Marketing consultant and designer at Plastic Packaging Caroline Nel said Covid-19 made them stronger and seek for opportunities during difficult moments for many businesses.
“It made us stronger, we were confronted with daily challenges and the team stepped up to the challenge. We however managed to adapt quickly to the changing environment. We try to be creative to keep the business afloat in order to supply our valued customers during the past two years. We invested in stock to ensure supply, that helped us a lot,” she explained.
Plastic Packaging manufactures a wide range of flexible plastic films that include, pallet wrap, clear utility bags, meat bags, fish pouches, boutique and carry bags, shrink film for the beverage industry, black sheeting (building and agriculture segment) and many more.
Nel stated they have the ability to print and add different mechanical properties to products to solve customer needs through their state-of-the-art production facility in Windhoek.
“Because Plastic Packaging is involved in basically all industries with packaging products, we are supported by more than two legs. Some industries performed better than pre-Covid-19 and we grew with them. Unfortunately, some of our customers were hit hard and we took the knock with them. But overall, we managed to balance revenue and cost during these times,” indicated Nel.
The company gets its raw materials from their recycling plant in Okahandja that converts Namibian plastic waste into raw material that they use in products like black sheeting, refuse bags, plant bags and plastic shopping bags.
“About 20% of our raw materials are Namibian recycled material and the rest are sourced abroad depending on availability. For food-contact products, only virgin raw material is used,” she noted.
Furthermore, Nel noted that Plastic Packaging has a wide footprint in Namibia with eight branches covering the entire Namibia. They also have distribution footprint in Angola and South Africa, to which locally manufactured products are exported.
With high import duties in other African countries, she said Plastic Packaging will not be able to compete, but once the African Free Trade Agreement comes into play, they would love to expand into countries like Zambia that offers a lot of potentials.
The company is 39 years old and employs a total of 545 full-time employees, of which 446 are employed in Namibia, and 100% of the Namibian employees are Namibians by citizenship.
She further stated the challenges in the manufacturing environment in Namibia as the lack of having economies of scale in the small Namibian market: “Competing against bigger economies is difficult because those manufacturers have the luxury of volume throughput in their factories. We service any customer, no matter how big or small, everyone is important to us, that makes us sometimes inefficient but the volume and throughput in our factory is crucial.” According to Nel, Plastic Packaging has grown into a company with strong values and understanding of the importance of the Namibian economy by providing packaging solutions to customers to enable them to add value to their operations.
They recycle approximately 200 tons of waste per month and have more than 5 000 solar panels installed on their roofs. Furthermore, the company also repurposes all the water used in the recycling plant.