The Fallacy of Perfection
Despite a company’s best efforts to reduce customer problems, mistakes may happen and less than desirable situations will inevitably arise that are out of our control.
Focusing on perfect service usually leaves companies ill prepared to handle challenging situations. Everybody makes mistakes; but it’s what happens next that matters. If experience tells us anything, people seem to remember how a negative situation was solved more so than when things always fall into place properly. Situations gone awry present the opportunity to showcase true customer service skills and may ultimately set a company apart from its competition.
The Customer Contact Council conducted a study of more than 75,000 B2C and B2B customers about their recent service interactions. The results, published in the Harvard Business Review in 2010, found that 23% of customers who had a positive service interaction told 10 or more people compared to 48% of those who had a negative experience.
Quality service is at the core of our brand at Kruger Products. Challenges may arise, but how we respond demonstrates the added value Kruger Products brings and exemplifies our leadership in the industry.
 Godin, Seth. Winning on the uphills. 21 July 2009. 25 January 2013 .
 Dixon, Matthew, Karen Freeman and Nicholas Toman. "Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers." Harvard Business Review 88.7/8 (2010): 116–122.
Ending 2012 With a Bang!
It’s one thing for us to say great things about ourselves, but it’s entirely different for others to say it for us.
2012 was an inspiring year for the Kruger Products Away From Home (AFH) Division and to end it with recognition from six external stakeholders for a broad range of reasons is motivation to continue along our journey.
Four distributors have titled us their 2012 Supplier of the Year, our work to define our culture through Performance in Every Fibre™ won Gold in the Summit International Awards; and Kruger Products was named one of the 2013 GTA’s Top Employers. We’d be honoured to receive only one of these, but to earn all six in one year is truly a testament to our team and their hard work throughout 2012.
- Gold, Summit International Awards (SIA) - Performance In Every Fibre™ earned the recognition in the award’s design excellence category. We faced steep competition from applicants in more than 50 countries and came out on top!
- Sanitation Supplier of the Year Award, Balpex – Judged against strict criteria, including innovation, vision, accessibility to sales representatives, quality of product vs. competitors, respect to delivery dates and flexibility on pricing, Balpex members voted and Kruger Products won! Tom Olsen, Vice President of North American Sales, accepted the award on behalf of Kruger Products in September. It is an honour to receive this distinction again after having received it in 2010, 2005 and 2003.
- Supplier of the Year Award, Adapt Marketing Group – Bet you didn’t know that this is the sixth consecutive year that we’ve earned this distinction! This year, Eric Bisson, the Corporate Vice President of the AFH Division, accepted the award on behalf of the entire team at Adapt’s annual Sell-A-Rama gala. We were specifically recognized for having the best sales team in the industry, offering innovative products and constantly introducing new products, and our coast-to-coast distribution.
- Top 30 Suppliers Award, Sysco Canada – Not only were we one of their Top 30 Suppliers – from more than 400 candidates – but we were also named the exclusive Supplier of the Year! Sysco Canada is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products, equipment and supplies to the foodservice and hospitality industry.
- Platinum Supplier of the Year, Unisource Canada – We were named Unisource Canada’s Platinum Supplier of the Year for 2012. Unisource Canada is Canada’s national supplier of printing products and packaging and maintenance supply products, operating from 18 locations across Canada.
- 2013 GTA’s Top Employers – The official list of 95 worthy organizations was published in the Globe & Mail on November 20. The award judges both operations and human resources practices against eight criteria: physical workplace; work atmosphere and social; health, financial and family benefits; vacation, and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development and community involvement. To read the article click here.
Our driving force behind these milestones comes from Performance in Every Fibre™, which defines our culture through our focus on Quality, Service and Business Optimization. Look out for more big wins next year!
Leading the Way to a More Viable Future: (re)defining sustainable paper
We’re all accustomed to the basic definition of ‘green’ paper products – 100% recycled. But have we become complacent? Is this definition accurate? The rapidly changing global fibre market dynamics, particularly in recent years, and the increasing demand for recycled fibre from new markets around the world are triggers for industry, and perhaps society at large, to re-evaluate our definition of sustainability and more appropriately define green paper products.
Kruger Products along with PurchasingB2B magazine brought together industry leaders – Cadillac Fairview, Unisource, Domtar, Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), and Risi - in a private roundtable discussion about the evolution of the definition of sustainable paper. Facilitated by Michael Hlinka (CBC radio host and regular PurchasingB2B columnist), the session focused on integrating recycled fibre and virgin fibre in the definition of sustainable paper, as well as how this new definition could impact business.
In an increasingly electronic world, and taking into account global climate issues and the demand for recycled paper products from new markets, the definition of sustainable paper must evolve. Trees are one of nature’s most renewable resources. If harvested and replanted sustainably, it is OK to cut them down to make other things, such as paper products. Stringent, third party certifications such as such as FSC provide assurance that products bearing these logos come from well-managed forests, responsible sources and/or recycled materials. Companies that want to meet their sustainability objectives, or just want to help protect our environment, should not hinge their decision solely on the amount of recycled content in a product. They should broaden their definition to responsibly sourced fibre. Since receiving our FSC certification in March 2011, Kruger Products offers approximately 70 products to the away from home market that are FSC certified by the Rainforest Alliance.
Bringing together industry leaders to discuss emerging trends in the realm of sustainability is one of the many ways that Kruger Products strives to educate our stakeholders, ignite dialogue, and, ultimately, encourage responsible and sustainable action within the industry.
The Fallacy of Price
What’s Really Behind the Numbers?
Price is important, but most companies don’t quite understand how to analyze what’s behind the price of a product so they unknowingly focus decisions on cost alone. At Kruger Products, we believe that although it is unwise to pay too much, it is far worse to pay too little. Simply put, products and services that cost less, typically do not perform as well as those that cost more because they are of poorer quality. Paying more for higher quality products is a much wiser choice because they will last longer, perform better, and many times even reduce the cost of overall procurement. In the end, you get what you pay for.
Paying too little upfront usually results in costing more money in the long run. The poorer quality product or service will likely not work as efficiently, or be incapable of doing what it was intended to do. Inevitably, you will continue to spend on products that will continue to under perform, and result in more spending overall. This concept holds true across many products and services but is especially relevant for higher volume product categories, like paper and tissue products.
The value lies in looking beyond price when considering purchasing decisions. These factors will allow you to identify opportunities that will impact your business on multiple fronts and present cost savings. For instance, taking into account all specifications of a product including the weight and total area when comparing two competitive products is key. Buyers beware, those products that cost less, likely also offer less to make up for the reduced price.
Not only that, but poorer quality products could have indirect negative impacts on your business. In the case of tissue and paper products, an inferior quality roll will result in increased labour costs, due to the increased maintenance and servicing required to monitor and replace run outs. Even more important is the end-user who will need to use more product, which will result in a higher run out rate, which ends up costing you more over time.
We need to also consider how a poorer quality item can impact your establishment’s image. As guests use products that are average or perhaps even subpar, their perception of your business can diminish. Similarly, experiencing run-outs will also affect the perception of your establishment. The precise value of selecting appropriate products that reflect your brand or image may be difficult to calculate, but the benefits of quality products are undeniable.
Making wise purchasing decisions should be viewed as an investment, not a cost. At Kruger Products, we provide unique system solutions that are geared for your individual business. Using our cost-in-use business model, our experienced sales team works closely with you to identify opportunities to improve your bottom line and support your overall business objectives.
Eco-Labels: What Really Matters?
Ethical decisions have become increasingly important in making business decisions, but with the plethora of certifications, claims, regulations, sponsorships and partnerships out there, it’s not uncommon for businesses to struggle to determine which are legitimate and credible and ultimately align with their values.
Environmental credentials are no longer a differentiator – but with all the confusion, its our job as leaders in the industry, to help make sense of the information. As one would suspect, not all eco-labels are created equal.
Kruger Products understands and values third party accreditations. We take pride in aligning ourselves with credible organizations that uphold stringent environmental and social standards. The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and EcoLogoM are two external certification schemes we take seriously.
Kruger Products was the first Canadian tissue manufacturer to earn FSC® Chain of Custody (CoC) certification from the Rainforest Alliance and we currently offer one of North America’s largest portfolios of certified tissue and paper products. The Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit conservation organization, is the world’s leading certifier of forestlands to FSC® standards. They conduct audits on an ongoing basis to ensure we are adhering to their strict standards.
The highly respected and internationally recognized FSC® label our tissue and paper products bear is a guarantee that the fibre used to make them comes from FSC®-certified sources and includes both virgin and recycled fibre. FSC® is recognized worldwide as the gold standard in responsible forest management and is supported by major NGOs, including Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and Sierra Club. The Away From Home (AFH) division at Kruger Products offers approximately 70 FSC®-certified products; these can be identified by the FSC® label with our license: FSC® C104904.
EcoLogoM is one of North America’s most widely known and universally respected multi-attributed environmental trademarks. EcoLogoM certification requires holistic and stringent evaluation of the entire manufacturing process and considers things like recycled content, water pollution, solid waste and energy use. Currently, Kruger Products offers approximately 60 EcoLogoM-certified tissue and paper products.
Kruger Products knows that identifiable logos like FSC® and EcoLogoM are what our customer’s value, which is why we have chosen to uphold and meet their stringent environmental standards. They are easy to recognize, making it easy for our customers to select products that fit their environmental needs, while maintaining the premium performance they expect.
More than just third party certifications, Kruger Products also looks to its partners, like Earth Day® Canada (EDC), the Ronald McDonald House Charities and Friends of We Care to help us drive sustainable change. As a proud partner of EDC, who is helping facilitate our efforts to reduce the impact of our operations and encourage environmental values and initiatives among our employees, communities wherein we operate, customers and consumers, Kruger Products recently attended EDC’s Annual Gala, which brought together more than 500 leaders from the environment, business and arts communities to celebrate outstanding environmental leadership. Kruger Products presented the Outstanding Commitment Award to an individual from the Poplar River First Nations group who has been a leader in efforts to protect the 8,000km2 of untouched boreal forest since 1999.
For more than a decade, we have helped send Easter Seal kids to summer camp by supporting Friends of We Care, and for more than 20 years, our contributions to Ronald McDonald House Charities have assisted children with serious illnesses or disabilities and their families to lead happier, healthier lives. Giving back is not just about including another logo on your website; it’s a meaningful way to align yourself with a cause and allows an opportunity for our customers to also align with these causes through our products.
The key is understanding the meaning behind each logo and being able to identify legitimate and worthy causes. Transparent and honest communication is the best way to achieve this so Kruger Products will continue to educate our stakeholders about why we align ourselves with the organizations we do. Eventually, the claims that lack substance will disappear and the truly credible eco-labels will remain, making it easier for everyone to make wise decisions.
Cost-in-Use: Adding Up to More than Dollars and Cents
Cost-in-use is a complex concept so it is often overlooked. In challenging economic times, businesses incorrectly focus on price as the main factor in purchasing decisions, thereby missing opportunities for savings across multiple areas of their business.
At Kruger Products, we promote a different way of thinking. Companies that adopt the cost-in-use model will inevitably experience encouraging returns in both direct and indirect ways.
The key to understanding cost-in-use is knowing the difference between the actual cost or price of a product in dollars and cents and the true worth of a product. Comparing products based on price alone is simplistic and one-dimensional, and can lead to unwanted business implications. Many times companies are not even aware of these implications so the problems persist and could grow or surface as an issue in another part of your business, making it more difficult to identify an appropriate solution.
The True Magnitude of a Product’s Worth
The true worth of a product takes into account more than just the cost. The elements that make up the value of a product are unique to product categories. In the case of tissue and paper products, this may include an intermingling of the following elements:
- Premium products reducing overall consumption
Higher quality products cost more upfront but are more effective and last longer, therefore cost less over longer terms through reduced overall consumption.
- Correct understanding of product quantity
Don’t only consider roll diameter or case weight. It is imperative to understand the total paper area in a case to ensure that you are buying exactly what you think you are. Recently, there has been a trend of lowering total paper in product cases to drive a misleadingly low case price.
- Indirect savings from longer roll towel and tissue impact other parts of a business
There are direct labour savings attributed to less frequent roll changes when using longer roll towel and tissue. Less time refilling dispensers and dealing with run-outs allows for maintenance staff to focus on other more important tasks. With fewer instances of empty rolls in bathroom stalls or towel dispensers and an overall well-maintained environment, the end-user will have a better experience as well.
- Dispenser solutions
Controlling the use of napkins or paper towels through simple dispenser solutions will contribute to reduced shrinkage and minimize the amount of product used inefficiently. For instance, some dispensers have the capacity to control the number or length of sheets dispensed or the time lapse between dispensing, thereby reducing the quantity of product used in your facility.
- Inherent benefits from an improved image
Although somewhat intangible to directly measure, cleanly facilities can have a powerful influence on a building or company’s overall image. The sheer volume of people who use these facilities is reason enough to maintain them. With basic elements like premium quality tissue and paper towel products and sophisticated dispensers, it’s relatively simple to reinforce the quality of your company’s brand identity.
Consider cost-in-use and how it can become part of your business model. Don’t fall prey to lower upfront costs without investigating the true worth behind products, which range from light bulbs to linens, from tissue/paper products to cleaning products and more. Cost-in-use considers the overall cost of a product from the time of purchase to the time of use and disregard. Its cross-industry applicability makes this concept valid to any business, large or small.
Kruger Products Away From Home (AFH) division has established a reputation for quality and excellence that is second to none. More recently, new market players and a continuously changing competitive landscape has made our industry increasingly international, with market demands shifting all the time. More than ever, it is important that we demonstrate the added value Kruger Products’ brings to our customers as the market leader. AFH is now delivering a clear and motivating reason to choose us over the many other options in the marketplace. Performance In Every Fibre™ is a new brand positioning and identity that is built upon our key values of Quality, Service and Business Optimization. Through clear, consistent communication, and the continued efforts of our entire AFH team, Performance In Every Fibre™ will help reinforce the high level of performance that runs through every area of our business.
PERFORMANCE REALLY DOES MATTER.