Sawmilling 101: Introduction to Softwood Sawmill Operations and Financial Performance

Start Date: January 24, 2018
Location: Heathman Lodge, Vancouver, WA

Sawmilling 101: Introduction to Softwood Sawmill Operations and Financial Performance

January 24, 2018

9:00 Sawmilling Overview

A.  What are the Basic Manufacturing Processes?
Follow a log along the manufacturing processes from delivery to the mill, through sawmilling and kiln drying, and on to the planer and shipping.

B.  What does a Sawmill Manager Need to Pay Attention to Have a Successful Business?
An overview of sawmill performance metrics and a sample income statement to illustrate how costs are allocated.
10:15 Break

10:30 Markets & Manufacturing in North America

C.  Where Does the Lumber End Up?
A review of the primary end users of lumber to include residential building, remodeling and repair and industrial distribution channels. Consumer preferences and green labeling round out the picture of market forces.
D.  What are the Characteristics of Markets and Manufacturing in the Regions of Western US, Western Canada, Eastern Canada, and South Eastern US?
An overview of each region is provided to cover population trends, characteristics of mills, regional market drivers and species mix.
Noon: Lunch

1:00 Key Sawmilling Metrics in Detail

E.  A Close-up of Key Metrics.
The instructors will draw upon actual sawmill operating statistics from 20 years of data.

  1. Log Supply and Pricing:
    Measuring log size and quality, the impact on value and pricing and operating in competing log markets.
  2. Lumber Recovery:
    How much volume is produced for every unit of logs going in. Balancing the size of logs, products produced and machinery
  3. Productivity and Manufacturing Costs:
    Measuring the non- log costs of labor, energy, maintenance and supplies.
  4. Lumber Products and Sales Values:
    What are the mill’s main product categories and relative values associated with log sizes and grades. Review of lumber grades, grading agencies, certification standards and specific grades for unique markets.
  5. Sawmill Byproducts:
    Measuring value from chips, shavings, sawdust, bark, and hog fuel and a review of their end uses.
3:00 Break

3:30 Characteristics of Top Performers

F.  What are the Characteristics of Top Performing Sawmill Operations?
Drawing on 20 years of benchmarking, the instructors will cover different mill business strategies and the various combinations of profitable or competing key metrics.
4:30 Adjourn

About this Event
An inside look at the operational aspects of modern softwood sawmills producing structural lumber. As an introductory session, the agenda will follow logs thru the sawmill until the product is ready for shipping. The agenda will also cover descriptions of the key metrics used to measure financial and operational performance.


Bryan Beck, President – Since joining The Beck Group in 2003, Bryan has been involved in a wide variety of projects involving sawmills including feasibility studies, capital project planning, acquisition due diligence and benchmarking. Prior to his time with The Beck Group, his experience includes positions at Northwest sawmills and in residential construction.

Roy Anderson, Vice President– Roy joined The Beck Group in 2006. Since that time he has been involved in BECK’s sawmill benchmarking studies, timber supply and demand studies, and log procurement planning. Roy started his career in log procurement in the hardwood industry in the Midwest, and also has extensive experience with woody bioenergy and wood pellet projects.

The workshop will be held at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, WA. The Heathman is located at 7801 NE Greenwood Dr. Take SR500 East off I-5 in Vancouver. Exit at NE Thurston Way and go north to NE Parkway DR. Turn left on Parkway and the Lodge is on the left. The Heathman can be viewed at:

Registration Information
Registration Pricing:

The registration fee for the optional 1/24/18 workshop is $425 on or before 1/15/18 or $525 after 1/15/18 and includes reference materials and lunch.

Checks should be made payable to Western Forestry and Conservation Association. Purchase orders, VISA/MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Tax id # 930-331-712. Cancellations received on or before 1/15/18 are subject to a 15% service charge. Cancellations after 1/15/18 will be charged the entire registration fee, but substitutions are always welcome.

Lodging Information:

Reduced rate lodging is available at the Heathman by calling 888-475-3100 or 360-254-3100 and by mentioning Western Forestry and Conservation. The rate for a single or double room is $133 plus tax. After January 3, 2018 reduced rate rooms will be subject to availability.

SAF CFE Credits:
Attendees are eligible for 5.0 CFE credits for Mapping the Course and 5.5 CFE credits for Sawmilling 101.

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Prefer to Call? 503-226-4562
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