“We’ve looked at technical services, as I think a lot of other people have already, and it was felt that we could get better value support from the mills and, where necessary, third-parties,” said Paperlinx UK managing director Phil Carr.

According to Carr the division was primarily focussed on testing new products for internal quality control purposes, rather than a customer support function. He added that it made sense for the company, which last month rebranded its merchanting divisions as Paperlinx, to focus on investing in services that add customer value, such as the recently launched ‘printers’ webstores’, rather those that just add costs.

“Originally it was a service that Robert Horne had for a long time for when different grades and qualities of papers could be dramatically different, with different characteristics from each mill. Quality and consistency has moved on dramatically in recent years and the mills have their own technical capability themselves now,” said Carr.

He added that customer’s technical questions would continue to be fielded by technical sales staff and, when needed, the mills themselves.

A consultation with the technical services department was launched in early May, with the decision to close the department finalised on 10 June. Six positions were made redundant as a result of the closure.

“I appreciate it’s disappointing for the staff affected, especially those that have been with us for a long time, but the world is changing and the quality and consistency of the paper we sell has improved beyond all recognition in the past 20 years,” said Carr.