Winner Paper: winning on the Thai market

The main consumption levels in Thailand are registered in the AfH segment, but development potential in the consumer segment has increased the interest in this field. Proof of this are the investments made by some smaller-size converters. Winner Paper is one of these.

Maura Leonardi

“Sawatadee”! “Welcome” to Thailand! A certainly unique and enjoyable country, calm but frenetic at the same time, where hospitality represents the emblem of its inhabitants. And Bangkok (“the city of angels”) or Krung Thep, as it is called in Thai, is its heart: a cosmopolitan mix of different cultures and lifestyles. Since the XVIII century, political, commercial and cultural core of the country, Bangkok today is becoming the nerve center also for the development of the tissue industry, despite the fact that presently, tissue producers are few and far between.

WINNER PAPER – A FAMILY-OWNED COMPANY HEADED BY VORAVUT LAPJITKUSOL, company chairman who succeeds his father in the management of the business – is one of these. The company started out in 1989 with the production of stationery papers (printing papers, computer paper, etc.), while tissue converting began in 1996 with products destined for the institutional segment. The consumption growth registered by AFH products thanks to the development of the service sector (+7% in 2005 and an expected 10-15% growth for the coming years) has led the company to widen its product range through the addition of jumbo rolls, toilet rolls, industrial rolls, kitchen towels, table napkins and inter-folded products sold on the market under the brand name “Winner Paper”. The headquarters are located one hour’s drive from Bangkok in the industrial area of Ayutatya, where the retail chain warehouses and the largest operators in the market can also be found. A strategic location that reduces logistic problems due to lack of infrastructures, transport costs, and one that is not effected by the chaos of city traffic. The small 6000 square-meter company employs 65 people and represents an interesting entity for a “newly discovered” market. If we consider the growth in terms of consumption and investments registered in these last few years in Asian countries, we can surely expect interesting figures also for the Thai consumer segment for the future.

“TIME IS MONEY” ALSO IN THAILAND. Therefore, anticipating the market and not losing business means investing in new technologies, proposing innovative products. The market has changed in the last few years. The arrival of European suppliers has increased finished product standards and, as often happens, price becomes the less important variable in choice-making, leaving more space for quality, which thus assumes the role of driver in product purchase. Embossing, printing and the quality of the paper itself certainly make the difference for toilet rolls, protagonists in terms of consumption. Different is the positioning of kitchen towels that do not yet enjoy the favor of Thai consumers, still firm in their cultural habits. For this reason innovation is, for Voravut Lapjitkusol, the starting point from which to conquer new market shares. And innovating means introducing on the market a new toilet roll dedicated to the consumer segment. VIVA: this is the name chosen for the new product out to conquer the shelves of retail stores. The product will be sold in 8- or 20-roll packs of white, embossed and decorated tissue.

CONVERTING IS DONE BY THE NEW X3, SUPPLIED BY KÖRBER ENGINEERING SHANGHAI, while for packaging, the model XP2 wrapper – also supplied by Körber Engineering Shanghai – was chosen. A technological choice that guarantees Winner Paper a production speed of 200 mpm (or up to 10 logs per minute) on three-ply toilet rolls. A new product for a market whose trend for the next years will certainly be positive.

“The future of tissue products is on an upwards trend. In the next few years, we will witness an increase in consumption not only in terms of quantity but also of the quality of the products requested both by the consumer segment as well as by the industrial one,” states Voravut Lapjitkusol. “For this reason we do not want to be followers but trend setters, increasing Winner Paper’s business possibilities and growth”. As of today, converting amounts to 200 tons per month, but the aims for the future are of 400-500 tons. Modest quantities if compared to other countries’ production, but we must remember that culture and business opportunities are different from one country to another. But in Thailand, too, investing represents the winning strategy in order to attain new goals and be in the vanguard in a market with high potential, where waiting represents the main virtue that allows to strengthen market shares. With a 5% market share in the industrial segment and an investment of 30,000,000 Baht (about 625,000 Euro), Winner Paper has all the cards to win its market challenge. •

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