BOISE, Idaho – Boise Cascade’s plywood mill in Chester, S.C. has been approved by APA—The Engineered Wood Association to add APA’s trademark of quality on their panels. Plywood produced on or after Jan. 28 at Chester will carry the APA grade stamp, showing that the panels meet or exceed the quality standards of U.S. Voluntary Product Standard PS-1 for Structural Plywood.
As the second largest plywood producer in North America, Boise Cascade owns and operates eight plywood mills across the U.S. The mill in Chester was originally built in the 1980s by Boise Cascade and then sold. It had a number of owners before Boise Cascade bought it back in 2013. Today, they employ more than 300 people who manufacture a variety of 4×8 sheathing and specialty/industrial plywood panels.
The mill qualified under APA’s Certified Inspector (CI) Program, which combines Chester’s in-plant quality control program with APA’s third-party audits. “APA trained eight of our employees to become Certified Inspectors, and these CI’s will manage our quality against APA’s standards,” said Zach Huskins, eastern region quality control supervisor for Boise Cascade. “We will regularly conduct audits to assess product performance against the standards and specifications of APA, and to ensure quality going forward.”
As part of Boise Cascade’s ongoing quality improvement efforts at Chester, the company installed new press equipment and built a shipping facility for improved storage.
Mill improvement and the APA certification process also created a safer work environment for employees, Boise Cascade’s most important core value. “We want our employees to work in a safe, clean place and we want to produce a quality product; they go hand in hand,” said Herman LeBleu, Chester Plywood Plant manager. “The safety improvements we made just happened to aid our quality efforts as well.”
“The move to APA is also good news for Boise Cascade’s plywood customers,” added Judy Haney, plywood sales manager for Boise Cascade. “This brings more of our mills together under the APA umbrella, and ensures product quality through APA’s stringent program. Our team worked hard to put enhanced quality processes in place at Chester, reducing core gaps, improving glue formulas, and just producing a better looking panel.
“We think our customers will be very pleased with the results,” Haney added. “We’re turning the phrase ‘ABC’ into ‘Always Buy Chester.’”
Source: Boise Cascade