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Mikael’s speech focused on “The global consumer perspective on the environment and sustainable forestry”. Consumers around the globe get more environmentally conscious, their concerns are rapidly growing, and we are all aware of that. Most of us wants to do the right thing, but sustainability is a complex matter. Mikael presented results from a global survey investigating consumer perceptions around environmental impact on purchasing behavior, concern for climate change and raw material usage, knowledge about forest management and the Importance and relevance of certifications
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.
Niko Kujala has been working within the product segment of breakers and switches at ABB Protection and Connection in Vaasa, Finland since 2011 and he has held different international positions within both sales and production. He gives the background to his first experience with Opticom International Research: We knew that we wanted to conduct customer satisfaction research on a global level in order to better understand our customers’ needs, basically asking them: What were the needs in different fields and what do we as a supplier need to do better?
In the process of selecting a market research agency, the ABB team had five competing potential suppliers providing quotes to look into. Niko continues: After evaluating the different options, we found that Opticom’s offer was by far the clearest, it was obvious that Opticom had made an effort to get to know our business and therefore understood our needs. In addition to that, the price level was also good.
Niko says that the quick initial response to any question that ABB had concerning the designed project as well as the smooth communication with the Opticom project team overall were further factors that tilted ABB to choose Opticom in the end.
The customer satisfaction survey covered more than 20 countries worldwide, with strong involvement from the local offices to make sure the most important customers per market were interviewed.
We got very valuable insights concerning client needs in in an ever more competitive market: what our clients appreciate about our products and services, how we can help them improve their own business, and also indications on where there is still need for improvement.
Niko explains that a lot of actions have been taken by them at ABB after the results in the final report were presented and statistical files and individual interview transcripts were delivered. Most decisions concern increasing and improving their direct communication with clients. He reveals that their business has grown since the research was completed and that the insights definitely have further supported this growth.
When asked what he would regard as the main benefits with this specific project, Niko points out that it was easy doing business with Opticom, that the communication was always smooth, the offer was prepared really well and that Opticom understood our needs in this kind of research right away. Therefore, wrapping up, he would definitely recommend that ABB would go with Opticom again, whenever the need for market insights arises.
Just before the turn of the millennium, in 1999, the consulting and research company Opticom carried out a survey of how senior representatives of what were at that time the major global pharmaceutical companies saw the future. How well does the companies’ vision coincide with the way things are now, 15 years later?
The report, Prescription for a healthy industry, also formed the basis for a series of articles in Svenska Dagbladet/Näringsliv written by Elisabeth Sandlund. The report was partly based on in-depth interviews with 34 senior executives at what were at that time the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies. Their analysis resulted in three main points:
There is still a large unsatisfied need for pharmaceuticals. There is no cure for two thirds of all illnesses. The world population is getting older. New research methods are being developed all the time and there will be substantial growth in DTC (direct-to-consumer sales).
Quick access to market is a key to success. In the face of tougher future competition, companies must launch new innovative products quickly.
Company mergers slow down companies’ development processes. The top executives questioned the benefits of mergers and wondered whether they were driven by the financial markets and by financial consultants. They were the main beneficiaries of mergers – not the patients.
The winners, predicted the author of the report, will be companies that succeed in achieving a high organic growth rate, companies that sell or outsource in areas outside their own core areas and companies that focus on a small number of therapeutic areas and companies that focus their efforts on their own stores and customers. Companies will benefit from alliances with other companies and research groups, in-licensing, greater investment in research and development and strategic use of information technology.
The losers, on the other hand, would be companies with weak research portfolios but that chose to merge – those companies lose their focus and their rhythm, and therefore their competitiveness…