Barcelona: A meeting of minds
Annica Larsson Ahlstedt, Head of Product Quality, joined the Sales team during the industry week in Barcelona. “Although this is usually a time for the Sales team to meet with customers and discuss contracts, we are also keen to bring the commercial and technical sides of the business closer, because the benefits are obvious,” she explains.
“Gaining greater insight into customer challenges and requirements is essential if we are to innovate for the future and speed up the process of bringing those ideas from the lab to the market. We’ve shown it can be done, both with innovations for existing products, such as our pulpable bale strap, FiberSafe™, but also with pioneering new concepts such as OnceMore® textile pulp.
“Barcelona gave me a chance to find out more about what our customers think of our latest project, an agro-enhanced softwood pulp that will offer several advantages. Combining our softwood pulp with agricultural residues that would otherwise go to waste, from sources close to our mills, will make a clear contribution to a circular business model. At the same time, we’ve discovered that adding these fibres will enhance strength properties and reduce refining downstream in the value chain, improving performance and offering the potential to reduce energy consumption, so it’s a win-win.
“I saw for myself the interest the project has sparked from customers. There is a clear desire to see more innovation driven by sustainability, accompanied by premium performance. The response was a green light that we are on the right track.”
Madeleine Parkås, Project Manager for Södra Innovation: “This is a new product. It’s closely related to what we already do, but it’s breaking new ground for us. We have scaled up from lab-trial stage to pilot-trial stage and there is a way to go yet, but progress has been rapid. We will soon require input and cooperation from customers to help us bring this pioneering innovation to the market, but everything is moving in the right direction. That’s why bringing Innovation close to Sales is so important. We’ll keep you posted.”
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