On a roll
A key supplier of both private label and branded tissue paper products to major retailers, Accrol Papers is the leader in its field, providing quality, innovation and value for money
In 1993, Jawid Hussain set up Accrol Papers and in the 25 years that have followed the Hussain family together have created one of Europe’s leading producers of toilet paper, kitchen towels and facial tissue. From its three production, storage and distribution facilities in Blackburn and Leyland, Lancashire, the company today manufactures a range of household paper products, predominantly for private label customers, to the highest levels of quality and utilising the latest technological advancements.
“The bulk of our business in 2018 comes from the manufacture and distribution of private label products for the UK’s major retailers and discounters,” begins Accrol Papers’ new Chief Executive Officer, Gareth Jenkins. “The business is in the unique position as an organisation to have the size, scale and capacities necessary to serve such a large customer base.
“Arguably, one of the secrets to this success is the fact that Accrol Papers is perhaps the best invested tissue business in the UK, and this investment can be seen throughout the company. An example of this would be the brand-new, high speed fully automatic toilet roll line that we have installed into our Leyland facility. A truly next generation piece of kit which represents a £5 million investment, its automatic splicing systems allow production to run uninterrupted, and it will be up and running from September 2018, another step change in our capability for the industry.”
Such investments form part of a major turnaround programme that the company is now embarking on. Led by Gareth, this is concentrated on what the company does best, which is making toilet tissue, kitchen towel and facial tissues, and has the aim of making Accrol Papers the most operationally efficient manufacturing business in Europe. “By achieving this ambitious goal, we are looking to ensure that Accrol Papers continues to provide its customers with the best value products at the right price point. The business is well invested in both people and machinery, and we believe this gives us the very best foundation to continue to grow with the major retailers and discounters.”
The programme that Gareth is overseeing also incorporates a back-to-basics approach that focuses on close communication and co-operation with its customers, the reason being to better gauge their own respective aspirations in order to ensure that any future investment made by Accrol Papers aligns with these. “To meet our customers’ needs it is vital we continue to invest and develop the people at every level in the organisation, good businesses are built on the individuals within it. We have created a real step change in the training and development of our existing talent, and where appropriate enhancing this with new appointments. Everyone in the organisation has to clearly understand the role they have in making the business better every day. We have to be relentless in our approach as we strive to be the leader in operational efficiency.”
While all of the building blocks needed to maintain Accrol Papers’ position within the market are seemingly in place and in the process of being better honed, there is also the need to perfect the way the company reads and responds to the needs of the end user. “We are constantly looking at just what it is that makes people like you and I buy the tissue products that we do, and it soon becomes clear that it is a combination of factors such as quality and cost,” Gareth states. “Consumer buying habits are evolving dramatically and the better that we are able to understanding these, the better we will be able to produce the right products to satisfy demand. From a personal point of view, I think it’s clear that people are increasingly becoming frustrated with the way that cost pressures in the retail environment are resulting in the size of products reducing. We want to respond to these concerns by getting the most value from our products, without sacrificing the size or the quality that we provide, and this is something that will again help to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.”
Another concern for an increasing percentage of consumers is the environmental impact that the goods that they purchase has on the planet. For its part, Accrol Papers has been hard at work devising a unique, revolutionary response to these environmental and sustainability concerns in the form of the first plastic free packaging solution for its products. “This is something that we are very pleased to have introduced to the market,” Gareth enthuses. “It will culminate in the launch of a completed paper-based range this autumn, one that not only features paper wrapping of the products themselves but has also eliminates the plastic traditionally used to wrap around pallets during the delivery stage. We consider this to be a real game changer for the industry and the retailers have reacted very positively to our plans.”
Over the months ahead, much of Gareth’s focus will understandably revolve around delivering his turnaround programme, with the longer-term goal being to retain Accrol Papers’ position as the UK’s leading supplier of tissue based products. “We have a very positive outlook for what the future holds for Accrol Papers, and we are confident that as a result of our newfound operational focus we are in a strong position to continue delivering significant value for our customers and in turn our shareholders,” he concludes
Products: Soft tissue product