STAYING AT THE
In a harsh and swiftly changing global economy, industries the world over face uncertain times ahead with the print sector in particular being hit harder than most. With increased competition from overseas rivals and a fast changing playing field, traditional advertising and media printing is under the cosh. However for innovative companies such as GM Graphix, based at Alberton close to Johannesburg, who have evolved and kept one step ahead of the times the sky is the limit.
Established 24 years ago to initially supply flexographic cost effective printed packaging material to the fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceutical sectors, GM Graphix has evolved as market trends changed and is now one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of high-quality label solutions such as sachets, self-adhesive labels, unsupported film and shrink sleeves. Its dynamism and ability to move with the market is woven into the very fabric of the business and it is therefore no surprise that GM has form for setting firsts. In March 1996, it became the first flexo-printer in South Africa to be awarded with an ISO 9001/2000 certificate, and a strategy of pioneering technological advances has seen the company diversify far beyond the self-adhesive labelling that had once been its core market. As a player in numerous sectors ranging from foods and beverages to electronics, health and personal care, GM Graphix has many big-name clients on its books and works with L’Oreal, Revlon, Alberto Culver and Yardley to name but a few. Marketing Director Junior Massyn puts domestic market share at 2-3%. “Our BBBEE classification is a large enterprise, and I’d say we are surely moving in a corporate direction.” Flexographic presses produce quality impressions on many different substrates – the base material on to which images are printed. It’s the least expensive and simplest of the printing processes used for decorating and packaging printing and its popularity is on the rise. “Seventy percent of a customer’s in-store decision is based upon the packaging and it’s increasingly important for consumers and customers to protect their brand.” And with counterfeiting a significant issue and growing, GM Graphix are made for identification.
Releasing more choice ProLiner PP30 is now available with both Paper and Film labels
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“We have many packaging solutions to identify and decorate a product, and flexographic, more than most other methods, protects packaging and adds to the authenticity of a product. The flexographic has grown since the 1980’s in leaps and bounds through technology, efficiency and flexibility and is now a very advanced form of printing, value-adding to any packaging sector.” In such a competitive and fast changing market, constant innovation and product development is key and it is this which has allowed GM Graphix to offer consistent high quality and cost efficiency. In another first, it was the first South African printing company to purchase a MPS servo press, while the introduction of rota silkscreen opened a big door into the cosmetics market. Today the business is fully servo-machine driven with full print control, something that has enabled GM Graphix to further enhance and simplify procedures further still. Now after a string of similar innovations GM Graphix has become the first South African, if not the first nation
from the southern hemisphere, to print on the UPM Raflatic ProLiner PP3, a cutting edge fully recyclable backing material made of polypropylene. After extensive research and preparation with several suppliers – UPM Raflatic, Ipex Machinery, Flint Narrow Web and MPS – GM Graphix offers its customers a costefficient, quality proposition combined with an original recycling opportunity, incorporating the co-operation of local recycling company, Plasticomp. “ProLiner PP30 offers several application, quality and cost benefits to out customers. But there’s even more we can offer” says Massyn. “The unique feature is that it’s recyclable, and this means we have an opportunity to help the environment and reduce our customers waste.” The objective he says, is to introduce a collection and recycling service with the assistance of local company Plasticomp , and provide a revolutionary ‘total’ product offering to GM Graphix multinational and local customers who choose ProLiner.
“Our drive is to be able to manufacture products where our waste, i.e. backing paper or liner can be recycled in future. As things stand a normal backing material cannot be recycled. We want to start producing an more eco-friendly materials that do not leave such a giant final-user footprint, and that allows companies buying our product to recycle and generate profits out of the waste.” South African printing technology is equal to that of Europe, but with the rise of Eastern powerhouses such as China and India, competition from the East is rising. “Many of our customers in South Africa are importing finished products from China and India where wages and production costs are so much lower. As time goes on they will become more efficient at importing and whether I am 10 km or 1,000 km away from a customer is immaterial. I am seeing this daily and I can imagine it’s going to impact our market even more in future.” GM Graphix response, says Massyn, is customer selection. “We have invested knowledge, money and time into equipment that can give the client something so specific that it would take another company a very long time to get exactly the same equipment and copy our product. We can supply a customer a label construction made out of cold foil, hot foil, rota silk screening and even embossing on the same label. I can count on one hand the companies in South Africa that can do the same. And because our technologies are more advanced this creates a bigger market.” Customer needs are analysed to create the most successful packaging solution, says Massyn.
“Our service includes strict policies quantity, cost and delivery. And by employing basic principles such continuous training and consistent awareness of customer needs, we add to our recipe to grow while ensuring our customers get what they require. And whether our orders and enquiries are from corporate customers or small independent companies, we value them, and try to give them an holistic packaging solution.” So what next for the business? Where will GM Graphix be positioned in three years time? “As a specialist in pharmaceutical and cosmetics printing and packaging. We have a passion for packaging and all that goes with it. We anticipate further growth in the pharmaceutical market and though this area has seen real growth over the last 12 months, we aim to bring more customers on board. We have adopted a culture of efficiency and productivity which permeates the business. From HR procedures through to our printing processes, we will continue to streamline. We have grown the market and anticipate that this will continue. “Why choose us? We’ve been around for over two decades, have new and very good technologies and acquired skills and knowledge. We are running at optimum efficiency, ensuring costs do not spill over to our customers. We provide cost effective packaging solutions through the knowledge we’ve gained over the years, and we maintain quality and consistency because of this passion for packaging.” Our slogan is ‘Where Every Label Counts’ and we deliver on that promise.”
GM Graphix www.gmgraphix.com 0027 11 908 5136 Written by Djamil Benmehidi