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1998 Annual Report

WIDEN THE COMPETITIVE GAP

To become the best, as well as the market leader, Smurfit-Stone will build stronger relationships with customers through innovation, quality, and service; meet and exceed customer expectations; solicit customer feedback and ideas; provide best-possible, low-cost packaging solutions; and understand and meet the needs of the customers' customer.
Widening the Competitive Gap

Smurfit-Stone has a two-fold strategy for reinforcing its leadership position in the industry: selling its full line of products and services and widening the gap between itself and its competitors. It will accomplish these objectives through innovation, quality, and service, known as IQS. The company will support IQS by investing in training and innovation and providing superior service through such vehicles as the packaging solution centers, directed at servicing major retailers.
     Smurfit-Stone's packaging solution centers are unique to the industry. Designed to meet the packaging needs of end-users — such as Wal-Mart Supercenters and Sam's Warehouse Clubs — these centers have dramatically reduced the gap between packaging problems and solutions from six weeks to six hours. Superstore packaging buyers have expressed a need for attractive, functional, stackable packaging in sizes that fulfill their customers' requirements. By meeting with a team of experts, buyers are able to leave the center, that same day, with a mock-up of the new packaging.
     The success of the IQS program has led to additional business opportunities and considerably increased higher-margin sales. In business, where satisfying customers is the goal, the company will establish benchmarks, set goals for improvement, measure progress against those goals, re-evaluate its progress in terms of continuous improvement, and continue to survey customers to validate its actions. Soliciting customer feedback, needs, and ideas will strengthen relationships and further improve margins.
     The company recently launched another packaging solution center in Seattle, Washington, to serve the packaging needs of Costco, a warehouse club.

SSCC MANUFACTURED ENOUGH MICROWAVE POPCORN BAGS IN 1998 TO FILL THE SMURFIT–STONE CORPORATE BUILDING IN CHICAGO MORE THAN 8 TIMES. MORE THAN 3.7 BILLION MULTIWALL AND 6 BILLION CONSUMER BAGS WERE PACKED IN THE U.S. IN 1998.

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DISPLAY GROUP

The Richmond, Virginia, Display Group creates custom point-of-purchase displays from concept through production. With high-end graphics and innovative construction, these displays add value to the line of corrugated products offered to customers. The display group enjoys industry-wide recognition, having received numerous awards for its creativity in design, as well as excellence in manufacturing.
 
 
HENDERSONVILLE TUBE AND CORE FACILITY

Quick Grab™ cores are inspected for consistency in catch points by Jason Strickland as they come down the winding line at Smurfit-Stone's Hendersonville, North Carolina, tube and core facility. Quick Grab™ is a unique core that allows non-woven and spun material to cling easily, thus eliminating the cost and use of tape as an adhesive.