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    Washington, DC 20006
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RESEARCH FINDINGS

Wood Truck Turn-time Cost Penalties to the Wood Supply System (Dr. Don Deckard, Louisiana Tech)
The estimated, region-wide (Texas to Maine) annual cost associated with “excess” truck idle-time at mills is between $39 and $109 million. Main factors affecting turn-time are wood/load form, truck/trailer type, unloading equipment, month of delivery, and human resources utilization at mills.

KEY FINDINGS: see FRA Technical Release 03-R-1, Benchmark Log Truck Turn-Times in the Southern U.S. and Maine


Causes and Costs of Unused Wood Production Capacity (Dr. Dale Greene, University of Georgia, in collaboration with Louisiana State University and University of Maine)
Main causes of unused wood production identified as market driven (quotas, closures, “turn-time” issues), regulations (mandatory and voluntary), mechanical problems, labor-related (amount and quality), uncontrollable weather impacts, planning shortfalls, and individual stand/tract issues.

KEY FINDINGS: Order the Report (02-A-5) from FRA for $25 (FRA members) or $50 (others) by printing out and mailing or faxing this form.


Planning and Communication: Opportunities for Improvement in the Wood Supply Chain (Dr. Rien Visser, Virginia Tech University)
Current planning is primarily reactive rather than proactive due to extremely short planning horizons for many segments of the wood supply chain. Frequent short-term changes in mill wood requirements drive many of the downstream constraints to planning. Over 75% of loggers are informed about the next tract they will harvest less than one week in advance.

KEY FINDINGS: Order the Report (03-A-3) from FRA for $25 (FRA members) or $50 (others) by printing out and mailing or faxing
this form.


Improving the Transportation System (Dr. Tom Gallagher, Auburn University)
Research ways to optimize the wood transportation system by improving turn times, increasing loaded miles, reducing idle time and to reduce costs by adopting new
technologies, like trailer designs that increase payloads. Find ways to improve safety and public perception while lowering insurance costs.

KEY FINDINGS: See sequence of five FRA “Papers & Presentations” downloads,
05-P-1, 05-P-2, 05-P-3, 05-P-4, and 05-P-5. See also FRA Technical Releases 05-R-1 Increasing Truck Payloads and Performance; 05-R-8 Trucks and Trailers in the South; and 05-R-9 Improving Log Trucking Logistics.


Status and Future Sustainability of the U.S. Wood Supply (Dr. Dale Greene et al., University of Georgia)
Compare the cost of doing business in the U. S. wood supply chain with costs of selected foreign industries and determine how the U. S. wood supply system might be modified or redesigned to improve its competitiveness in world markets.

KEY FINDINGS: See FRA Technical Release 06-R-18
Potential Impacts of 97,000 pound GVW on Logging Costs.


Logging Capacity Survey Summary Report (Don Taylor, PricewaterhouseCoopers)
Compare the match between logging capacity and manufacturing capacity on a state-by-state basis in selected states for all six forested regions in the U. S. Where shortfalls exist, make recommendations to address the decline in logging capacity.

KEY FINDINGS: See FRA Technical Release 07-R-2 Logging Capacity Survey Summary Report.

Logging Capacity Survey: 2008 Update (Don Taylor, Sustainable Resource Systems LLC, with data from the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement and Lupold Consulting)
Continuation of previous Capacity Survey, extending data collected forward through 2007 with improved sampling and enhanced data collection methodology. The Report evaluates the logging capacity available to supply U.S. forest-based industries in selected states, accounting for approximately 89% of total U.S. timber production.


Logging Cost Indices (Dr. William Stuart and Dr. Laura Grace)
Develop Logging Cost indices for six forested regions in the United States. Key cost elements of the wood supply chain will be tracked and trend lines established. Summarization of cost trends into five quarterly “Logging Cost Indices” reports. (Ongoing project.)

KEY FINDINGS: See FRA Technical Release 04-R-25
Logging Cost Indices for 2002 and “Papers & Presentations” publication 11-P-10. See also, Forest Operations Review, Vol. 13, #2, The Logging Cost Index.


Cost of Log Sorts (Dr. Dale Greene et al., University of Georgia)
Determine what log sorting at the stump entails and establish standard cost baselines for typical longwood and cut-to-length systems. Describe and estimate costs associated with additional sorting to provide guidelines for use during price negotiations.

KEY FINDINGS: See FRA Technical Release 10-R-8
Product Sorting Impacts on Harvesting Production and Costs.


Double Shifting on Southern Harvesting Operations (Dr. Tom Gallagher, Auburn University; and Dana Mitchell, USFS Southern Research Station)
Research ways that U.S. loggers have successfully implemented more than one shift per day and make recommendations for expanding the use of these multi-shift operations to improve harvesting efficiency on other logging operations.

KEY FINDINGS: See FRA Technical Release 10-R-20
Extended Working Hours: Impacts on Workers.


Fiber Cost Per Ton Impact (Dr. Matthew Smidt, Auburn University)
Provide credible cost/value of loaded wood at the mill gate and quantify the cost to the supplier and the consumer for unloading delays over 20 minutes turn time. The costs will be determined for the landowner, harvesting, trucking and mill woodyard links of the wood fiber supply chain.

KEY FINDINGS: See Auburn University’s
WSRI Stump to Mill Cost Program.


Integrating Large-Scale Biomass Harvesting into the U.S. Wood Supply System (Dr. Dale Greene, University of Georgia)
This project assesses the state of biomass harvesting, collection, and transportation technology in use across FRA’s geographic regions of the United States. It includes statistics comparing regional operations as well as anecdotal observations obtained from field visits to biomass harvesting operations.

KEY FINDINGS: See Forest Operations Review Vol. 13, #1 (Winter 2011),
Regional Approaches for Harvesting Forest Biomass.


Biomass Resource Availability Assessment (Amanda Lang & Brooks Mendell, Forisk Consulting)
The results of Forisk’s Woody Biomass Harvesting Sustainability Study includes statistical details on woody biomass supply and demand, and a screening method to project expected viability of announced bio-energy projects.

Abstract/Conclusions:


KEY FINDINGS: See Proceedings, 34th Council on Forest Engineering, June 12-15, 2011,
Integrating Woody Biomass into the U.S. South Wood Supply Chain.

Reforestation in the U.S.: Trends and Implications (Brooks Mendell and Amanda Lang, Forisk Consulting)
Forisk’s study quantified reforestation trends in the U.S. over the past ten to twenty years and assessed the potential effects of the U.S. reforestation rates on timber availability and wood biomass supplies.

Abstract/Conclusions:
The decline in tree planting acreage in the South in recent years is partially due to a ten-year trend away from final harvesting/clearcuts and toward a higher percentage of thinnings and partial cuts in the South; fewer final harvest acres translates to fewer acres planted. Mendell’s study also concluded that the total timberland acres increased from 1987 to 2007, and that more softwood biomass is growing today than ever in the past ten to twenty years.

KEY FINDINGS: See FRA “Papers & Presentations”
11-P-13


Supplier-Consumer Relations Study (Don Taylor, Sustainable Resource Systems LLC)

The project collected data through personal and confidential face-to-face interviews with both wood supply contractors and wood procurement personnel participants, region-by-region, to identify factors that cause relationships to break down, including underlying causes. The study identified best practices that materially improve these business relationships.

These interviews also collected and prioritized “critical factors for success” that experienced logging and trucking professionals and contract business owners identified.

Abstract/Conclusions:
The project demonstrated how relationships and communication between procurement and suppliers impacted quantifiable wood costs, with dysfunctional relationships causing a 7% loss in productivity nationwide; identified practices that damage or improve relationships; and pointed to reasons why the current economic stresses in the supply chain may not “self-correct” with a recovering economy. The report calls for basic cultural change throughout the supply chain in order to create a lasting structural change in the system.

KEY FINDINGS:
GENERAL: See
WSRI Supplier-Consumer Relations Project (Article; Forest Operations Review, Spring 2012); Supplier-Consumer Relations (PowerPoint; FRA Presentation 12-P-9); and Professional Wood Suppliers’ Top Five Factors for Success.

REGIONAL: A Report and Data Analysis are available for each of the six Regions the Study examined.

Lake States Region (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin)

Mid-Atlantic Region (North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia)

Mid-South Region (Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana)

Northeast Region (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York)

Southeast Region (Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama)

Western Region (Oregon, Montana, Washington, California)


An Analysis of Price Volatility for Wood Products Sold Under Supply Agreement Versus Wood Products Sold on the Open Market (Pete Stewart & Suzanne Hearn, Forest2Market)

The Project examined the hypothesis that price volatility for conventional forest product raw materials is reduced for products moving under supply agreements, in reference to data from 11 Southern states.

Abstract/Conclusions:
The project found advantages to both supplier and consumer in adopting a system of supply agreements, as opposed to open-market sales. For procurement, the advantage lay in lowering risk; for suppliers, even in the absence of an opportunity to “time the market,” supply agreements tended to provide a slightly higher price, on average.

KEY FINDINGS: See Price Volatility: Supply Agreements v. Open Market Sales (FRA Technical Release 12-R-13, Spring 2012); and WSRI Price Volatility Study (PowerPoint, presented at WSRI Annual Meeting, April 18, 2012).


Regional Cost Analysis and Indices for Conventional Timber Harvesting Operations (Shawn Baker, Dale Greene, Tom Harris, and Richard Mei, Center for Forest Business, University of Georgia)

The research team developed and implemented a logging cost index methodology to extend forward in time the trend lines established in the well-known logging cost index project based at Mississippi State University, but informed by more frequent data-gathering intervals and—potentially—aggregating data from cooperating loggers in U.S. regions beyond the South.

KEY FINDINGS: Summary of Project in FRA’s two-page Technical Release 13-R-16; 39-page final report, published May 5, 2013, is available at this link.


Wood Supply Chain Analysis: Special Market Analysis Study (Peter Barynin, RISI; Don Taylor, Sustainable Resource Systems LLC)

The project evaluates the current harvesting capacity for four U.S. regions, estimates roundwood demand, and quantifies supply chain capabilities to meet that demand, in view of loggers’ ability and willingness to invest in capacity expansion, with recommendations to overcome identified obstacles.

KEY FINDINGS: Summary of findings in FRA’s two-page Technical Release 13-R-25; 27-page Final Report at this link.


Factors That Affect Fuel Consumption and Harvesting Cost (Dr. Tom Gallagher, Auburn University)

Project funded jointly by WSRI and the National Council on Air and Stream Improvement documents machine productivity and fuel consumption across a range of conditions and types of equipment to determine what variables impact the level of fuel consumption.

KEY FINDINGS: Presentation and FRA Technical Release 15-R-23 summarize fuel consumption data gathered from felling, skidding, and loading operations on several logging jobs throughout 14 states.


Verification of the Southern Logging Cost Index (Dr. Dale Greene and Dr. Shawn Baker, University of Georgia)

With the University of Georgia’s Southern Logging Cost Index now being reported quarterly in Timber Mart-South, this Project concluded that the Index appears to be a reasonably accurate measure of input cost changes and that production variability is still a major driver of cost changes for individual logging businesses. The Project:

  • determines the characteristics of loggers in each region of the U.S.
  • assesses the accuracy of on-line logging cost survey methods for logging contractors
  • validates the UGA Logging Cost Index with contractor cost data

KEY FINDINGS: Final Report and Presentation present data and conclusions.


Compensation Indices for Logging and Trucking Occupations (Shawn Baker and Brooks Mendell, Forisk Consulting)

In response to concerns about the sustainability of logging production and the trucking workforce, the Wood Supply Research Institute (WSRI) commissioned research into the compensation for logging occupations compared to occupations competing for the same employee pools. This report investigates logging employee wages and benefits in four U.S. regions: the South, Northeast, Lake States, and West. Equipment operators in the woods and truck drivers employed by logging businesses are compared against competing industries in each region. This study can inform WSRI members on potential compensation-related factors affecting perceived shortages within the logging and trucking workforce and outline potential strategies for attracting and retaining employees.

KEY FINDINGS: Final Report and Director’s Introduction present data and conclusions.

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