Among rolled tissue products, toilet tissue is a top essential in both at-home and away-from-home markets, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 4.9% between 2020 and 20271. Key characteristics vary from market to market, with premium products, improved flushability, and sustainability characteristics, such as water lamination and the increased use of recycled paper or alternative fibers, growing in appeal and gaining traction.
While panic buying in the early months of the 2020 pandemic spiked market demand for at-home tissue products, easing lockdowns and rising hygiene standards may also drive demand for away-from-home products. And while per capita consumption of toilet paper is higher in developed countries, growing distribution infrastructure is expected to facilitate penetration into emerging markets.
The facts point to strong opportunities for entrepreneurs considering a toilet paper business startup.
At the same time, consumer awareness of ecological concerns is on the rise. As a result, many businesses are exploring alternative fiber sources, as well as technological advances that improve overall sustainability and environmental impacts.
Anyone looking to start a tissue paper converting business needs to take a research-based, methodical approach. It’s important to develop a deep understanding of a specific market, since preferences vary by region, income levels, and more. Once a thorough study is complete, few decisions are as important as the choice of tissue converting equipment.
Factors to consider when choosing rolled tissue converting equipment
Tissue converting equipment is a major capital investment, and its selection directly impacts a toilet paper startup’s potential for success. Everything — from resource consumption and labor needs to operational reliability and final product quality — can be positively or negatively affected by the equipment selected.
Toilet paper converting equipment’s complex capabilities include rewinding, cutting, perforating, embossing, and wrapping. That’s why a research-driven, methodical approach to the decision is so important when a startup is making such a crucial business investment.
1. Choosing between new and used converting equipment
New equipment is always an option, and may offer several considerable advantages, including warranty, a long horizon for obsolescence, and the possibility of acquiring state-of-the art technologies for an operation. New, entry-level machines like Körber’s Perini MySincro cutting-edge technology, high performance, and fast delivery at an appealing startup price point that can fit into a small business plan. Korber’s portfolio also includes even more basic machinery as the popular Perini 716B model, which combines unwinding, embossing, perforating, tail sealing and cut-off into one compact machine at an affordable price.
The advantages of new equipment can come at costs that extend beyond the initial higher price tag, and can include wait times for custom fabrication, as well as higher insurance premiums. It’s important to understand the many factors that go into the total cost of new equipment, and compare options for purchasing pre-owned equipment, which is often available immediately.
2. Labor needs for operating converting lines
A labor shortage and widening skills gap among paper manufacturing workers means that it’s becoming increasingly difficult — and costly — to fill critical positions operating costly and complex equipment. Consider not only the number of people needed for the line, but the level of skill required to ensure optimal operation and avoid machine downtime.
It can take time for operators to get properly trained and familiar with new equipment, and learning curves may include mistakes, downtime, productivity losses, and more. Technological solutions like remote technical support and e-training for operators can also help narrow the skills gap, and achieve optimal output with lower labor costs.
3. Converting equipment’s footprint within the plant
The available space within the plant needs to be a correct fit for the selected converting equipment, and space limitations can impact installation time, materials, and labor needs. The equipment’s footprint is also a key consideration for safe and efficient operation and interaction between machines.
Space constraints can have an impact on a line’s flexibility, which can affect the range of products that can be manufactured and the ability to use different raw materials. Some equipment, such as Körber’s X Series, Casmatic TwoPack, Casmatic CMW180, and Casmatic CMB180 to cite a few, are designed to deliver versatility in compact, configurable footprints.
4. Financing may be needed
Many toilet paper startups require financing for capital purchases like converting equipment, and availability of financing may also be a driver of the decision between new and pre-owned machines. Price comparisons should also factor in differences in operational costs, efficiency, potential lifespan, productivity, and more.
Ideally, startups can find either new or used converting equipment that falls within a “sweet spot,” balancing price, operational costs, and output potential. However, the capital investment in tissue converting equipment is often a debt barrier that can delay or even derail a startup establishing itself in the market.
Since having equipment is a non-negotiable, the Kӧrber pay-per-use (PPU) business model may be an option for certain startups.
With PPU, small and mid-size manufacturers are relieved of upfront capital expenses related to machinery Kӧrber installs on-site. Use of the Kӧrber machinery is unlimited, but monthly repayment is structured around several factors, including productivity levels and equipment performance — outcomes and responsibilities shared by both the manufacturer and Kӧrber.
5. Now is an excellent time to start
When it comes to exploring options, where to look is as important a question as what to look for, and Körber’s equipment showcase and Select4U marketplace offer options for startups with budget challenges to find equipment that meets their needs at affordable prices and available right away, enabling them to act fast on business opportunities and accelerate return on investment. Contact Körber to learn more about new and pre-owned converting equipment and world-class support to get your startup up and running fast.
1Fortune Business Insights, The global toilet paper market size was USD 26.14 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 38.34 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.9% during the forecast period.