A lot has changed since Hermes Elias de Moura founded Lord after working his way up to factory manager in one of the first packaging companies in São Paulo, Brazil. From its start working with scrap material, which was perfect for some products, Lord began to aim at other markets. In 1974, the company started to use polyethylene resin as raw material to reach segments of the market demanding better quality than street market and garbage bags, or plastic packages used for some agricultural products.
“Quality is a tricky concept in our business. It might be directly related to the product’s purpose. It doesn’t make sense to utilize prime raw material to manufacture garbage bags,” explains Herman Brian, the founder’s son. “We use top quality raw material for other segments of the market, which are more sophisticated. There were moments in our history that demanded progressive investments in new equipment and we followed the flow,” he adds.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Lord started to direct its efforts towards personalized packaging products and t-shirt bags for supermarkets and department stores. The production capacity grew from 1,500 tons in the 1980s to 45,000 tons recorded last year. Today, Lord maintains three manufacturing facilities in Brazil. Combined, the industrial plants occupy over 40,000 square meters.
Although plastic bags and industrial packaging comprise the majority of production, t-shirt plastic bags, no-fabric TNT and embossed films have progressively advanced in volume
produced. Over 6,000 of TNT and embossed films were manufactured in 2006, fulfilling the growth in diaper, sanitary and absorbent pads production.
In the last three years, Lord started to export to the U.S., in addition to Central and Latin America. The beginning of the embossed films and no-woven TNT production that started in 2003 and 2005, respectively, encouraged the exports. At that time, Lord introduced verticalized production and new technologies such as master batch, in which a combination of color modifiers is added to the packaging.
The company has also developed a broad range of product differentiators, including changing a product’s final properties, adding bactericides, fungus inhibitors and aroma, in addition to enhancing physical and mechanical properties. TNT films have a wide variety of applications besides diapers and pads, including mattress and furniture manufacturing. The stretch and shrink films have also been growing as a niche.
Another technique that Lord has spread among its production lines is called barrier, which aims at increasing the shelf life of products, such as sausage packaging or fresh meat. “All sorts of plastics for product protection is in high demand,” says Brian. “Our products have a great deal of acceptance by large chains of supermarkets and stores, such as Wal Mart,” he adds.
Among the 10 largest companies in the country, Lord is a company of private capital with a diversified industrial park, where its three plants are ready to respond to customers’ demands with technology, quality and quick delivery times. The first industrial park was built in Santo Amaro, São Paulo and in the 1991, Lord built a unit in Sorocaba, less than 100 km from the capital São Paulo.
The head office and main industrial park are in Sorocaba, a city with roughly 600,000 inhabitants, which has been home for technological excellence and harbors more than 1,600 industries. In the last three years, the expansion generated by new demands in the production of films and TNT led the company to build other units in Guarulhos (SP) and Vitória da Conquista, Bahia.
Lord has constantly modernized, which has enabled the company to develop an information technology center with several computer terminals connecting all the operations and making the information quickly available. Its laboratories offer ultra modern equipment and excellent staff.
Another distinction is the company’s careful concern with internal administration and structure. Its administration is comprised of self-managed teams that are reliable and responsible. Lord utilizes the business management system Datasul, which integrates all plants, sectors, and operations, allowing the information to be available in real time. The whole structure is controlled from its head office in Sorocaba.
Even the commercialization structure, with representation all over the world, is carefully supervised. Procedures such as retention samples and constant documentation help to accelerate investigations in case of any problem. Lord is also proud of offering a professional technical assistance team.
Lord has recently installed state-of-the-art technology in its facilities, similar to what was developed by NASA during space missions in order to minimize the risks of food contamination. The HACCP technology, which stands for hazard analysis and critical control points, offers an extensive follow-up of raw-materials, processes, physical, chemical and microbiological factors that affect each subsequent operation and the product. HACCP has been recommended by several organizations in Brazil, Europe and the USA.
Always searching for excellence in quality standards, Lord has also implemented management programs, such as the “5S” program, in its integrated system of quality. “5S” is a practice developed in Japan in the 1960s, known as housekeeping at the administration level, mixing common sense, organization, cleaning, maintenance and self-discipline. Other programs such as CRS, focused on environmental awareness, and IPE, concerning health and security, are integrated into Lord’s management philosophy.
Analysis laboratories, production control and research are a constant part of Lord’s efforts. Besides its ISO: 9001 and 9002 certifications, obtained between 2000 and 2002, Lord has been implementing ISO: 14000 standards, for which the company has been preparing since 2005.
As a pioneer using recycled materials, Lord understands the importance of its social role. It plans on continuing to grow through total awareness of its social and environmental responsibility. “Consumer, environment and community – these are the three key points in our philosophy. And we learn to serve them better each day,” concludes Brian.