Analytical Cornerstone 4.0 Cost Benchmarking Tool

Providing accurate estimates of comparative mill and machine competitiveness in the forest products industry.

For over 15 years, forest products industry professionals have turned to Fastmarkets RISI’s cost benchmarking data for the most accurate estimates of comparative mill and machine competitiveness. Using their firsthand knowledge of the industry, Fastmarkets RISI’s unmatched, global network of engineers, analysts, economists and editors collect detailed mill data covering all major grades and regions. This data, when combined with a completely transparent methodology and a new, intuitive online platform makes Fastmarkets RISI’s cost benchmarking service the most powerful available.

Analytical Cornerstone 4.0 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 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.
  • Mill Investment Summary: view nearly all capital investments made within the last 20 years by various mills operating around the globe.

Analytical Cornerstone 4.0 features


  • 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.

Custom Reporting

  • 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 RISI’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 RISI’s version. You can even run scenarios on your own re-baselined cost curves.

Increase 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.

Industries that use Fastmarkets RISI’s Cost Benchmarking

Forest Products Producers

  • Strategic Planning – Assess a mill and/or machine’s cost position compared to other competitive assets on the cost curve.
  • Mill Operations – Optimize production, identify areas of cost reduction, discover new best practices and measure opportunity and risk.
  • Sales & 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.

Suppliers to the Forest Products Industry

  • 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 shut downs 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 & Development – Identify the most profitable new products for development by researching opportunities by markets and/or by company.

Consumer Products Companies

  • 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 Manager & 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 machine’s at risk of closure due to high costs and other factors. Analyze risk and opportunity for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.

Grades and Regions available

The data used in Fastmarkets RISI Cost Benchmarking is compiled into data sets based on grade and region. The individual data sets are listed here for your convenience.


Fastmarkets RISI’s benchmarking analyses are produced and maintained by a global team of editors, analysts, economists and engineers. Cash manufacturing costs for each mill and machine are estimated using a mass and energy balance approach that incorporates data drawn from publicly available sources, and supplemented by surveys and interviews where required. This bottom-up approach results in a high level of transparency which enables customers to more effectively compare because they have a clear understanding of the assumptions supporting the results. Data sources include industry publications, capacity reports, directories, site visits, equipment suppliers and engineering studies.

Custom Data

Fastmarkets RISI can provide specialized data to meet your specific needs. Please contact us for a consultation regarding your unique data requirements.

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