The pulp and paper industry continues to face major challenges.  Demand for communication grades continues to decline, although packaging grades are picking up some of the slack. Production and demand is shifting from the developed to the developing world. The market is demanding a more environmentally friendly production industry: ECF, energy, effluent and emissions are major issues in overall acceptance. Industry consolidation and ownership changes continue to alter the industry landscape, and underlying all of these changes, the need for continued performance improvement remains essential to retain competitiveness.

PIP consultants work extensively with pulp and paper clients across the globe. We have experience with:

  • Plant operations and maintenance: across a broad range of clients, including: mechanical and chemical pulp making, recycled fibre plants, coated and uncoated printing papermaking, packaging and sawn timber, tissue paper and engineered wood products
  • Sales and distribution strategies: including customer service strategies, Sales Force Effectiveness and product and price optimisation
  • Capital projects: looking at both the optimisation of capital design economics and construction productivity
  • Cost reduction, overhead reduction, procurement and supply chain

PIP’s approach systematically diagnoses opportunities to improve businesses, leading to the implementation of a pipeline of improvement ideas. We have an extensive database of approaches and improvement ideas for all types of processing plants.

Typical improvement approaches in pulp and paper operations:

  • Value Driver Trees – “Where’s the money?”
  • Debottlenecking – controlled experiments, statistical process control, planned shut reduction
  • Process optimisation and modification
  • Variability reduction
  • Systematic elimination of quality issues and breaks
  • Cost reduction – chemicals, energy, fibre basket management, waste paper, repeat maintenance failures
  • Price realisation – creating advantage through servicing customer product and service needs
  • Reviews – morning meetings, shift handovers, weekly cascaded reviews
  • Maintenance planning

Examples of what we, at PIP, have helped our clients achieve. We have:

  • Reconfigured a pulp and paper project and identified improvement ideas to increase net present value (NPV) by 37%
  • Increased production at a European paper mill by 26% through continuous improvement and value stream mapping
  • Increased a coated paper mill’s market share by 110%, and UK sheet sales by 153%, by utilising a complete turnaround programme
  • Drove earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization (EBIDA) from $0m to $12 at a recycled fibre plant by addressing quality, costs, availability and throughput

PIP worked for me at both UK Paper and Pasminco (Nyrstar) Risdon smelter. At these sites the [PIP team] helped my team deliver 25% and 12% volume improvement respectively, and 11% and 9% absolute cost reductions (20% cost/T). A large part of this was their work on maintenance, both planned and unplanned, dramatically improving the effectiveness and efficiency of our planned shuts and systematically eliminating causes for downtime. At one site unplanned downtime was reduced by 79%, while planned downtime was held constant. At another, total downtime was reduced by 60%. They reduced the costs of maintaining the equipment, reduced wastes and renegotiated key maintenance spends. Furthermore, this work led to significant improvements in the skills and morale of our workforce; improving retention at all levels. With PIP's help we delivered a significant improvement in bottom-line results, and also a culture of accountability and continuous improvement. The increase in tonnes (availability and broke) and reduction in costs was higher than expected, and the urgency and pace they brought, ushered in a whole new level of performance culture. [PIP's] consultants were exceptional, not only did they focus on implementation, and delivered results, but they did a great job of coaching all levels of our organisation.

Ian Halliday