The paper industry has been in a state of tension for some years now, partly the result of raw materials costs, a decline in the market and competition abroad. Many mills have closed, and those that are open are certainly keenly aware of the issues surrounding the industry. How do leaders in the industry manage to stay afloat? By making sure they are operating at peak efficiency.
The paper industry is a great example to all other forms of manufacturing because profits were so robust only a couple of decades ago. By the end of the 1990s, however, technology and other factors created razor thin margins and owners were forced to adapt or go extinct. The marketplace became even more cutthroat than before.
When an industry gets so competitive that there little room for error, making sure everyone is on the same page – employees, management, advertising, purchasing. This means increasing communication on the floor so problems can be resolved quickly and being honest and open about the company culture. Whether a singular issue with a machine or a systemic problem requiring bigger resources, everything is on the table and needs to be addressed immediately.
This can also mean addressing important issues regarding outdated equipment. It is tempting for a business to hold on to obsolete machines when the profit margin is tight. But this comes at the cost of thriving in the industry. An updated starch cooker, for example, like the Komax model, can decrease noise and vibration while ensuring completely uniform cooking and higher efficiency over the old cooker models. Our ClO2 Bleach Mixer has saved thousands of dollars in unneeded machine upgrades through its innovative design and efficient performance. These are all characteristics the industry needs to adapt if it is to survive.
Even at Paperweek Canada 2017, the topic of reducing energy costs and consumption was a top priority at the conference. Those who go on in the industry are going to be the companies who refuse to see themselves as global victims, but instead make the transition into efficiency with intentionality.