SIPAT: the winning combination between technology and people

May 12, 2008: we’re off! Destination: Casablanca (Dar-el–Beida). Our trip will start from there and will take us to Meknes (Medersa Bou Inania), Imperial City built in the XIV century during the reign of the Merinidi, finished in 1358 by Bou Inan and home to SIPAT.

Maura Leonardi

Located in the north of Morocco at about 130 km from the capital city of Rabat and 60 Km from Fes, Meknes was the capital of Morocco from 1672 until 1727. Besides being the smallest of the Imperial cities, Meknes is a very tranquil place with a priceless historical heritage. SIPAT S.A. – Société Industrielle Des Papiers “Tissues” – is headquartered here. Born in 1978 from the joint venture between the El Kendouci family and a European group, today SIPAT is one of the most important Moroccan industrial entities in the realm of tissue products manufacturing and converting. Founded by Ahmed and Mohammed El Kendouci, respectively grandfather and father of the present Managing Director, Driss El Kendouci, with the purchase of PM1 and a production of 4,000 tpy, SIPAT began its entrepreneurial adventure by producing reels for tissue and for packaging.

In those years, demand for tissue paper in Morocco amounted to just 600 tpy, hence the need to diversify production. At the beginning of the 1980s, the European group quit its participation in the company and SIPAT remained under the complete direction of the El Kendouci family. Today, with a production capacity of 16,000 tpy (12,000 capacity for PM2 purchased from Toscotec in 1995 and 4,000 tons for PM1), the company can satisfy the request of the Moroccan market, capable of absorbing 60-70 % of SIPAT’s capacity, and exports the rest to Senegal and Tunisia.


WHAT MAKES THIS COMPANY A VERITABLE PEARL OF MOROCCO, unique in its kind, is the determination and the vanguard spirit of the young Managing Director Driss El Kendouci, who has been heading the company for the past eight years. The new industrial facilities cover 40,000 of the 90,000 square meters occupied by SIPAT. It was inaugurated in mid-2007 and fully embodies the young, vanguard philosophy of the company’s management.

Designed by Driss’s father Mohammed, the new industrial entity was built by following a modular concept of production that brings together in one surface space the raw materials warehouse, the production area and the finished products warehouse. “Today, production requires space. Not just physical space but also space for the mind in order to be able to think, create new projects and have a long-term vision,” explains Driss El Kendouci. The remaining 50,000 square meters of space are dedicated to production and to the raw materials warehouse (PM1-PM2 and cellulose warehouse).


THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT, THE TECHNOLOGY AND THE PEOPLE ARE AT THE BASIS OF THE COMPANY’S PHILOSOPHY –THREE INGREDIENTS FOR A WINNING STRATEGY. “For SIPAT, these three factors represent the essence not of business but of the future. Believing in people, in technology and in the working environment for us means having a long-term vision projected towards tomorrow,” states the general manager. “Have you ever asked yourselves what are the main factors that contribute to the success of a Formula1 stable?

Surely it is the combination between a good automobile and a capable pilot. And team spirit is the essence of our company: the harmony between man and machine is indispensable in order to pursue great results. Money is for investing in technology; time is for people, to train them and make them participants in company life,” sustains Driss.

You can breathe the young mentality in every corner of the facilities and the importance of the human factor is evident, too. Ethics, knowledge and education are the fundamental elements of the company’s mission, to provide a healthy environment where all employees can work serenely, feeling the company as if it were their own. “The success of a company depends on several factors, but surely for me and my family, who have for years been in this business, passion is the energy that allows us to attain objectives,” continues Driss El Kendouci.


THE MOST SURPRISING AND TANGIBLE ASPECT THAT EMERGED DURING OUR VISIT IS THE DESIRE TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT CAN GUARANTEE HIGH TECHNOLOGICAL PERFORMANCE. The most intriguing aspect is the investment in human resources and in the willingness to communicate with its collaborators in a universal language. This company is permeated by a culture aimed at establishing long-term relationships with its suppliers and customers. “Be strong”: this is their motto. A strength that has solid roots: “Our culture teaches us that we must live in amity with others and not be enemies. For SIPAT, growing means setting the bases for a better future, developing together with the entire sector,” continues Driss.

And the tissue field has indeed good margins for growth. In Morocco, average tissue products consumption (facial tissues, toilet rolls, table napkins and kitchen towels) amounts to 0.3 kg per capita with good growth prospects for the next few years. Today, what impedes consumption from taking off is low purchasing power. Average monthly salary is 170€ and the basic unit price for tissue toilet roll product is 1 Dirham (0.085€). Foreign investments, just like the optimal resources for the development of agriculture and tourism, will in the future help increase purchasing power, guaranteeing stable and constant growth.


AT PRESENT, THE CLASSIFICATION OF PRODUCT CONSUMPTION IN MOROCCO IS THUS COMPRISED: IN FIRST POSITION ARE FACIAL TISSUES, second toilet rolls, bronze medal for table napkins and, last but growing are kitchen towels. From this classification, we can also understand the composition of SIPAT’s machine lineup that counts four facial tissue converting machines and two machines for the production of table napkins. Recycled products converting is entrusted to a time-honored machine: the rewinder model 413 by Fabio Perini S.p.A.

The purchase of the new Sincro 5.5 line from Fabio Perini S.p.A. and the Casmatic CMW 425 supplied by KPL Packaging S.p.A. completes the machine range. A technological investment where the combination of technology and the human factor was decisive in obtaining optimal production performance from the machine.


“THE CHOICE TO BUY A PERINI MACHINE TO INCREASE OUR PRODUCTION has allowed us to get better acquainted with Fabio Perini S.p.A.’s industrial capabilities not only as a supplier of converting machinery, but also as a veritable partner with whom we can establish a long-term relationship of trust. Stronghold of the project was the attainment of the objective: growth for both parties involved – we as a converting company in Morocco and Perini as partner in a pilot project in a new country that is developing in this specific field. In a project, there may be some problems and unexpected events, but trust must lie at the basis of a supply relationship, and this is fundamental also in business,” states the general manager.

Even though tissue represents less than 20% of SIPAT entrepreneurial group’s turnover – a group that includes also real estate companies, companies involved in the alimentary and agricultural fields – the determination and energy with which management believes in the new industrial entity highlight the pride and trust in this business. SIPAT synthesizes a new entrepreneurial way of working in the converting field: a dynamic, young and fresh mentality.

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