How factory audits help optimise production


Mill audits are made to keep you on track at every point of production. Audits provide you with valuable business data and knowledge that lead to detailed production improvement.

Let’s picture a scenario: The business development unit has come to the crossroads of how to improve the mill’s operation in the growing and highly competitive wood product production market.

They know that to answer the competition they need to produce more products, more efficiently, or cut costs. But they don’t know how to do that, or where to start. This is the moment to contact a trusted, experienced expert.

The situation might be as described, or the mill’s representative just wants an external valuation of how the production in the mill works, and if they can find something to improve. This is where the mill audit starts.

There’s usually a valid reason to audit. It might be changing circumstances in the business, raw material deliveries, or the producer wanting to increase the end-product’s value.

Many factors

A mill audit done by an external expert is the most objective way to gain information that affects the business and helps with the right business choices. Recent times have shown that rapid changes in the world majorly affect veneer production globally.

The changes have led the producers to consider how the products can be sold despite increased production costs, and they won’t get the price needed per product. This has led to seeking enhancement actions to the cost structure.

A mill audit considers various factors that are affecting production efficiency entirely. A mill audit goes through raw material usage, workforce efficiency and automation, lowering the production costs and more, aiming to make suggestions on how to lower the total costs.

The same applies when the producer wants to increase the processing value of the product. The audit seeks and finds ways to make the product more profitable and better, improving the producer’s position in the market.

Key metrics

Information gathering is a key metric for a successful mill audit. A typical mill audit takes five business days at the client’s mill site. During the auditing days, the whole production process is inspected thoroughly – from acquiring the raw material to the client’s client.

Not only are the raw material and product audited but the local conditions, staff, infrastructure and logistics are also taken into consideration. During the auditing days, the experts gain information on the business key performance indicators, reporting systems and practices. Every variable affects the result.

The mill audit report consists of the expert opinion based on the information gathered during the audit, documentation, and interviews with the managing personnel and the employees.

The report is a thorough tool to make corrective or optimising decisions. Based on the audit and the objective expert take on the business, the client can make the best solutions possible to enhance their production processes in the short and long run.

A mill audit always aims to optimise production, process, business, or objectively search for solutions to difficulties or changing situations. The audit acts as a fundamental tool for business development and budgeting.

The objective external findings are a base for the management team to make enhancive production changes – the outcome is not just an opinion but an expert view of the complete case. This view is something to firmly rely on.


– The writer is an engineer with more than 40 years experience and extensive background knowledge in the plywood industry. Prior to joining Raute he worked in numerous roles at the Metsä Wood mills.



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