Latin America´s leader in industrial buckets is thriving through innovation. The company based in the north east of Brazil is exploring the huge untapped potential of the market, showing unstoppable success. Reuben Ford reports.
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We don’t just make buckets or molds – we improve them,” begins Miguel Rosário President of Bomix, the biggest producer of polypropylene buckets in South America.
The company, founded almost 20 years ago, took over market leadership after just five years by taking this simple tool used throughout industry and adjusting its characteristics to increase the number of applications. High investment in state-of-the-art technology and the considerable increase in client base has been the key to expansion.
A straight-forward, no-nonsense attitude towards a spectrum of markets has allowed Bomix to re-invent the bucket by focusing on client needs and knowing the market. Today, Bomix manufactures buckets and plastic canisters for a variety of uses from dairy products to paints and proves that the possibilities are endless.
Breaking the Mold
Bomix reports annual revenue in the region of $110 million (250 million Brazilian reais) and is dedicated to re-investing profits in expanding business. In 2010, annual growth hit a record 48 percent and in the last three years has averaged 16 percent, with a similar forecast for 2014.
The unprecedented success is due to thinking outside the box, according to Rosário: “There are basically two types of client. One buys from the competition and is not satisfied with the product – we go in and offer something better. The second involves creating a necessity. The client is currently buying from a company that is not a direct competitor, perhaps using a glass or metallic product and in this case we prove the advantages of plastic buckets for the same purpose,” he explains.
The second category presents interesting potential. In many cases Bomix develops buckets to the exact specifications of the client and function. “Sometimes the process is fast, but sometimes can evolve over a period of years – it involves designing and approving a new mold and a completely new product,” Rosário says.
New clients and markets are the focus of the successful growth strategy and have also enabled the company to develop state-of-the-art production, introducing revolutionary products such as the rectangular bucket. “Until recently we were the only company to produce buckets in these dimensions – now others have copied, but we led the way,” Rosário says.
Together with carefully observing concerns such as lower costs and energy efficient production, this client-focused business development has made Bomix a market leader for the last 14 years.
Bomix Indústria de Embalagens Ltda was founded in 1996. The industry at the time demanded much more than the standard 20-liter bucket. It needed a specialist. The competitive characteristics of the thermoplastics sector required an immediate injection of capital, more advanced technology, organized innovation and more qualified labor to attend different areas of the market. These factors demanded a high level of quality from the start and were a big influence on Bomix.
The company is one of the most modern in the industry. “Our oldest production machinery was purchased four years ago – it is very important for us to use the latest generation technology,” Rosário affirms. Manufacture at Bomix is fully automated and the range of buckets and plastic canisters are produced electronically. Around 60 percent of the mold production process is carried out by robots.
All of the plants’ technology is imported. “We are 99 percent vertically integrated. Only metallic handles used in some models are purchased from outside,” Rosário says. Bomix buys polypropylene and polyethylene from Brazilian chemical giant Braskem and resin is molded and finished on site.
Bomix operates from 14,500-square-meter headquarters in Salvador, state capital of Bahia in the north-eastern region of Brazil. It is the most modern in Latin America, with its own logistics and distribution center. The factory also has a ‘clean room’ (sala limpa) exclusively for printing and labelling, which uses advanced off-set and screen printing techniques. It is equipped with 26 injection machines as well as mold label application technology.
A second 5,000-square-meter facility in Jundiaí, São Paulo produces blown plastic canisters and Bomix also has a representative office in Fortaleza (Ceará state). The company has a total of 650 staff.
Bomix uses polyethylene and polypropylene to manufacture a range of round and rectangular buckets and canisters in varying sizes for diverse industries including food, chemical and petrochemical. Bomix products are used to carry margarines, preserves, dairy products, concentrated juices, paints, proofers and fertilizers among others.
“Production is extremely diverse and we are constantly developing new clients, so there is no flagship product or bestseller,” Rosário confirms. “In the paints sector the 18-liter bucket sells more, in the food and paints sectors the 15 and 20-liter models respectively are more common – each client and industry is individual.”
Bomix buckets can hold volumes of 3.2 to 22 liters depending on the clients’ requirements.
The company currently supplies the whole country, South America and parts of Africa, primarily from Salvador, where 95 percent of production takes place. Rosário points out, however, that exports are not of primary concern: “Many of our customers buy our products and take them to sites and subsidiaries abroad.” Instead, Bomix remains centered on investing in technology that more than meets clients’ needs. New machinery, robots and molds or similar substitutes are among the list of recent acquisitions that he provides. “We have a very high index of modernization, every year at least 10 percent of revenue is redirected into infrastructure,” he says.
Even current political and economic uncertainty is not seen as an obstacle for investment and growth. “Bomix quality is ever present in the service that we offer – through oursales team, which knows the market inside-out and by the products they work with. Our level of professionalism can absorb fluctuations in taxes and in the economy because we remain focused on solving problems, not politics or economics,” Rosário says.
By concentrating on expanding markets, Bomix automatically reduces the impact of external influences on performance. Partnerships, value for money and innovation are constant priorities in a market that the company sees as having endless opportunity.
“It’s not about the bucket – it’s about providing customer service,” Rosário concludes.