SNAPSHOT: Ann Nilsson
We continue our series in which we introduce our TPMs, the Technical Product Managers. Meet Ann Nilsson.
Name: Ann Nilsson
Responsible for: Primarily speciality paper customers
Born: 1964, Helsingborg, Sweden
Education and expertise: MSc Chemical Engineering, working in different positions in a paper mill for 20 years before joining Södra
Likes: (gardening, friends, pets)
Status: Lives with partner Lars and two cats. Would love to have a dog again but it's a challenge when working full time.
I joined Södra in 2010 as a TPM, mainly for fine paper customers, having come from a papermaking background with Stora Enso. Various positions there within the fine paper business had given me a deep understanding of papermaking and the customer’s perspective when it came to pulp.
These days, I’m mainly responsible for speciality paper customers and that’s a reflection of the industry’s changing markets and Södra changing with them – the clearest growth in our sales in recent years has been for tissue applications, but the speciality sector is also growing, so our deliveries to this area are too. Most customers are based in Europe but as the bigger players become global, we can also be called upon to visit mills further afield.
Many of the bigger commodity companies are now also moving into value-added specialties such as flexible packaging, making it difficult for smaller companies to compete. We aim to find a variety of ways to help add value, no matter how big or small the customer.
Strategically, speciality papers are perhaps the most challenging of all markets for us because the customers in this sector are so diverse and understanding their needs takes time and cannot be generalized. I think our larger-than-average product portfolio is particularly appreciated by this customer segment. I don’t know of another supplier who sorts their wood sources and production into as many product categories as we do. This diversity and working with a large innovation department is also what it makes it a fun and exciting job. I deal with a whole range of issues and enquiries from benchmarking and lab studies to new product development, so no two days are the same.
Some of the projects we have embarked upon with customers have led to them achieving patented products, which is very rewarding. I’d love to share some of the details, but these projects are highly confidential since they are all about achieving a competitive edge!
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