A look at a cross-industry project on handling paper
February 13, 2018

Is your paper always fit to print? Manfred Werfel, deputy CEO, WAN-IFRA, provides an overview of the paper supply chain, and the best practices the industry can follow to optimise paper use – one of the most expensive components of the printing industry’s costs

The paper supply chain is complex. More than 400 tonnes of paper are shipped every year. Each roll or pallet was handled 10-20 times – each time it was a risk, Werfel told the delegates at the WAN-IFRA 25th Annual Silver Jubilee Conference in Chennai.

Paper accounted for 50-70 per cent of the total printing cost. Doing it right the first time by following best practices and using systematic procedures and thereby optimising the process could go a long way in keeping these costs down, he said, speaking at the session on Shaping the Future of News Publishing.

Best practices in paper handling were important not only for economic reasons, but also for safety and environmental ones, Werfel said. “Specialised knowledge on paper is dwindling, but you don’t need to re-invent the wheel – that’s why WAN-IFRA came up with the OPHAL project, a platform to optimise the paper chain, with tools to improve performance.”

Manfred Werfel speaks at the conference.

The IFRA Newsprint and Newsink Guide of 1993 was a ‘best practices manual’ free for all users, but there had been only 880 downloads, Werfel said, though the book was of interest for everybody and provided comprehensive coverage.
The object of the project was to reduce avoidable waste and damage across the value chain, to improve safety as well as economic and environmental results, Werfel said. All printing processes for rolls and sheets of paper, for paper suppliers and movers across the supply chain would benefit from it, he was convinced. The project was built on existing knowledge and contained inputs from cross-industry experts all down the supply chain.

The first three chapters cover the basics. There are two chapters on handling equipment and techniques. Others deal with transport – road, rail, container and shipping being the modes used. There is minimal text with the accent on pictures and graphics, to illustrate the points made. The e-book lends itself to need/interest-based usage. The guide and updates can be accessed free of charge by registering at www.ophal.info.

January 2018