Today's environment for companies in the paper and forest value chain is characterized by a number of challenges:
- Increasing competition for raw material access
- Continuing market pressure and price competition
- Increasing order complexity with reduced lead time
- New capacities in low-cost countries
- Need for structural review of high-cost asset
- Continuing overcapacity in nearly all market segments
- Requirement to reduce volatility of energy costs
- Consideration of sustainability and "green" requirements
- Need for differentiation in a commoditized market
- Attraction and retention of new talent
- Broad basket of product types
- Fragmented market structure in many segments
- Low returns
Although most companies have defined their strategies or are currently undergoing a strategic review, it can be observed that execution of strategies provides a different picture. A lot of companies have focused their strategies but often still have a very wide focus in their business approach, holding more or less productive assets and offering products and services in a wide range of market segments or areas of the value chain.
Looking at the more successful companies (in terms of financial returns) in the industry, the following key success factors can be identified:
- Upstream integration with low-cost access to raw materials, combined with operational excellence and asset focus to allow for low-cost production
- Superior product, product quality or service offerings to help lock in customers
- Marketing excellence and real differentiation with respect to customer requirements and needs
- Supply Chain Leadership to support a just-in-time supply chain at the customer's side and help reduce supply chain costs
- Leading geographic market position or dominance with respect to specific market segments
Based on these success factors, different strategy options exist depending on integration level, customer product and geographical focus of the company. A clear, differentiating and executable strategy is necessary to be profitable. StepChange Consulting can help you assess your current approach and help you tailor your future strategy to enable greater future success.
Operational day-to-day activities must be aligned with business tactics, which in turn must be aligned with the strategy and ultimately the vision of the company. Getting this chain right is a challenge.
Many views and approaches to performance management exist in the industry. Unfortunately, few generate the desired results, i.e. aligning the actions of an individual with the business strategy by supporting, measuring and rewarding performance.
The key is to derive the personal and departmental goals from the company goals, measuring performance and introducing a structured performance feedback cycle. Defined goals should be meaningful to the individuals, measurable through agreed key performance indicators (KPIs), and traceable to an operational goal — and ultimately — company strategy. This holistic approach requires a loop of top-down definition of goals and metrics to give direction and avoid conflicting goals, as well as a bottom-up operational validation to ensure understanding, acceptance and realism.
A system that fits these requirements will not be off-the-shelf, but derived from the goals and culture of each organization and as such, is very much company specific. The challenge is not only in goal setting and measuring, but also in achieving understanding, adoption and institutionalization of the performance-management system at all levels of the organization. Every employee needs to understand his KPIs and agree on their relevance. They also have to be able to influence their performance. It is only then that companies can expect to get what they measure.
The StepChange Team can help to develop a suitable and pragmatic performance-management system, including the definition of appropriate performance indicators based on our customer's vision and company goals. In addition, we can give support in defining the appropriate or personal performance models and link the model to variable compensation components. Additionally we help our customers in building a sustainable performance feedback cycle.