Top Emerging And Latest Trends In Paper Industry

With the advent of digital technology, "going paperless," and environmental concerns about overusing forests, the paper industry over the past few decades has had its ups and downs. In the paper industry, trends that are overcoming these challenges are evolving globally and providing fuel for innovation for its domestic providers of paper and paper-based products. The paper industry is one of the largest industries in the world led by producers from North America, East Asian countries, and Northern Europe. A significant role is also played by Latin America and Australasia. It is expected that both India and China will become key players in the industry over the next few years. The industry players will experience a proactive strategy to come up with innovative ways on how to sustain their business. The increase in production and sustainable industrial growth are the main efforts to be put forth by them. The worldwide production of paper and paperboard is around 390 million tonnes and is expected to project to 490 million tonnes by 2020. The pulp and paper industry is faced with mounting political, economic, and environmental pressures to reduce the volume and toxicity of industrial wastewater. So, what do you think will be the trends for the paper and print industry in 2019? Let's have a look at these aspects.

  • Sustainability
  • Digitalization


A) Sustainability

The most important macro trend ongoing in the paper industry is sustainability. With an increase in rising public pressure, it's now a business imperative for many leading companies. Over the last couple of years, the preferences have shifted. As per research, it showed that the consumers are interested in the sustainability of the products they buy, where they come from and how they are packaged. With a variety of sustainability regulations being adopted across the globe, the legal environment is changing fast equally. The paper industry is facing a huge challenge, not only from a profitability perspective. Sustainable strategies have faced demanding challenges, as growing awareness of the environmental issues have popularized. The paper industry faces enormous challenges in the future when sustainability targets become more demanding and operational requirements arise not only from the profitability perspective. The sustainability benchmarking should be seen as a booster for combining cost efficiency, energy efficiency, and global responsibility. The papermaking in its simplest form is a sustainable process. A renewable resource like wood is used and produces a product that is 100% biodegradable and recyclable. The paper industry has indeed significantly become better at promoting the sustainable nature of its product and at communicating. When compared to the available alternatives, the sustainable qualities of paper have been a driver for increased demand. Sustainability is not a new requirement for the industry. It is and has always been a good business practice to maintain positive media relations, in ensuring the continuing source of raw materials, to avoid regulatory fines by adhering to local environmental legislation.

B) Digitalization

What is digitalization all about and how does it play its role in the paper industry? Digitalization is nothing but all about information. Collecting the information, compiling it, interpreting it, and ultimately using it is known as digitalization. The process of digitalization is full of valuable information, in the production of bioproducts such as pulp, paper, and other products with biomass-based origins. The open sharing of information across entire value chains and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is changing the way we work. Systems and platforms can communicate, reducing the need for manual labor, freeing resources for other tasks and eliminating risks related to human error with the emergence of the IIoT devices. From the planning of production and ensuring correct service timing and spare parts availability to securing the logistics chain and on-time deliveries, the seamless cooperation between machines and people can improve efficiency across the entire process. In a digital economy, there are some strategies for the success of paper and packaging. By leveraging innovations such as augmented reality or artificial intelligence, packaging can develop. The product quality and maintenance can improve by machine learning, which is indeed a game-changer in terms of improving process automation. Moreover, to maintain devices safely and more cost-effectively, the augmented reality can support workers to maintain devices safely without any need to call skilled technicians. The paper and packaging companies based on customer's individualized needs can provide additional services such as detailed tracking information for shipped goods, co-development of new packaging materials using digitized information. Using digital tools, new business and margins for paper and packaging companies can be driven by customer collaboration.

Paper along with packaging companies face complex logistics and manufacturing challenges. These vary from warehousing and transportation to asset downtime and process management. Logistics and operational efficiency can be improved with digital transformation by analyzing and capturing data from vehicles, machines or products; it allows better simulations, predictions, and decisions. The possible early failures and reduction in unplanned downtimes can be done by analyzing sensor data from machines. Few digital tools e.g. machine learning can help make the most out of your workforce. The technology providers with strategic partnerships who understand how to synthesize emerging technologies to address core business processes are the main ingredient to success in the paper and packaging industry. Companies can more easily reinvent their industry for a digitally driven world by partnering with technology solutions providers, where their products don’t have to be devalued and commoditized.