Even though the Tork brand of professional hygiene products has been in the USA for just 10 years, it’s been sold in other parts of the world for decades. In fact, it was 50 years ago that the Tork brand came to life in Sweden. Happy birthday, Tork!
For decades, Tork, a brand of Essity (formerly SCA), has been innovating and invigorating the market with function, image, and sustainability always at the core. Names like Xpressnap, Elevation, and now PeakServe and EasyCube have become familiar and trusted when it comes to outfitting and stocking facilities around the world.
Walden’s interviewed Don Lewis, President of Essity’s professional hygiene business in North America, Europe, Russia and MEIA, to discuss this momentous occasion and what the next 50 years will mean for the global leading brand, as well Essity’s professional hygiene business.
WALDEN’S: Your innovations have certainly played a role in the brand’s market leadership, what are updates that customers should look out for at ISSA?
DON: We have some exciting new things at the show this year.
What if I told you we can save facility managers 20 percent of their cleaning labor hours and improve the quality of their work? Sounds too good to be true? It’s not! Tork EasyCube is Essity’s system that utilizes Internet of Things-connected dispensers and doorframe sensors to capture usage data from high-traffic facilities. This data tells facility managers when dispensers need to be refilled and when restrooms need to be refreshed, based on traffic.
It’s all about the data. And, I’m sure we’ll see more “smart” devices than ever at ISSA this year. The Tork EasyCube promise stands out since our claims are based on data from the experience of the growing list of customers using Tork EasyCube in their facilities around the world. In fact, our research shows that not only does Tork EasyCube help ensure dispensers are stocked 99 percent of the time1, it also generates at least a 20 percent savings in labor hours2 – a welcome benefit for jan/san managers who are stretched when it comes to time and staff.
Since the launch of this technology, customers have been eager to see how Tork EasyCube can drive operational efficiency, increase quality and customer satisfaction, and improve staff engagement – and now we have the data that can help quantify those benefits. We are really excited to show customers how Tork EasyCube can simplify their daily work.
Last year, we previewed what I consider a game-changer for washroom towel dispensing, Tork PeakServe. I still marvel at the crowds of people at last year’s ISSA show who filled our booth to see PeakServe – it’s that unique. Our advertising for Tork PeakServe says, “Bring on the crowds.” This is because PeakServe is an unmatched system for high-traffic venues such as airports, convention centers and stadiums, where restrooms and jan/san teams often feel the pressure of large crowds at peak times.
Tork PeakServe™ Continuous™ Hand Towel System features two industry-changing innovations: 1) compressed towels that allow the dispensers to hold 25 percent more than any other towel system on the market today and 2) continuous towel technology that connects the top and bottom of each compressed towel bundle, allowing them to interlock and dispense continuously, serving crowds without interruption. Because the bundles are compressed, you can fit more on trucks, in storage areas, and on cleaning carts. And, PeakServe can be fitted with the Tork EasyCube technology as well. These features, combined with Tork EasyCube, are radically changing how the jan/san industry can operate.
To bring this to life, we’ve developed a new online tool to show a real-time view of how Tork PeakServe and Tork EasyCube can benefit specific facilities. Customers can use the Tork EasyCube Impact Calculator on TorkUSA.com/EasyCube to input information about their current cleaning approach and estimate approximate cost and time savings with the use of Tork EasyCube. In the coming months, we’ll further help managers and staff maximize their resources with recommendations in our digital cleaning plans.
WALDEN’S: When we spoke last year, you had recently announced a new company name, Essity. Now, you’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Tork. What does this mean for the brand and your customers?
DON: A 50-year anniversary is something to celebrate and be proud of. It’s led to our global market leadership and has been borne from our innovative products and services, our commitment to sustainability, our care for our customers and partners, and a dedicated team of professionals. It’s great to look back and take account of what we’ve accomplished.
However, we’re using this anniversary year as a catalyst for the future of the Tork brand. We ask ourselves, “What’s next?” Over the past five decades, a lot has changed, and this change is accelerating. We know for certain that, in the next 50 years of Tork, we will continue to bring customer-centric solutions to the market in new ways. We take our market leadership to heart - it carries with it great pride, but also a unique responsibility and expectation to shape the market of tomorrow.
We are not satisfied with maintaining the status quo. That means redefining what’s possible. Take Tork PeakServe, for example. This game-changing innovation is disrupting the industry and upping the expectations from the jan/san community about what a dispenser can and should deliver. Our customers expect a lot from us and, rest assured, we set an even higher bar for ourselves.
WALDEN’S: As the leading global health and hygiene company, Essity (and SCA in prior years) has always been viewed as one of the world’s most sustainable companies, and the Tork brand has been a big part of that. What role has sustainability played in your ability to lead the market?
DON: Sustainability has been integral to the Tork brand for decades – long before it became embedded in the culture of our society. It was 15 years ago – in 2003 – that we introduced Xpressnap napkins and dispensers with their patented one-at-a-time dispensing technology that reduced napkin usage, and thus napkin waste. We’ve come a long way since then and today we are working on bringing more circular approaches to our work. For example, you may not know that Essity measures the sustainability of every innovation. We calculate if a product improvement is more sustainable than the product it replaces, and we set and measure against targets for the sustainability aspects of our innovations. We’re also looking at ways to build re-use into our innovations as part of our circular sustainability work.
We know that many of our customers are required to – and want to – do business the same way. That’s why Essity joined companies like Nike, Coca Cola, and IKEA as a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100 (Circular Economy 100) to help create circular economies globally and products that reduce waste and/or are compostable.
I’m also excited to share that last month Essity was listed as an industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, one of the world's most prestigious sustainability indices. We are proud of our recent work and hope our customers can feel our commitment to sustainability – it remains a part of our DNA as a company and it molds everything we do.
WALDEN’S: As we celebrate the Tork brand’s 50th anniversary in North America, what can customers expect from Tork in the next 50 years?
DON: Expect the unexpected! If our first 50 years have demonstrated anything, it’s that innovation and a focus on customers are the heart of our business. This will not change, but with it comes an increased focus on using data, technology and digital channels to deliver products and solutions that help our customers think ahead and be ready for business today and the unexpected of tomorrow. This is a big challenge and we’re positioned to make it a reality.
WALDENS: Anything else you’d like to add?
DON: Don’t forget to stop by the Tork booth (#6631) to speak with our team about the challenges you face and how we can help solve them. For more information, visit
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