Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  24 May 2012

PACKAGING: Sprint Races Ahead In The Market


Recent Western Cape Business News

A relatively small participant in the markets for folding cartons and printed paper bags is the one to watch in these keenly contested segments of the local packaging industry. It goes by the name of Sprint Packaging Manufacturing, the manufacturing arm of Sprint Packaging.

Since 2010, when Sprint Packaging became part of one of Bidvest’s mainstream divisions - Bidvest Paperplus (BPP) - this Epping-based company has been hitting its stride and is steadily pushing to the fore of the 'sprinting pack', so to speak. One of the consequences of this push was that it outgrew its existing premises, resulting in the decision to divide the business into two separately-located specialist organisations – a manufacturing arm and one that focuses on distribution.

At the time of its integration into BPP, Sprint Packaging had one litho press. Today the capacity of the manufacturing arm comprises three litho printing presses, two of which have 5-colour printing capability and one of 4 colours. All presses have in-line coating capabilities. The newly-renovated factory of 6 000 sq m, where some 140 people are employed, also has an array of paper bag machines, die cutters and folder/gluers.

With the capacity of the operation having more than doubled, Sprint Packaging Manufacturing is experiencing a good demand for its range of products, especially for its folding carton range, according to divisional sales director Amanda van Greunen.

We see much potential for growth in the folding carton market”, she says. “During the recent recession, when many printing organisations came under pressure, we experienced very stable conditions, hitting our growth targets continuously." It was mainly the food sector that gave the company substance, it appears.

There are a number of reasons for Sprint Packaging Manufacturing's optimism. Firstly, it's implementing a safety and quality certification programme that is approved by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). This programme is used throughout the world by over 17 000 certificated suppliers in 90 countries to facilitate standardisation of quality, safety, operational criteria and manufacturers’ fulfilment of legal obligations. It also helps to provide protection to the consumer. Sprint Packaging Manufacturing is planning for final certification by May 2012.

According to Amanda, such certification is essential for exporters to the European markets as well as increasingly to local clients, both existing and potential. Other reasons for her optimism are that Sprint Packaging provides turn-round times that very few competitors can match, supported by competitive pricing.

The modern factory has provided management with the opportunity to fine-tune work processes, including those relating to waste management. As a result, divisional managing director of the company, Grant McWilliams, says “incoming work is growing by leaps and bounds and we have had to add additional shifts to a number of the machines to ensure we cope with the new demand and to maintain our short lead times. Processing volumes are up substantially and we see this trend continuing. We also have two apprentices at different stages of their apprenticeship and are looking to employ an additional one. Capital expenditure for additional equipment has also been approved to ensure we maintain the growth trend.”

All in all, it seems that we have here a print packaging specialist that will be around for many years to come.

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