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Benchmarking for success: FPInnovations’ report on kraft pulps

One of the most significant barriers to growth is the inability to adapt to changing markets, environments and competition. Understanding your competitive position is highly important and failure to evaluate and adapt can make a company...


December 1, 2013
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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One of the most significant barriers to growth is the inability to adapt to changing markets, environments and competition. Understanding your competitive position is highly important and failure to evaluate and adapt can make a company insignificant in the global arena. It is therefore critical to benchmark – to compare your performance against a practice standard established by a respectable organization.
In the pulp sector, major changes have been occurring in the past decade in kraft market pulp production and applications. In particular, production is moving to South America and Southeast Asia, while markets are shifting to Asia.Northern bleached softwood kraft is increasingly used in specialty tissue and towel products, which are gradually replacing the more traditional printing and writing grades.
Embracing the benchmarking process should be an essential part of any business, especially because benchmarking is an embedded management practice used extensively among the world’s best firms.
Therefore, to assist Canadian pulp manufacturers in competing more effectively in global markets, FPInnovations conducts benchmarking programs every five years to assess the quality of bleached kraft market pulps from major pulp-producing countries worldwide.
FPInnovations’ goal is to develop comprehensive databases of mechanical, surface, and optical properties that provide relevant information about the typical ranges of fibre and pulp attributes in order to allow the participants in these studies to benchmark their products against competitors’ pulps.
Results of the 2013 benchmarking report have already been sent to participating companies and a report on the results of two previous benchmarking programs has now been released to the public. A total of 84 pulps – 50 softwood and 34 hardwood – from major pulp-producing nations were included in these programs.
The two-part report provides access to a wide databank of information, from an independent ISO-accredited laboratory, not available otherwise. Simply put, FPInnovations’ benchmarking report will help pulp producers evaluate, test and adjust their products and businesses. Market pulp manufacturers will find it to be particularly valuable as ammunition for defending the quality of their pulps to prospective customers, and for positioning their products against competitors’ pulps with respect to papermaking potential.
For market pulp customers, the report can be used as a decision-making tool and for assessing the quality of purchased pulp for a particular end-use application.
The report is available in PDF and XLS format and includes the data for all pulps and illustrates the relationships between several property pairs. For more information, contact Wayne Bichard at wayne.bichard@fpinnovations.ca or 514-782-4640.