Satisfying customers is a challenging task at best, but exceeding a customer’s expectations is something extremely gratifying. Astrapak’s Plastop KZN, which is part of their Astramoulding division, has worked tirelessly to achieve significant quality improvements within their operation. While these changes benefit all customers, recognition received recently from an international blue chip customer has been great reward.
Working to the stringent quality standards set by this global market leader defined a new level of focus on quality within the Astrapak Group vastly improving their quality management in the plant from the ground up.
Plastop KZN embarked on a journey that ran parallel to the customer’s needs with stringent criteria to meet, and not without facing massive challenges. As their customer insisted on higher levels of quality control and raised the bar to benchmark the manufacturing process on a global scale, so the factory rose to meet and exceed the required quality levels.
Based in Prospecton on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, Plastop KZN produces plastic packaging for largely the personal care market, which makes up about 98% of their clientele, with approximately 1% assigned to the food and beverage sector and 1% to the household market. The performance of the plant and the improvements made has laid the foundation for the introduction of a new pharmaceutical sector to their line up.
Plastop KZN General Manager, Xavier Duperron, says that it has been quite a long journey to achieve the success that they are seeing today. “We’re implementing quality more and more. The journey began over two years ago when we changed from being a quantity-orientated plant to one that focused on the quality on the production line; to produce the right product at the right time in the right way within the right environment.”
Duperron admits that the strong support and guidance of Astrapak CEO, Robin Moore, has afforded the motivated team at Plastop KZN the opportunity to overcome challenges and given them ways and means to improve in every facet from the ground up.
“We looked at the foundation of the system that we were building so that we could achieve our goal of making the right product the first time,” said Duperron. “By increasing our maintenance budget by 30-40%, we were able to fix what needed to be fixed. Astrapak Head Office gave us all the tools and support that we needed to achieve our goals. The improvements are not only visibly evident in terms of equipment but our philosophy and mind-set has strengthened. It is these changes that have driven improved results.”
Plastop KZN SHEQ Manager, Tyrone Nadasen, says that feedback from customers does not end at boardroom level but gets shared with the entire team. “The team comes together as one unit to find solutions and address challenges – seeing them through to successful results. Everyone is hands-on and keen to improve on our quality standards. It’s part of our culture.”
Plastop KZN has been driving the Astrapak values wholeheartedly, with each team member committed to adopting the values of Respect, Integrity, Teamwork, Excellence and Customer Focus, successfully passing the message on. “It ultimately delivers the results,” continued Duperron. “If the team are not fundamentally behind their management and vice versa, then progress is not sustainable. When the whole team works together, it maintains quality improvement over the years.”
Great things are expected from Astrapak’s Plastop KZN and their Team.