PET bottle manufacturers must evolve to survive - executive

12 March 2014 10:03 Source:ICIS News

Fernando CastroAMSTERDAM (ICIS)--The landscape has changed in the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle manufacturing industry and to survive players must evolve to be nimble and adapt to new customer demands, an executive said on Tuesday.

"Growth is gone. At the same time, customers are losing sales and cost pressure is very high," said Fernando Castro, operations director at Caiba.

Speaking at the second ICIS PET conference, Mr Castro said that the days of high volume business are gone, the focus now is on creating a niche, differentiated product for many different customers rather than just one or two big customers.

"Old business - a few machines, a few colours, a few customers. We’re starting to see that the factories built for quantity and commodity business are not quite ready to handle the areas where growth is," Mr Castro said.

He noted that in the past, the focus was on large, high volume projects. Now any project has to be examined closely.

"There are no huge projects anymore," he said. 

To succeed and flourish, projects must be combined for greater efficiencies. "Combine projects, search for new projects, so you can do the one on the table."

The market demands different colours, lightweighting, innovative appearance. These are areas where PET has an advantage over other materials. The downside is the need for higher stock levels of different colours, the complexity of switching from manufacturing one product or colour to another. 

"We have more products, lower quantities, more machines, more moulds, higher stocks," Castro said.

“Remember, this is a different business, try to adapt as best you can,” he added.

By Iain Packham