Pulp and Paper Canada

Strategizing for success

December 1, 2006  By Pulp & Paper Canada


It’s the last issue of 2006 and, in most cases, that would call for a retrospective of the year. But, this time, let’s skip over the description of the state of the industry and the itemized account o…

It’s the last issue of 2006 and, in most cases, that would call for a retrospective of the year. But, this time, let’s skip over the description of the state of the industry and the itemized account of why it has reached this stage of crisis.

Going into 2007, we should try to think of the coming year from a different perspective: what can be done to re-establish our position at the forefront of the industry. If we can understand the economic impediments and adapt to the ever-shifting ground, the industry still has the chance to refresh its slightly-dimmed reputation.


What is required is a profound change in attitude.

With this thought in mind, the theme of the December issue is Strategy for success and we hope to show, both in this magazine and throughout the coming year, various methods of confronting the challenges, understanding them and fighting back.

For example, exciting is the best way to describe the innovative direction being taken by researchers in Canada to explore new possibilities in value-added paper. Coming together to form Sentinel, a group of scientists and engineers, supported by government organizations and private enterprises, are preparing multiple projects involving bioactive paper that will revolutionize the scope of this familiar product. This is a perfect example of how visionary talents can overcome competition on one level by using ingenuity and research to create an entirely new playing field for Canadian products (see page 26).

To better understand the government attitude towards our industry, you will find both an interview with the Minister of Natural Resources, Gary Lunn (page 22), as well as a different point of view from a grass roots organization in northern Ontario (page 35).

Preparing for the future also means understanding obsolescence, but the word can mean different things to different people.

In order to survive, the ageing of both the human component and the material assets of our industry need to be taken into account and plans need to be made for the future. To learn more, please see Heather Lynch’s report on pages 16 through 20.

Our latest addition to the regular columns of the magazine, Industry Trends, includes excerpts from the comprehensive financial studies by Paul Quinn of Salman Partners, analyzing the financial status of the companies involved in forestry products. While this is only a sampling of the information available, we wanted to share with our readers this valuable resource.

To keep pace also means to network and to create vital alliances. What better way to be at the forefront of any changes and improvements than to learn from the people who will be presenting the latest in their research and experience during PaperWeek International 2007 in early February at the largest annual pulp and paper event in the world. The many technologies and studies that will be presented in Montreal at that time are listed in the Preliminary Program (pages 37-43) and they are an excellent way to benefit from multiple technology-exchange opportunities and develop new systems to improve operational efficiency. This is followed by the exhibitor listing which gives a sample of the suppliers who are active in the industry and ready to answer questions with their expertise.

As the Official ShowGuide and publishers of the daily Reporter, we will be there for sure to let you know who is there and what is happening, in addition to pointing our readers in the right direction.

At one of the recent Tappi conferences, I followed a link suggested by Dr. James McNutt, the executive director of the Center for Paper Business and Industry Studies. This led me to the website (som.utdallas.edu/ et2020/reports/exec_report.pdf) featuring Professor Michael Oliff, the director of the Enterprise Transformation Program at the University of Texas at Dallas. In it, Dr. Oliff lists the characteristics of enterprises that succeed. These include: a sense of proactiveness and urgency; clear corporate visions and purpose; sustainable change programs and people focus; directive, anticipative management mentalities; a preoccupation with capability; competency-based resource allocation and organization; and, finally, elevated customer attitudes targeted at exceeding exceptions.

In conclusion, he asks, when is the last time you consciously questioned your enterprise’s strategy, structure and processes?

Something to think about, since Dr. Oliff specifies that you do not need to be at the top of the chain in your workplace to create an impact.

It should be obvious that, as one of the world’s largest areas for paper consumption with significant resources of high quality fibre, we are not destined to lose if we can anticipate and adapt. We need to rebuild and refresh, to revisit strategies and redeploy capital, but the forestry industry is a precious part of our economy and our lives, and must remain so.

So, go ahead, try it. Don’t give in, get ahead.

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