Many of our customers value our principle of unique flexibility because they want to work with a supplier who offers answers tailored to their specific requirements in the following areas:
- Individually customised solutions
- Security of supply
- Customer service and project processing
1. Individually customised solutions
The principle of unique flexibility is reflected particularly well in our approach of offering individually customised solutions across the entire value chain. This involves, on the one hand, the flexibility to be able to adjust product characteristics and, on the other, the flexibility to combine diverse technologies to fulfil our customers’ individual wishes.
The fact that we can be so responsive to our customers’ wishes is due first of all to our comprehensive plant and equipment, including pilot facilities for all the production stages from paper manufacture, extrusion and coating processes through to converting, slitting and packaging. However, our employees in the production department, who have many years of experience in manufacturing specialty papers, also play a major role in this flexibility. Secondly, our product and technology managers and applications lab have not only profound product knowledge but also extensive expertise in the broad range of converting and printing technologies used by our customers. And finally, our R&D department is important here: it is constantly developing new products at our customers’ request and taking them through to market readiness. In this way, we control all the stages of product development under one roof and can respond very quickly and directly to our customers’ wishes and any new requirements imposed by changes in the market.
This means we are able to supply tailor-made products in all the product areas the Felix Schoeller Group covers. We specify individual product characteristics for our customers and partners, and either modify product structures or develop new ones from scratch.
In the field of photographic and digital printing papers, for example, we develop customised media for all common printing presses. An example of this is our E-CANVAS®, which we developed for the HP Indigo 7800 digital press with one-shot technology. We are able to modify a paper’s chromaticity to meet individual customers’ specifications. In addition to this, we offer the option of adding customised backside printing to media and modifying design, size and composition of packaging to meet our customers’ wishes.
In the field of decor papers, we are flexible and able to adapt to our customers’ individual converting processes. We change our machine settings to suit individual orders so that our customers are always able to achieve the best possible runnability with our decor papers. Our batch sizes start at 1 and we offer our customers the option of choosing the right tone from a broad range of over 7000 available colours. And if the right colour is not available we use our colour labs to produce the colour our customers want.
In the area of release liners, we use the components in our toolbox to develop individual products that offer an exact fit with our customers’ applications. Properties such as base material, weight, surface and coating polymer can be individually selected.
And, when it comes to our nonwoven wallpapers, we offer a portfolio of products to meet the most varied requirements of our customers - both in terms of quality and economic considerations.
2. Security of supply
Our principle of unique flexibility is also very evident in the numerous different ordering and order processing options. The spectrum ranges from standard products picked ex stock or special requests made-to-order through to our OEM business with electronic order acceptance and daily processing. Since we operate several state-of-the-art machines for each production stage, our customers can count on us to be able to respond flexibly and at short notice to their wishes.
For us, proactive management of our inventory portfolio and ensuring we have adequate safety stocks are fundamental components of guaranteeing security of supply for our customers. In the field of photo and digital printing papers, for example, we can deliver our standard portfolio within five working days. We can also create customised supply chain solutions on request.
Our aim is to coordinate the supply chains between us and our customers as best we possibly can and harmonise our processes to ensure the optimum supply our customers need for their converting operations. To this end, we work with what we call “alternative capacity scenarios” – especially in the field of decor and photo papers and nonwoven wallpaper base – and systematically qualify several machines for a particular product. This means that we can still assure a reliable supply to our customers even if a machine goes down or there is a change in its utilisation.
To this end, we develop strategies around the topic of demand planning, compare our customers’ forecasts with their actual orders and make suggestions as to how we can further optimise the order rhythms and ordered portfolio for the benefit of our customers. As well as close internal monitoring of our delivery performance and regular reviews with our logistics service providers, we also use the feedback our customers give us to measure and continually improve our supply performance.
3. Customer service & project processing
Last but not least, our customers also experience our principle of unique flexibility in our customer service and project processing.
Our local sales and service centres ensure that - wherever they are in the world - our customers can communicate directly with a reliable local partner who listens to them closely and understands the specific solution needed. This often enables us to get around any language barriers, which has a positive influence on trust and cooperation.
Our customers are quite often surprised when they realise that they have a direct line to our technical departments during a project, which allows them to make full use of the Felix Schoeller Group’s expertise. The sales team, who are the customers’ initial point of contact, are supported by the customer service centre and the product and technology managers. In addition to this, we visit our customers’ facilities, which helps us to fully understand their applications and offer the best possible solutions. Depending on requirements, we can also call on the assistance of experts from our R&D and supply chain departments to clarify product characteristics in greater detail, for example, or develop special supply concepts. All this takes place with as little red tape as possible; when a project calls for intervention we can be on the spot at short notice or at unusual times of day to solve our customers’ problems.
The project set-up process is flexible and can be tailored to customers’ precise needs. The same applies to the project management process. Often our customers work with established processes and expect their project partners to adapt to them. Over 50 years of experience in working with leading companies in the photo and decor paper industry testify to our ability to adapt to the specific wishes of our customers regarding project processing and thus ensure the very best outcome possible. We often introduce unusual ideas for solutions that make use of our technical possibilities across the entire value chain, many of which our customers are totally unaware of. This flexible mind set, coupled with an outstanding network of external experts and industry associations, represents genuine added value for our customers when it comes to successfully confronting challenges.