Afripack Consumer Flexibles hits a high note, receiving the Winning Partnership Award 2010 from Tiger Brands Snacks & Treats. KAREN STRETCH discovers the secret to its success.

AT the recent Tiger Brands Snacks & Treats (TBST) Supplier Awards event, Afripack Consumer Flexibles (ACF) was awarded the prestigious Winning Partnership Award 2010.

The annual function honours suppliers whom TBST believes have made valuable contributions to its business.

‘The Winning Partnership award recognises a supplier’s skill to make a difference by creating collaborative win-win partnerships,’ explains Umashani Naidoo, Beacon procurement manager: packaging. ‘Afripack’s ability to embrace a challenge and turn it into a winning formula, thus realising benefits for both parties, is commendable.’

ACF’s award comes in the wake of the successful packaging relaunch of the Beacon’s 45g, 100g and 200g chocolate slabs.
‘We’re very proud of this latest success,’ enthuses Tyrone Voller, ACF Flexibles marketing manager. ‘Considering our short history, it’s a wonderful achievement and an equally wonderful message to be sending to our market. We can only grow from here.’

He’s referring to the fact that it’s just one year since Afripack purchased most of Astrapak’s Flexibles division, which propelled Afripack into South Africa’s highly competitive consumer flexible packaging industry (Supplement PPM, Sept09).

In that short space of time, significant investments have been made in the best technology and the right people, and ACF has been transformed into one cohesive business with a tight-knit team.

Derek Huntley, Afripack exco member, has worked closely with Beacon for many years and understands the importance of teamwork and close collaboration. Having experienced the transition from Astraflex to ACF, and having great belief in Afripack’s ‘Sisonke’ culture, as well as the role this plays in the market place, he’s convinced that a major factor in ACF’s success has been the ability to understand customers’ brands and to develop suitable packaging solutions.
‘Beacon has an exceptionally strong set of values and work principles; and much of our success comes from realising those values and developing synergies,’ Derek explains.

For Beacon, communication and integrity are the cornerstones of any relationship and building a winning partnership means finding suppliers who share the company’s values and are prepared to embrace challenges along the way.

‘The category team at Beacon was adamant and uncompromising when it came to quality requirements for the relaunch,’ Derek continues. ‘Once we understood the brief and focused on achieving common goals, it worked incredibly well.’  

Nosi Shoniwa, Beacon’s senior brand manager: chocolates and occasions, who worked on the project but has subsequently moved on, explains the rationale behind the project: ‘We made some decisive step-changes to relaunch our range of chocolate slabs, choosing a metallised finish to “shine” above other brands on-shelf. What really stood us in good stead during the entire process were open lines of communication.’

Winning partnerships

It was imperative for Beacon’s business units to work in close collaboration with the external supply chain to achieve the project’s goals; and ACF and the packaging designers at Paton Tupper worked hand-in-hand with Beacon with a clear sense of purpose and direction.

According to Umashini Naidoo, it’s all about ‘winning partnerships’ – and ACF more than met the challenge.

‘ACF Flexibles pulled out all the stops, doing whatever was needed to give us the best price and the best quality packaging material,’ she confirms. ‘Above all, they met our very tight timelines.’

This award-winning packaging is produced at ACF Flexibles: Cape, on the company’s Fischer & Krecke 16S press. The final product represents huge strides in the quality of the flexographic printing and is a proud showcase of attention to detail. Reverse printed on clear polypropylene (PP) and laminated to metallised PP, particular attention had to be paid to the effects of the shiny metallic surface.

Tyrone Voller comments, ‘If this is a representation of the new ACF, then we can’t wait for the full effects of our new flexographic press in Paarl and the new gravure press that arrives at ACF Flexibles: KZN early in 2011 (PPM July10, p47). This is the dawn of a new era not only for ACF but also for the flexible packaging industry as a whole. This, combined with our technology partners – Mondi Consumer Flexibles and Autopack – means we have the full spectrum of packaging innovation and promotions to offer brand owners.’

In the light of ACF Flexibles’ spending spree on new technology, it’s undoubtedly geared up to meet the demands of the premium flexographic and gravure packaging market.

Gaining the TBST Winning Partnership Award 2010 is just one step on ACF’s journey towards creating an image and brand that offers customers value and quality in excess of their expectations.

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Caption: The new Beacon slab packaging represents huge strides in the quality of the flexographic process and the product is a proud showcase of Afripack’s attention to detail of every part of the process from repro through to final delivery.

Caption: It’s smiles all around as ACF Flexibles wins the Tiger Brands Snacks & Treats Winning Partnership Award 2010. Pictured areTyrone Voller (ACF’s sales & marketing manager), Derek Huntley (ACF’s sales & marketing exec), Yogan Naidoo (Beacon’s national procurement manager), Umashani Naidoo (Beacon procurement manager: packaging), Reuben Glenny (regional sales manager, ACF Flexibles: KZN), Kiruben Naidoo (Beacon’s supply chain co-ordinator) and Kumaren Pather (account manager ACF Flexibles: KZN).

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