Going Above and Beyond to Find a Fix

After one regional grocery chain encountered slowed production due to a new paper formulation, Glatfelter stepped in with an innovative solution to recapture the business.

Sometimes even the most well-thought-out transitions hit a bump in the road.

A Southeastern United States supermarket chain* began using a new carbonless, multi-ply sheet for printing the company’s internal documents. It had made the switch to this paper because the sheet contained environmentally-responsible technology, which was an initiative important to the company.

After a short time of using the sheet, the chain experienced production problems, which caused a bottleneck in its service model—and a need for the company to return to its previous supplier of carbonless paper. Glatfelter quickly stepped in to work on a solution for the production problem and resolve the customer issue.

The Background

Many supermarket chains rely on carbonless sheets to quickly and easily make duplicate copies of handwritten documents for their internal processes and communications. For example, they use forms in bakeries that help track deliveries of baked goods from warehouse to stores, and for packing lists, customer pick-up confirmations, invoices, and statements. One large Southeastern grocery chain, a client of Glatfelter’s, had recently switched papers and started to see an issue with runnability and production of these internal documents.

The Problem

The new paper stock began to cause problems when the regional grocery stores ran them through their printers.
As Todd Strohm, Glatfelter technical field service team lead, explains, the treated surface chemicals of these sheets interfered with the toner adhesion from the printers.

“When that happens, residual toner may build up,” says Strohm. “The buildup eventually degrades print quality, and that translates into lost productivity for our customers when they stop printing to clean press components.”

Glatfelter was in jeopardy of losing a major client due to the problems and needed to take action quickly.

“The [grocery chain] company was experiencing repeated buildup, causing delays in its processes,” says Tammy Wydick, Glatfelter senior territory manager. “The customer reached out immediately, and our tech service team was quick to respond. They began the dialogue and documentation needed to get to the root cause [of the problem] and then immediately got involved with the printer and started working on ways to make it right.”

The Solution

The problem required some innovative thinking, commitment from a team of experts, and some extensive trials, methodical documentation, and process control through the testing. Glatfelter leased a Xerox Nuvera printer—the exact same equipment used by the grocery chain—for installation at its Chillicothe, Ohio, mill to conduct extensive testing.

“Typically, mills do not go to these lengths and lease digital equipment,” Wydick says. “We leased it so that we could test, work on, and make all of our improvements internally. We could see the results of tweaking the chemistry to process on this and other digital equipment. Through repeated trials, testing, documentation, and analytics, we ended up optimizing the sheet and creating a better solution for the customer.”

Representatives from the grocery chain, as well as Glatfelter experts, were invited to be present at the trials, which made the process more transparent and meant the client could ask questions and be a part of the solution.

“Although the exact chemistries are proprietary, our chemists worked long and hard to come up with a combination of ingredients that improved toner adhesion while maintaining the [original] characteristics of the papers,” Strohm says. “Digital printing equipment continues to evolve, get faster, and become more complex. We don’t see this (digital printing business) slowing down. We are committed to our customers and making great paper. We will continue to invest, lead with innovation, and be flexible to the market and our customers’ needs.”

The Results

There is perhaps no better testament to a company’s customer service than gaining a repeat customer. Glatfelter’s sales staff was thrilled by a solution that maintained the existing business relationship with the major supermarket chain.

“We won the business back,” says Wydick. “Because of all the hard work we had done internally and the repeated follow up from our technical field reps, the customer allowed us to come back in for trials. Everything went very well; there was no down time. The paper ran well [on the digital printers], the customer was impressed, and reliability and trust were on the rebound.”

While the solution was implemented for this particular grocery chain, it also proved to be helpful for Glatfelter’s current (and future) clients that run this paper on the Xerox Nuvera and other digital presses.

“We have taken what we learned and applied it to some of our other products,” Wydick says. “Sometimes [encountering] challenges makes you better.”

*In this case study, the customer’s name and the name of its end clients have been removed due to the sensitive nature of their businesses.