This is part one of a three-part article about long-roll towels and tissues.

When it comes to selling paper towel and tissue, jan/san distributors are going to great lengths.
Newer roll towels and tissues can reach upward of 1,000 feet, with a single-ply, jumbo tissue roll measuring as much as 4,000 feet. But does all this extra towel and tissue translate into savings for the customer? It depends on the type of product and where the customer is looking to cut costs, say distributors.

“Coreless tissue is proprietary, so it costs more per square foot than a core universal product,” says Glen Huizenga, sales leader for Nichols, Spring Lake, Michigan. “However, if you have a traditional 800-foot roll towel, and the manufacturer decides to make a 1,000-foot roll towel, the price of the paper per foot stays the same.”

Such is the case with most long-roll towel and tissue products: The price of the paper remains the same — or the difference is nominal — making economies of scale a tough sell. Rather than trying to focus on a dollar amount, Huizenga suggests selling customers on the soft savings of longer roll towel and tissue, namely labor savings.

“Your cost savings is found in labor savings, because now that roll doesn’t need to be changed as frequently,” he says. “So you need to do some math, taking into consideration the person’s hourly wage, as well as how much time it takes to change a roll.”

With less frequent roll changes, custodians are now free to perform other tasks, thereby increasing productivity. At the same time the chances of product outages decrease, which in turn keeps the end user happy and reduces complaints.

“In high-traffic restrooms, such as those found in airports or Class A office buildings, it becomes almost impossible to keep up with restocking standard roll tissue,” says Chris Martini, director of marketing for Central Sanitary Supply, Modesto, California. “As a result, longer rolls and larger capacity dispensers continue to be something that customers demand.”

To further extend the time between roll changes, some dispensers for long roll towel and tissue have a stub roll feature. This saves time as well as money, because it discourages custodians from throwing away partially used rolls.

“When a roll has a couple hundred feet left, you can leave it in the dispenser and put another one on top of that,” says Jim Smith, executive vice president, HP Products, Indianapolis. “A transfer system allows you to use up the old roll before it transfers to the new one.”

Potential savings can also be found in the cost per hand dry when using roll towel dispensers.

“If you talk to any manufacturer, they say, per hand dry, the cheapest way to go is a roll towel system,” says Martini. “With electric dispensers you can change the length of towel dispensed or delay the feed of the next towel, so you control the output of the product and how the end user interacts with it.”

next page of this article:
Go Green With Alternative Fibers, Recycled Paper Towels