LC PACK­AG­ING

In its 95th year, LC Pack­ag­ing con­tin­ues to demon­strate thein­no­va­tion and drive that has ce­mented it as the in­dus­try leader we see to­day

Africa Outlook - - Front Page - Writer: Phoebe Calver | Project Man­ager: Vivek Valmiki

Pro­vid­ing a com­mit­ted, re­li­able and loyal ser­vice

n the year that LC Pack­ag­ing cel­e­brates its 95th an­niver­sary in the in­dus­try, there are many rea­sons to cel­e­brate a me­te­oric rise to multi­na­tional sta­tus which now com­prises more than 1,100 em­ploy­ees and a €170 mil­lion turnover in 2017.

LC Pack­ag­ing is a fam­ily busi­ness through and through and that is one as­pect that has been re­tained since it was first es­tab­lished in the Nether­lands. Now in its fourth gen­er­a­tion, the Com­pany has grown ex­ten­sively from its ini­tial oper­a­tions in the pur­chase, sale and mod­i­fi­ca­tion of jute bags.

“Both our range of ser­vices and our foot­print have ex­panded con­sid­er­ably since the early days of our Com­pany, how­ever, it is still cen­tred around the pack­ag­ing in­dus­try,” ex­plains the Re­gional Di­rec­tor for South­ern Africa, Richard Green. “We have grown from an im­porter of pack­ag­ing, to a well-re­spected man­u­fac­turer and dis­trib­u­tor with four of our own man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in 16 coun­tries spread across Europe, Asia and Africa, with our head of­fice still lo­cated in the Nether­lands.”

Un­der­stand­ing re­quire­ments

The Com­pany has re­mained true to its roots as a com­mit­ted, re­li­able and loyal pack­ag­ing en­tity, while also never be­ing afraid to rein­vent it­self as a trail­blazer in the in­dus­try.

The Di­rec­tor con­tin­ues: “Mak­ing a move from a dis­trib­u­tor role to that of a pro­ducer was key in com­plet­ing the loop between un­der­stand­ing the cus­tomers’ re­quire­ments, and the pro­duc­tion part­ners’ lim­i­ta­tions in find­ing ways to bring the two closer to­gether.

“We have had a con­stant ob­ses­sion with qual­ity and the strict ad­her­ence to UN protocol in re­gard to the trans­porta­tion of haz­ardous goods, as well as the re­sources to in­vest in sta­teof-the-art equip­ment that has en­sured LC Pack­ag­ing is the sup­plier of choice when it comes to bulk pack­ag­ing of high-value com­modi­ties.”

With a pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity in South Africa, ware­hous­ing in Namibia and North­ern Zam­bia, an of­fice in the Ivory Coast and rep­re­sen­ta­tion in North Africa, the Com­pany has the perfect foot­print to ser­vice the bulk pack­ag­ing needs of the African con­ti­nent.

“The abil­ity to achieve this has stemmed from build­ing long-term

part­ner­ships with both our cus­tomers and pro­duc­tion part­ners alike,” adds Green. “We cer­tainly pre­fer to de­velop and grow in a uni­fied man­ner, sus­tain­ably and over a long pe­riod of time.

“Our cus­tomers are pre­dom­i­nantly blue-chip and due to that fact, health & safety is at the top of their list of pri­or­i­ties.”

With that in mind, LC Pack­ag­ing has made sig­nif­i­cant strides in fab­rics used for the pack­ag­ing process and is now widely re­garded as a leader in the field.

“The ad­vances we have made that utilise a va­ri­ety of baf­fle so­lu­tions, mean that we are able to of­fer a va­ri­ety of prod­ucts with a near perfect pro­file to im­prove and max­imise trans­porta­tion ef­fi­cien­cies,” con­tin­ues Green. “Our fa­cil­i­ties are also able to of­fer food-safe and pharma-clean en­vi­ron­ments that are state-of-the-art within the in­dus­try, meet­ing FSSC, SA8000 and ISO22000 cer­ti­fied pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties that few pro­duc­ers can match.”

Iden­ti­fy­ing new mar­kets

LC Pack­ag­ing’s African en­tity cov­ers South, West, Cen­tral and North Africa, through to of­fices in Johannesburg a pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg and Ware­hous­ing in DRC, Zam­bia and Namibia.

“We un­der­stand that it is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to be in close prox­im­ity to our cus­tomers, which is why we don’t hes­i­tate to in­vest in ware­hous­ing fa­cil­i­ties or shy-away from open­ing in ar­eas that other com­pa­nies might avoid,” af­firms Green. “We don’t view Ge­og­ra­phy as an ob­sta­cle, but in­stead an op­por­tu­nity.

“When it comes to iden­ti­fy­ing new in­dus­tries, our team is con­stantly analysing the bulk pack­ag­ing re­quire­ments of the mar­ket and will sub­se­quently present so­lu­tions when we be­lieve that we have a pack­age that will re­duce the to­tal cost of own­er­ship. We are for­tu­nate in our abil­ity to draw on a wide range of pro­duc­tion part­ners that are able to as­sist us in ex­plor­ing var­i­ous al­ter­na­tives, while also push­ing the bound­aries.”

Dur­ing its 95 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, LC Pack­ag­ing has been fully em­braced as a part­ner by an abun­dance of com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing through­out Africa. Ini­tially the Com­pany was viewed by many as a dis­trib­u­tor of high-qual­ity prod­ucts, how­ever, since in­vest­ing in pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity and ware­hous­ing in Africa has been em­braced by the in­dus­try.

Op­er­a­tional de­vel­op­ment

The Com­pany also has a pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity lo­cated in Bangladesh that sup­plies Africa hav­ing re­cently em­barked on an ex­pan­sion project; it will in­crease the ca­pac­ity ex­ten­sively and this ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity will be tar­geted to­wards more com­plex mar­kets.

“The afore­men­tioned project started in Novem­ber, 2017 and is on sched­ule for com­ple­tion by Jan­uary, 2019,” ex­plains the Di­rec­tor. “Upon com­ple­tion the de­vel­op­ment of these oper­a­tions will have created more than 500 new jobs, 300 of which are specif­i­cally for women.

“Our oper­a­tions in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, South Africa, has also com­pleted phase one of its ex­pan­sion project, re­sult­ing in the dou­bling of the avail­able ca­pac­ity. This was achieved through a mix­ture of cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture, as well as the cre­ation of em­ploy­ment for a fur­ther 65 in­di­vid­u­als within the fa­cil­ity.”

The next ex­pan­sion phase of the fa­cil­ity is al­ready un­der­way, in which ca­pac­ity looks set to dou­ble again. This stage of the project will be more cap­i­tal in­ten­sive but will still re­sult in the re­quire­ment of a fur­ther 40 em­ploy­ees.

Green con­tin­ues: “The third ex­pan­sion phase is still be­ing kept rel­a­tively quiet although it has been fully planned and looks set to be im­ple­mented to­wards the end of 2019 or early 2020. We are in­cred­i­bly ex­cited by this phase as not only will it re­sult in fur­ther em­ploy­ment, but will also pos­i­tively im­pact our in­put costs while also en­sur­ing that we are 100 per­cent in con­trol of our sup­ply chain.”

Unique integrity

The em­ploy­ees at LC Pack­ag­ing are a piv­otal com­po­nent to the suc­cess wit­nessed by the Com­pany, with the tech­ni­cal staff play­ing a par­tic­u­larly prom­i­nent role.

“A large part of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process within our Com­pany in­volves sewing,” adds Green. “It is an art and this skill is im­mensely val­ued at LC Pack­ag­ing. We spend a lot of time, ef­fort and money on the training re­quired to re­tain this skill for our fu­ture.

“Our busi­ness model is unique, and we be­lieve that is a tes­ta­ment to the integrity of our or­gan­i­sa­tion, as we are able to be a successful pro­ducer with pro­duc­tion part­ners world­wide and the abil­ity to dis­trib­ute through­out Europe and Africa.”

The Com­pany has access to a plethora of in­for­ma­tion that keeps it at the cut­ting edge of tech­nol­ogy and en­sures it re­mains true to its cen­tral phi­los­o­phy of sup­ply­ing high-qual­ity and safe prod­ucts to the mar­ket.

“We are con­stantly build­ing upon our eight cen­tral strengths with an in­ter­na­tional ap­proach and lo­cal sup­port,” con­cludes Green. “We have a strong sus­tain­abil­ity pol­icy, our own pro­duc­tion, ded­i­cated pro­duc­tion part­ners, an in­no­va­tive ap­proach to pack­ag­ing, an in-house qual­ity con­trol depart­ment; and we have been a lead­ing player since 1923, as well as a fi­nan­cially sta­ble part­ner that builds long-term part­ner­ships with our stake­hold­ers.

“With par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence to our African oper­a­tions dur­ing the next few years, we hope to have un­veiled the third phase of our ex­pan­sion pro­gramme which will pro­vide us with a truly ex­cit­ing and world-class de­vel­op­ment.”

LC PACK­AG­ING

Mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant strides in fab­ric

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