This year’s ISSA show is set to be one of the most exciting, especially as the conference returns to Las Vegas. For the Tork brand of professional hygiene products, a slate of new, revolutionary products and services are raising the bar for professional hygiene.
From industry-leading insights to a solutions-first product line, Essity’s Tork brand has helped customers of all sizes around the world solve their hygiene-related business challenges.
Walden’s interviewed Don Lewis, President of Essity’s Professional Hygiene business in North America, Europe, Russia and MEIA, to discuss the Tork brand’s latest innovations and new products as well as the broader professional hygiene industry.
WALDEN’S: You’ve launched a new tagline for Tork that you’re using at the show this year—Think ahead. Why? And what’s the significance for ISSA attendees?
DON: We consider “Think ahead” as more than a tagline. Think ahead is how we create value for our distributor partners and end customers. It’s how the Tork brand enables them to be ready for business every day. And it’s our internal mantra with employees, which drives our focus on customer insights that lead to the industry-leading innovations that we are known for.
Last year the Tork brand celebrated its 50th anniversary globally, and what it showed is our heritage of innovation. As we look to the next 50 years for the brand, we want to reinforce among employees and with our customers our promise and commitment to continue to be a leader in innovation – whether it be in dispensing systems, digital solutions, service, channels, you name it!
Think ahead is at the core of our business, and we continue to help our customers solve the problems they face with the changing nature of their businesses through new innovations, solutions and industry insights.
WALDEN’S: In prior ISSA shows Tork has showcased innovations like Tork PeakServe and Tork EasyCube. How impactful have innovations like these been to your customers?
DON: You’ve mentioned two innovations that are truly changing restroom management for the jan/san industry. Let’s start with Tork PeakServe®. We debuted it at ISSA in 2017 and had such a large crowd who wanted to see and try the system that we had to bring more dispenser displays into the show! Tork PeakServe is unique because it holds 2,100 paper towels – 30% more capacity than any other product in the North American market. And its patented continuous flow refill system speeds up servicing the dispensers. Our campaign for Tork PeakServe was “Bring on the crowds,” and we originally positioned the system toward high-traffic venues like arenas and airports where crowds descend on restrooms all at once. The ability to service more users between refills means more people can move through the restrooms more quickly. Not surprisingly, Tork PeakServe has been a game-changer in the industry. And we have broadened our communication message to include other strategic segments such as Healthcare and Industry because we want end-customers to know that whatever their challenge is, they can “Bring it on” with Tork PeakServe.
This year we are previewing two fantastic line extensions to Tork PeakServe – Tork PeakServe Mini and Tork PeakServe Recessed. Both have the same functionality of the original. The Mini is perfect for restrooms where there is less space on the wall for a dispenser. We expect Recessed to be extremely popular in North America because it fits right into most existing recessed cabinets and transforms them into a highly effective dispensing system with minimal installation and no expensive renovations. I encourage everyone at the show to come to the Tork booth and test these out.
We’re also showcasing a new addition to our highly successful Tork Xpressnap line of napkin dispensers with the introduction of Tork Xpressnap Fit®. This dispenser, with its slimmer profile, smaller footprint and one-at-a-time dispensing is aimed at food service environments where table or counter space is limited. It’s one more way we are thinking ahead for a specific customer segment and showing how we can help their businesses.
There is also no doubt that technology has opened up new ways to manage restrooms. Tork EasyCube® was the first IoT powered dispenser option to provide use and refill data to cleaners. Today, our Tork EasyCube facility management software is at work in many well-known buildings around the world! I’m sure we’ll see plenty of “smart” devices at ISSA this year. These innovations need to be able to show that they will deliver a measurable impact for customers—or they may not get adopted. Tork EasyCube stands out because it helps ensure dispensers are stocked 99 percent of the time, and it generates at least a 20 percent savings in labor hours – a great benefit for jan/san managers who find themselves pressed for time in this changing environment.
WALDEN’S: You’ve mentioned “digital.” How do you see digital impacting the jan/san industry?
DON: Even a traditional industry like ours is being impacted by the digital revolution in significant ways. And at Essity, we are embracing these changes! We’re not only transforming our own business, we are working with distributors to help them in their digital journeys. Online purchasing is a growing trend for professional hygiene products, and the step before purchase is research – we’re seeing most purchasers now researching products online before contacting a sales rep. These shifts are providing a roadmap for our digital focus areas.
We’re also bringing digital to life with services like Tork EasyCube and new Digital Cleaning Plans, and with a new offering we’ve just released called Tork VR Hand Hygiene Training and Education. This app has been specifically designed to make hand hygiene training more engaging and inspiring for health care professionals. A recent study shows that 80% of healthcare professionals say they would like to improve their hand hygiene compliance. In this app, a “player” takes on the role of either a nurse or a physician on duty in a hospital unit. The player provides care to several patients and, depending on the player’s level of success in complying with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ”5 Moments of Hand Hygiene,” receives a score. To use this free app, a player just needs to download it from the App Store or Google Play onto their smartphone and insert the phone into a pair of virtual reality goggles. This is one more way we are integrating digital into our business.
WALDEN’S: Essity is known as one of the world’s most sustainable companies, and the new Tork sustainability platform you’re featuring at the show underscores just how important sustainability is to the Tork brand and to Essity. What’s new about the Tork sustainability platform?
DON: Sustainability is a topic that continues to grow in importance. Customers care about it and so do the people who buy from them and work for them. Essity and the brands it makes takes a very committed approach to sustainability. We have rigorous targets, and we work diligently to meet them. At the Tork booth, you will see that we are focusing our work in three areas – More from Less, Circularity, and Well-being. We have created specific actions for each area and are measuring and reporting out on them. One example is Tork PeakServe – because we compress the refill bundles, they take up less space, meaning more bundles on every truckload, positively impacting CO2 emissions. We take this approach to every one of our products, measuring the sustainability impact of every innovation.
Essity is also a sustainability leader in its partnership with the United Nations Foundation. We are actively engaged in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which you can learn more about at our booth. We have been working with customers to engage them in these global goals, through customer interactions at the UN headquarters in New York City and Geneva, as we see the goals not only as steps to sustainability but business opportunities as well.
It’s this simple: Sustainability is good for business and for the planet.
WALDEN’S: Is there anything else you would like to mention about ISSA 2019?
DON: Yes. Whether you’re a customer or a supplier attending the show, what we all do in ensuring hygiene and well-being really matters. We need more innovative solutions to make sure we do that in the best possible way. The best innovations come from having a meaningful dialogue about what’s needed and what’s possible. So stop by the Tork booth (#2133) to have a conversation with our team about the challenges you face and how we can help you solve them. And when you leave the show, visit www.TorkUSA.com to learn more.
 Based on the documented results achieved by three Tork EasyCube customers, measured before and after Tork EasyCube implementation.
 Based on Tork EasyCube data from 10 customers measured over 789 days.
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