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INNOVATIVE PACKAGING PRODUCED ENTIRELY IN ITALY
It already has an export quota of around 90% and a presence in more than 30 different countries, but it seems that the overseas growth of the Umbrian company Ipi Packaging is not about to stall. The group has been astute in exploiting the fact that it is one of the few companies on the international market to offer a very specific product with high technical input: a product designed for the aseptic packaging of liquids. Nowadays, although the business has enjoyed well-earned success, it continues to strive to achieve new objectives. In this interview with Pieluigi Locchi, the companyâs general manager, we aimed to learn more about this enterprise and to discover what lies in store for the future.
Mr. Locchi, can we begin with a description of Ipi and its activities?
Ipi was founded in 1981 and for over 30 years has been supplying its clients with multi-layered cardboard containers, used for the aseptic packaging of liquids and better known as "bricks". In 2002, the company was the subject of a management buy-out, with the Ipi management assuming ownership and the business becoming essentially independent. Our company now employs over 120 workers at its two sites in Perugia, but we should also add the important satellite activities generated in the local area, which involve at least 300 people. For us, foreign markets have always been territory worth exploring. Exports constitute more than 95% of our turnover, and 80% of these are from outside the European Union. Although we now have a presence in 30 of the worldâs major countries, we still envisage the possibility of further expansion.
How do you generally operate in foreign markets?
Basically, we have two guidelines, the first being the use of local distributors. However, in some strategic countries we maintain direct contacts with our clients, enabled by the presence of our own personnel on the ground. This is what happens in Thailand, for example.
What about outsourcing your production: have you ever considered that?
Despite the international scope of our business, Ipi made a strategic choice not to outsource its production. In fact, our machines are produced at San Sisto, Perugia, while the multi-layered paper is manufactured at a brand-new factory at Pierantonio, also in Umbria. But since one of our biggest problems is the issue of the supply-chain, that is to say, the management of our distribution network, and given that our production system is now approaching saturation point, we are now seriously considering the possibility of outsourcing. It would certainly help us to reach our clients earlier and more efficiently. In certain cases, it takes six or seven weeks for our shipments to reach their destination, and we want to find ways to reduce these very lengthy time-lags in such a globalised marketplace.