Plastopiave - with that name, you must produce plastic products! What products do you make?
Plastopiave was founded in 1961 by Francesco Giacomini as a company dealing with waxes and detergent products for the home. But, he had the intuition to establish a company which not only sold the product inside, but also the plastic containers - containers, jars, bottles, so the company started to produce these too. Instead of buying the containers, he thought to produce them.
The business wasn't originally packaging, but from Francesco Giacomini's intuition a new manufacturing production began. Originally it was the chemical market, then market grew and now production is for different markets - beauty, pharma, food, chemical.
It is his two children that now run the business. In the late 1980's, his son and daughter took over the activity and continued to help the company develop and grow and they still run the company.
Regarding the company name, Plasto is for plastic and Piave is the name of a river here. It's a very well-known name in the area. During the world war, the River Piave was invaded and many soldiers lost their lives. It's a very important historic river.
The company has been in business for over 50 years. How have things changed during that time?
Consider how our production levels have increased. At the beginning of the 1980's Plastopiave had 2 production factories covering about 6000m2 with profits of 2.5 billion lire. In 1993 the company had about 100 employees and the turnover was 15 billion lire.
In 2004 our production was about 100 million pieces per year and 5 years later that was up to 120 million. In 2014, it reached 180 million pieces so this gives a good idea of how much the company has developed. There's a lot of demand for our products.
We have around 190 people working in our premises so we are still a fairly small/medium ourselves which makes us more flexible and makes us more attractive to customers where they know that larger companies sometimes cannot always do things in a short period of time. It gives us the strength, more power for developing products to be on the market. It also lets us have direct relationships with customers.
We have both long-time - some of our customers have been with us for over 25 years! - and new customers and our company brand name is well known name. Every day we reach new people and new targets and we're proud of what we do.
We've also gained certifications. The UNI ISO 9001:2008. We've had this certification since 2002. We also have the OHSAS180112007 gained in 2012.
Who are your typical customers?
We don't really have a typical customer. We have big companies, several big companies that have been buying from us for a long time, but also small and medium sized companies. We have around a thousand active customers. Most of them are Italian. Because we just produce plastic containers, it's too expensive to ship them around the world. Freight costs are very high, so we concentrate on our local market in Italy. Around 90% of our production is sold in Italy and 10% is sold abroad.
Does being an Italian company influence the companies that you work with?
Yes, we know the local market very well, but the biggest plus is that we can supply small quantities, such as from 5000 pieces, which is not the standard for a large-size company, so any time a cosmetic or pharma company wants to buy a small batch from us, they can. We are very flexible and we can meet the demands of this type of customer in terms of quality, delivery time, price... This is our plus and for our customers it's a big benefit!
You work very closely with another company, Piqu. How does that relationship benefit your customers?
Piqu is our sister company. They sell mostly the closures for packaging - caps, dispensers and sprayers. They are a trading company so they buy and sell. They also serve smaller clients looking for say 500 or 1000 pieces so with smaller batches they can help clients, fulfilling the requirement for smaller batches, and also selling closures that we don't have. We also sell closures, but Piqu works specifically in this market.
Which are Plastopiave's most popular product lines?
In our catalog, the CE, BO, EL series. These are bottles, and also OG that we sell very well. And for jars the ELV line is very popular. These are more for the cosmetic market. In the last 15-20 years, the number of cosmetic customers has grown. A significant proportion of our customers work in this market.
Are there any new products/services currently in production?
We don't actually promote our new series as it's not our core business. Rather our agents come back to us from visiting clients. They try to understand what is the market requirement and we develop our idea of what the customer wants in our R&D. Our products are very much tailored to what customers and the market want. Research based. We have 4 agents that travel around Italy to keep customers updated about our news.
So, how long does it take for a product to go from the research stage up until being available to purchase?
Normally it takes 1 or 2 months to develop the original idea from the customer. We have an internal workshop that can develop the new product for us; - the moulds, etc - everything that is needed for a new product. So it's very easy for us.
We do everything here at our plant. We have our workshop where we manufacture the mould, decoration - screen printing of up to 4 colours, UV machine for printing. It's easy for us to develop customer ideas as we are so flexible. We have internal tools and facilities to make moulds, decorations, whatever is needed to get the result they want and then the agent can go back to the customer and show the samples.
We have some 2000 colours in our range. We can update this at any time as per customer requests. In our catalog the bottles and jars are white in the photographs, but we can produce them in any colour and we can search for a new colour if needed. We are also developing new projects. We have the Kubik 3D finish, we can also do braille, tone on tone effect, shadows, layers on printing, etc.
Italy has long been associated with a unique fashion and style. How do you reflect that in your products?
As said before it's not really a personal line, we follow what our customers require and that's how we give them Italian style as we work with Italians. Italians are very creative and we have new ideas every day.
Thank you both Francesca and Giuliana.