Mikael Selling CEO and Founding Partner at Opticom Consulting Group - Opticom Group

Is the pulp market becoming non-cyclic? Here are 10 arguments.

“You can’t see the forest for all the trees”. In Sweden, with some 80 percent of the land covered by forests, that is a pretty obvious remark. But it is also a Swedish proverb, meaning that it’s hard to see what’s under your nose.

Maybe that is also the case when it comes to the nature of the forestry industry, especially the pulp industry. Things are changing, fast. And few see it. From being the archetypical cyclic industry, ridden by regular financial tidal waves, the forest industry is showing signs of increased stability over time.

Let’s list the indicators, one by one, but without any internal order:

  1. Forest land gets a higher evaluation than ever by analysts and is seen as a safe investment.
  2. Printing paper represent a much smaller share of the business now, and hence a much lower implication on the bottom line.
  3. The population in the industrialized world is getting significantly older, which implicates an increased use of tissue products, not least for incontinence care.
  4. Globally, a larger proportion of the population is rising from poverty, and therefore is likely to consume more paper based products.
  5. The growth in the global economy shows surprising stamina, which in turn drives the demand on packaging.
  6. Consumers are becoming more environmentally concerned, and show a growing resentment against plastics and pro paper based packaging.
  7. The shift from a fossil-based to a bio-based society is growing and becoming common practise.
  8. There is a growing lack of recycled fibre in the recycling system, which drives a need to invest in the production of fresh fibre.
  9. The forestry industry, which may have been seen as conservative, is becoming more and more innovative, focusing increasingly on R&D.
  10. After years of development, large scale wooden based buildings (residential as well as commercial) are getting a broader acceptance.

We see these trends, with all the new opportunities they offer for the forestry industry. And we’ll take an active role in this process of change. Because we help create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication.

Mikael Selling CEO and Founding Partner at Opticom Consulting Group - Opticom Group

Workshops on customer feedback help Munksjö in achieving its business goals

Munksjö has the aim to be a global leader in high-quality specialty papers, providing customers with a unique product offering for a large number of industrial applications and consumer-driven products. In developing its strategy and business planning, customers’ experiences and input are extremely important in order to ensure decisions are taken that really are of value to Munksjö’s customers and which will result in a more favourable competitive position for the company.

“Customer focus is key to succeed in the process of reshaping ourselves following the merger with Ahlstrom’s Label and Processing business”, says Jan Åström, President and CEO of Munksjö Oyj. “At the end of the day, our customers are those who pay our salaries. Their evolving needs and challenges, as well as our competition, mean that we must continue to improve if we want to stay ahead.”

To involve customers in this open dialogue about Munksjö’s current performance and future position, Opticom was engaged to develop a plan and design a model for gathering and analysing customer input and measuring customer satisfaction. A global, company-wide survey was conducted covering all business areas: Decor, Release Liners, Industrial Applications as well as Graphics and Packaging. Customers provided positive feedback and highlighted clear strengths, as well as suggestions on where improvements could be made and how they would like Munksjö to develop.

To further increase internal motivation and commitment, Opticom and Munksjö organized a series of workshops with representatives for the different business areas covering a wide range of functions across the organization in order to make the most of the input customers provided. In total, more than 80 managers from across the globe were involved in reviewing customer feedback and creating ideas on what can be done to ensure customers will be even more satisfied with Munksjö in the future.

“I am impressed with the high level of engagement we have seen from all participants and the impressive list of actions that have come out of all workshops ranging from quick-wins to important long-term strategic initiatives,” Jan Åström concludes. “Our employees have helped us in taking customer suggestions and translating them into specific actions that we can use to make sure customers will continue to see us as a preferred supplier. Opticom’s method has given us insight into which actions would be of greatest value to our customers and which our organization would like to prioritise.”


Please note: This article was first published in 2014 on the Opticom Research website, but has been re-published on the Opticom Group website as an inspirational client case/testimonial.

Martin Kubu CEO at Opticom Incite - Opticom Group

How does talent look? And what do they think?

Generation Y, the next tidal wave after the powerful Generation X and the not-so-powerful-anymore Baby Boomers, may well be the most talented generation so far. At least when it comes to multitasking. And soon they’ll submerge business life.

Employer Branding, anyone? If not yet, you’d better get started right away, because these kids have a mind of their own.

First of all, they don’t want a job. Only. They want a life. Or differently put, they demand a better balance in life than they’ve seen in their parents’ generation. There must be room for both rewarding work and stimulating free time (and we are not talking computer games here).

Secondly, they don’t want to work for a Corporation. They want to work for a Corporate Citizen. CSR is for real to these young professionals-to-be, and they are cautious to find an employer that care not only for the environment but also for human rights. Still, this may not necessarily imply a leftist inclination. If any political perspective seems predominant, it’s liberal – or even libertarian.

Thirdly, they don’t take any crap. They may look and sound polite and well mannered, but they know a lot more than you think about you, your company and your company’s stakeholders. And they will hold this against you, if it doesn’t comply with their beliefs. Remember, this is the first generation raised on information, rather than milk.

Does this take the ambitious employer into a mine field?

No, not necessarily.

Just make sure that your Employer Branding communication is
seamlessly coherent with your Corporate Branding. Consider the
fact that young professionals today value corporate ethics.  Describe career opportunities in a realistic way, without exaggerations. Level with intelligent people in an intelligent way. Create true interest, don’t stir a buzz. And be careful using a challenging tonality, the world doesn’t need one more do-you-have-what-it-takes ad.

Should you ever wonder if this will be increasingly important over the next years, spend some time exploring the demographics of your choice at http://populationpyramid.net/

Then, start working on a new strategy. How it will look, we don’t know yet. But we can find out.

Because we create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and effective communication.

Opticom Group - Opticom Group

Our mission was to bend the trend – And we did!

Francesco De Rosa, with vast experience from the international pharma industry at various prominent positions within sales, brand and business managing, gives the background to one of his first experiences with Opticom International Research: “At the time, I had taken over a very important Pfizer brand with a five-year legacy of declining market shares and I needed to get a 360 degree understanding of the decision-making process within the growth hormone therapy area” he explains and continues: “My scope was clear: bend the trend!”.

To gain this crucial understanding, Francesco turned to Opticom, a company which had previously delivered very good and useful results in projects for another pharmaceutical brand he had worked with. In the project of close co-operation that followed, Opticom conducted about 100 qualitative interviews with parents, paediatricians, and nurses to understand their different needs and reasoning within this therapy area.

The research discovered many “leaks” that delayed children’s access to treatment as well as large regional differences. Based on Opticom’s comprehensive analysis of the patient journey and treatment rationales, Francesco was able to change his company’s strategy, including a relocation of resources, better aligned to the customer landscape, as well as to improve communication around the value of treatment. In addition, the team could optimize its different support tools to physicians, nurses and parents, in order to facilitate earlier diagnose and better compliance.

Furthermore, Francesco and his colleagues came up with an improved treatment device to deal with an issue rated very important among respondents in the survey: Ease-of-use.

He describes the direct impact of this new, very valuable market knowledge: “Thanks to the new insights we designed a new device for the treatment of growth hormones deficiencies among children in order to meet the single most important factor in the choice of treatment: Easy-of-use of the device. This resulted in a patent available in more than 100 countries worldwide”.

As a result of the new strategy, the brand soon turned decline into growth and has been continuing this positive development ever since.

According to Francesco, the generation of updated customer insights is key to their business. Understanding both traditional and non-traditional stakeholders, their needs, as well as the patient journey and the decision-making process is fundamental in forming a successful business strategy.

In these situations you need a consulting company with a strong focus on quality, and with a thorough process for both research as well as analysis that delivers real and actionable results. That is where Opticom comes in as a very valuable partner with the staff’s vast knowledge and experience of the pharma industry: “They are methodical in their understanding of customer needs and in making sure that the setup of the project, from the very start to result implementation, is consistent and with a great focus on details and delivery” says Francesco, who would definitely engage Opticom again to gain strategic insights and/or to facilitate optimized communication.