Sibo Group develops closure solutions for tubes, containers, and other packaging systems, as well as demanding technical parts and moulds. We were able to speak to Klemen Pipan, Sibo's Sales Manager for Caps and Closures about the company's recent plans to expand into new markets and geographic regions. The road ahead will be challenging for the firm, but having a clear expansion plan will prove to be instrumental in the company's continued success.
Could you tell me a bit about the company?
We started as a small company, in fact we're still family-run. The company was founded by the father of the existing owner with an initial team of merely ten people. Back then, we mainly produced closures for the cosmetic industry. Later, we expanded into the household, food and electro industries and we’ve grown a lot since then. Now, caps and closures represent our primary money maker, amounting to about 65% of the business.
What sort of packaging components does Sibo make and for which sectors?
All the expansion we're currently fostering is mainly focused on the beauty and cosmetic side of the business. This has been quite important - in the past two years we have developed push-on shoulders and push-on flip-tops for these markets. It’s a very important strategy, it requires a lot of work and investment. You have to bear in mind each mould costs around €150,000 - €200,000. On the bright side, business is starting to ramp up again, so we're just continuing with doing our work as best we can, we've had no major changes recently.
How does Sibo distinguish itself from other companies on the market?
What makes us different is that we are a full solution provider. That means we have our very own R&D department and our internal tool shop with a dedicated team of over 50 technical professionals. This is very important because our competitors are mainly injection moulding companies, that order their moulds externally. We create our own and we also market them. Interestingly, around 50% of the moulds we produce are for our own production and the others are for other companies. This is a great competitive advantage in terms of development and secure supply chain, as we can react quickly in the event of unexpected problems with the mould. We have years of experience doing what we do. We're celebrating our 50th anniversary this year.
Also, part of our ongoing business model is to offer standard and bespoke products. In order for us to accomplish this successfully, it is very important to have everything in-house. When we work with customers and we come up with an idea for them, we're starting from zero. We have to create a 3D mock-up, then go through the production of a pilot mould, then full mould production, and then finally to the injection moulding production run. We cover every phase of the project, from the initial concept all the way through to delivery. The market recognizes the speed and value of this and part of our rapid growth is due to it.
Does Sibo have any big plans for its 50th anniversary?
Yes, of course! We are going to have an anniversary event at Cosmetic Business and CPhi Frankfurt, we will have entertainment and we'll be offering some delicacies from Slovenia. We decided to have events at shows instead of the factory to celebrate along with our customers. Internally, we'll celebrate with the team as well.
Yes, of course! We had an anniversary event at the Cosmetic Business trade show in June and we are going to have another one at the CPhi trade show in Frankfurt in October, where we'll be offering some delicacies from Slovenia. We decided to have events at shows instead of the factory in order to celebrate along with our customers. Internally, we celebrated with the team at the family picnic.
What is Sibo focusing on right now and in the near future?
Our primary market nowadays is oral care, but we want to be more aggressive and garner larger market shares in the beauty, pharma, and food markets. The plan is to expand our standard catalogue for these markets. We have started doing this already, introducing flip-top and push-on closures for the beauty market. Our standard portfolio also covers caps and closures for tubes and pharmaceutical containers.
Besides this, we will continue delivering bespoke solutions. There's a lot of demand in the market, as many brands look for this to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Since we have everything in-house, we have the ability to do bespoke projects quickly and efficiently. That's something that's very important for both us and our customers.
Our strategy is to continue developing our range of containers for tablets and food supplements with tamper evident and child safe closures. One of the targets is to extend the portfolio of closures in segments such as shoe care products, thin wall packaging, food closures.
We're also expanding our operations abroad. Within the next five years we plan to open factories on other continents so we can provide local service to more of our customers.
How specifically do you plan to accomplish this?
The first step for us is to develop a standard product range for each of these areas. We currently have a 15-20% market share in Europe with regard to tube closures. We want to use our existing contacts to spread the portfolio from tube caps and closures to a wider range of solutions. We have already started this and have been very successful in the food sector over the last year.
We have also acquired some smaller companies recently. It's a mixed growth plan: we are growing organically and we have an acquisition growth strategy. That's why also key global customers trust us to get the job done.
Are there any new products in development you could talk about?
As a matter of fact we are developing a new child resistant closure, and that's in its final phase. We are currently making sure it is also usable by consumers with reduced dexterity. We want to ensure that it is properly done and tested before we launch it on to the market and make some noise.