Dino Bianco, CEO of Kruger Products L.P.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures; food manufacturers have implemented such measures to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to safe food. They’ve modified their manufacturing process and their supply chains to address unprecedented demand. “In Your Own Words”  brings the behind-the-scenes stories to Grocery Business’ readers.

Dino Bianco, Chief Executive Officer, Kruger Products L.P.

Crisis leadership initiatives

I want to first say how grateful we are to be surrounded by businesses and individuals who are stepping up and giving back – it’s incredible to see Canada come together during these challenging times. Our focus since the pandemic began has been keeping staff, customers and Canadians at the forefront of our decision making. We began by expanding our health and safety protocols, and shortly thereafter increasing production of Cashmere, Purex, Sponge Towels and Scotties to address the spike in demand for tissue products. We then expanded our efforts to ask, how can we support Canadians in need, and the frontline healthcare workers who are working hard to heal Canadians?

Now more than ever, it’s a crucial time for brands who are able to give back, to do so, and say “thank you”. One of our small gestures to do our part was to thank the frontline healthcare professionals who are working so hard to heal Canadians, and we also wanted to lend a helping hand to those most in need. We’re currently delivering bathroom tissue, facial tissue and paper towels to frontline healthcare workers at several hospitals in Montreal, Toronto in Vancouver in our #RollingItForward initiative, and we are also donating these much-needed household products to Food Banks Canada.

Impact on the supply chain

We’ve certainly felt the impact of the pandemic on our supply chain. From a consumer perspective, as you’ve seen, stores have been selling out of bathroom tissue, facial tissue and paper towels. We have 7 plants in Canada that are operating at full capacity.  We are working with our retail partners to optimize production to meet this increase in demand for tissue products.

We expect to see our away-from-home business impacted in a different way in the coming months. This part of our business supplies tissue products to restaurants and other public venues, which we know will need less stock in the coming weeks. 

We’re working nimbly to respond to the needs of consumers, as we know Canadians count on us to provide them with the tissue products they trust. 

Your business takeaways from this experience

I have two takeaways, the first is to make decisions based on your values and principles. You will be faced with decisions you’ve never encountered before and your values are your bedrock to make the right decision. When you have strong values and principles, tough decisions are easier. The second takeaway is the need to be agile and adaptable. The situation evolves so fast that you must be ready and prepared to modify your course accordingly. From changes in adopting new safety protocols to suspending advertising, to changing production flows,  to how I communicate with my team and company. I’m very proud of our team for being principled, agile and adaptable during this difficult and uncertain time

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