With more than 50 years of experience, Grupak, S.A. de C.V. brings plenty of expertise to Mexico’s packaging industry. Rachel Hartman reports on this large Mexican company and its ability to offer clients customized solutions for their packing needs.
When it comes to paper, workers at Grupak, S.A. de C.V. know their material – well. The packaging company doesn’t just manufacture paper and cardboard products; it also listens to clients’ specific needs and caters its products accordingly.
This emphasis on service has paid off: Grupak has grown significantly during its years in the business, and now oversees a total of six plants in central Mexico. Moreover, the company is in the process of expanding its operations even more. This project is part of an ongoing effort to meet growing demands in the market.
Grupak specializes in the manufacture of corrugated cardboard and semikraft liner and medium paper. In the corrugated cardboard segment of the company, all types of resistance are produced. Grupak manufactures liner with weights ranging from 130 to 260 grams per square meter. It also produces medium paper with weights ranging from 110 to 180 grams per square meter.
In 1957, three families – Gómez, Durante, and Zamora – joined efforts to start a small business that specialized in corrugated cardboard. Five years later, the group acquired a plant in the city of Cuernavaca; in 1966, Grupak began manufacturing liner paper and medium paper.
During the next two decades, business went well; in 1983 the company added a supply plant in Santa Clara. With this acquisition, the company was able to oversee the manufacturing process of its products from start to finish, making it a fully integrated business. This strategy also allowed Grupak the ability to guarantee the specifications, including quality and weight, of the packaging materials produced at its plants.
In 2003, the company built a corrugated cardboard manufacturing plant in Toluca; when constructed, this plant was one of the most modern facilities of its kind in Latin America.
In 2009, the company acquired a machine to print images and graphics of up to six colors. It also initiated an extensive campaign on safety, with topics such as “The 12 Best Practices” and “On-the-job Risk Analysis.” In addition, Grupak began working toward obtaining Clean Industry certification.
That same year, Grupak added a second supply plant, this time in the city of Lerma. The following year, it built a third supply plant in the town of Cuautitlán.
Due to the company’s growing demands, it has recently taken on another expansion project. Plans are underway to build a plant in Hidalgo; when finished, this facility will have the capacity to produce 600 tons of semikraft paper per day, and 216,000 tons a year. This installation will allow Grupak to more than double its current output.
Operations at the company are carried out by 700 workers. Grupak has corporate offices located in Mexico City. It also has two paper plants, two corrugated cardboard plants and three supply plants, all located in the central region of Mexico. Together, these facilities manufacture 240 tons of paper a day and 81,000 tons annually. The plants produce a total of 78,000 tons of corrugated cardboard per year.
The company’s six plants are located in the following locations: in Cuernavaca, a paper plant that measures 30,000 square meters and a corrugated cardboard plant that covers 20,000 square meters; in Toluca, a corrugated cardboard plant that takes up 42,430 square meters; in Santa Clara, a supply plant that covers 5,682 square meters; in Cuautitlán, a supply plant that takes up 3,277 square meters; in Lerma, a supply plant that covers an area of 1,856 square meters.
Throughout its years of operations, Grupak has made an effort to stay up to date with the latest technology. It has continually invested in innovative equipment, favoring machinery that increases efficiency and production rates. This strategy has helped the company become a leader in the packaging market. In Mexico, Grupak holds the sixth position for companies in the paper industry. In the corrugated cardboard segment, it currently comes in seventh place.
In the packaging market, Grupak stands out for its strong focus on the client. The company maintains a well-trained professional staff and also provides ongoing training sessions for its employees. These workers, in turn, take time to listen to clients’ needs and offer customized solutions. To ensure quality, the company maintains ISO 9000 certification.
This approach has caused many Mexican companies to turn to Grupak for their packaging needs. Among some of the company’s notable clients are Jumex, a large beverage company; Grupo Porcelanite, which sells ceramic tile; Unilever, a consumer goods company; Pedro Domeq, a wine and spirits firm; and Blanqueadora Mexicana, a bleach seller.
The company currently distributes both paper and corrugated cardboard products throughout Mexico. With its new machinery, it plans to export semikraft paper to the United States and other countries in Latin America.
Since it first began operations, Grupak has taken on a socially responsible approach. In 1991, it began the construction of a water treatment plant for residual waters, a project that has allowed it to recirculate between 20 and 25 percent of the water used in its plants. The remaining water travels through a canal and is used for agricultural irrigation in the surrounding area.
Currently, all of the products Grupak manufactures are made from 100 percent recycled fiber. Recently the company won a national award for its energy saving system. It is also certified in Mexico as a safe company.
As a company, Grupak oversees literary programs for adults that did not finish middle school. It also participates in reforestation programs. The company offers employment to handicapped and disabled workers.
In recent years, the company has branched into the area of graphic packaging. It has also set a goal of increasing production levels of its paper products by 150 percent.
This goal will be carried out as part of the company’s expansion project, which includes a system that can produce 600 tons of paper per day. This project will involve the rebuilding of a relocated fine paper machine for Grupak’s new plant in Hidalgo. The relocated machinery will be reconditioned and modified to manufacture recycled containerboard grades. The companies Voith and Metso will supply and install the equipment.
In the coming years, Grupak has plans to increase the production rates of corrugated cardboard. To carry this out, it plans to open a plant that will have the capacity to produce 4,000 tons of corrugated cardboard per month with new equipment. The company is currently working on this project.
Grupak has plans to receive certification as a socially responsible company for its industry. It also wants to expand its current presence in the market of high resistance boxes. Finally, it is looking into developing an aggregated value system to its packing paper in Mexico.
To achieve its goals, the company plans to draw on both its experience and expertise. Grupak has had ongoing operations in Mexico for more than five decades. It continues to focus on delivering solutions that provide cost benefits to its clients. Its high quality products will continue to keep goods well protected until they reach their point of delivery for years to come.