Note: In 2017 Sapa was acquired by Norsk Hydro and became a new business area called Extruded Solutions. Hilde Kallevig is currently VP Communications of Norsk Hydro.
We had the chance to sit down with Hilde Kallevig, VP External Communications at Sapa, to discuss the collaboration. Hilde has vast experience from working in the communications industry and knows it, inside out, both from her current role but also from earlier positions advising on communication matters.
Q: Sapa and Gelato have announced a collaboration to deliver on a joint commitment called the 90/50 vision. What does the 90/50 vision stand for?
A: It represents the vision that it is possible to reduce transportation distances associated with print by up to 90 percent and bring down excess print volumes by up to 50 percent.
Q: Can you please share how this collaboration came about?
A: In a large multinational company like Sapa it is instrumental to have tools that enable collaboration around marketing materials. We had for some time been looking for a system where we could centrally provide good templates that could be adapted locally. When we came across the brand and print management platform from Gelato, we found what we wanted and more - with the bonus of being more sustainable.
Q: Being a global company, what needs do you have in terms of collaborative tools for marketing materials?
A: At Sapa we are 23,000 employees based in around 40 countries. Our operations are very decentralized and we produce a lot of marketing collateral. Inevitably this leads to a lot of work being duplicated in the various countries. A marketing format being created in the US could be used in Europe with a few edits. In addition, when marketing materials are managed locally you quickly end up in a situation where it becomes difficult to control the brand. Unfortunately, there has been very little collaboration across borders historically. So, there was a pent-up need to address this and find a solution to improve the way we work together when it comes to producing marketing material.
Q: How did you find out about Gelato?
A: As responsible at Sapa Group for external communications, I did a review of what was available in the market in terms of DAM (Digital Asset Management). This is how I came across Gelato’s platform that provides more than just DAM. From our point of view Gelato offers a very robust and scalable solution – a centralized system for all marketing materials, but with the benefit of providing decentralized capabilities when it comes to printing. Gelato provides us with the capability to localize materials through adding text in the domestic language or through editing images, without losing control of the finished product. To be perfectly honest, when I started to look for a solution, I did not know that a solution like Gelato existed. When I found it, it solved my challenges and at the same time provided me with the potential of significant efficiency benefits.
Q: Sapa has a strong drive to make a positive impact on the environment and society - can you tell us more what is behind this drive?
A: At Sapa we believe that we can shape a sustainable future through innovative aluminum solutions. To us, a good business is a safe and sustainable business. Aluminum is 100 percent recyclable and can be used repeatedly. We are a market leader and need to set the benchmark. We need to be one step ahead - always. Hence, it is very natural for us to consider sustainability in everything we do.
Q: Can you share an example on how this drive has been manifested?
A: One good example is how we go about it in the Sapa Building System division and how we act as a thought leader within the field of architecture and sustainable structures that are built to last. We share our future insights in an annual Reference Book.
Q: So, sustainability is also important in the way you manage printing?
A: Yes, this is also true for the way we manage marketing material. We will not stop using print as it is still a great way of communicating with our counterparts. But we have been looking for better and more efficient ways of working with printed marketing material. Generally, we aim to print less and do so in a more efficient way to the benefit of both Sapa and the environment.
Q: Interesting, do you have any examples?
A: Historically we did part of our printing centrally to control the quality, the information and the brand identity of the marketing material. This material was then shipped across the globe to our local offices. We wanted to stop this, for many reasons, not the least environment impact, time and cost saved. The Gelato solution addresses these aspects in a very intuitive way.
Q: The joint 90/50 vision of Sapa and Gelato - can you explain what it takes for it to be a reality?
A: Let’s talk print volumes first. That is most relevant for us at Sapa. We have a lot of opportunity here to do good for the environment and save cost together with Gelato. Sapa has historically selected offset over digital. I personally love quality print and would not accept low quality print coming from Sapa. However, being aware of the technological development in printing, I knew we had to communicate the development within digital printing. However, it took time to convince everyone affected internally that digital printing can compete with offset printing when it comes to, for example, quality. By being informed about the possibility of the new technologies and by being open to letting go of doing things the way they were always done, it was possible to introduce the 90/50 vision in our company.
Q: Do you have any learnings to share already at this stage?
A: My recommendation to anyone thinking about doing a similar move as Sapa: just because you have invested in something, you should remember it is a sunk cost and you should not be afraid to look at how it can be done better. This thinking has a tendency of holding you back. Rather let go and create an understanding of what it will cost you in the future if you do not change. That is the true cost of not acting.
Q: What are the main gains for Sapa as you see it?
A: Moving away from doing central printing of specific marketing material will have a significant effect on transportation. The additional effects local printing will have is harder to comment on. The main difference is that we can share information between countries and can easily benchmark against each other – time saving, transportation cost, volumes etc.
Read more: Why printing is a waste of your time
Q: Do you have any suggestion on how other companies can go about it if they would like to do what Sapa did and make a significantly positive impact on the environment?
A: If you are an international company, it is extremely important that you align the organization so the service will be used and implemented. Doing the ground work and proper onboarding is key. It starts with defining the challenges, the end state and with understanding the hurdles that need to be passed. Then it is important to introduce the Gelato solution based on those conclusions. You are bound to meet some resistance when you are changing the way people work – best to make them quickly experience the benefits.
Q: Lastly, why do you think other companies should collaborate with Gelato?
A: Regardless of company, I think it is useful to try to get an overview of the print process, of cost for printing, the print volumes etc. With this knowledge, you can create a business case, showing how a platform like Gelato will impact the business and what efficiencies are possible. Like a 90% reduction of transport distances and a 50% reduction of print volumes.
Ad published by Sapa Group and Gelato in Norway on January 5th, 2017: