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Configurable Lines: Converting

COVID-19 and tissue industry challenges: Körber responds

21.05.2020 | Oswaldo Cruz, Jr. | 3 min read Topics |

The ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic are still largely undefined, but ripple effects are starting to be felt throughout the world. People act and interact differently with one another and with businesses — including those within the tissue industry.

Oswaldo Cruz, Jr., CEO of Körber Tissue, reflects on how Körber continues to respond to the pandemic at strategic locations across the world: Italy, the United States, Brazil, and China. In this brief interview, he details what managing the crisis reveals about the tissue industry leader’s commitment to communication, preparedness, and proactivity.

Generally speaking, what is the current status of the COVID-19 virus contamination in countries where Körber is established — Italy, the United States, Brazil, and China?

As you might expect, the current impact of the virus varies from country to country. In Italy, for example, we have achieved post-peak status and the country is slowly reopening and recovering. China is even a little further ahead as domestic industry is back to work and business travel is resuming to that part of the world. COVID-19 is reaching peak levels in the United States and Brazil.

Despite the disparity in the pandemic’s impact, Körber continues to exercise an abundance of caution so that our workers, our customers, and our countries are safe. Doing so requires an even deeper commitment to whatKörber already prides itself on — responsiveness and clear, ongoing communication. Our efforts are only strengthened by the supportive, accessible relationship the Körber Group maintains with the entire tissue business division through the German headquarters.

How is each region adjusting services and support for customers?

It starts from the top, in that we immediately formed a crisis committee to manage the daily impact and activities stemming from the pandemic. We left nothing to chance, and continue to assess the general situation and implement all of the precautionary measures necessary to prevent and contain the spread of the virus.

Establishing core communications among top-level executives across Körber locations translated to exceptional communication with our customers. In Italy, the Tissue Performance Center remains instrumental in collecting and analyzing customers’ production data remotely, giving them information on machine status and suggesting improvements to maximize production efficiency.

Having such deep knowledge and resources available empowered technical teams across locations, too. As they navigate through peak exposure to the virus, our facility in the United States has similar remote connectivity for their technicians and customers, as well as a fully functioning Spare Parts Webshop with $4.0 MM in inventoried Perini, Casmatic and MTC equipment parts.

Brazil and China, too, have focused on keeping lines of communication open with customers through safe social distancing technologies from Perini like Experts Online.

Did any customers approach Körber with ideas about new services and support they’d like to have in light of the pandemic?

Like Körber, our customers tend to lean into innovation, especially during turbulent times. They have truly embraced our technologies. In the United States, equipment maintenance was somewhat problematic due to low unemployment rates and a lack of skilled operators and maintenance personnel. When maintenance demand spiked at the onset of COVID-19, it only exacerbated the problem — and Perini’s ability to step in with remote solutions proved crucial.

In Brazil, a customer brought up a social distancing practicality related to line assembly. Lacking access to technical support that enables remote assistance and/or quick delivery equipment, they proposed that Körber develop a step-by-step guide to instruct on-site line assembly — the reference material would serve to limit human contact, contain the virus, and keep everyone safe during a much-needed operation.

Working through COVID-19 has prompted inspired thinking among our customers and innovation within Fabio Perini and the Körber Group. We took on the challenges presented by the pandemic and developed a technological upgrade for our converting equipment to enable production of face mask rolls This easy-to-install attachment allows tissue converters to use their existing equipment for fast, affordable face mask production that promotes safe health practices during an unprecedented, uncertain time.

In your opinion, what are some of the key lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught Körber and the tissue industry in general?

Across the Körber locations, the pandemic has taught everyone to be more proactive than ever before, especially when it comes to organization, pragmatism, and being flexible when it comes to:

  • Unprecedented teamwork, knowing exactly what resources to rely on and what tools to use
  • Confronting issues surrounding the global pandemic by prioritizing them in order to do the right thing at the right time
  • Reinventing ourselves, adopting new ways of working in a timely manner, and making smart yet socially responsible business decisions — such as promoting machine sales across digital platforms, providing customers with remote options for equipment purchases, spare parts sales, and technical support

The global pandemic has given many tissue industry leaders pause, including Körber. We feel we’re stronger for having been challenged by this crisis and, as a result, even more valuable to our customers throughout the world. Contact us for more information on the benefits of a Körber partnership and our outstanding solutions for converting and packaging line equipment effectiveness.

Oswaldo Cruz, Jr.

Written by Oswaldo Cruz, Jr.

Oswaldo Cruz, Jr. is CEO of Körber Tissue. He has been with the company for more than 20 years and has held roles as Managing Director of Fabio Perini Brazil, with market responsibility for all of Latin America, and as a Sales Manager for Brazil. He has an MBA as well as a degree in mechanical engineering.

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