Katarzyna Nawrocka-Rasmus, Sales and Marketing Director at Politech provides an insight into life at the plastic cosmetic packaging company. From investment to product individualisation and business strategy to surlyn, discover how the progressive Polish company effectively markets to European perfume and luxury cosmetic customers, and is at the forefront of decoration technology.
Can you tell us about Politech and the company's background?
Politech was founded in 1998, so as a company we will be celebrating 20 years of experience very soon! As the name hints, Politech is a Polish company at the forefront of cosmetic packaging technology. The combination of "Poli" meaning many and "tech", short for technologies perfectly illustrates how as a company we relish challenges and new technologies in the field of plastic processing and decoration.
When the company was founded, the focus was on surlyn processing. Politech founder, Mr Jan Nawrocki, was inspired by surlyn and the properties of the material as it offers outstanding strength and clarity, making it ideal for many packaging applications.
Packaging has gotten increasingly more demanding as both consumers and brands are demanding higher quality products at reduced costs and surlyn benefits both the brand looking for the best possible presentation of its product and the end-user that is looking for a cosmetic product that remains in top condition until it has been fully expended.
Surlyn meets these needs and is a popular choice in both perfumery and luxury cosmetic packaging, therefore it was a natural choice to focus the company on these markets, and in particular closures for the fragrance market. This is our core speciality, although we have since introduced packaging in other materials including PP, ABS and other plastics in order to extend our offering.
Politech has the advantage of its own tool shop, which means that as a company we can work on entire projects because we can develop and offer molds for cosmetic packaging. The entire development strategy can be followed by our customers as we work through a project —construction, documentation, technological documentation, molding, instrumentation, production— up to decoration of the final product.
We noticed the gap in the market for decoration back in 2008, and that is when we introduced our decoration capability so that we could provide a complete packaging offering, not just developing the cap or closure, but also decorating it. Politech offers vacuum metallization and UV lacquering and it is this full service with decoration that has proven to give the company a clear advantage in the market.
Does Politech collaborate with other packaging companies?
We also cooperate with glass manufacturers. We are very good at what we do and our quality is very high, and working with glass manufacturers enables us to deliver complete solutions. Time is a precious commodity and one of the most valuable resources for companies, so by offering the ability to source everything in one location, Politech offers an immense advantage as time can be saved.
Politech had a very successful co-operation with Heinz Glas, exploring the opportunity to develop designs for bottles, but ultimately what we know and do best is plastic processing and decorating. The collaboration proved fruitful in defining the company's future strategy to focus upon what Politech is best at, and when you are good at something, that is what you should focus on.
What is your position at Politech and what benefits have you implemented?
I am the Director of Sales and Marketing so I am directly involved with the internal and external communications for Politech.
Politech is a forward-thinking company and understands the importance of trying new communications in the field of marketing and evaluating the outcome. Our industry is one which is sometimes lagging in terms of marketing, so we have been proactive and innovative in how we get the attention of our target customers. To offer an example of this, in Poland Politech was one of the first companies to introduce a blog for its customers. We are particularly active on social media and using online tools such as Webpackaging in addition to more traditional print press communications and printed industry publications. To this end Webpackaging is proving to be a useful communication tool for many reasons and it is not just the marketing team that has been learning to get the most out of it.
In sales and marketing there is always more that can be done and marketing offers a lot of opportunity for different communication. We have seen that our work is fruitful and know that we are on the right track as we focus on the future.
Who are Politech's customers?
We have a full range of beauty customers in terms of size. Politech started out as a family business and initially worked with many smaller companies. We have since grown and now working increasingly with larger companies. Although it is not cost effective to deliver on small orders any more, we still work with these companies as the culture of Politech is that "every customer deserves our attention and respect". This working mind-set has allowed us more opportunities as it has strengthened Politech's reputation in the beauty packaging industry.
Working in partnership with a customer enables a stronger relationship which means that the next time there is a project, you will be the first choice as the customer loves your working capability and already has a relationship with you. Politech has many long term relationships because of this. Politech offers a guarantee of success for its customers. Everyone who works at the company is committed to hard work and this stems from the company's roots: Politech's founder, Jan Nawrocki, is both an engineer and a driving force within the company.
In terms of location, we do export worldwide, but our business focus is Europe as that is where the company is situated.
Politech is located in Osielsko, Poland and having a single facility for our 150 members of staff is of advantage to us as we have direct communication all of the time and can therefore react more quickly. This also enables the company to maintain its focus, providing a higher quality offering to customers and better service. Because of the company's European location, Europe is the most important geographical market, although we do have customers in South Africa, Mexico and Japan, for example.
Does Politech offer a standard catalogue, bespoke beauty products, or both?
Twenty years ago, when Politech was founded, it had a small range of standard products and this worked well for the company at the time. Now, Politech sells standard products to both small companies and large customers with no identifying pattern. Since the company has been promoting its own tool-shop, it has been gaining more and more individual projects. This is better for Politech as it offers a challenge to push to see what can be achieved and bring in new things for the company.
There's also the sense of pride and satisfaction in resolving or completing a complicated project and within the company that is something that we all feel. We get more excited about bespoke projects in comparison to standard ones and now these projects are the company's focus. It's not just the pride in our work either. It is also very satisfying to enter a shop and recognize Politech's professional handiwork on the shelves, or see it being promoted by the customer in the press, on TV or on billboards.
What does the future hold for Politech?
At the moment business is booming! We have so much work that it is quite a problem for the company to have! We're working at full capacity right now and this will continue well into the springtime! Having such a heavy workload highlighted to the company areas which need enhancing and adjustments are being implemented.
Looking to the future, three principal goals of the company at the moment are to invest in plans to implement better quality and services as well as increased capacity. We are always working to improve our processes and at the moment the primary focus is on production automation. In Poland unemployment is low so it can be a challenge to find qualified, experienced staff. Production automation means that the amount of human labor is reduced. It also means that the risk for human error is reduced while output is increased, making us more competitive with companies in other countries
We are working a lot on enhancing our own technology, especially in the field of decoration where metallization and UV lacquering are both big trends nowadays. Politech's work here is significant as it was the first in Poland to use hot stamping on Surlyn.
We have recently applied for a patent for decoration, specifically dark color metallization. The work involved on this metallization project is a lot, but we are making considerable breakthrough. Until now, dark color metallization is not so resistant because of the amount of pigment required in the coating which makes it scratch very easily. We are working on a special coating which will resist mechanical and chemical reactions.
In terms of business we are looking to collaborate more with medium and large companies that are international players in the beauty market. This is another reason that we are improving our production capacity, quality and automation capability, in order to make the company a more attractive proposition for such companies and meet their expectations as a working partner.
In terms of marketing, we will be exhibiting at PCD Paris, Cosmopack Bologna, Cosmetic Business in Munich and Luxe Pack in Monaco next year. Politech will also be celebrating its 20th anniversary!