Latin America's biggest manufacturer of plastic crates, boxes and parts researches its markets constantly to expand applications and maximize service. Reuben Ford reports on the flexible and eclectic nature of an industry leader.
Plásticos Pisani SA has 40 years of experience in producing injection molded plastic packing solutions and has increased its product portfolio to include sectors such as furniture and car components.
Brazil-based Pisani is the leading company in the segment in Latin America, supplying some of the world’s largest companies (such as Coca-Cola and General Motors).
Identifying the resistant, robust, impervious, lightweight and economical qualities of plastic from the start, Pisani has always been one step ahead. The company produces molds and plastic compounds that fit the needs of a growing number of diverse markets.
“Innovation in injection plastics doesn’t come from the machinery – one of our strengths is production of our own molds, create the best products,” says Commercial Director, Vasco José Bosi.
Plásticos Pisani was founded in 1973 in Caxias do Sul (Rio Grande do Sul state), the result of a joint venture between wood producer Germano Pisani Ltda and D.W. Plastic, a Belgian company. The union immediately changed the future of packing solutions for the food and drink industry, manufacturing light-weight crates and boxes for transport and storage.
In 1979 the company began making its own molds, allowing considerable product diversification and bringing technology that also optimized recycling.
Constant development and dynamic growth required the inauguration of a new facility in 1995, this time strategically located in Brazil’s industrial capital, São Paulo. The Pindamonhangaba factory improved services and increased market coverage.
By 1998, the high-level of production, professionalism and competitiveness of the company attracted the attention of the LINPAC Group, a multinational specialist in the sector. The group became the majority partner, propelling the company into new markets such as car parts.
Eleven years later, the founding partners together with two investment funds bought back the company from LINPAC through the Pisani family holding.
Pisani now leads the Latin American market, manufacturing 36,000 tons of plastic products a year for eight different lines; chicken, pig, groceries, bakery (diverse/specialist), drinks, industrial, automotive parts and furniture industries. “We are always launching new products and adapting existing ones to meet demand,” Bosi adds.
Pisani’s best seller is the crate for drinks/bottles. Clients such as Ambev and Coca-Cola buy the recycled packing crates, suitably personalized with their logo. The boxes are returnable, reusable and offer light, durable packing for bottles. The division represents 40 percent of total revenue.
Automotive parts account for 18 percent of sales – Pisani supplies Volkswagen and General Motors with components such as bumpers, coverings and ventilation boxes.
“Our third largest division is categorized as diverse/specialized products. Covering 17 percent of annual revenue, these include crates and packing units for the dairy, fishing and bakery industries used in sending goods to supermarkets (such as Carrefour and Pão de Açucar), restaurants and factories among others,” Bosi contiues.
All of Pisani’s products are manufactured by high-pressure injection molding. A variety of nationally produced and imported injection machinery is the object of constant investment to maintain the most modern and technologically advanced processes. “Our state-of-the-art technology runs at 30 percent less energy consumption than conventional machines,” Bosi adds.
Investment has most recently been directed toward expansion of Pisani’s facilities. A third factory, opened in 2012, in the north eastern city of Recife (Pernambuco state) is currently undergoing extension to increase production capacity. Bosi confirms: “By the second semester of 2013 work will be complete on our 6,000-squaremeter plant in Recife – including installation of twelve new injection molding machines.”
The factory adds the 16,000-square-meter headquarters in Caxias do Sul and 13,000-square-meter Pindamonhangaba factory.
The locations are strategically placed to cover the entire country as well as exports efficiently (5 percent of products are currently exported to Latin America – mainly Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia). According to Bosi, the strongest market for the company is the south and south east of Brazil (70 percent of sales).
New products and lines are initiated by a committee that works closely with all departments to come up with suitable prototypes. “Development is an exchange between the committee, sales, design and engineering teams and the client,” Bosi explains.
According to initial research Pisani approves the plans and can make a mold. “A piece can then be manufactured and tested to see if it satisfies design requirements and most of all to see if it meets the client’s every need,” he elaborates.
Know-how and market studies are important tools in this process, as products are launched continuously and Pisani’s flexibility as well as production capacity complete new and existing contracts punctually.
The steadfast nature of production and the transparent company policies are clear. Pisani has successfully maintained 15 percent annual growth year after year, and Bosi predicts continuation of this expansion for 2013. “Clients can expect increases in the bottle packing, automotive and industrial containers divisions,” he confirms.
Strong relationships between the 660 staff, community and suppliers are an integral part of Pisani’s continued success. All employees are enrolled in health and safety programs to prevent accidents and create environmental awareness. The efforts are part of an ongoing service and quality policy.
“Customer satisfaction is paramount. Every year we conduct a survey of our 750 main clients, asking them to assess our service; 99 percent rate us good or excellent,” Bosi says.
Recognition comes not only from the customers but the industry itself. Pisani is ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified – proof of consolidated performance and quality. “Pisani products all conform to industry regulations, including health, safety, occupational and environmental standards. We use recyclable raw materials, and operate residue management schemes,” Bosi says.
Pisani’s corporate policies guided the business successfully through the crisis of 2009, which stagnated growth, but did reduce revenue. Bosi also points out that just one year later the company recovered its usual expansion rate.
It is new projects run by Pisani’s largest clients that dictate changes for the company. Market tendencies for product dimensions inspire adjustments – changes to which Pisani is accustomed after years of strategic growth.
Increasing infrastructure, product lines, technology and revenue, Pisani’s success is as strong and durable as its plastic.