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Waking up to the sound of the alarm clock and going to the kitchen, half asleep, for the first cup of morning coffee is a routine in millions of homes. The most incredible thing is that we can describe in detail that first cup of coffee, but we seldom realize that the container that holds it is the result of the work of many people and of a whole industry that takes place behind it.

If we carefully look at our homes, we will find that practically all products, from food to hygiene to pharmaceuticals, among others, always have a package that contains, preserves and protects them.

Packages and More Packages

For Lima, Peru-based Peruplast, packages are the air it breathes. In flexible packaging, Peruplast says it is synonymous with quality, technology, innovation, creativity and dedication. Its specialty is the fabrication of flexible packaging for food, personal care, cleaning products, frozen foods, labels, chemical products, agroindustry, pharmaceuticals, preformed pouches and many more.

Among its clients, Peruplast counts on local and foreign companies as well as regional and international companies. Peruplast’s philosophy focuses on satisfying its clients’ needs by using the best technologies and the talents of its employees to design and manufacture flexible, high-quality packaging.

“Behind each packaging there is a great human and industrial effort, from the design itself of the final package, the development and selection of materials to be used and also the productive processes to manufacture hundreds of thousands of items,” General Manager Carlos Bragagnini says. “Peruplast has shown that dreams come true and that it is possible to export our products from Peru to a variety of countries in the world.”

Most of Peruplast’s clients provide their own graphic designs. Peruplast adapts each design to its production processes and reproduces it exactly to how the client wants it. The company invests millions of dollars in the best machinery technology, as well as equipment and the latest-generation graphic design programs. But none of this would be useful without the investment the company makes in its people.

Peruplast knows very well that containers are a key element in the sale of any type of product. Its clients demand that their products are presented to the eyes of the customers in attractive packaging. The packaging design must have graphic diversity, visual impact and they cannot compromise significantly the cost of the product.

The packaging is the silent seller on any shelf. Not only does it contain all the product information, but the packaging’s colors, design and presentation can be determining factors for the success of a product in the market.

Experts in the Market

Peruplast has several printing systems that can provide each client with the complete solution for its packaging needs. The company takes care of clients big and small, taking into consideration their needs for high-quality flexible packaging.

The best packaging design allows the customer to perceive the innate qualities of the product and to be inspired to purchase it. The client, as well as the final costumer, also takes into account the packaging’s storage convenience, ease of transportation and recyclability, among other factors.

Peruplast says that 45 percent of its packaging is targeted to food products. These include sauces, snacks, cookies, pasta, rice and other products that are in great demand in Peru. It also produces packages for the agro-industry, as well as packages for export goods such as seafood and meat. Other significant markets for its packaging are hygiene products such as detergents, bathroom tissue, napkins, diapers, feminine products, soap, shampoo, deodorant, perfume and lotions.

For Peruplast, the size of a container is not an obstacle. The company has developed 45 ml containers for “pisco,” a popular grape liquor in Peru, as well as 50 kg containers for fertilizers.

Innovation is a key element for Peruplast. An example can be seen in its “Paneton” packaging, a Christmas bread previously sold only in cardboard boxes and polypropylene bags. The company developed a new high-preservation package with a zipper, handle and laser pre-cut for easy opening. The product had a 7,000 percent sales increase in four years, creating with it a new category in the market and motivating other companies to use it for their products. The success of this packaging also resulted in Peruplast wining a local prize for business creativity.

 To ensure the quality of its products, the company also counts on an expert R&D team, as well as technical and graphic consultants. It uses the best technology available in the world for its flexographic, rotogravure, extrusion and lamination processes. In addition, Peruplast purchases all its raw materials from the best global providers, ensuring that they always comply with FDA regulations.

Concerned for the Environment

The environment is also a matter of great importance for Peruplast. That is why the company is always careful in the materials it uses, and it continuously tries to minimize the carbon footprints of the containers it manufactures.

The environmental focus of the company revolves around reductions in its energy consumption and water use and in maintaining air quality. “We had a solvent-based manufacturing process for printing plates, but two years ago we discontinued it, going to a thermal process that enabled us to reduce energy use and gas emissions by 60 and 51 percent, respectively,” Bragagnini reports.

In keeping with the continuous practice of the 4Rs – reduce, reuse, recover and recycle – some of the materials used, such as polyethylene, are recycled by the company and used to manufacture other products not destined for food or hygiene products. In the same vein, all of Peruplast’s waste is crushed and compacted so it can be used by third parties in the production of several types of products, such as pallets and roofing materials.

Five Decades of Growth

Peruplast has been a part of the Alusa group since 2007. This partnership has made it the largest producer of flexible packaging in Latin America. “Peruplast, on its own, is the largest manufacturer of flexible packaging in Peru,” Bragagnini notes.

The company was founded in 1962 by Hans Traver, who by that time had moved to Peru from the United States. “The first sheet of polyethylene in Peru was manufactured by Peruplast,” Bragagnini says.

From its inception, the vision of Peruplast has been to be the manufacturing leader of flexible packaging. The company has exceeded its goal, Bragagnini maintains, and it is taking its leadership to international levels and producing packaging that meets its clients’ strictest and most demanding requirements.

“As Peruplast grew, several investments were made,” he explains. “At the beginning, we acquired machinery for bag production and then we moved on to the production of packaging. Nowadays, we don’t manufacture bags, but we specialize in the production of flexible packaging for all types of products.”

In 2007, Peruplast was acquired by Alusa, which is also a packaging manufacturer with plants in Chile and Argentina, and by the Interbank Group, one of the main investment firms in Peru and also owner of one of the country’s major supermarket chains, Plaza Vea and Vivanda.

According to Bragagnini, 65 percent of Peruplast’s production is for the local market and 35 percent is exported to over 20 countries, most recently Madagascar and the Isle of New Caledonia in Oceania.

After almost 50 years of existence, Peruplast has positioned itself in the market as one of the main manufacturers of flexible packaging in Latin America, where it is the leader in the development of highly complex technical products. Currently, the group has factories in Chile (ALUSA) and Argentina (ALUFLEX). From there, the company distributes to internal markets and also to countries in North, Central and South America.

“We have just started operating in our new 60,000-square-meter plant, which was built in 2011,” Bragagnini says. “It is our greatest pride, since we have invested in the best technical machinery and equipment. We have implemented all the security measures required by international regulations and we have developed a pleasant working environment for our people. With the new factory, we have increased our production capacity from 2,000 to 3,000 TM per month, with a potential to grow up to 4,000 TM per month. It is a mega-plant like few others in the world.”

Strong Values

Bragagnini says the Peruplast culture values honesty, loyalty, responsibility, teamwork, compromise and improvement. Its entire technical and commercial team is focused on working with clients through each phase of every new project, from the inception of the design to the delivery of the product and the post-sale service. Peruplast not only directs its efforts to developing long-term relationships with its clients and suppliers, but it goes further by creating a pleasant work environment for all of its employees.

The company belongs to the Association for Good Employers, created by initiative of the American chamber of commerce. It is also associated with the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), an organization dedicated to promoting responsible and ethical practices within the supply chains of the world.

Peruplast has a robust quality-control system and it is audited frequently by its international clients, such as Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Unilever, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. Additionally, each year Peruplast performs its own audit with the AIB (American Institute of Baking), a U.S. foundation that regulates packaging, selling and food distribution.

A Better Plant

Peruplast’s new 60,000-square-meter facility allows the company to manufacture numerous forms of flexible packaging for a grand variety of products – including food, cleaning supplies, hygiene, pharmaceutical, chemical products and anything that requires flexible packaging. The construction of the plant was completed in August, and it began operating with its newly installed machines in October of last year.

Located in Lima’s Lurin district, the plant is loaded with state-of-the-art equipment, and according to Bragagnini, a large investment was also made to install high standards of security and make the plant environmentally friendly. The infrastructure includes a main production hall, adjoining warehouses for raw materials and finished product, diverse buildings for its prepress process, a maintenance workshop, changing rooms, a health clinic and administrative offices.

Space has also been allotted for a corporate club where employees have a dining room, recreation room and auditorium for training and development events. In addition, the new plant includes 5,000 square meters of landscaping.

In the past, Peruplast had operated through two separate plants in Lima, but with the new building, the company consolidates production into one facility. “In the new plant we are becoming more efficient,” Bragagnini says. “Each process and the flow of materials have been designed to maximize the efficiency of each operation and minimize the movement of materials.” Where one process ends, the next begins.

The advanced technology in the newly purchased machinery will allow much faster production speed. Where the market standard for production speed is 200 meters per minute, Peruplast’s updated machines have the capacity to reach 400 meters per minute.

Another way the company has found to increase its efficiency comes in a less visible form. All of the electrical installations in the new plant were developed under the criteria of achieving the highest possible energy efficiency. Special attention was paid to the distances traveled by each wire leaving the central power substation, as well as the heat utilization generated by the same action.

In the new Lurin plant, Peruplast is boosting its production with shorter lead times, therefore reaching a higher point of productivity and a level of quality that places it among the best flexible packaging manufacturers in Latin America, and perhaps the world.

The company also constructed its own residual water treatment plant, which allows Peruplast a more efficient use of water. The reclaimed water is used for irrigating its green areas, as well as for toilets.

Satisfied Clients

Since the beginning, Peruplast has been a company that is focused on innovation. The success of the packaging that was developed for Paneton is not its only noteworthy case. There are many more success stories – one of them involving rotisserie chicken. “Pollo a la brasa” is a highly popular food product throughout Peru. Generally, the delicious ready-to-go meal can be found at most grocery stores, and is commonly encased in a Styrofoam package.

Last year, Peruplast began replacing this Styrofoam box – which is more expensive and has a higher carbon footprint than flexible packaging – with a specially designed, airtight, flexible plastic pouch with a zipper and a carrying handle that allows the buyer to heat the chicken in a microwave.  The updated packaging is more practical for the end-consumer as is easier to carry, open and close, and it keeps the chicken warm on the heated shelf in the grocery store.

So far, the updated container is doing very well. The client is satisfied, and the product is entering its second year on the market.  Bragagnini hopes this product’s success will continue to grow and eventually turn into a story similar to Paneton packaging. "My dream is to see all supermarkets selling our traditional pollo a la brasa, which can be pre-cooked in this type of container, refrigerated, and/or vacuum packed and exported to any part of world, ready for any consumer to simply warm in a microwave oven and enjoy some of the typical Peruvian food dishes,” Bragagnini says.

For many years, Peruplast has worked with giant clients such as Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, Nestlé, Unilever, Kimberly Clark, Fritolay, Coca-Cola, and others, a job that has been possible thanks to its organizational culture, which is to know what the client wants and needs. “Each person at Peruplast has to believe in this premise, which is one of the pillars of our culture,” Bragagnini says. “Each client has his own requirements and needs, and our responsibility is to be sufficiently flexible in attending to each one of them with excellence.”

At the end of the day, Peruplast’s success with its clients is not only based on offering competitively priced materials, but also the quality and service that accompany each one of its products. The company is strongly focused on producing the best flexible packaging in the least amount of time possible and offering outstanding service before, during and after each project.

Service begins from the time a client develops the project idea. Peruplast is with them from the design conception, through its production and launch, and then provides post-sale service. Peruplast’s client services and technical services departments are dedicated to ongoing communication with the client, ensuring he or she is satisfied at all times. “We are always looking for ways to improve since there are always opportunities to do so,” Bragagnini notes.

There is also a department devoted to graphic design. This team of 25 experienced designers works to oversee every detail of the art it receives so that when the design enters production it will be reproduced exactly as the client expected, in millions of packages.

Developing the designs is where the company’s expertise and passion play a preponderate role. “Each design is like a new baby,” Bragagnini explains. “Fortunately, where we work many people love their jobs, and when you do things with passion and you do what you love, you see excellent results.”

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