In a world that is becoming more and more paperless each day, it isn’t easy for a paper company to stay alive. However, Papeles y Conversiones de Mexico S.A. de C.V., (PCM) is not only alive; it’s thriving. The Guadalupe-based manufacturer has grown at a steady rate of more than 30 percent every year, and in 2013, it grew an impressive 40 percent.
PCM, which began 20 years ago with one product – point-of-sales rolls – now produces items for five main divisions through five manufacturing plants: office supply, labels and ribbons, corrugated, recycling plant and paper manufacturing. “We went slowly expanding without stealing from the market,” PCM owner and General Manager Agustin Anaya Garza says. “The market hasn’t grown at this rate. So, to grow at this rate, you need to be focused on quality and service, which I think are the factors that will distinguish you from others and give you a future.”
Anaya Garza’s 20 years of leadership experience at PCM and 46 total years working in the paper industry make him a person worth listening to. According to the business owner, when the market is vastly price-competitive, a business needs to be service-driven. “You can have the best prices, but if you don’t offer quality and fast services, you’ll end up on the outside,” he notes.
Service is a high priority at PCM, which keeps clients happy with fast delivery times. Two of its product lines – paper ribbon and corrugated sheets – are delivered within 48 hours. Few other companies are able to offer that type of turnaround time, giving PCM a competitive edge. The company also offers automatic replenishment for regular customers.
The highly diversified manufacturer has a long list of products that span the industrial, banking, commercial, agricultural, pharmaceutical, food and automotive markets.
PCM products include:
- Office supply: Point-of-sales receipt rolls, stock paper, fax paper rolls and CAD plotter paper rolls.
- Labels: Thermal transfer labels, direct thermal labels, scale labels, printer labels and prime labels.
- Ribbons: Thermal transfer ribbons and hot stamping foils.
- Corrugated: Corrugated sheets for packaging.
- Paper: Medium and liner paper for manufacturing corrugated sheets.
Staying on top
PCM products outsell others in competing segments throughout Mexico and reach as far as Venezuela and Canada. A few basic, but important principles explain the company’s success. “We stand out for our service and the quality of our products,” Anaya Garza relates. “What we do best is to know the needs of the market and based on that, we develop a sales strategy.” According to PCM’s owner, once the sales team determines what product to make, it focuses on becoming a high-volume producer to reduce costs.
Anaya Garza acknowledges that his company is part of a competitive globalized market. “If we don’t manage ourselves with a lean business structure and a strong focus on efficient productivity and quality, it will be difficult to survive because the industry is globalized, not local,” he explains. “There is competition on all sides.”
For these reasons, he focuses on volume. He also sees the importance of maintaining strong relationships with raw material suppliers. The company philosophy is to treat them like clients. The understanding here is that suppliers not only provide PCM with quality and timely materials, but the manufacturer stays in constant contact and relies heavily on them for information. That can only be maintained by having a close relationship in communication and by attending to them the way they deserve. They are considered one of the best sources for market knowledge.
A complicated part of every business is keeping up with developing technology and adapting to changes in the market. Paper companies, in particular, run the risk of stumbling under innovations to paperless methods, but PCM has adapted well to changes. “In the past, we’ve developed products that became obsolete,” Anaya Garza concedes. Now, the company diversifies, focusing on products that are low technology risks such as corrugated sheets and paper for the container board industry.
Of course, the best business strategies and efficient manufacturing processes stem from the minds and hard work of the people who work there. “The most important part of this company is the team of employees; for me, they are like family,” Anaya Garza notes. “And, we treat them that way.” PCM offers fair work contracts, as well as individualized training at each plant. When he reflects on his company, what gives him the most sense of pride is his work team. “I have a team with a developed state of urgency necessary for growth,” he adds. “You can’t grow this fast if you don’t have a team with a sense of urgency.” The people who work there are considered skilled, focused and distinguished.