Recently we were able to speak to Paolo Lobba, Giflor's head of R&D, to get his impressions on the current trend for packaging firms to expand into previously untapped markets. Giflor is one of Europe's leading closure providers, and Paolo was able to give us some details on how his company is meeting the challenges of expansion successfully.
Paolo, what precisely do you do at Giflor?
A lot of things. Officially I head up the R&D and technical departments, but I also have to interface with other teams to make sure we're working in the same direction. It's important to be cohesive. To that end, I manage all the activities and process related to the development team, mostly the technical aspects of the job. I also oversee a lot of evaluations related to the industrialization of specific projects.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I am heading up a couple of projects for the company. The most important is an upgrade to increase our production capacity for standard tools. We need to update our technology in order to accommodate larger moulds. That way we'll be able to improve our overall efficiency and produce models more quickly, with larger runs.
Which models are you referring to?
All of them, really, but especially our Eco Low Profile caps, they're our current most popular item. Companies appreciate the design of the caps and how well they're crafted, but they also like the fact that we can back up our environmental claims with regard to the items. There's a lot of greenwashing still going on in the packaging space where companies claim their products are "environmentally friendly" or "better for sustainability" or whatever, and in a lot of cases that's simply not true. Our Eco Low Profile caps clearly demonstrate value with regard to lowering CO2 emissions and other sustainability criteria. They're genuinely "green". They're smaller, use less raw materials, they weigh less, you can ship more of them per crate - the list goes on.
We're also actively trying to increase our cavitation capacity and use new mould technologies as well as different steel alloys to make moulds, all with the goal of improving efficiency and increasing productivity.
Do you have plans to release new products in that line?
Yes, we're working on a bi-colour, double wall flip top cap which is round and can sit on a 50mm neck. Before we launch a new product, we really take our time to delve into the market. We limit risk by doing a lot research prior to just throwing anything out there. We analyze market trends then do some brainstorming and come up with a portfolio of ideas we take to partners, distributors, and clients to see what they think. Internally, we take the concept to our sales and marketing people to get their opinions. If they all think the project can be a winner, we move forward with development. Every project requires a fairly substantial investment, not only in terms of money but also with regard to time. We need to ensure new items are the right ones, so we spend a of time making sure we're going in the right direction before we commit to tooling.
After that exhaustive process, we came to the conclusion that a round, 50mm bi-colour, double wall flip top cap would gain a lot of market acceptance. We created prototypes and were very pleased with the results, so we're launching it in October. To give you an idea of how long it took, we started on it just after Cosmoprof last year, which was in the middle of March, 2016. As you can see, development projects use up a lot of time and as I said, industrial tools are very expensive. We think it's better to spend time on careful and deliberate development rather than launching an unsuccessful product. There's always risk but we try to control it as much as possible.
That process is lengthy, is it part of larger expansion plans?
At the moment, we're a small verging on medium sized company. If you look at other players in the space like RPC or Aptar, we're quite small compared to them. We are, however, quite well known and respected in Europe. We've blossomed a lot since the early days, and we still have a lot of room to grow. We began doing one show which was Cosmoprof in Bologna - now we do that as well as Interpack, Pack Expo in the USA, Andina Pack in Colombia, Cosmetic Business, PCD & ADF, Packaging Innovations in Europe, Beauty Eurasia, Beautyworld Middle East, Iran Beauty and Clean, and others. The more we're out there, the more we're recognized. We generally get a lot of positive feedback about our products. Our expansion is a step by step process and right now we're experimenting a lot with moving into emerging markets, including places in Asia, the Middle East, and South America.
Does being smaller provide you with a certain agility?
To a degree, yes. We're not a big structured company but we have a massive distribution network. Internally, we all work together, inter-departmentally. If we need to increase our production for a short period of time, we can add resources from manufacturing partnerships we have, which means we have few fixed costs. The same concept relates to expansion. We can set up partnerships with vetted, trusted firms and work with them directly while we expand.
How is corporate expansion working out for Giflor?
Very well, actually. A lot of our products are picking up international recognition. In fact, we recently won two Worldstar awards for a couple of our Eco Low Profile items. We won in two categories at Interpack, for the Eco Low Profile bottle closure and the Eco Low Profile tube closure. We also took a Starpack award for those items in the UK. The closures were really appreciated by panels for the processes we use to create them, our logistic capabilities, the fact that they're space saving, and other considerations.
The net result is that we're becoming quite popular in North America through distribution partners. That's great for us - in the USA, what they consider small products are immense, just huge. The European market usually nets us smaller runs, but we get more of them. In South America, we've detected synergy with a number of firms, particularly in Ecuador and Colombia.
You mentioned run sizes, how much does Giflor produce daily?
At our own locations, we run a total of 35 machines and four of them offer bi-injection moulding. They all typically work at capacity and we don't keep stock. We usually have them running 5 days a week at 24-hour production in shifts. We sometimes keep the machines running weekends if we need it, particularly for large runs. As I said earlier, if we need more manufacturing capacity, we have trusted partners nearby that help us to meet demand. For the Eco Low Profile line, demand is getting so high that we're working with local manufacturers worldwide to offer global production. We're really looking to do local production for large scale projects.
I should point out that our speed those sorts of projects is something that sets us apart from a lot of firms in our space. When we start a project, there's always some back and forth with the client and then we begin production. Often, it's a production run of about four weeks plus delivery, which can another four weeks. We like to offer a fair eight-week lead time, and most other companies in our space offer ten to twelve weeks. We're extremely quick, that's one of our greatest advantages.
What options do you offer partners in terms of service?
It depends on the project, but we have several options for working with partners. We can produce the mould and ship it or we can license a partner to make the mould according to our specs. We prefer to make the moulds ourselves, that way we can keep on top of the level of quality and ensure everything works as it should. On the other hand, our Eco Low Profile line is designed to be shipping-friendly, the iotems are really light. We did a project for an Asian company recently and with all things considered, they figured out it was actually cheaper for us to produce the closures and ship them to their locations. If you order larger parts with us that are to be assembled later, it's better to get the mould delivered for local production.
The development phase is always under our control. We send trained, highly skilled technicians to oversee development and we keep assembly lines under our direct control using Giflor specifications and techniques. We're able to cut down lead times that way and increase general efficiency.
We've invested a lot in intellectual property protection. Sure, it's about defending our work and making sure we derive economic benefit from what we produce, but we think it's more about giving customers a clear benefit. We don't just sell plastic parts, we protect our work and offer unique and useful components that do not copy other items. By defending our intellectual property, we can clearly demonstrate that our products excel, that they get the job done. If our name is on it the product is excellent, it's that simple.
On our last project for example, we had to develop a totally new tap for a bag in a box product. It was a complex system with a lot of parts and it was quite challenging. We sent our people out there to take care of it and we realized there was an opportunity there for long-term cooperation. It led to us creating a spin off company called iTap, which has been around since 2015.
Is that a different concept from the Giflor closure lines?
Correct, that business unit offers complex systems, equipment, moulds and expertise, and all of that came from a simple request for us to integrate our technology with flexible packaging. We saw a large opportunity, we invested in it, and it's working out very well.
Giflor showcases numerous lines at this year's Interpack
Giflor has had quite a successful expansion year, with a number of ranges being recognized internationally as leading items in the beauty and personal care spaces. At this year's Interpack, the company showcased several of its flagship products to garner further exposure and make brands aware of the benefits of low profile closures.
Giflor launches a new website, where "innovation and Italian design meet sustainability"
Giflor is one of the world's leading suppliers of low-profile caps to a number of international markets, including some fo the world's largest packaging consulting firms. Recently, Giflor launched a new website to show existing and prospective clients its simple mission to offer innovative closures featuring gorgeous Italian design without added environmental impact.
Giflor comes away with five separate prizes at the Starpack Industry Awards
Renowned internationally for producing a number of industry leading closures, Italian firm Giflor has won five times at this year's edition of the Starpack Industry Awards. Two of the company's closures were entered and managed to take top prizes based on a number of key features.
Eco Low Profile takes on the world
The industrial patent for Giflor's Eco Low Profile 772 tube cap has just been accepted in China, the 3rd major region to accept the Italian company's cap Giflor's 772 tube cap has already been patented in Europe and the United States and the acceptance of the patent in China coincides with the anniversary of the invention and patenting of the first tube by John Goffe Rand, 175 years ago.
Giflor crowns award winning Coeur de Cigale body milk
It's a common requisite for natural products to source packaging of an eco-friendly nature. Afterall, a natural product is kindlier to the skin, so it makes sense that its packaging is kindlier to the Earth. This is the rationale which led Giflor's Eco Low Profile Cap crowning the award winning Coeur de Cigale body milk.
Winni's Bio Naturel selects Giflor caps for its latest product launch
Italian firm Winni's produces a number of natural products designed to offer consumers a full range of products for personal care and cleaning the home. When the Winni's team needed a new closure to offer proper dispensing and top its personal care items, they turned to Giflor and the popular 844 closure.
Giflor's bicolor flip top closures topping Expo travel kits
One of Giflor's most popular items and part of the Just Colors line, the 24/410 bicolor cylindrical flip top cap, art. 856, was selected to sit atop smaller format containers for this year's Milan Expo travel kits, providing perfect retention and dispensing for travel kit mainstays like shampoo, body gel, or moisturizer. Giflor's bicolor caps offer a unique and easy to use option for companies to create a unique piece of contemporary packaging.
Giflor's Eco Low Profile flip-top cap for tube wins in the Rosupack 2015 PART awards
Italian plastic cap specialist, Giflor has just taken the top prize at this year's Rosupack PART awards. The Packaging, Art, Research and Technology award was presented for the company's Eco Low Profile flip top cap for the tube which makes a considerable saving on the amount of plastic required when compared to a standard tube cap, thus helping the environment and whilst saving considerable costs in logistics.
Giflor takes inspiration from vibrant spring hues and tones to extend its standard colour range
Following the launch of Giflor's Eco Low Profile Oval bicolour closure, which is already generating positive results, Giflor has made the decision to extend its range of standard colours available. The company's standard range of colours now encompasses 333 different tones, shades, and hues from which to choose without any surcharge.
Giflor extends its offering to innovative new cap liners
Giflor, the Italian firm behind the latest advances in closures like the Eco Low Profile, has announced that it will be expanding its offering to include liners in its broad range of caps and other closures, providing clients with a simple and cost-effective way to provide a proper seal on products.
Giflor's Eco Low Profile line, now in bi-color XL
Giflor, one of Italy's most reputable and international closure firms has been busy further developing its popular Eco Low Profile line, today one of the company's top selling innovations. The line now offers an XL item for companies seeking to provide a more robust closure solution.
Giflor's mushroom caps are sprouting up all over
Giflor, Italy's premier supplier of a high quality closures for a variety of sectors, has extended the scope of its popular mushroom caps to meet the high market demand for the closures. The mushroom cap closure, long associated with ease of use and versatility, have become a top seller for Giflor over the years, and are now available in even more configurations.
Giflor's latest 24/410 and 24/415 closures
Giflor, one of the world's primary sources for Italian designed closures and packaging items, has released a wide range of flip-top caps for standard 24/415 and 24/410 neck finishes. The company's full line is not only available in a number of interesting and innovative shapes, they also come in over 300 standard colour choices, providing firms with a huge amount of flexibility when it comes time to selecting the perfect closure for standard bottles.
Giflor introduces a new paradigm with jigger flip-tops
Giflor, the leading Italian firm dedicated to excellent closure design and production, has released a new closure perfect for a number of applications. The closure combines the best of two paradigms as it may be used as either a dosing jigger or as a simple flip top.
Giflor releases its updated version of a timeless closure classic
Giflor, one of Europe's premier closure suppliers for a wide array of markets, including the personal care, cosmetic, and household spaces, has a trio of closures available designed to offer companies a superior item while maintaining a classic paradigm. The simple flip-top caps are the perfect fusion of technology and design, easily recognizable to consumers but with distinctive features that set them apart.
The Pushlock redesign by Giflor
Years ago Giflor introduced a totally new cap for cosmetics, a cap that offered both the performance of a classic disc top and flip top (open with one hand), and the security of a push pull closure. Now Giflor is relaunching the Pushlock with a modern design and improved functionality, along with a new series of bi-color caps for standard items (24, 28, and 38 mm).
Giflor receives TricorBraun's 2012 Supplier Innovation Award
More than 5 years ago, TricorBraun management visited Cosmoprof in Bologna and were intrigued by Giflor's display and product offerings. This introduction to Giflor, its products, and most importantly its people have obviously progressed quickly and finally after a number of smaller projects seems now to be on the development of impact business.
Giflor adds a new option to its Just Colors range
Giflor' Just Colors (Match emotions) range of products has grown once more with the addition of a new bicolor cap specifically for 28/410 necks. The new closure features a fusion of Italian design and perfect engineering, to create a cap that not only looks superb, the flip-top portion fits perfectly into the mount to create an excellent seal.
Giflor unveils a closure based on fine Italian design
The Giflor Just Colors (Match emotions) range of products has just seen the addition of a new bicolor cap for 38/400 necks. The new closure sets itself apart from others on the market by offering spectacular Italian design that gives the closure an aesthetic appeal that's closer to art than engineering.
Giflor releases a distinctive new oval bicolor cap
Due to an increasing need to provide fresh ideas for customers, Giflor strives to create products with original features. This promise of continuous innovation has led the company to create a new line of flip-top, bicolor cylindrical caps with distinctive oval tops for the cosmetic and personal care markets.
Giflor's new bi-colour and Eco Low Profile closure collection
Giflor is to intropduce its newest bi-colour and Eco Low Profile closure collection for sustainable and attractive packaging. This new closure collection is suitable for standard neck finishes 24, 28 and 38mm, and also for oval snap-on neck finishes.
Domed or flat bi-colour closures
Giflor has launched a new standard dispensing closure, available in an oval shape and featuring a bi-colour decoration option. The new closure was designed to open up new markets looking for a premium closure option for personal care products. The new closures are available as either elegant, domed tops or flat caps to convert just about any bottle used into a tottle.
A premium closure for a wider market
Giflor has launched a standard oval bi-colour dispensing closure which has enabled them to open up the premium capping option to a wider market. As a complement to the existing Giflor range of oval dispensing closures, the new bi-colour closure provides an ideal solution for on-shelf product differentiation allowing for premium positioning in the mass market.
Giflor offers Cleo a solution
Giflor is a sound partner for many companies: through a combination of planning, technology, design, rational product management and thorough quality control procedures, the company offers ensure a continuous supply of high-quality, thoroughly tested products. The company has just incorporated its special Low Profile closure into the redesign of Italy's Cleo line of skin care products. The closure was chosen thanks to its light weight and stability as a tottle base.
- Frank Robledano Espín
- Created 23 JUN 2017
- Modified 30 JUN 2017
- Hits 576