Among the leaders in the manufacture of injection molded plastic goods, Marfinite Produtos Sintéticos Ltda supplies a number of different industries. Wherever you may be in Brazil, you are never far from one of the company’s many different products. Reuben Ford reports.
When Marfinite Produtos Sintéticos Ltda began business in 1961, it produced chairs and industrial crates from plastic reinforced with fiberglass. This method was discontinued with the arrival of injection molding equipment, which changed the manufacturing processes used by the company. Marfinite used injection molding to produce its products until today, working primarily with polypropylene and polyethylene. These raw materials are purchased from the Brazilian petrochemical industry and modified with other components in state-of-the-art production techniques to add extra strength and quality typical of Marfinite.
Today, the company produces more than 500 different plastic products. These include garden furniture, industrial and domestic furniture, water tanks, plastic crates for the food industry, containers for transport of goods and materials, plastic balls (which have various applications including in the cosmetics, electronics, furniture, crafts and hardware industries) and bins and garbage disposal equipment.
Since 2004, Marfinite has been certified by ISO: 9001:2000 for the design and manufacture of recycled plastic resin containers and accessories for industrial purposes.
The seal of quality is one that Marfinite takes very seriously. The company has 75 injection molding machines, which produce its various lines. “Our machinery comes from four different countries: manufactured in Brazil, using technology developed in Germany, Italy and China,” says Chief Executive Officer Ivantidio Mendes. Since the beginning, the company has been a pioneer, using the latest equipment and techniques available, and leading the Brazilian, and occasionally, the world market.
THE PERFECT SOLUTION
One of the innovative processes created by the company is the ‘Logística Reversa’ (reverse logistics). This involves clients sending their products to Marfinite, which then designs and manufactures personalized storage crates. The process is an exchange, with ideas passing back and forth before the ideal solution is met. The company logo can even be stamped on the re-usable containers. Such a service is common with pharmaceutical companies and the food industry.
“In fact, we are present in any area of the economy you think of, from the automotive (Mercedes and Ford) and aviation (Infraero) industries, to bars and restaurants,” says Mendes. The broad spectrum of clients has been a key factor in the development of the business, which does not rely on one particular sector for survival. “When one area experiences difficulties, sales from the others sustain our growth,” he notes. All of the divisions are interlinked, with leading product lines. Marfinite is currently the leading supplier of plastic balls to the cosmetics industry, with clients such as Natura and Boticário, as well as the supplier of all the plastic seating in São Paulo’s Morumbi Stadium.
With such large, successful clients, Marfinite has many strings in its bow. McDonald’s is another important customer, which renews its order on a regular basis, submitting the old stock for recycling and commissioning new products. The company projects additional 25 percent growth in the domestic market in 2009, and also intends to raise exports from the current 8 percent to 20 percent of total revenue. Marfinite exports to the U.S., Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Mexico.
INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE
All of the products are manufactured at the company’s premises in Itaquaquecetuba, São Paulo. The 236,000-square-meter site contains four production facilities, each responsible for a product line. Buildings of 30,000 square meters house plants for heavy duty injection molding and lightweight injection molding, a factory for the manufacture of the balls and an assembly unit. “Some products require stamping, or the addition of wheels or handles, and these operations take place at the specially equipped assembly building,” explains Marketing Executive Sílvia Cadeville. The industrial park also has eight recycling plants, as well as a commercial factory store. Marfinite employs 650 people, and has more than 200 distributors, of which five are abroad.
Over the last 12 months, the company has invested heavily in infrastructure, increasing its size by 20 percent and machinery by 25 percent, representing 15 new pieces of industrial equipment. “The changes are a part of our strategy to modernize our technology and maintain sustainable energy sources at the facilities,” explains Mendes.
Marfinite is also implementing a $5 million information technology project to update the computer systems and integrate these with the manufacturing processes. The project is about 25 percent complete and will be finished by the end of 2009.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Considerable investment is also made in new products. The company launches on average three new plastic products every year, which are the result of market studies. Mendes and two of the other partners travel around the world, in particular to European countries to analyze the latest engineering, creative designs, and technology available. “We have a stock of over 7,500 molds, from which we can formulate new products, as well as create new procedures,” says Mendes. The research involves the consideration of details such as color that can be very important to specific clients. “We understand the market trends and are aware that they are important to our customers,” he continues.
Products are also developed through the close relationship that Marfinite has with its clients. According to the chief executive officer, this is one of the essential factors in maintaining the lead in individual market sectors. In the production of plastic transformers for the electrical engineering industry, Marfinite is one of the three largest suppliers in Latin America, for example. “We are either the market leader or the ‘vice’ leader. If not we don’t participate in that market at all,” says Mendes.
Along with the company’s consolidated position and experience, unbeatable quality and modern machinery, the ambitious and aggressive marketing strategy firmly places it ahead of others. “Marfinite has become a synonym for products in some areas,” continues Mendes. “People will say ‘pass me the Marfinite,’ instead of using the name of the object. This is an important breakthrough for us as a benchmark in the industry.”
The combination of all these factors is also safeguarding Marfinite from the potential threats of the economic crisis. Despite increased sales, Mendes does point out that the difficult climate has caused the company “to separate the chaff from the wheat” in analyzing business practices and applying specific management techniques. Fortunately, the growth of important clients and new contracts both in Brazil and abroad has sustained Marfinite’s enviable position.
In a complicated economic climate, Marfinite’s leading plastic products are dominating the market. Valued client relationships and well-planned investment strategies ensure that the company continues to enjoy its success. With recyclable, high quality products available across a range of markets, Marfinite is a lasting brand.