Across TWM’s online pages you will see the same thought expressed in a variety of ways. This pandemic – tragic in its still unfinished health and economic implications – has nevertheless forced a comprehensive re-assessment of working methods across all sectors.

Helen Morris, Senior Editor, Tissue World Magazine
Helen Morris, Senior Editor, Tissue World Magazine

In professional terms, a positive is that the crisis has given the tissue industry an “opportunity to accelerate changes”, says Kim Underhill, Kimberly-Clark North America Group President. An enforced opportunity to advance innovations desired for a long time. Our last TWM highlighted the phenomenally rapid response to the early weeks of unprecedented panic demand for our products, which quickly became essential not just in practical terms but also more emotionally associated with security, comfort and hygiene.

In just three weeks in March, American consumers spent $1.4bn on bath tissue products alone. Those were the first off the shelves. For the UK’s Leicester Tissue Company, sales and marketing director Frank Millward said: “It was very strange. My mobile was red hot with calls from the media and the press. It seemed like the whole world wanted to come and see the inside of a toilet roll factory! And almost every retailer in the land was looking for help.”

That panic-buying is over, although there are reports of a return to stockpiling where the virus has returned. But to date trucks delivering tissue products are no longer being ambushed. Supplies are steady, the surge in demand is levelling off, the AfH dip is being released upward, and new opportunities – hand towels replacing air dryers for example – are being identified. Significant margin gains are on stream, and imaginations have been fired.

In this edition, industry leaders bring us up-to-date with how they see the early days of the new … ‘normal’ hardly seems the right word. The new extraordinary.

Oday Abbosh, founder and chief executive of UK-based Better All Round and chairman of Consuma Paper Products, suggests the industry needs an approach different to a simply accelerated business-as-usual. Impressive agility and collaboration shown in the crisis points to a more fundamental issue – why so little innovation in normal times.

Established and profitable routines don’t like major disruption. The pandemic has caused that. In this TWM, industry leaders tell you what they think.

Lockdown Analysis of the Week

Georgie-Pacific called on IRI panel data and US Census stats and its own calculations to help consumers understand how much product they would need. Staying home 24-7 meant a 40% increase on average daily use. You’ll find the full facts in MarketIssues.

Webinar and online TWM

Tissue World Magazine’s first ever live panel discussion webinar was shared by more than 500 industry personnel from tissue-linked companies across the globe.

A total of 858 had registered to share the industry intelligence on offer.

Four expert speakers discussed the future of the tissue business model, covering a wide range of topics including the unprecedented demand for tissue following the outbreak of Covid-19, cyber-security, BLM, home-working, and SKU simplification.

The format was designed to create focussed “chat show”-style sessions inviting anyone involved in the tissue making business to participate – from raw material suppliers, producers, converters, jumbo roll suppliers, all machinery suppliers, retailers and distributors.

There will be more live debates on the key topics important to you over the coming months, before the return of Tissue World trade shows.

A full report on the key points raised by the speakers is carried in this edition.