Last week, the virtual Converters Expo 2020 (https://www.packagingstrategies.com/converters-expo) was held, in which executives from Wisconsin-based converting companies told their stories about how they are dealing with the “new normal” of running a manufacturing company in the COVID pandemic 19.
Moderated by Barb LaMue, President / CEO of The New North Inc., the participants offered their insights into declines in sales that happen simultaneously with growing product demand, how to keep employees safe and productive, and their expansion plans for today and in the next years.
One of the executives who attended the conference was Andrew Hetzel Jr., CEO of NPS Corp. (Green Bay, WI) commented that it was clear from the beginning of the pandemic that the impacts caused by it would be catastrophic in the markets served by NPS. Toilet paper quickly became a scarce commodity and NPS was unable to do enough with it, along with increased hygiene driving demand for paper towels and wipes.
He also commented that the traditional “away from home” market will return slowly, but it will never be the same. The hospitality industry will remain depressed until the vaccine is in effect. Still, the increase in hygiene and sanitation should be positive in the long run for paper products.
Now, more than ever, it is the time to be opportunistic, talk to customers, understand which of their unmet needs and be creative in the search for a way to serve them.
According to Hetzel, it is necessary to move quickly in the development of new products and, even if they are not fully improved, customers are not very demanding now.
Companies, at this point, need to be strategic in customer service, since customers are not the same, choose the top three most-important customers.
Lastly, he commented that relationships matter more: since the pandemic caused people and companies to restart the way they think and what is important to them. Companies must focus on those who will be long-term partners.
About NPS Corp.
Founded in 1996, the private company employs 600 workers in eight plants in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. NPS converts towels and tissues for the “away from home” market and is the largest manufacturer of spill control products for meltblown fabric (non-woven fabric) in North America.