There's an old saying in management - "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."
Granted, most of us don't get into the forest products industry because we love numbers and spreadsheets. We'd rather work with our hands. Unfortunately, numbers and spreadsheets are a necessary evil when it comes to business, especially a tough business like logging.
If you're a logger, I highly recommend checking out the free software PATH - "Planning and Analysis in Timber Harvesting" - downloadable at Northeast Forests, LLC. PATH may sound like a bunch of academic nonsense, but this modified Excel spreadsheet is actually a great, practical way to dial in exactly what your production costs are. You enter in your particular mix of equipment and costs, such as what you pay for fuel. PATH then calculates for each phase of your harvest system, from felling the tree to hauling it to the mill, what you pay per unit of production, such as board foot or ton.
Armed with that information, PATH can help you answer questions like, "What parts of my job cost me the most money?" "Are there places where I could lower my costs?" and "How much can I bid for this job and still make a profit?"
It may not be as fun as finding that perfect veneer cherry, but it's just as important to your business' success. Because understanding your costs is the first step to mastering them.
All the best,