms were linked by a neural network, a collection of electro chemical connections that existed between the trees. Science fiction? Maybe not.

We’ve included this week a recent story titled the “wood-wide web”. A living Kauri stump in a New Zealand forest has led researchers to believe that trees could be connected, one to the other, probably via their roots, to form a superorganism. Underground, they can share water, nutrients, and diseases. One of the article’s authors says that if “we’re not really dealing with trees as individuals then, it changes the way we’ve been looking at the survival of trees and the ecology of our forests". An interesting read to end your week.

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Nelson Forests exploring wood processing options

Nelson Forests Ltd is exploring new ways to meet wood export market demand that will create jobs, increase domestic processing of logs in the Marlborough region, and add value to the Top of the South economy. Nelson Forests and Kaituna Sawmill are owned by Australian company OneFortyOne. OneFortyOne Executive General Manager - New Zealand, Lees Seymour, says the company is exploring opportunities to process more logs on shore and to develop alternative wood chip markets.

Seymour says that Nelson Forests has hired a project manager to do a feasibility study on a number of projects, with one being investigating the building of a facility that would enable the export of wood chips from Port Marlborough. The process involves chipping logs and forest residues, resulting in higher-value woodchip being exported, greater returns to Marlborough forest owners and improved environmental outcomes for the region. To increase volumes available, woodchip from sawmills could be added to the mix, including woodchip produced by the Kaituna Sawmill.

Another project is investigating debarking export saw logs that are not suitable for processing in domestic mills. The de-barking process removes the need for fumigation of whole logs for the export market.

Nelson Forests Ltd and Port Marlborough have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines how the two companies will work together through the feasibility phase and if successful through to implementation. “The relationship we have with Port Marlborough is outstanding and we are very happy to be able to work with such a professional team,” says Seymour.

Rhys Welbourn the CEO of Port Marlborough says he is “delighted to be able to work with Nelson Forests to develop the feasibility and business case – this is good news for the port and good news for Marlborough”.

The Kaituna Sawmill currently processes about 115,000 tonnes of logs per annum and is investigating options to increase the scale of the operation; again this will create jobs, increase domestic processing of logs and add value to the Top of the South economy. Seymour says that “in order to increase sawmill capacity there is the need to develop new woodchip markets, you can’t do one without the other.”

Port Marlborough exports approximately 700,000 tonnes of logs a year at Picton, with the capacity to export a million tonnes. There is an opportunity for other forest owners to supply logs for chip export and woodchip producers to supply woodchip, and it is not limited to the wood from the company’s own estates or Kaituna Sawmill. “If we could do it, it would be helping other forest owners as well, adding more value to the regional export pipeline.”

If the feasibility study is positive, Seymour says the company believes it could start exporting chip by the end of the 2020.

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WPMA Regional Meeting links with WoodTECH 2019

Most major sawmilling companies from around New Zealand will be coming into Rotorua for the two-yearly technology and equipment event, WoodTECH 2019.

It runs on 11-12 September. To build on the number of wood processors that will be in town on Tuesday 10 September, the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA) will also be running a Bay of Plenty Regional Meeting at the hotel venue, the Distinction Rotorua Hotel.

The theme for the evening meeting is; “The challenge of maintaining international competitiveness in New Zealand’s wood industry”. In April, WPMA hosted its National Conference in Christchurch - “Wood manufacturing matters – especially in the regions” - WPMA has now moved on to its Regional Meeting Programme.

The meetings will be highlighting how industry and government are tackling trade barriers aiming to create fairer international competition. They will also present WPMA’s research looking at how government can play a more supportive role in NZ’s wood manufacturing sector.

So, if you’re a WoodTECH 2019 delegate who will be in Rotorua the night before the conference or a wood processor or manufacturer in the area, come and join us for drinks and canapes to network with New Zealand's industry leaders in architecture, engineering, manufacturing and construction.

WPMA are hosting a cocktail function and regional meeting. The event starts at 5.30pm and is likely to conclude around 8.00pm.

If interested in attending the event, please RSVP your attendance to by the 3 September. Further details can be found here

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BVLOS drones for forest inventories

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) used BVLOS drones to carry out tree-wise forest inventory on an area of 18,000 hectares in North-West Russia.

A huge need exists for up-to-date, precise forest inventory data in Russia. The transition from extensive forest management to intensive forest management has already started in several regions of northwest Russia, resulting in an increase in pulpwood available on the market. Detailed information on current forest resources is a basic requirement for this transition.

Luke carried out the research project “Competitive solution based on Finnish knowledge for management of up- to-date forest resource data in Russia (ISKRA)” to develop a cost-efficient solution for collecting information. “Beyond Visual Line of Sight” (BVLOS) drones were used to cover an area of 18,000 hectares in four days. BVLOS is one of the most promising concepts in the commercial drone world today, as it enables service providers to cover huge areas in a relatively short period of time, with spatial resolution of one cm per pixel. The project partners in Russia received permission to fly BVLOS in the Republic of Karelia, and they followed all local regulations related to obtaining and handling aerial data.

“BVLOS will change the market for commercial drone users, offering a cheaper alternative to current applications such as airplanes and helicopters. The relatively low human involvement will drive costs down, leaving only questions of regulation and data processing. With BVLOS, the latter requires different approaches than those of traditional consumer drones due to the large size of data”, said Eugene Lopatin, senior scientist at Luke.

During the ISKRA project, the tree-wise forest inventory was carried out on an 18,000-hectare area leased by the participating pilot company in the Republic of Karelia. A total of 13,652,458 trees were mapped using drone data and data processing algorithms developed for the project. Each tree’s height, breast height diameter, species and age were measured. The project demonstrates a huge potential of drones for smart forest management not only in Russia but also in Finland.

As part of this year’s ForestTECH 2019 series being run in November in both Australia and New Zealand, trials being undertaken with BVLOS and opportunities for local forestry companies will be discussed. Registrations are now open for the conference and associated workshops (some of which limited numbers will apply). Full details on the programmes for both countries can be viewed on the event website;

Source: Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

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Record turnout of sawmill tech providers

September 2019 will again see one of the largest gatherings yet seen in this region of wood scanning, sawing, saw and mill maintenance technology specialists, innovators and leading practitioners. The two-day independent programme, WoodTECH 2019, will be providing New Zealand and Australian sawmills with a unique opportunity to learn about the very latest in technologies and operating practices from around the globe.

Registrations continue to pour in. Most mills have been taking full advantage of the significant discounts that are still open for multiple registrations from sawmill production sites. The conference, workshops and exhibitions have been specifically designed alongside industry into two-days in each country.

They’ve also been set up to encourage sawmill teams – management, mill production, saw-doctors and maintenance staff – to take advantage of the line-up of world class international specialists being brought into the region. This ensures teams from individual mills can collectively hear from and meet up with the technical expertise and then put the practical learnings into practice once back on site.

For a full appreciation of what’s happening in September, check out the listing of all major equipment and technology suppliers to the sawmilling industry involved in either presenting or exhibiting. Companies involved include;

USNR, USA/Canada, ScanMeg, Canada, Optimil Machinery, Canada, LMI Technologies, Sweden, Nicholson Manufacturing, Canada, JoeScan, USA, EWD/Linck, Germany, IWT-Moldrup Asia Pacific, Singapore, TS Manufacturing, Canada, SiCam Systems, Canada, GCAR Design, Canada, Lewis Controls, USA, Taqtile, Singapore, TimberSmart, NZ.

Timberlink, Australia, Precision Machinery, Canada, Williams & White, Canada, Simonds International, USA, Winsaw Mill Services, NZ, Holtec, NZ, KeyKnife, Braford Industries, Australia, Andritz, NZ, ILS, NZ, Pacific Sawmill Engineering, NZ, Supply Services, NZ, High Duty Plastics, NZ, Modern Engineering, Australia, Thode Knife & Saw, NZ, Tui Technology, NZ.

Checkmate Precision Cutting Tools, NZ, Saito, NZ, HewSaw, Australia, Stinger World, Australia, Automation & Electronics, NZ, AKE Sales Tech, Australia, Accurate Group, Australia, Indufor Asia Pacific, NZ, The Lean Hub, NZ, Fagus Grecon, Germany, Prodetec/Firefly, Australia, Phoenix Sawmill Supply, Australia, Vecoplan, Germany and Camco, Australia.

It’s an impressive line-up – that occurs only once every two years. The series runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 11-12 September and then again in Melbourne, Australia on 17-18 September 2019.

Full programme details and registrations to WoodTECH 2019 can be made on the event website, Note: For those looking to capitalise on the early-bird registrations to either event, these CLOSE today.

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Help sought for Variety Club Bash

Lance Vinnell from Mahild Drying Technologies is doing a Variety Club Bash and needs your help. Variety is a worldwide Children’s Charity, and does amazing things for kids The Variety Bash is a once in a lifetime chance for those involved to experience remote and regional parts of Australia in outrageously themed classic cars, all in support of Variety – the Children’s Charity.

It’s the largest and longest running Australian charity motoring event! They say that the Variety Bash is often imitated, but never bettered! It’s not a race or a rally, it’s a fun and social motoring event. In the words of the original “Basher” Dick Smith, it’s ‘a drive in the outback with a few mates’.

So, Lance is driving with two others from Albert Park pit lane in Melbourne to Geraldton in Western Australia, some 5,000kms+ across Australia in a 1971 Holden HG Wagon. It starts on 20 August. Throughout the event, which is meant to last 10 days, they’ll be visiting local towns, stopping into schools and organisations to help kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs through the provision of educational, health and mobility equipment. And the giving doesn’t stop there! Variety continue to support children, families and communities throughout the year with funds raised from the Variety Bash.

Many Sawmills and suppliers to the timber industry have already donated, and the team has already raised over AU$12,000. Lance is now calling on the industry to help support the drive, the cause and Lance and his team of three on the drive across the country. They’d like to use their car as a showcase for our industry. You can donate directly by clicking here.

Let’s hope the Holden makes it! You can follow their progress on Facebook (like their page….The Dukes of Essex). Good luck.

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NZ Government should rethink its forestry policies

New Zealand’s forestry policy is in a mess according to one academic commenting this week. We have drifted into a situation where the big decisions are made outside of New Zealand. Governmental forestry policy is like steering a dog by the tail. And this particular dog has a mind of its own.

Let there be no doubt that forestry has been and will be of great importance to New Zealand. The problem is that key decisions affecting forestry and hence New Zealand land-use are being made outside of New Zealand. The key decisions are being made by international investors who are figuring ways of making money in a new global environment where there is lots of capital looking for a home.

If we go back to the forestry boom times of late in the 20th Century, then forestry investments were only for those who were prepared to wait a long time for a cash return. Even then, investors had to be satisfied with returns on capital of something around six percent or less, net of inflation. It was also a highly risky investment, requiring thirty-year foresight as to timber demand.

All of that has now changed, and here is why.



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Tall timber building case studies planned

Early next month a strong line-up of construction case studies with mass timber being used in commercial buildings is being given. The WoodWorks – Changing Perceptions Conference is running in Auckland, New Zealand this year to make it more accessible to architects, quantity surveyors, developers and project managers across New Zealand.

The event brings together leaders in engineered wood design and construction. The development of both cross- laminated timber and laminated veneer lumber has coincided with the need for more carbon-friendly sustainable building solutions. The objective of this annual event is to grow the capability and use of wood in commercial and multi-residential buildings throughout the country.

This week we profile one of the key note speakers, Ralph Austin, President of Seagate Mass Timber, Vancouver, Canada

"When my dad had me work alongside him so he could teach me about carpentry, I was like most kids. I wanted to do something different. But after a few years of university in London, Ontario, I headed west to Alberta in the late 70s to work in the construction industry.

"When prefabrication framing was just being experimented with, I started my own Company – Seagate Consulting and quickly adopted it on every project I oversaw. Wood Prefab is growing in popularity and building height. Today, by operating a portable / mobile prefab station onsite (or nearby), I can better control costs, decrease build-time, keep a tidier and safer site, reduce waste and improve the quality of construction for clients.

"Fascinated with new technology involving prefabrication, CNC machinery, 3D modelling and timber framing, I’m excited to gain insights into timber construction from Europe and apply them here in Canada. Europe’s wood design, structural connections, tools, techniques and equipment are slowly being adopted in North America as architects and engineers become aware of the innovations in timber construction."

Hear more from Ralph at Changing Perceptions 2019 on 4 September in Auckland, NZ

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The “wood-wide” web exists?

Do trees always exist as single organisms, or can each tree also serve as part of a linked "superorganism?" A recent finding in New Zealand suggests the latter, as a tree stump there has apparently remained alive by joining roots with its neighbours.

The kauri tree stump in question was first discovered by Auckland University of Technology researchers Sebastian Leuzinger and Martin Bader, when they were hiking in a New Zealand forest. They noticed that even though the stump had no leaves – which are necessary for performing life-giving photosynthesis and gas-exchange – it was still alive, long after the main tree had fallen down.

By subsequently measuring sap flow in the stump and in surrounding kauri trees, they discovered that when the flow increased in the stump, it correspondingly dropped in the other trees. This, they determined, indicated that the stump's roots had grafted together with the roots of those trees, allowing the stump to receive water and nutrients from them.

While such root-grafting has previously been observed amongst trees of the same or similar species, it has usually been between a few trees that are all still complete and fully-functioning, which could each survive on their own. This arrangement makes sense, as not only does it allow them to draw resources from a wider area via their linked roots, it also increases their stability within the soil, lessening the chances of any one tree falling down.

In the case of the stump, which wouldn't have much to offer the other trees in its present state, it is believed that its roots were likely grafted when it was still a full tree. By the time that tree fell, what remained of it had already been "grandfathered in" to the root network, keeping the stump from dying off.

"This has far-reaching consequences for our perception of trees," says Leuzinger. "Possibly we are not really dealing with trees as individuals, but with the forest as a superorganism … This changes the way we look at the survival of trees and the ecology of forests."

The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal iScience.

Source: Cell Press via EurekAlert,

For further coverage on the story click here.

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Federated Farmers concerned with mass afforestation

As a rule, Federated Farmers does not tell New Zealand farmers what to do with their farm. However, we are concerned to see industrial forestry replace farms, government legislation and policy potentially distorting land markets in favour of forestry, and thus the risk that mass afforestation poses to the existence of rural communities.

We understand trees can be good for several reasons such as investment, animal shelter and biodiversity, but — it’s about the right tree, for the right purpose. Farmers face challenges in getting trees right. They need to understand what to plant, how to plant and where. They need to know if trees can be harvested when mature, if so, how.

Under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), there is limited capacity to earn emission units from a planted area (a forest can only store so much carbon), raising the question of how much of the farm needs to be planted in trees. Trees take a long time to grow and market conditions for trees could be very different then they are today.

Big forestry worries farmers because trees do not go to school, trees don’t join the local rugby club and trees don’t buy their groceries in town. The Government policy seems to be going out of its way to prefer forestry over farming. Forestry puts rural communities at risk. Forestry damages rural roads and higher rates are required to repair the damage.

Feds told the Government there should not be government subsidies available for turning farms into forests. We’ve been calling for regional economic and social impact analysis by the Ministry for Primary Industries / Te Uru Rakau of One Billion Trees, reforms into requirements of overseas’ investment in forestry, and ETS emission unit incentives for post-1989 forests.

We’ve been pushing councils to get tougher on consents for forestry, especially around roads, the clean-up of slash on hillsides, and water.

Coverage of the farming communities' fears of mass tree planting from the first day of hearings on the government's zero carbon legislation can be read here.

Further coverage on the rural back lash being seen in some quarters against increased forestry plantings can be read here.

Source: Northern Advocate, Federated Farmers, Stuff

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Billion trees policy 'spells end of farming'

You can make almost double just by shutting up your farm and not worrying about production in forestry if sheep and beef farmers convert to carbon sink farming, says Makairo farmer Lincoln Grant.

"It spells the end of farming in the Tararua District at this stage but it’s all dependent upon NZ Government policy," he says. "You're at the mercy of it. The disturbing thing about selling New Zealand farmland to foreign countries to plant trees to claim carbon credits is that they will take the profit from the carbon credits back offshore. They will leave us with absolutely nothing.

"The medium to long-term effect for New Zealand is just dire from that. With stumps and slash, 150 years of fencing and tracking will be completely lost — it will be all ruined. To start from scratch with a pine forest it would never be economic to turn it back into a sheep and beef farm again.

"Industries would be lost, shepherds, shearers, top dressing pilots, vets. Someone said it's the equivalent of putting them [the farms] in concrete — they'll never be used for anything else.

"What Forestry New Zealand is saying is very misleading. I can't see how their claims of job creation are true. What's happening in the Tararua District is these carbon farms are being planted into no-cut pinus radiata. Once the initial planting has gone on there'll be NO jobs (thinning and pruning) compared to existing farms with a couple of fulltime shepherds, shearers, fencers, maintenance workers, right through to your farm stores.

More >>.

Further coverage from concerned rural farmers that gained media coverage this week can be read here.

Source: nzherald

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Wildfires ravaging parts of the Arctic

Wildfires are ravaging parts of the Arctic, with areas of Siberia, Alaska, Greenland and Canada engulfed in flames and smoke.

Satellite images show how the plumes of smoke from the fires, many caused by dry storms in hot weather, can be seen from space. While wildfires are common at this time of year, record-breaking summer temperatures and strong winds have made this year's fires particularly bad.

They are now at "unprecedented levels", says Mark Parrington, a wildfires expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams). Eastern Russia and Alaska, both within and outside the Arctic Circle, have been particularly badly affected.

Russia's Federal Forestry Agency says more than 2.7m hectares (of remote forest are currently burning across six Siberian and eastern regions. However, Greenpeace Russia says as many as 3.3m hectares are burning - an area bigger than Belgium.

The smoke from the Siberian fires has even spread to Alaska and parts of the west coast of Canada. The majority of the blazes have been caused by lightning strikes, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center.

Although wildfires are common in the northern hemisphere between May and October, the location and intensity of these fires as well as the length of time they have been burning, has been particularly unusual, according to Cams.

"It is unusual to see fires of this scale and duration at such high latitudes in June," said Mr Parrington. "But temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing at a much faster rate than the global average, and warmer conditions encourage fires to grow and persist once they have been ignited."

Extremely dry ground and hotter than average temperatures, combined with heat lightning and strong winds, have caused the fires to spread aggressively. The burning has been sustained by the forest ground, which consists of exposed, thawed, dried peat - a substance with high carbon content.

Russian prosecutors said on Tuesday that some of the vast Siberian wildfires that environmentalists have dubbed a climate emergency were started on purpose by arsonists trying to conceal illegal logging activity. Further details can be read here

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Finnish forestry giant to build giant pulp mill

Finnish forestry company UPM has announced they will be investing US$2.7 billion to construct a pulp mill near Paso de los Toros, central Uruguay. The initial annual production capacity of the greenfield eucalyptus pulp mill will be 2.1 million tons.

In addition, UPM will be investing US$350 million in port operations in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, and local facilities in Paso de los Toros. The new factory is scheduled to operate in the second half of 2022.

The investment will increase the company's current pulp capacity by more than 50 percent, resulting in a step change in the scale of UPM's pulp business as well as in its future earnings, said the company.

The company said that the long-term demand outlook of pulp is promising, especially in Asia. The annual growth of pulp demand in the global market is estimated to be around 3 percent.

The construction of the mill is expected to exert a significant impact on the economy of Uruguay. It is been estimated to increase the country's gross national product by about 2 percent, According to UPM.

Source: Xinhua

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Workplace automation looks to “man with machine”

The exponential growth of e-commerce and warehousing is changing how consumers shop and how they receive their goods and services. It’s also changing the workforce that supports these pillars of business. In order for employers and employees to continue effectively supporting such growth, the aid of automated processes is vital.

By 2025, more than half of the total time spent on labour will be handled by machines, according to the World Economic Forum's " The Future of Jobs 2018" report, Inc. reported. Furthermore, nearly 50 percent of companies expect automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time staff by 2022, while 38 percent surveyed expect to grow their workforces to new productivity-enhancing roles.

It’s no surprise that many large companies today are investing in robots, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to save money and improve processes. The question now is how humans and robots can effectively work together.

It’s not a ‘man vs. machine’ approach — it’s a ‘man with machine’ approach

Collaboration between humans and AI enhances each other’s complementary strengths. In fact, when humans and machines work together, businesses achieve the most significant performance improvements, according to research involving 1,500 companies by Harvard Business Review.

What makes humans different from machines is they can excel at leadership, teamwork, creativity and social skills. On the other hand, machines specialize in speed, scalability and quantitative capabilities. Business requires both kinds of proficiencies—and that’s where a blending of human, AI and automation capabilities is key.

Warehouses of the future will have humans working in tandem with a collaborative robot, or cobot, according to Supply Chain Drive. These machines will be able to take on tedious, repetitive tasks so that staff can grow and develop, and eventually take on more rewarding, mindful work.

Even today, in the retail environment, humans and robots can be seen working together in a major way. At more than 1,500 Walmart locations, thousands of automated shelf-scanners, box-unloaders, artificial-intelligence cameras and other machines doing the jobs once left to human employees can be found, the Washington Post reported.

Combining the unique, strategic thinking of humans with the efficiencies that automation and AI offer will be vital to helping warehouses and retailers of the future prosper. For example, humans could make more use of voice-enabled and wearable mobile technology to make picking and receiving more efficient, resulting in a ‘bionic’ worker that uses technology to become more productive. Also, automated processes involving robots or drones picking up items in giant labyrinthine warehouses could help control costs and enhance the competitiveness of the retailer.

While machines can tackle certain tasks far better than humans, they still require human intervention for more complex tasks that require strategic, empathetic and creative results, according to Clara Shih, founder of the software company Hearsay Systems, Inc. reported. This approach is called a “humans-in-the-loop” relationship, where people allow algorithms to process while still overseeing and refining them. Shih emphasized that machines are just one resource humans can use, and that humans, not machines, have the skills needed to make truly useful business relationships.

How the workforce will be affected?

“Most people’s jobs are going to be affected, and it’s going to accelerate pretty rapidly over the next five to 10 years,” according to Boston University professor Iain Cockburn, Boston 25 News reported. “I think that’s a good reason for you to think about upgrading your skills, finding ways to use what we can do better than machines, which is imagination, creativity, judgment.”

Another way of addressing robotics and automation in the workplace is by helping humans develop complementary, not competing, skills with technology, according to Dave Coplin, author of The Rise of the Humans and CEO of the Envisioners, Inc. reported. According to Harvard Business Review, helping employees develop “fusion skills"—those that enable them to work effectively at the human-machine interface—requires a significant commitment from companies.

E-commerce giant Amazon recently demonstrated such commitment by recently announcing plans to spend $70 million to retrain about a third of its American workers to do more high-tech tasks, the New York Times reported. The training program will apply across the company, from corporate employees to warehouse workers, retraining about 100,000 by 2025. Amazon has about 300,000 employees in the United States.

Harvard Business Review also suggested that company roles in the future will be “redesigned around the desired outcomes of reimagined processes, and corporations will increasingly be organized around different types of skills rather than around rigid job titles.”

Photo: Vincent Fournier/Trunk Archive

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Buy and Sell

...and one to end the week on .... lighting the candle

Mrs. Donovan was walking down O'Connell Street in Dublin when she met up with Father Flaherty. The Father said, 'Top o' the mornin' to ye! Aren't ye Mrs. Donovan and didn't I marry ye and yer hoosband 2 years ago?' She replied, 'Aye, that ye did, Father.'

The Father asked, 'And be there any wee little ones yet?' She replied, 'No, not yet, Father.' The Father said, 'Well now, I'm going to Rome next week and I'll light a candle for ye and yer hoosband.' She replied, 'Oh, thank ye, Father.' They then parted ways.

Some years later they met again. The Father asked, 'Well now, Mrs. Donovan, how are ye these days?' She replied, 'Oh, very well, Father!' The Father asked, 'And tell me, have ye any wee ones yet?' She replied, 'Oh yes, Father! Three sets of twins and 4 singles, 10 in all!'

The Father said, 'That's wonderful! How is yer loving hoosband doing?' She replied, 'E's gone to Rome to blow out yer bloody candle.'

OK. One more for you. Two men were sitting next to each other at a bar. After awhile, one guy looks at the other and says, 'I can't help but think, from listening to you, that you're from Ireland.'

The other guy responds proudly, 'Yes, that I am!' The first guy says, 'So am I! And where about from Ireland might you be'?

The other guy answers, 'I'm from Dublin, I am.' The first guy responds, 'So am I!'

'Sure and begorra. And what street did you live on in Dublin? The other guy says, 'A lovely little area it was. I lived on McCleary Street in the old central part of town.'

The first guy says, 'Faith and it's a small world. So did I! So did I! And to what school would you have been going'?

The other guy answers, 'Well now, I went to St. Mary's, of course.' The first guy gets really excited and says, 'And so did I. Tell me, what year did you graduate'?

The other guy answers, 'Well, now, let's see. I graduated in 1964.' The first guy exclaims, 'The Good Lord must be smiling down upon us! I can hardly believe our good luck at winding up in the same bar tonight. Can you believe it? I graduated from St. Mary's in 1964 my own self!'

About this time, Vicky walks into the bar, sits down and orders a beer.

Brian, the bartender, walks over to Vicky, shaking his head and mutters, 'It's going to be a long night tonight.'

Vicky asks, 'Why do you say that, Brian'?

'The Murphy twins are drunk again.'

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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