“Ever since I first started working in the packaging and board industries, I’ve found that almost everyone I meet is intelligent and passionate about what he or she is doing. It’s such a joy to work with people who want to constantly move forward and strive to succeed in what they’re doing.
“I studied chemistry and business studies at De Montfort University in Leicester. After travelling for a year with my sister, I got a job at MPS Westrock, which is a big client of Iggesund (Field Packaging at the time). After six years with the company and several internal promotions, I decided to follow a lifelong dream and take a year off skiing. When I got back to the UK, I started working for Iggesund in December 2003. I already had a relationship with Iggesund, having been up to the mill at Workington three times as a customer, so I settled in quickly. My role was to look after our major converters.
“In 2013 I changed role after having my first child. Regional Manager John Mitchell and I created the role of Brand Owner and Retailer Manager with the mission to look after the biggest brands in the UK. It has subsequently grown into a department of three: one person in Germany, one in France and myself in the UK. Together we have further developed a strong concept and now sit on the Business Development Team.
“We saw a gap in our business: we weren’t communicating with the brands. We’ve always had close contact with converters and printers but we needed a long-term plan for how to better understand the needs of our end consumers. What we’ve learned is that the more we know and the better we understand the concerns of the brand owners, the more knowledge we can share with them about the entire supply chain in order to help them better.
“We want the brands to be considering all stages of the process: the delivery, quality and consistency, the runnability and efficiency in the factory, the impact that their use of a particular material has on their brand image. But also the lower risk of quality issues on shelves if they choose a high-performance board, and even the decision to choose a material that is based on sustainable forest management. The price might be slightly higher but if a business looks at the total cost of ownership, it would take the above factors into consideration and likely have less waste, faster run speeds and probably increased sales. When you look at the sum of all of that, you haven’t paid more at the end of the day – you’ve actually often saved money.
“Our relationships with the brand owners and retailers are very strong in the UK. Nowadays they better understand what improvements they can achieve in terms of the visual impact and the total cost of ownership. After doing this for a while, I have become somewhat of a go-to person for the industry when anyone has questions about products or legislation. We have a very high profile among brands, as recent studies show, we are top of mind for a great deal of brands in the sectors where we’re expected to be. That, of course, doesn’t make me like my work any less!”