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Technical Side

Responses to Reactive Thinking

Last week we asked, "In your experience with the pulp and paper industry, would you consider it reactive or proactive?"

90% of you said "YES"

Then we asked, "Can you cite an anecdote that makes your case?"

Here are some of the responses:

>Even knowing pulp prices are cyclical, we always do the analysis on pulps and secondary fiber only when prices are high.

>Black liquor credits: mills weren't 'green' until our government decided they were?

>Historically, capitalization goes crazy when money's flowing (highly reactionary thinking). Even after many cycles of this leading to over capacity at the very moment the economy tilts, this way of reactionary think continues prevail. In fact it is encroaching the tissue biz, a sector that traditionally has had better self discipline.

>Back when Xerox was a hot technology, the paper industry used the FTC to stop Xerox from building paper mills and competing citing monopoly concerns. That mind set will and has prevent the owners and operators in the paper industry from going the other direction -- from basic paper manufacturing to higher end products.

>We reacted to the poor public image of the industry with a great venue, Forests for Our Future at Epcot. But when the industry started to have financial problems, none of the major companies would spend $150,000 (in total, not each) to keep it going. Disney thought it was so good they were willing to pay the rest of the cost of operation. Guest surveys showed over 75% of the people that saw it changed their attitude about the forest products industry from what they learned. What else could make an impact on the most important group of people we need to communicate with - kids, their parents and their teachers. And reaction to dark clouds causes our industry to stop educating their employees to do their jobs better and then crow that people are the company's most valuable assets. Bull !!!

>Failure to get into nonwovens at early stage. Failure to realize packaging potential of micropores within never-dried pulp fibers.

>The answer "Reactive" is in general. In the case of packaging, I've seen customers order the same box as thirty years before "because that's always our box.." The industry didn't made clear that there are lighter, less energy comsuming, and even stronger boxes. Newspaper factory's didn't change that much in years and just competing on price, not on properties or a different kind of paper. Here I see that the smaller factory's have to go in nicemarkets, they have to make "different" papers. There is where we can earn good money, and even export special papers from a small paperfactory really all over the world. There is the strenght in innovation and development of special papers, especially for papers with a different propertie wich has nothing to do with the price of the cellulose, but where the marge is in how much can our customer save by using our paper :-)

>losing market share ??? solution: add capacity: Case India

>The industry responds to environmental laws, choosing to wait until laws are passed to comply rather than looking for a way to eliminate the problem(s) that new regulations are hoped to cure. Example, chlorine/chlorine dioxide bleaching are still predominant in spite of the fact that ways to eliminate these from the bleach plant are known. With these gone, increased water recycle is possible resulting in less effluent, less color, less smell, less intrusion on society. Instead paper industry spent big $$'s protecting the status quo and implementing cheapest alternative to achieve minimal regulatory compliance.

This week's quiz is here.

Want to get a jump on the surveys? Follow me on twitter, where they are posted early. You can do this here. (note: all respondents are confidential; the software is programmed in such a way that neither we nor anyone else can determine who responded)


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Want to be heard on other subjects? Be sure to watch for "Paperitalo Second Tuesday Surveys."

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