Following last year’s ISSA show, SCA made a splash when it announced its acquisition of Wausau Paper. The acquisition made Tork, SCA’s Away from Home (AfH) tissue business, number one globally by market share, while securing a definitive number two market position in North America. Not long after, SCA announced that Don Lewis, who helped spearhead the acquisition, would now lead the company’s AfH Professional Hygiene business in Europe in addition to the North American business he was already responsible for. With more than 29 years working in professional hygiene, Don is viewed by many as one of the most influential leaders in the industry. Walden’s conducted a Q&A with Don to talk about the growth of the Tork brand, SCA’s AfH business and the first year in his new role.
WALDENS: At last year’s show SCA announced its planned acquisition of Wausau Paper. This is the first ISSA show where both brands are together as one entity. Has the acquisition been what you expected?
DON: It has and more. The addition of the Wausau people and products has been a very good fit. Our combined sales force is stronger than ever and you’ll see many familiar faces from both organizations at ISSA this year and going forward.
At ISSA you’ll see our theme is “Empowering You with New Possibilities.” This is our message to our customers – new products and services, enhanced service and support and the power of Tork, the leading global AfH brand. January 1 is an important date for the integration. Our supply chain is well underway, our sales team integration is complete and will be effective as of January 1, and our brand and assortment migration will begin to roll out throughout 2017 and early 2018.
SCA and Wausau share so many things in common - our commitment to putting the customer first, our corporate values and our focus on innovation and sustainability. I urge you to stop by our booth to learn more about the integration.
WALDENS: The acquisition also gave you a number one global market position. Congratulations. Where do you go from here?
DON: Thank you. Market share is not the aim, it’s the result. It’s what you earn when you’re focused on exceeding the expectations of customers. That means we need to keep innovating and finding new solutions to ensure that our customers are “ready for business.” That focus has always made us a market leader. Being number one globally is certainly a reflection of that, but it’s important to remember that market share only matters if it’s running in parallel with market growth. You won’t stay number one in the AfH category for long if you don’t focus on getting better every day – enhancing your customer’s business while growing your own at the same time.
WALDENS: What are some of the innovations that you think customers are noticing most?
DON: One of the innovations we are most proud of is Tork EasyCube. You’ll find it in our booth at the show and you’ll see it in action in the restrooms at the convention center. If you haven’t experienced EasyCube yet it works like this: If you’re using the restroom in your office building or at a stadium and the soap dispenser is empty, that’s pretty frustrating. If you’ve ever realized too late that the stall is out of bath tissue, now that’s a bad experience. Tork EasyCube lets facilities managers track and predict – using wifi-enabled dispensers and a mobile app – when restroom supplies are running low. That’s information they’d rather know before a problem arises than from a justifiably annoyed employee or customer afterwards.
SCA was first to market with this innovation and Tork EasyCube is already being used with some of our largest customers around the world. In fact, you’ll find it right here in Chicago at McCormick Place and the Navy Pier, as well as at the University of California-Irvine Medical and the Philadelphia Eagles are using the technology for all of their home games this season.
WALDENS: Towards the end of summer SCA announced that it has plans to split the company into two parts, one focused on the forest products business and the other on the hygiene business. How does that announcement impact the AfH business and the Tork brand?
DON: To start, this is something that needs to be approved by our shareholders at next year’s Annual General Meeting. I believe this would give us greater focus. Our goal is to be a leading global hygiene authority and that fits squarely with the role of the Tork brand in the AfH category. As part of that commitment we have aligned ourselves with organizations that address hygiene issues and we are working closely with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We’re also launching a global thought leadership initiative called Hygiene Matters which invites people around the world to join us in a global conversation on the hygiene challenges the world faces, including lack of access to public restrooms in some parts of the world. Anyone attending ISSA who is interested in this conversation can join us at www.HygieneMatters.com.
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