Working with Agility

11 September 2020

By: Franco DiFelice, Product Office & Innovation Director, Sofidel America

After the COVID-19 pandemic began, we realized there would be heightened demand for our paper products and for hygiene in general, and that Sofidel would have to be flexible to meet customers’ needs in a rapidly evolving situation. Thankfully, through the use of agile working, our team was able to adapt seamlessly to ever-changing circumstances, resulting in faster turnaround at the production level and new products to meet new challenges.

Agility at Sofidel

Agile working environments help optimize employee performance and increase worker satisfaction while reducing the amount of space needed to operate and cutting costs as a result. They increase the amount of interaction among team members, spurring more collaboration among employees at all levels.

Our agile working environment helps us develop new products more efficiently and successfully. We follow the acronym PCDA (“Plan, Check, Do, Act”) to enhance problem solving and change management and continuously share results of our work with one another, during all stages of a project. For example, our Product Office works closely with other departments, including procurement and sales. We try keep our teams lean, and we get together weekly or sometimes daily: collaboration helps us with our ultimate goal of responding quickly yet thoughtfully to customers’ needs and market demand.

Adapting to New Circumstances

As the pandemic continued, we saw the demand for our products spike by about 85%, especially among retail customers in ecommerce. Increasing production by 85% is a near-impossible task for any company with its existing infrastructure, so we had to get innovative. Since much of the new demand was for retail products, in close cooperation with marketing and procurement, we redesigned some products leveraging capabilities otherwise dedicated to the professional line of business.

The pandemic also intensified our customers’ need for hygienic solutions. We discovered that the market needed more solutions that helped reduce the risk of infection, so we developed a new line of dispensers featuring silver ion technology to defend against pathogens, as well as new Heavenly Soft Special Door Tissue – a tissue product that helps reduce the number of touchpoints in facilities, helping occupants keep hands cleaner.

The Future is Flexible

Agile working helps teams make the most of their members’ contributions. At Sofidel, we have seen how agile working benefits us in responding to changes, sometimes drastic ones, smoothly and with competence. By removing unnecessary constraints and commutes and creating smaller teams that communicate frequently, and with other departments, we’re better able to innovate, leverage insights from our customers and their customers and meet new demands created by the COVID-19 pandemic.