In Sweden, with some 80 percent of the land covered by forests, that is a pretty obvious remark. But it is also a Swedish proverb, meaning that it’s hard to see what’s under your nose.
Maybe that is also the case when it comes to the nature of the forestry industry, especially the pulp industry. Things are changing, fast. And few see it. From being the archetypical cyclic industry, ridden by regular financial tidal waves, the forest industry is showing signs of increased stability over time.
Let’s list the indicators, one by one, but without any internal order:
Forest land gets a higher evaluation than ever by analysts and is seen as a safe investment.
Printing paper represent a much smaller share of the business now, and hence a much lower implication on the bottom line.
The population in the industrialized world is getting significantly older, which implicates an increased use of tissue products, not least for incontinence care.
Globally, a larger proportion of the population is rising from poverty, and therefore is likely to consume more paper based products.
The growth in the global economy shows surprising stamina, which in turn drives the demand on packaging.
Consumers are becoming more environmentally concerned, and show a growing resentment against plastics and pro paper based packaging.
The shift from a fossil-based to a bio-based society is growing and becoming common practise.
There is a growing lack of recycled fibre in the recycling system, which drives a need to invest in the production of fresh fibre.
The forestry industry, which may have been seen as conservative, is becoming more and more innovative, focusing increasingly on R&D.
After years of development, large scale wooden based buildings (residential as well as commercial) are getting a broader acceptance.
We see these trends, with all the new opportunities they offer for the forestry industry. And we’ll take an active role in this process of change. Because we help create value for companies around the world by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication.
In 2013, Stora Enso approached us at Opticom International Research with one particularly interesting project: their VOICE customer loyalty research programme; and when the Renewable Packaging Division decided to entrust us with interacting on a daily-basis with their customers it became the start of a long-term partnership. This project has been growing over the years and is now running over 80 countries worldwide.
John McKechie – Vice President, Customer & Sales Support at Stora Enso – gives us his views on these first years of cooperation.
Stora Enso decided to implement a customer experience project to obtain measurable and actionable feedback from their customers in order to better understand the areas of improvement; but also where they are doing well. As Opticom International Research worked with Stora Enso over many years conducting varied surveys and research projects on our behalf: it was a logical partnership for the VOICE program.
When asked about what the project means to Stora Enso and which part is the most valuable, John answers, “VOICE is increasingly important to the company. We need to have a consistent way to measure our customers’ experience, which also gives us impartial and detailed feedback. VOICE does not give us all the answers, but it does clearly indicate to us where we need to take improvement actions. The trend analysis also shows how we are viewed by our customers in comparison to our competition.”
More than just providing feedback and data, the programme can lead to making specific business decisions. John explains, “Many of the decisions we make might be relatively minor, specifically taken to address an issue raised by a customer e.g. changing the production order on a machine to reduce lead times. However, larger systemic issues are highlighted and this has led, for example, to significant reviews being made of our supply chain to address low scoring when it comes to delivery reliability, delivery consistency and delivery times.” And these decisions are leading to the improvement of Stora Enso’s processes and services.
John brings forward the advantages of working with a third party: “Opticom are experts in the research field and, although you are clearly communicated to our customers as being our partner in this process, you are still perceived as being independent. This allows us to get impartial, honest and detailed feedback from our customers which we would not be able to do if we conducted the interviews internally.”
Today communication is the cornerstone of any businesses and we – at Opticom – are eager to understand how our clients communicate about researches and their results. John shares that he himself communicates about the VOICE programme internally. He adds, “Within our Divisions there is regular communication of VOICE results and VOICE is on the agenda of Management Team meetings down through the organisation structure. VOICE is also a regular feature of the CEO’s monthly All Employee Call. Occasional articles will also appear in internal publications.”
John concludes his testimonial by highlighting that “the project ensures that we get regular, impartial feedback and meaningful detailed verbatim. As the interviews are conducted externally, there is a stronger belief in the accuracy of the scores and the honesty of the comments from our customers.”
Pietro Crovetto, VP Global Inhalation Strategy at Lupin Pharmaceuticals with vast experience from the international pharmaceutical industry at various prominent positions within commerce, marketing, strategy, and business development, for a variety of companies including Novartis, Chiesi, ALK Abelló and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Pietro has been a client to Opticom for over 10 years, both at previous positions and now, working for Lupin. He gives the background to his experiences with Opticom International Research, focusing on the latest Lupin project Opticom conducted, that he was personally involved in.
The main objective was to map the unmet needs of healthcare professionals and patients within asthma and COPD in terms of currently available innovative products’ attributes, in order to develop Lupin’s product so that it would satisfy those unmet needs better than competitor products.
Another aim was to enable Lupin to differentiate its product, including the services and monitoring systems offered, from existing alternatives and competitor products.
In the end, the main goal was to create a product that improves patient quality of life through ease-of-use, thus leading to improved compliance and lower treatment cost, something which would also lead to obvious advantages for healthcare professionals as well as payers.
The targeted markets in this project were the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The information was gathered in two modules, starting with desk research identifying relevant respondents with whom in-depth telephone interviews were then conducted.
Describing this project, Pietro explains that his idea was to monitor the emerging changes in therapeutic approaches and especially the interest in new combination products within the treatments of asthma and COPD. Basically to get a European overview of the present situation and to identify whether their designed new combination product was going to be successful or not and whether there were any differences across the European markets in this respect.
Pietro continues: I wanted to benchmark, to interview “real” clinicians, not opinion leaders, because there is a critical difference here. Opinion leaders are up to speed with the latest research and treatment options, as they often have done this research themselves, while clinicians might very well have heard about new stuff, after all they are specialists, but they are not necessarily as enthusiastic to adopt something new as the opinion leaders.
Choosing Opticom to supply Lupin with the market research was based on a combination of different factors; first of all good experiences in the past, resulting in a strong sense of reliability. According to Pietro, a key asset of Opticom is the fact that they offer both a very knowledgeable staff who understand the complex medical issues as well as their multilingual skills: “It helps a lot when we do not have to explain so much to a supplier and more time can be spent on the actual research, on the specifics of the projects!”
Sometimes the challenge with international market research, Pietro explains, is that you end up with the “Chinese whisper”, meaning I brief you, you brief somebody else and then that person briefs somebody else in turn, and then at the end of the day, you are not sure what went missing and where. So based on that, the two main points on why to choose Opticom are definitely their knowledge of the field and its multilingual staff based in one office. A third reason, according to Pietro, actually equally important: every time he has worked with Opticom, the adopted strategy has been to do 20-30% of the interviews, then pause for evaluation of the questionnaire, the response and answers so far: simply put: is it working? The Project Managers at Opticom are very flexible here and that is greatly appreciated, to optimize the quality of the output.
Concerning what the market insights provided by Opticom have meant to Lupin and what has been most valuable, Pietro points to the decision to invest in particular combinations of treatments, emphasizing that this is the most critical stage in their R&D and business development without going into specifics.
The results have also influenced their business decision-making, being added into their forecasting, because even if the research was qualitative, it was still very helpful to better understand what direction the market was taking. All in all, the insights have been used on several levels and according to Pietro, further investment decisions within asthma and COPD are definitely going to be based on the results from this research as well.
Asked about the return of investment, Pietro confesses: “To be honest, we didn’t count on ROI, but it was not at all expensive considering the huge amounts that have been spent on this treatment area, so the money we spent with Opticom was definitely worth it, more than worth it!”
According to Pietro, the main benefits of this specific project were that his team at Lupin got an additional level of insights on a practical level: there is a crucial difference between the people who work on the front line with patients and the opinion leaders, the high science: “We need to have a balance of both because we cannot ignore high science but at the end of the day we need to understand nurses on the floor, having issues reconstituting the product, for example. That is really a very valuable difference to us and something that Opticom understands. So I am very satisfied, more than satisfied and very happy with the co-operation with Opticom!”
For the third year in a row, The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation arranged a gala-night with the main purpose to get TV- viewers to become children supporters/monthly donors to support children in the battle against cancer. The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation also offered companies and private persons to make large donations by telephone during the gala. The gala was broadcasted live from Berns Salonger in central Stockholm on Swedish channel 5, 2 October between 20.00-22.00.
Team Opticom, Alumni, Snille Networks, Mattias Claesson and Robin Arding had the pleasure to handle the set-up and receiving of large donations at GT 30 (Helio) .
It was a great success: The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation gala 2017 raised more than twice as many monthly donors as the previous year and broke the record for big donations!
Opticom Group is proud and grateful to be a part of the success!
Integration of International Experience and Academic Competence
CEO, Opticom International Talents
Opticom Group pre-launching new business focused on Staffing & Recruitment
The global research, consulting and communication company Opticom Group is launching Opticom International Talents, a company that will offer staffing and recruitment of talented and qualified professionals with an international background and expertise.
Opticom International Talents offers staffing & recruitment services within marketing and sales, customer support, global project/product management, communication and research. We offer talented and qualified professionals with an international background, trained and coached co-workers that are quality approved by Opticom.
Opticom Group has for more than 30 years recruited, trained and developed more than 1,500 international talents from more than 110 countries to manage our consulting projects for demanding corporations on a global level. Our talents have a variety of academic backgrounds and educations within marketing, economics, engineering, communication as well as medical degrees. Most of them also have work experience from their country of origin, resulting in vital understanding of different cultures and business climates. After having worked at Opticom, many of these talents have continued a successful career in both medium and large global companies.
“We love to further develop talents and we believe that the combination of international experience and academic competence is a great ASSET TO many growing companies. Diversity and integration are two important missions, which we have found that many companies are interested in being part of.
We have worked more than 30 years with staffing our projects with well-educated immigrants (kärleksinvandrare/love immigrants) from all over the world. It has been a fantastic experience for me during 17 years. I have met so many fantastic individuals, some of them still working in our group and many in other interesting companies.
Now is the right time to offer this service to other companies with similar needs for international talents. We are seeing a great deal of interest in our staffing and recruitment services and we have now started working with the first customers,” says Anette Eng, CEO of Opticom International Talents.
Our definition of “Kärleksinvandrare/loveimmigrant”?
A person who has come to Sweden to make a life with their Swedish partner. They have often met each other abroad or in Sweden during studies or travels. These immigrants like many others often have a hard time finding jobs within their fields of expertise because of the fact that they do not speak Swedish yet. We have never cared about that fact since our office language is English and their working languages is their native tongue. Our staff learns Swedish during the time they work with us, they study part time at SFI or other schools and when they do find jobs within their field it often helps that they have the work experience and references from Opticom.
For further information, please contact: Anette Eng
Opticom Group offers global research, consulting, communication and staffing & recruitment. Our mission is to help our customers create value by transforming data and knowledge into strategic advice and efficient communication. We are a truly global company covering over 30 nationalities and active on 6 continents from more than 110 countries.