Running a tissue line installation project involving several suppliers most certainly raises a lot of questions and concerns. A clear vision, well-defined targets and a clear roadmap help to set the direction for all. VelvetCARE in Poland knows what that means in practice.
For the past 20 years, VelvetCARE has been the leading tissue brand in Poland. Every day, millions of Poles use tissues, wet wipes, toilet paper and kitchen towels produced at the Klucze mill. But their products can also be found on the shelves in the Nordic countries, the Baltics and Germany. In addition to their own brand, they also supply the private label market. To keep up with the growing tissue demand, VelvetCARE decided to invest in a new tissue machine.
"The check-out went like clockwork. Everything was so precise."
“First of all, we were looking for flexible, open-minded and close cooperation. Secondly, we wanted the best technical solution at a reasonable price. Thirdly, we looked at the number of machines from that supplier running worldwide, proving that the technology can deliver what’s promised. We weren’t looking for promises; we wanted a machine guaranteed to provide the quality and capacity we needed,” says Wanda Ciesielczuk, Plant Strategic Investment Manager, VelvetCARE.
“We compared different technologies to find the best solution. Each supplier took us on reference visits. It was a very valuable way to see how the promised features worked in reality. Valmet’s reference visits corresponded to what was promised in every way,” concludes Ciesielczuk.
“We are working according to a well-defined project execution model based on long experience of more than 200 tissue machine installations. During a project, we pass several gates, or checkpoints, to ensure that all milestones related to the gate are fulfilled and everything is in shape to proceed,” explains Hans Englund, Project Manager at Valmet.
The project model also helps to identify what could be a potential risk in the future and make sure it is eliminated before it causes a problem.
“This way of running projects is, from our perspective, the right way to do it. Even if there were strict checkpoints to be fulfilled, we still had good flexibility and could agree on the best way forward,” Ciesielczuk says.
The first phase of the project is very intense. All documentation needs to be agreed, time schedules set, and common goals defined. But maybe the most important of all is to build good relations and trust in each other.
"Co-ordination of all people involved is a matter of give and take. We must make sure we have good relations and that we move forward according to the plan."
“We and Valmet worked truly as one tight team supporting each other throughout the project. The roles and responsibilities were clear, and everyone fully understood what we wanted to achieve. The communication was straightforward and focused on solving issues together,” says Ciesielczuk.
“Co-ordination of all people involved is a matter of give and take. We must make sure we have good relations and that we move forward according to the plan. Clear and fact-driven communication ensures correct decisions. Almost ready isn’t good enough: either it is ready or it isn’t,” says Englund.
During the installation phase, there are a lot of questions that need to be handled – quickly. Daily follow-up meetings and transparent communication are of utmost importance, not to mention the value of support from the back office. To know you have an expert network backing up from home adds stability and comfort.
The project team had, from the very start, one common target in mind: to get ready for the start-up. All people involved were totally dedicated to meeting the start-up date.
“The check-out went like clockwork. Everything was so precise. Whenever an issue appeared, it was addressed immediately,” summarizes Ciesielczuk.
“The start-up day presented a few issues, as normal, but nothing we couldn’t solve. We had adjustments done relatively quickly. From the very first roll, the bulk and moisture profiles were excellent! I had never imagined achieving that from the start,” says Sebastian Główczyński, Project Manager at VelvetCARE.
“The machine provides a safe working environment and is easy to operate, which is important to us. The DNA system is very nice. It is a powerful tool to follow the history and trends. We have immediate access to data to support our decisions. The DNA system is a very good tool,” Główczyński continues.
The paper quality has provided new market opportunities, especially regarding facial products. The quality and softness are living up to the Velvet name, and allow the company to go for the premium private label market. In paper handkerchiefs, it is already the market leader in Poland.
The installation project has now been closed, but fine-tuning continues. Close cooperation between two professional companies combined with fact-driven communication, well-defined targets and a clear roadmap turned out to be the key to reach the target with the project.
TEXT AND PHOTOS: Katarina Ahsberg
Article published in Forward magazine 1/2019.