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How to make pharmaceutical packaging everyone seems to want

  • Stiplastics

As part of its ongoing efforts to keep connecting packaging buyers and suppliers, we had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Virginie Delay at Stiplastics, as arranged by Ms. Caroline Simundza at the same firm. We learned a lot about a great approach to creating packaging components dedicated to the pharma space.

 

What precisely is your role at Stiplastics, Virginie?

Apart from being the company's Marketing Director, I am also the lead for our Sticare business unit.

How many business units does Stiplastics have? And what do they do?

Stiplastics is a growing firm, and we've found that the easiest way to deal with growth is to have focused units that concentrate on specific products and their respective customers. We have the Stiplastics banner company, and three units. I've already mentioned Sticare, that's our business line that focuses on offering its own product brands devoted to family health companies (with products like the Pilbox and Doseo pill boxes) and medical analysis laboratories or private medical firms (with products like the Hemobox, which is a biological sample transport solution).

We also have Stimed, which offers standard dosing products (droppers, cups, spoons, cannulas, etc.) and develops custom primary and secondary pharmaceutical packaging solutions that can be manufactured based on a set of specifications or created from scratch, from a simple need or idea expressed by the client. A lot of our standard items are created by the Stimed team. Stimed engages in four primary activities.

First, we develop products for pharmaceutical labs that ask us for standard products that are then tweaked, like dosing caps. Second, we manufacture on behalf of customers that trust us to satisfy all the appropriate legislations and regulations because they want to avoid getting bogged down in details. We're ISO:13485 certified and we know what are the expectations. Third, we develop products with customers when they have an idea or a similar product and Stimed creates a new device for them. The whole team gets in on that, from marketing people to designers to engineers. Fourth, we have our Stimed Innovation team. Working in concert with people from Sticare, this group works on blue sky projects in order to create items that are totally new and user-centric. We often find ourselves creating fully new and ergonomic products that are then tailored later for use by labs or other companies. We produce 3rd party products that labs and such market under their own brand names.

OK, and what's the third business unit?

Stitech. This business line benefits from the long-standing expertise that Stiplastics has developed in the manufacturing of industrial technical parts. Stiplastics started decades ago as a precision injection moulding firm, supplying a number of companies with parts for other products. We've done parts for Rossignol skis, feet for chairs and tables produced by furniture manufacturers, and many others. Along the way, we began to service medical device companies and that side of the business really took off. So much so, that around 15 years ago, the company decided to make that its core business line. We still have clients with Stitech, though, and we're glad to be able to continue to serve them.

Let's switch to products for a moment. Can you give me an example of a product you've done lately?

Sure, one of our latest items is the Capsu'Matic line. When we consider a new product, we often create things that we think would prove genuinely beneficial to us as consumers. What I mean is that a good idea can come from anyone in the company, and if it seems like something we, as consumers, would derive benefit from, we start the ball rolling on design and development. Capsu'Matic is a prime example of this; it is first and foremost a dispenser for homeopathic granules that we came up with in house, based on input from staff and a clear market need. Then we developed one for capsules, exhibited it, and found a pharmaceutical lab interested was interested. We managed some sensible changes to adjust to their needs and developed it. This product will soon show up on the market.

At Stiplastics, we always think  of the clear use of the product - who will use it and how. Our products are developed according to that. We do a lot of internal R&D before we even think of offering something on the market. We always speak to patients first, as well as nurses, caregivers, GPs, physicians, our own employees, and other people that are linked in some way to health care. They are our first stop when we create a new item, THEN we pass on what we've learned to R&D and they respond to those needs. Our products aren't just visually appealing, they're also ergonomic, comfortable, easy to use, and make patients' lives easier, they genuinely facilitate compliance.

So all your latest items are more or less pharma oriented. Do you produce in clean facilities?

Sure, we have a clean room we use for key pharma packaging runs. What's interesting is that our entire operation is actually clean and control environment according to GMP and ISO 15378  guidelines. That seems to be enough for adjunct items like our dosing spoons or cups, for example. Also all the nasal aspirators we make or the containers we make for bandages, patches, or carrying solutions.

That's interesting, it seems like a good development path. How is it going with the company, then?

Stiplastics is doing well in general, I think our business decision to target the pharmaceutical and health care spaces was the correct one. In the few months since the start of 2016, we have already secured most of our annual turnover. We have some really great, loyal customers, we have products that consumers like, and our clients see us as totally trustworthy. It's interesting to see that new customers consider us as a total solution provider based on how we develop our products, we're recognized as genuinely innovative because we actually have something strong to provide. Take for example our nasal aspirators or our pillboxes - everyone knows them, they're swiftly becoming the standard. I would venture to say that they're becoming so common, people think they've always been there. Think about that. We're responsible for creating paradigms that are so pervasive, they're becoming the standard. That is an amazing thing, and it means Stiplastics is definitely heading in the right direction.

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  • Interview
  • English
  • Modified 29 NOV 2016
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