Roulston Research Paper and Packaging Roundtable with Former Smurfit-Stone and Weyerhaeuser Executives

August 13, 2013

On August 8th, Roulston Research held a conference call on the paper and containerboard industry.  The call was held with John Knudsen, former Senior VP at Rock-Tenn Company and former Senior VP at Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation; and John Begley, Principal, Mats View Consulting, former President and CEO at Port Townsend Paper Corporation, and former Director-Strategic Planning at Weyerhaeuser Company.  They sat down to discuss the past trends in the industry, as well as where the industry may be heading.

The call began by the presenters talking about the recent history of the industry.  Much of the industry became consolidated in the hands of a few players, and these companies became too large.  They then had to close some of their plants, primarily the smallest and most inefficient of the plants.  These closings were at least partially due to an increased presence from competitors in Asia.  These foreign competitors, while not very strong in the domestic market, were able to take part of the market share in Asia away, leading to a decrease in exports.  The general restructuring resulted in more decisions being made at a corporate level, where orders would be processed there rather than at plant level.  This allowed plants to become more specialized; only handling one type of order.  This new business model allows for smaller companies to provide better service to their customers, as they can still handle different types of orders at the same plant.  In the future, some of these smaller companies may try to make some acquisitions to grow.  On the industrial packaging side, companies have yet to go through this Renaissance.  They have not gone through the same type of cost cutting measures, and instead have mostly relied on expanding into the consumer products.  Other topics addressed include pricing and South American pulp supply.  If you would like to listen to the full podcast, or engage in a 1 on 1 discussion with either of the presenters, please contact


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