Be Packaging, growth doesn’t stop: a new OMET XFLEX X7 is operational
Located in Benevento (Southern Italy), Be Packaging was recently founded but it’s already a renowned excellence in the world of labels and sleeves. The company is an OMET partner since 2009 and aims at expanding its market share by focusing on print quality, speed, and reliability, so it recently invested in new OMET machine, an XFLEX X7. This strategy has led Be Packaging through a regular and fast growth, which didn’t stop even for the pandemic. Giacomo Romano, CEO of the company, talks about it in this interview.
Mr. Romano, how was your company born and how did it grow?
Be Packaging was born in 2016, but we have been producing labels for almost 20 years. Our labeling factory is the result of a verticalization strategy implemented by the industrial group we are part of, which operates in the production of olive oil.
Later on, we decided to stand out in the world of labels and in 2016 we created to a spin-off focused to the packaging sector, believing that we have acquired sufficient know-how to open up to the outside market. Especially in the last three years, we have grown steadily by securing important customers from other sectors on a national level. The increase was considerable: our turnover grew from 3 million euros in 2016 to over 10 million euros, which place us among the medium-sized companies.
What products do you focus on?
Be Packaging immediately performed on the national market as a reference point for labeling, specialized in packaging and self-adhesive labels, shrink sleeve, luxury labels. In 2019 we acquired Unilabel, a well-known leader in the production of customized bottle labels for wine, beer, oil and cosmetics. Unilabel represents the group’s branch for luxury label production.
How is your production organized? What are your main products?
In our factories we produce self-adhesive labels, warranty seals, resealable multilayer labels, IML labels, wet-glue labels, shrink sleeves and aluminum caps. We have the best equipment for flexographic printing, with hot foil, cold foil, UV varnishing, lamination, screen printing, embossing, debossing and digital offset. Our cutting-edge printing technologies allow the production of small and medium runs with very short delivery times. The luxury division, led by Unilabel, produces (thanks to particular finishing techniques) labels with exclusive sensorial papers, rhinestone applications with diamond-like sheen and special metallic or velvet labels. We are also equipped with a highly efficient internal prepress system able to support any graphic request coming from the client.
From a commercial point of view, how do you move towards your customers?
Service is our creed. Labels is a highly competitive sector – in Italy there are more than 500 label factories – but we will not use the “price leverage”. We will grow, by acquiring new market shares, only if we focus on customer service: we bet on punctuality of supplies, estimates in 24 hours, delivery in 5 working days, graphic service from concept to printing and, of course, the product quality.
What’s your competitive advantage?
Punctuality, speed, and reliability. We care about managing the entire process, from printing to product customization.
You also invest heavily on innovation. You have your own research center, right?
Yes, the CRIPACK. Our research center is specialized in innovative packaging and is constantly engaged in various projects. We are always ready to meet the needs of our customers in terms of process, but also and above all, the needs of environmental sustainability. We have always been careful about materials, we evaluate and choose the best environmentally sustainable raw materials with extreme care. We also have an agreement with the Faculty of Materials Engineering of Fisciano, pioneer in this field. We care about nature and ecology in all its facets; we prefer the use of recyclable and natural compounds: we produce biodegradable sleeve labels.
Sustainability is a very strong trend in the market …
Consider that we produce PET bottles that are already 100% recycled. The shrink film for PLA sleeves represents a new technology derived from renewable and economically sustainable vegetable sources that can replace traditional shrink labels. Sleeve labels and tamper-evident bands made of PLA are an eco-sustainable option. Polylactic acid is obtained from corn or starch/sugar and it’s a 100% biodegradable film.
Which markets are you targeting and what growth prospects do you see for the future?
We are currently focused on the Italian market; we are slowly building a foreign sales network. We work mainly with clients from the countries of North Africa, France, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and Greece. Now we are focusing on “specific” markets for our specializations such as the Scandinavian peninsula for “wine” exporters, or Scotland where many spirits producers operate, and Russia.
You recently installed an OMET XFLEX X7. How did your collaboration with OMET start?
The partnership with OMET was born well before Be Packaging’s foundation. The first OMET Flexy 330 was bought in 2009. Since then, we have started an organizational and technological production development that led us to the OMET X7. This cutting-edge equipment allows us to offer our customers a very high quality and an improvement in service and speed. We also aim at new markets in the mid-run sector, where we were not competitive before.
What prompted you to choose OMET again?
We chose OMET because we have a consolidated relationship with the company and we tested OMET technology: the Flexy machine has given us great satisfaction and it’s still operational: this is enough to describe the reliability of OMET technology. Furthermore, OMET is always very close to the customer even if it is a big company.
Regarding the X7, are you satisfied with the machine’s performances and the OMET service?
Yes. We installed the X7 in January and completed the training and testing steps in March; during that two months we started sleeves production and the results were very satisfactory.
Are you already considering further investments in equipment?
The market is constantly evolving and has changed a lot as a result of the pandemic. At this stage, we are observing the trend, trying to prevent negative effects. With the OMET X7 we enter markets such as food & beverage and pharma, we were aiming for. Once the capacity will saturate, we will be able, why not, to evaluate new investments. Today we have different technologies in production, let’s see what the market trend will be.
Has the pandemic brought some crisis for you?
We work 90% for the large large-scale distribution, so we didn’t particularly suffer the lockdowns. However, I noticed two countertrend effects. The first lockdown saw a generalized production decline, while sales increased driven by the large-scale retail trade which made crazy numbers; now the world is settling at normal levels despite the closures.
It is clear that one of the sectors that was most affected by the closures was the Ho.re.ca and we look forward to the recovery of this sector which we consider strategic for the country system. I believe that, albeit slowly, we are slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels.
How do you see the future?
It is clear that we are passing through an exceptional scenario. However, I believe that the whole system is restarting: with the end of the closures imposed by the pandemic there will be a gradual recovery of all sectors and above all of Ho.re.ca, a sector which has suffered much, and that will probably have to struggle a little more than the others to return to pre-pandemic levels. However, we are very confident that this will happen: the acceleration of the vaccination plan will ensure that we will soon return to a “normal life” and Italy will restart as it always has.