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Northwood Hygiene Products: a new name with a long history

Published 9th October, 2014 by Neil Nixon

Northwood Hygiene Products: a new name with a long history

In 2012 Northwood acquired Peter Grant Papers, joining the already Northwood owned Connect Hygiene Products in producing paper disposables for the UK away from home sector. Now, with effect from November 2014, the two companies are to be merged under the new name of Northwood Hygiene Products.

Northwood Paper Sales has been in business since the mid 1970s and has grown through a strategy of both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Still owned and controlled by the Fecher family, the aim is to be the preferred partner for the supply of away from home paper products in the UK.

The new company claims to rank in the top three in its sector in the UK and, together with sister companies Northwood Tissue, Northwood Logistics, and Northwood Recycling, Northwood Hygiene Products now has the additional resource, infrastructure and investment to continue to further grow its reach and capabilities.

Throughout the lengthy process of integrating the two operations, the key priority has been to ensure that there would be no disruption to customer service or supply. Mergers bring about inevitable change. The need to identify and build on the strengths of the respective businesses whilst achieving overall cost efficiencies takes time. Clearly then, all aspects need to be carefully considered and evaluated before change is instigated. Brian Tarry, sales and marketing director at Northwood Hygiene Products, said: “It's been like completing a giant jigsaw - it just had a few too many pieces and some of them were duplicated!”

It was for that reason that the two companies were allowed to operate separately until now. That decision has ensured that the results of the considerable investment in new IT infrastructure and other key back office support operations were both in place and tested before being introduced to customers.

The new company will continue to trade from its two existing sites at Telford and Penygroes in North Wales. Again, to minimise possible customer disruption, customer orders will, with rare exceptions, be processed and supplied from the same site as was previously the case.

Brian Tarry believes that, with access to its own UK mills guaranteeing supply, combined with all the rest of the investment and resource available within the Northwood group of companies, it can now provide a genuinely credible alternative to anyone in the UK as a source of quality washroom and workplace hygiene solutions.

The two mills (which constitute Northwood Tissue), are located at Lancaster and Disley near Stockport, with both sites seeing considerable recent capital investment to ensure that capacity and efficiency meets current and foreseeable future requirements, all with strict adherence to health and safety regulations. In a sector which demands high awareness and compliance with environmental regulations, it is a source of pride that both sites have been awarded Ecolabel certification. This is one of the more meaningful environmental awards to aspire to. First conceived in 1992, Ecolabel is a Europe-wide accreditation renowned for its robust and trusted certification process, using strict environmental criteria to distinguish environmentally-friendly products. The assessment process tracks the product throughout its lifecycle, from the sourcing of raw materials through manufacturing, to post production transportation, and finally to disposal of the product.

Another key factor in both the current and future success has been the strengthening of the existing experienced management team. These established paper industry figures know the UK market well and understand its particular requirements. It has resulted in the development of a company-wide culture that delivers exceptional levels of customer service and support that is widely acknowledged across the sector.

Of course, a cornerstone of the future growth of the business will be the ongoing development of the key brands of Leonardo and Essentials. Leonardo will continue much as previously, with the dispenser offer being constantly monitored to ensure that it can be updated as soon as new developments become available. As for the Essentials offer, the complete Essentials range of tissue and towel products will now be available across the entire business. It will be presented with refreshed branding and packaging to ensure overall consistency in the brand presentation. Private label services will, as before, also continue to be provided to selective customers.

A new range of wiping products is soon to be launched. Under the banner of the Perform brand, a professional range of paper and non-woven wiping products reviving the well regarded Bosswipes name, will all be brought to market soon. This development highlights the extended reach capability of the new company, allowing global sourcing to deliver competitively priced high performance wiping products.

Brian Tarry concluded: “We think we are bringing additional choice to the market, which we believe is good for all us in the sector, be it competitor, distributor or end user. It will certainly keep all of us on our toes and that is no bad thing!”

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