‘Our management team is young, energetic and ambitious. Coupled with the enthusiastic support and commercial expertise of our equity partner, Gerber Goldschmidt Group (GGG), this energy makes us a force to be reckoned with,’ reckons Morgancoat CEO, Richard Morgan.
It’s this financial backing from GGG, Richard insists, that’s enabling Morgancoat to envision long-term sustainability and growth, despite difficult trading conditions.
Undoubtedly, Morgancoat has had to adapt to shifting trading methods – both locally and internationally – as the global credit crunch, rising costs and frantic competitor behaviour have placed pressure on a normally stable and sensible market. However, being part of a group such as GGG has brought stability, and this is reflected in Richard’s enthusiastic forward-looking stance.
Asked what sets Morgancoat apart from its competitors in the labelstock sector, he replies: ‘We’re totally service orientated; we’re reactive to customers’ needs and genuinely care about them. In addition, technical service and support is at the very core of our business.’
Other points in Morgancoat’s favour are ongoing investments in the local production of labelstock material, and that it’s not reliant on self-adhesive laminates – also offering products such as barrier-coated packaging boards.
Investing in the future with skilled employees
‘Our market analysis shows a serious scarcity of product R&D, technical support and true supply partnerships with local label printers,’ Richard asserts. ‘And as our business evolves, we’re striving to reinforce areas we believe are critical for our customers.’
Just one result of this reinforcement strategy is that next month (July) Morgancoat welcomes no fewer than five new staff members and is simultaneously expanding its Cape Town presence.
Dezaree Petersen has joined Morgancoat’s ranks as part of the Cape Town sales team. In Richard’s view, her experience and unparalleled commitment to high standards of customer service will be the foundation for Morgancoat’s growth in the Western Cape market.
In addition, to meet demand in this province, Morgancoat is busy establishing slitting and distribution facilities in a fully-fledged Cape Town branch. ‘This will reduce lead times for our Cape-based customers and allow us to service the region to the same high standards that we have in Johannesburg and Durban,’ Richard remarks.
Another recruit to Morgancoat’s sales team is Marc Black. Highly experienced and well known throughout the printing market, Marc is based in Durban and is responsible for KZN sales, as well as coordinating Morgancoat’s national sales strategy.
Morgancoat has also recruited the expertise of Trevor Thompson, who joins the company as factory manager. As sales volumes grow, Trevor’s proficiency in production and planning will ensure continued high levels of service and quality.
‘We believe that constant development and improvement of our self-adhesive products is critical to our becoming the supply partner of choice in an increasingly competitive market,’ Richard continues. Meeting this requirement, Peter Usher, has been appointed to Morgancoat’s technical service and R&D department. Bringing some 20 years’ technical experience to the company, Peter’s portfolio includes driving Morgancoat’s development of new markets into the rest of Africa.
Finally, Cherlaine Cooke has joined the company to handle telephone sales and to provide service support, alongside Evangeline Reddy.
How it all started
Reviewing events that led to these latest developments, we’re reminded that it was back in 2006 that Morgancoat was established by father-and-son team, Mike and Richard Morgan, to provide a repulpable and environmentally-friendly alternative to polyethylene-coated paper and board using water-based barrier-coating technology (PPM Oct07, p11).
Looking back on that challenging development, Richard comments: ‘We were ahead of our time and the market wasn’t really ready for our coated products, so we moved into the production of self-adhesive laminates as a short-term plan to sustain the factory.’
What was expected to be an interim measure turned into the core business and six years later Morgancoat’s position on the self-adhesive supply side has steadily improved. However, the business still offers a range of functional coated products and is currently working on some interesting new products in the cartonboard market. ‘Watch this space!’ is Richard’s enigmatic reply to further questioning on this topic!
‘Our core competency is coating and laminating. Self-adhesive is a major part of our business but not the only facet. In the last year, demand for functional coating has increased ten-fold and we have commercialised a number of barrier-coated products that are performing well.’
Contributing to Morgancoat’s success is ownership of one of South Africa’s most advanced coating machines. Its four coating heads allow solventless silicone coating, water-based emulsion coating and hot-melt coating. The machine is the only coater in South Africa to siliconise, adhesive coat and laminate in-line. It’s also capable of applying two coatings on one side of a substrate as well as double-sided substrate coating.
This month’s cover story
In 2010, GGG, a 92-year-old trade finance and private investment company with a diverse portfolio of companies, took up a substantial equity stake in Morgancoat, providing the financial muscle that has allowed Morgancoat to grow rapidly and ensuring a stable and reliable supply of top-quality raw materials.
‘GGG has added much more than a typical equity investor,’ comments Richard. ‘We were a relatively inexperienced business when we joined the group but access to its commercial, legal and trading expertise has provided the business with resources that would otherwise have taken us years to amass,’ Richard comments.
And this leads neatly to the story behind this issue’s stunning front cover.
Conceived, as always, by graphic designer, Banie Stafford, and printed by CTP Book Printers, the cover was subsequently finished using a spectacular varnishing technique on Veltopak’s Scodix digital embossing press.
The connection is that Veltopak Coating & Finishing is also a member of the Gerber Goldschmidt Group.
‘Since 2008,’ explains Veltopak’s MD, Arthur Hammond, ‘we’ve expanded our range of finishing processes, covering all bases in the coating, spot coating, die-cutting, foiling, embossing and laminating fields. Then last October we installed the Scodix digital embossing machine, which has revolutionised finishing in the gloss varnish segment of the market and has opened up huge possibilities especially in the advertising and packaging industries.’
[Ed’s note: Watch for more news in our next issue concerning the five latest recruits to the Morgancoat family!]
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