London, Feb. 26, 2010 (RISI) -We at PPI recently learned a lot about the reading, operating and buying habits of pulp and papermakers at the sharp end of the industry. Late last year PPI conducted a Brand Awareness and Preference Study which is highly revealing about our reader's habits. Altogether we had over 500 high quality survey returns from mills and offices all around the globe, the respondents coming from a vast variety of different functions and job roles from within the industry. This included in-depth information from Technical, Engineering and Production to Marketing and Sales, Traffic and Shipping, purchasing and Corporate Management.
Here are just some interesting survey results:
It seems that those who work in the industry are avid receivers of instant information, and are modern in the choice of delivery method: 59% of you preferred to receive up-to-date information on the industry by e-newsletters, next was via online digital magazines at 36% with printed magazines and newsletters coming in at third place with 34.4%. Lowest on the list was webinars and visiting websites as a preferred way to glean information. PPI incidentally was top of your list when it came to industry magazines received, with 89.3% of respondents saying they received it, and 87.3% saying they read this magazine regularly.
Industry professionals also revealed the frequency of their online reading habits with 26% visiting websites for information daily, 47.6% weekly and 25.9% monthly. Google not surprisingly came in at number one with 315 respondents claiming that it was the most useful when looking for information, but RISI.com scored highly here with 243 of respondents claiming that it is the most useful industry website, its nearest competitor was way behind with just 147 votes.
Also revealed in the survey was buying habits, which again made for interesting reading. In fact what is most enlightening is just how small the supply sectors have become in certain areas due to consolidation. For instance when respondents were looking at buying paper machine equipment including sensors, analysers and laboratory equipment, there were only seven suppliers mentioned, the top three being Metso, ABB and Voith. However when it came to consumables, for instance coating blades, rods and doctor blades there were a lot more suppliers mentioned, in this case 11, with the top three being Kadant, BTG and Metso / Pacific Saw and Knife. This clearly illustrates that paper makers are limited in choice for specialist equipment, however they have plenty of options once their machines are up and running.
Business intelligence, growing in importance
What a survey of this kind really does is animate and illustrate the industry in an important and realistic way. It allows the reader to see buyers/customers/readers habits, and then act and adjust their products and marketing accordingly depending on their answers. But for us in the industry, our survey revealed what all of us in the paper industry cannot escape from; the threat of the Internet to the future of printing and paper as we know it. Even in this industry, the preferred way of gathering information is by far and away headed up by the Internet, 15 years ago it would have undoubtedly been by weekly and periodical journals and magazines - printed on paper of course. We at PPI are currently in the midst of organising our European Pulp and Paper Outlook Conference, and by far and away the main theme is how the paper industry can triumph in the midst of such a threat. It is clearly time for the great minds and individuals in the industry to stand up and be counted and formulate a plan.