SINCE 2015, MCG Industries’ Namibia Division in Windhoek has been manufacturing rigid plastics and distributing flexible packaging to the Namibian and Angolan FMCG markets.
South Africa’s flexible and rigid plastics packaging converter, MCG Industries, chose Windhoek – at the heart of Namibia’s beverage, dairy and poultry production sector – as the place to establish the country’s first crate production plant with two existing injection moulding lines relocated from the company’s Johannesburg facility.
‘Crates were previously imported from South Africa, including from our own Johannesburg plant,’ remarks export manager, Natasha Adam Mehtar. ‘Being closer to key customers such as Namibian Breweries, Namibian Dairies, Namibian Bottling and SAB Miller has speeded up delivery times, reduced logistics costs, improved service levels and enabled such customers to return their damaged crates to us for local recycling and replacement,’ she adds.
According to country manager, Lorenzo Rieth, the plant is located just 2km from Namibian Breweries’ plant, and features ample outdoor storage space to accommodate the recycling operation.
‘Producing granulate on-site enables 100% quality control,’ he remarks. ‘This regrind material – that’s never mixed with virgin feedstock – can sometimes affect efficiencies, depending on how long the crates have been exposed to the elements and the ways they’ve been used in the market. For example, if particles are lodged in the surface they require more intensive washing and a double sifting process,’ he notes.
Lorenzo also points out that thorough planning and coordination with raw material suppliers – Durban-based Safripol or MCG Rigids, depending on availability – is of paramount importance to ensure availability – is of paramount importance to ensure everything’s on-site before sizeable crate orders are produced. ‘Organisation and maximising uptime is vital because these orders can consume up to three tons/ day of raw materials, and usually take three to four months to produce at a monthly capacity between 20 000 and 22 000 units,’ he explains.
The operation, however, doesn’t only focus on rigid plastics production, it has successfully been manufacturing and distributing flexibles packaging to the food and beverage industries. ‘The business is expanding into other exciting markets such as courier, medical and snack packaging following its success in the poultry, beverage and fishing industries,’ remarks Natasha Adam Mehtar.
The most challenging operational factors, however, are the severe impact on the Namibian economy caused by the decline in the construction sector and a three-year drought. ‘In combination, they’ve resulted in job losses and a decrease in consumer demand, as well as declines in production and volumes in the agricultural, dairy and beverage sectors,’ she reports.
MCG has used this rebuilding period as a positive motivator as part of its mission to create a converting business that withstands the rigours of any economic climate. ‘We’re constantly reviewing our processes and business models to become more cost-effective, exploiting further market opportunities in neighbouring Angola, and, as our machinery is very versatile, investigating the creation of different types of rigid plastics containers and products, as well as flexible packaging formats,’ Lorenzo Rieth comments. ‘We also hope for a more positive 2019 as enquiries are on the increase and we’re seeing more government tenders being publicised.’