An interview with Marta Jędrzejczak, Marketing & Communications Manager, DS Smith Poland about the challenges of the packaging industry during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Scientists claim that the Covid-19 can survive on cardboard up to 24 hours. Is cardboard packaging safe?
- The safety and quality of our products is of critical importance. In line with current academic understanding and assessments made of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no evidence that supports the potential transmission of Covid-19 through paper and cardboard packaging. We continue to monitor the situation closely.
What challenges does the packaging industry face during the Covid-19 pandemic?
- The main challenge is to step up and deliver all orders on time. We are aware of the key role we have, to move products necessary for life along the supply chain. Therefore, while creating a safe work environment, we make every effort to ensure that all operations run smoothly. The packaging we produce is essential for delivering products to shops or to the doors of customers. We thank our employees for their commitment and our customers for their trust and excellent cooperation.
Are you experiencing problems with the availability of raw material (cardboard) for packaging production?
- Currently, we do not experience any major problems in the Polish market. It should be emphasised that at DS Smith we produce cardboard ourselves - we have own corrugators in our three plants. Of course, we are prepared in case of limited availability of some raw papers. We can react quickly by offering alternative substitutes.
Due to the increased demand for food and medical supplies the demand for packaging has also increased. Are deliveries being made on an ongoing basis? How does transport look like given logistical constraints?
- Currently our company is not experiencing any significant disruption to our operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic but certainly we continue to monitor the situation and we will keep our customers informed of any changes in this matter. Through our activities, we can continue to support our customers, including those in the food and pharmaceutical industries, so that they can run their businesses smoothly and deliver products wherever they are most needed. We are well prepared for the current situation. Where necessary, we use the network of our plants and transfer orders to other locations.
What types of packaging are most popular among your customers now?
- We are seeing increased demand in some sectors, including food and medical equipment as well as e-commerce, which is offsetting softening in demand seen in other sectors.
What protection measures and safety procedures have been implemented in DS Smith factories to prevent Covid-19?
- The safety of our employees is our top priority, so we take every effort to ensure that any guidance introduced by the authorities at the regional and national level, as well as WHO procedures, are followed. We have implemented plans that include stringent safety procedures across our all our facilities and have given our employees the opportunity to work remotely wherever possible.
Recently DS Smith supported the campaign 'Time to help senior citizens 65+' organised by the Biedronka store chain. What was this help about?
- The store chain 'Biedronka' helps to connect seniors who need help in everyday shopping with people who are ready to help. To do this, you can put your application into boxes set up in easily visible places in Biedronka chain stores. DS Smith supported the campaign of Biedronka by offering quick and efficient processing of an order for the production of cardboard boxes. From the moment of receiving the brief to sending the order to 16 locations we had only 32 hours. During this short time our team developed designs of structures and graphics, made necessary corrections, prepared and ordered dedicated punching dies and offset plates, produced 36 pallets of boxes within 5 production cycles. Such cooperation would not have been possible without the help of our great team of Packaging Strategists.
Does DS Smith help in the fight against the pandemic through other actions?
- A campaign supporting our retired colleagues has been launched in all DS Smith factories in Poland. Every employee can volunteer to help senior citizens in their neighborhood in their everyday life.
Our company has also financially supported the Collegium Medicum of Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, which is to set up a laboratory to test for Covid-19.
Thank you for your time.