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Gerardo Chiaia, CEO Logoplaste (Source: Logoplaste)

Logoplaste & The Converter Business

Creating a positive impact - When you play both sides of the field, your perspective widens


"We all want our customers to be happy while at the same time creating a positive impact in the world we live in. I guess you can summarize it as serving with purpose, with a fair dose of innovation and unparallel customer service.''

 

Gerardo, you are well known in the packaging business, and you know this business from the machinery side. How is life on the other side – the customer side?

It is true: I have 24 years of experience in the plastic industry, machine side, having served in many positions and countries. This has given me an in-depth knowledge of the business, be it about its shortcomings or its potential and impact on society.

Being on the customer side gets you closer to consumer needs and trends, but it is not really all that different as we also have clients that we serve by:

  • Delivering on time, on budget and with impeccable quality
  • Sharing innovative solutions and ideas that we can help put into motion
  • Working together to deliver the most sustainable packaging in the market and integrating it into local Circular Economies – this means that we need to understand what recycling loops are in place.
  • Provide outstanding customer service. This is essential due to our Wall-to-Wall business model, where we are embedded in our clients’ premises.

The pressure is the same and the commitments are similar. For me, taking care of my team is and will always be a priority.

Do you manage by a strategic gap approach? What are the growth drivers you deploy to fill the gap? What difficulties and challenges do you face in this regard?

First, we are in markets that continue to grow: rigid plastic containers are forecasted to continue to grow at a compounded annual growth of +/-2% year.

Secondly, our W2W model is expected to gain market share in the coming years:

  1. CPGs increased pressure to improve/ maintain margins opting for more cost-efficient packaging production models like W2W
  2. Rise in transportation costs
  3. Increased pressure and commitments to reduce carbon footprint.

In addition, PET and HDPE perform better than alternatives when comparing the entire life cycle of the product, and recycled PET outperforms across all dimensions.

I remain positive about our future, but we need to rethink the way we operate.

In 2019, a leading retailer was exploring how to launch a curbside-delivery business; the plan stretched over 18 months. When the COVID-19 lockdown hit the United States, it went live in two days. Speed matters. During the current crisis, we have worked faster and better than we dreamed possible just a few months ago. We have engaged a transformation to digitalize the order to cash process and improve dramatically time to market with the goal to reduce it by 30% while maintaining agility and flexibility. Finally, we need to rethink the organization. All employees have a shared sense of purpose; they know what the company stands for, beyond shareholder value, and how to get things done right. We need to make clear who we are, how we work and how we grow. All of these initiatives have one goal: serve our clients and the end consumer better!

 

What is the position of Logoplaste in company size, technology, global presence, cost leadership, etc., compared to global competitors?

I have a huge respect for our competition, but on the other hand, I must state that we are different. We are a global Wallto-Wall leader of rigid plastic packaging with unmatched flexibility, agility and time to market. We have a global reach and a diversified market. Our business is evenly split between Europe and the Americas. We play essentially in resilient and essential markets such as home care, personal care, food and dairy, rather than a generalist we are specialists in the markets we are in. I strongly believe that a company to survive and sustainably grow must have a strong sense of purpose and a social impact. At Logoplaste, we have the conviction that the more we can penetrate the market with a W2W approach, the better it is for the planet - less secondary packaging and lower C02 footprint. We have a clear commitment to sustainability and environment preservation.

 

What different innovation horizons in the packaging industry do you see or are you working on? Faster production, lighter packaging - or bolder, pioneering, daring innovations? What are your visions for Logoplaste?

I think our industry needs to have a positive impact on the environment, so anything we develop has to be towards that goal, the rest is not important.

 

What future is the packaging industry betting on?

Some elements will become key to the industry:

  • High flexibility of production ¡ Personalization and engagement with consumers
  • E-Commerce
  • True circularity, without ambiguity, is probably the most relevant. With this comes a proper design for circularity that is something that we are still starting to do. This is the time of social responsibility!

 

What is the core competence of the plastic packaging industry today?

Plastic packaging remains in most of its applications the best solution environmentally. We need to capitalize on this and come with real data backing it up. The other point that we really need to discuss is our real problem today - and that is: growing population and un-balance growing consumerism. People need to understand where the real problem lies.In some cases, we use more secondary packaging than primary packaging. This doesn’t make any sense.

 

What are the weak market positions of plastic packaging?

The industry failed to respond as a whole, and we have permitted some solutions that contaminate existing recycling streams. So we need to be courageous and bolder on some decisions so that we can show the full potential of circularity of plastic packaging: fully recyclable, can be made from recycled material, from biobased materials. It is up to us to make it happen properly. We will need proper legislation to assure this as well.

 

Gerardo Chiaia: ''I strongly believe that a company to survive and sustainably grow must have a strong sense of purpose and a social impact. At Logoplaste, we have the conviction that the more we can penetrate the market with a W2W approach, the better it is for the planet.''

 

Where is the packaging industry heading in your opinion? Only one direction: lighter, faster, cheaper…? Can it go on and on like this?

We start going in the right direction. Instead of looking at things individually, we are beginning to look at the solutions as a whole. In some cases, to have proper recycling efficiency, we might even need to increase weights, or to remove colours, even additives as well as labels. We need to start looking at the ideation process, with recyclability first and foremost, and ensure we take this as a constant in the entire development process.

 

Do you expect disruptive gamechangers in the packaging industry? Where could they be coming from? Do you see new business models that could completely change your business processes?

For sure, AI and digitalization will be the next big thing. We are only starting as an industry to apply AI.

 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What does AI and Big Data mean for the packaging industry?

Unprecedented quality, time to market, and transparency at all levels. Big Data will enable us to generate models and algorithms that will first allow adjustment of industrial processes around a predefined “target” or “reference” and at a second stage the ability to propose and challenge the “Status Quo”.

This will be important as we will start receiving directions and insights that we might have never considered.

 

From what segments of the packaging value chain are the true innovations coming? What are the innovation drivers along the entire pack packaging value chain: machine area, material area or technology side?

You can see innovations coming from different areas. All of them have been able to continue contributing. The most significant difference, probably, at this stage is that we are starting to have a transversal approach and view of the market. The big solution providers are no more looking at the individual equipment, but exactly at the transversal solution inside the value chain. This is where most of the disruptions will occur, and the future technology leaders will come from this approach.

www.logoplaste.com

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