Throughout the 75-year history of the N.F. McDonnell & Sons business is been a large employer and at its peak during the falling, harvesting and log hauling days it employed more than 200 people.

Today there are about 110 employed at the Suttontown Mill in Mt. Gambier. The family and company have also been solid community workers and supporters. Don McDonnell was Mount Gambier mayor for a record 19 years and Les McDonnell worked with numerous service and community organisations, including Lions where he was president.

NF McDonnell and Sons over the years has built a very strong and loyal customer base with some customers trading with the company for over thirty years. McDonnell’s are well placed in the market to confidently move into the next phase of growing their business for the next generation of family members, with fourth generation of the McDonnell family, Ian’s son Shaun, becoming a director of the company.

Our current business model is based on the conversion of small diameter logs, a resource not widely sought after in the domestic industry, into products suitable for the packaging and fencing industries. It is through the provision of quality products specifically tailored to meet customer’s needs that we have been able to form long term business partnerships which are mutually beneficial. With timber now being supplied into South East Asia we are confident that the value we can offer is globally competitive.

At the beginning of 2012 our management team created a mill development plan which was based on our goal of constructing a world class timber processing facility. This plan outlined management’s commitment to continuously invest in the future of our organisation. Stage 1 of this plan was for the redevelopment of our resaw facility which is now operational. This project represented an investment in our business of over $2 million and has given our business a significant boost in operational capacity.

The next stage in our mill development program is a major upgrade to our primary breakdown section. This sawline will become the leading small log line in the region focusing on the production of both packaging and fencing/landscaping products.

The innovative mill design allows for product flexibility while maintaining a simple overall structure. The layout allows timber to flow from one process to the next with allowances for buffer stock at key points to ensure production delays do not occur.

Also included is the ability to continue to operate even while key equipment is experiencing downtime. At the centre of the operation is the Hew Saw R250 which with its ability to operate at a variety of speeds and this will allow the operation to effectively balance process capacity.

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