Cost benchmarking

Our cost benchmarking tool helps you compare the cost of production of pulp, paper and packaging by mill and machine

Also known as Analytical Cornerstone, our cost benchmarking tool provides accurate estimates of comparative mill and machine competitiveness in the forest products industry.

For nearly two decades, forest products industry professionals have turned to Fastmarkets’ (formerly known as RISI) cost benchmarking data for the most accurate estimates of comparative mill and machine competitiveness. Fastmarkets’ unmatched, global network of engineers, analysts, economists and editors use their firsthand knowledge of the industry to collect detailed mill data covering all major grades and regions.

This data, when combined with a completely transparent methodology and our intuitive online platform makes Fastmarkets’ cost benchmarking service the most powerful available.

Why the forest products industry relies on our cost benchmarking tool

Our cost benchmarking tool, also known as Analytical Cornerstone, provides the ability to easily manipulate data and create custom reports based on your specific needs. You can simply choose to use Fastmarkets RISI’s benchmarking data alone or combine it with your own data to quickly and easily generate complex financial reports and graphs, including:

“What if” Scenarios: build customized reports, cost curves and graphs by changing Fastmarkets RISI’s market data to reflect market changes you provide, allowing you to measure how potential market or mill-level changes will have an impact on your bottom line.

Cash Cost Reports: compare manufacturing costs across machines and mills in regional markets. Analyze which mills are low-cost producers and which are at the highest risk of closure due to cost structure vulnerabilities.

Capital Charge Reports: view capacity values, capital expenditure figures and book values for individual machines at specific mills. Better understand how capital investments impact the profitability of mills in regional markets.

Financial Simulations: work with all cost variables, as well as the price of finished products, to gain a more complete understanding of mill and machine profitability. Quickly and easily understand the cost drivers of specific mills and machines and their relative success in the marketplace.

Total Cost Reports: create reports that include all mill costs, i.e. Capital Cost, SG&A Cost, and Cash Cost. Produce a total cost picture that illustrates how mills and machines compare with others producing the same products. Use these reports to determine the profitability of specific mills and machines in regional markets.

EBITDA Reports: analyze cash earnings of mills in regional markets and/or producing specific products; use this information to understand the operating cash flow of each mill compared with its competitors.

Carbon Emissions Benchmarking: energy consumption estimates that analyzes energy use. Useful for those who are looking to respond to cost volatility and are under renewed pressure to reduce their carbon footprint.

Mill Investment Summary: view nearly all capital investments made within the last 20 years by various mills operating around the globe.

Shipping boxes, secondary packaging for shipping, containerboard for parcels transportation

News, forecasts, mill intelligence and price reporting for 3,500+ grades to keep you ahead of the competition

Find out how your costs of production compare with those of your peers

Three things you need to know about this tool
1. It's easy to use
  • Access it from any computer around the world with no software installation needed
  • Generate reports and charts with a few clicks; easily share them with colleagues
  • Export data with a simple and intuitive interface
2. You can create your own analysis and reports
  • Customize, save and update cost reports based on your own specific criteria, such as net sales, tax rates, overhead, and more
  • Measure the impact of potential market changes by overlaying market demand, price values, changes in exchange rates and mill costs on a cost curve
  • Create customized energy consumption profile reports for individual mills
  • Build market scenarios by making incremental adjustments to mill inputs and outputs or by adjusting individual machines in a mill. Review the impact those changes would have on cost reports to make intelligent decisions
  • Run Fastmarkets’s cost model with your own baseline data. Once your data are entered, you can easily toggle back and forth between your “baselined” version and Fastmarkets’s version. You can even run scenarios on your own re-baselined cost curves
3. It aids collaboration and productivity
  • Customization tools allow executives, managers and any one managing a project to create a quick view of key manufacturing costs and generate targeted reports
  • Easily perform machine and labor productivity comparisons within minutes, saving time and resources
  • Track markets locally, regionally, globally, by product, by grade, by company and by fiber furnish with unparalleled depth of current and historic information
How this tool is used along the forest products supply chain
  • Strategic planning: Assess a mill and/or machine’s cost position compared to other competitive assets the cost curve
  • Mill operations: Optimize production, identify areas of cost reduction, discover new best practices and measure opportunity and risk
  • Sales and marketing: Understand which mills can profitably serve which markets and who will be the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ based on different scenarios
  • Financial: Analyze mill cost positions and model the effects of shifts in exchange rates and input costs on your business
  • Risk assessment: Assess individual mills and machines at risk of closure

  • Sales: Uncover new business opportunities by researching prospects and prioritizing sales efforts. Quickly locate a mill that can benefit from your products or services, locally, regionally or globally
  • Sales management: Determine a territory configuration by assessing the risk for individual mills/machine shutdowns or conversion opportunities. Gain a competitive advantage by effectively planning staff and equipment resources
  • Risk assessment: Assess individual mills and machines at risk of closure due to high costs and other factors
  • Marketing: Generate targeted marketing efforts and conduct market research on specific needs of local, regional or global mills. Run ROI scenarios for project implementations
  • Research and development: Identify the most profitable new products for development by researching opportunities by markets and/or by company
Consumer brands
  • Purchasing: Identify key mills/companies that are supplying applicable grades for your end use products
  • Financial: Analyze mill cost position and model the effects of shifts in exchange rates on your business
  • Risk assessment: Assess individual mills and machines at risk of closure due to high costs and other factors. Identify mills/companies that are positioned as long-term secure suppliers
Financial institutions
  • Investment management and analysis: Evaluate companies for potential investment opportunities; qualify cost positions of individual mills; understand implications of mill cost to efficiently determine a company’s competitive position
  • Risk assessment: Assess individual mills and machines at risk of closure due to high costs and other factors. Analyze risk and opportunity for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing

Fastmarkets’ calculation methodology is fixed and transparent. Index builder generates retroactive price indices and cost indices based on Fastmarkets’ proprietary price assessments and cost benchmarking database.

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