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DS Smith: the new supply cycle firm

Date: 16/12/2013 | Author: Paul Sanderson

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Last month, DS Smith had a special day when it announced its new brand identity to the world. Users of Twitter who follow DS Smith will know the excitement that was generated by the staff of the company with #powerofless bringing all of the new ideas and company involvement together.

So what was all the fuss about? DS Smith was previously divided into four main companies.

This meant there were packaging, paper, plastics and recycling divisions and these were treated as separate entities. But following the acquisition of Swedish company SCA Packaging 18 months ago, DS Smith found itself as the largest integrated paper and packaging company in the UK and the second largest in Europe.

“The new logo and brand is a reflection of the repositioning of our business,” says DS Smith sales and marketing manager Tim Price.

“We are all just one brand now and part of DS Smith as a supply cycle solutions business.”

Its ‘power of less’ mantra is about developing closed loop and resource efficient solutions for its customers and helping them to understand how DS Smith can work with them throughout their supply chains to adopt solutions that lead to zero waste.

The company ensures materials are used and reused as efficiently as possible, focusing on the whole process, not just the sum of the parts.

“DS Smith is about packaging. But it is also about the recycling point of view,” says Tim Price. “We are now looking at packaging in its entire lifecycle.

“Our repositioning is about building on the strengths of the acquisition and creating a truly pan-European packaging and recycling business.”

One of the main reasons for ridding the company of the four separate division names, is that there was actually a lot more complexity than was necessary.

“We had four divisions, but 80 brands representing the DS Smith Group,” says Tim Price. “This was confusing both to our customers and internally.

“On a day-to-day basis, it shouldn’t change how we work, but be about changing our culture and how we can work with customers on their supply cycle.

“There are still the four divisions, but now we look to how we can add value across our four divisions to our customers and their supply chains.”

According to DS Smith European commercial director Matthew Prosser, it was the customers that were essential to the new identity.

“Customers are an integral part of how we arrived at the rebrand,” he says.

“There are four pillars to our business, and the customers transcend those. So it was important to listen to what the customers wanted.

“We are now working across Europe and have accelerated to being a European company offering services across Europe.

“Our new brand is part of a journey. The acquisition of SCA was part of that journey and now we are utilising our DS Smith brand to expand what we do in the geographical areas we already operate in, as well as expand into new areas where we don’t currently work.”

Tim Price adds that customers had been telling DS Smith that they did not see the company as the leader in the industry, but “we saw we had the tools within the 80 brands to be that, but we needed to make it more visible”.

One of the advantages of the acquisition of SCA is that it added to the research and development capability of DS Smith.

The company has a number of its ‘Innovation Centres’ across Europe and it is working in these to develop new packaging, paper, plastic and recycling solutions that are more resource efficient for customers.

It means being able to offer customers a complete service from design and production right through to supply and recycling with the aim of having a positive impact on their businesses.

“We like to say to customers that we don’t sell you boxes, but rent you boxes,” says Tim Price.

“That is about the circular economy of packaging. We have customers that have traditionally been large consumers of our packaging, but have not always taken our waste management and recycling services.

“But many of our big brands are realising themselves that they need to be more resource efficient and so are joining up the dots with our various services.

“Part of this is looking at what solutions can be cheaper for them and this is part of our ‘power of less’ mantra.”

It is only a few years ago that DS Smith Recycling was rebranded from the previous recycling and waste company Severnside and that rebrand was not yet fully complete as vehicles, bins and containers were only rebranded when bought from new.

“Our culture started to change before this rebrand,” adds Tim Price. “Severnside Recycling wasn’t obviously part of the DS Smith Group.

“The change to DS Smith was phase one and phase two was to lose the recycling element.

“It was a planned process and it now shows our supply cycle strategy.”

Matthew Prosser says that while there is a cosmetic element to the rebrand, “it is important to remember the passion and enthusiasm throughout the whole company for the change.

“We have local brand champions across Europe and the enthusiasm of our staff for us to have one brand and one company shows why the change needed to come about.”

If you wish to find out more about DS Smith and its new brand, visit  


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