A narrower product offering improves the availability of tissue paper deliveries in exceptional circumstances. Metsä Tissue has taken a number of actions to focus its offering during the pandemic, based on good collaboration with its customers. A more focused offering is also part of our future strategy.
People may think that the toilet paper business is quite stable. However, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for hygiene papers and has even made these products seem invaluable: the store shelves have been empty, at times, following surges in demand. In these exceptional circumstances, tissue paper suppliers must focus on ensuring the continuous availability of their products, securing regular deliveries to both the retail and the professional sectors.
“Metsä Tissue is one of the leading European operators in tissue papers, and we take this responsibility seriously. Through various measures, we have ensured the continuity of our operations – whilst keeping the decisions in line with our chosen strategy,” says Markus Reivala, Vice President, Global Offering at Metsä Tissue.
The raw material base for hygiene papers will increasingly consist of fresh fibres in the future. In line with its strategy, Metsä Tissue promotes the use of fibre from sustainably managed forests as the hygiene solution of the future.
“Our planned investment, of around EUR 230 million, in a tissue paper mill in Mariestad in Sweden is a good example of this. The sudden changes in the markets caused by the pandemic have made our chosen strategic direction even more relevant,” says Reivala.
The availability of recycled fibres has been decreasing for a long time. The pandemic has already worsened the situation and the short-term outlook is not good because of reduced paper usage patterns. However, the availability of fresh fibre raw material for Metsä Tissue’s products has remained at a good, constant level. Metsä Tissue is part of Metsä Group’s value chain, which creates a unique connection all the way from the forest to the end product and secures availability of the raw material coming from the sustainably managed Northern forests.
“This enables us to ensure the availability of fibres for hygiene products, even in a challenging market situation such as the one we find ourselves in today,” Reivala points out.
The coronavirus pandemic has strongly increased the demand for tissue paper and hand towels over a short period of time, which has posed challenges for the tissue supply chain. In addition to ensuring the availability of raw materials, other measures, such as prioritised production and narrower offering, have also been implemented in the exceptional circumstances. Metsä Tissue has focused its production capacity on products that best meet the demand for key consumer and professional products, such as high-quality toilet paper and hand towels. Their availability has been maximised at all times, even during periods of extremely high demand, and products have been delivered to the market in the most efficient way possible.
“The close cooperation with our customers has enabled prioritising our production. We have been pleased to have good and constructive cooperation on this topic from our partners.” says Reivala. “We work hard to continue to be an efficient and reliable partner for our customers. A focused offering is one of the factors that we believe will play a significant role in enabling availability and profitability throughout the value chain.
“Knowing the users’ needs is key, along with responding to them with products that are produced and transported efficiently and sustainably. A stronger focus brings benefits throughout the value chain, all the way to the end user, through good availability, high-quality products and sustainable production. This will continue to be our operating model into the future,” Reivala emphasises.