Bioriented polypropylene film bags have retained their popularity as the packaging of choice for food, animal feeds, lawn and garden materials and other consumer products that require a combination of product protection and high-end graphics. About 18 months ago, Anduro Manufacturing entered the BOPP bag manufacturing business to solve the issues that plagued the industry: long lead times for raw materials and shipping schedules from the Pacific Rim countries which made timely delivery impossible.
“From the time a U.S. producer orders bags, it is typically about 16 weeks to delivery—often longer because neither production nor shipping schedules from the East are reliable,” said Marc Datelle, Aduro’s president and CEO.
Anduro purchased a manufacturing facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a free-trade zone with low production costs and convenient shipping access, with the intention of localizing the entire process producing its Durofab-brand bags. “Some domestic supply is available on shorter schedules, but higher production costs render those bags cost-prohibitive to most producers.”
Datelle said in a telephone interview from his plant in Honduras that Anduro’s business is “going fantastically well. We’ve grown a tremendous amount over the past year. It was more challenging than we’d expected, and there were unforeseen problems, but we’re changing the way BOPP bags are manufactured.”
One of the reasons Datelle purchased this facility was its geographically advantageous location, which provided a foundation for Anduro to provide BOPP bags to its U.S. customers in a timely fashion. “We look like a domestic supplier but with the economies of an importer, which is different than a traditional BOPP manufacturer, because we’ve integrated our supply chain in Central and South America and can deliver a bag faster than anyone,” Datelle claimed.
Anduro has installed looms for weaving the PP fabric of which the bags are made at a partnering fabric manufacturer near the Anduro manufacturing facility in Honduras. Simultaneously, Anduro announced agreements with printing sources in Central America and the U.S. to deliver the specialized high-end graphics required for the bags, which Datelle notes “makes more sense at this point in our growth.”
All other production including assembly, lamination, and testing is performed at the Anduro manufacturing site, and finished Durofab bags are shipped from there to client locations in the U.S. and Latin America.
Datelle said that the industry has changed over the past eight or nine years, when most of the BOPP was coming in from China and it tended to be a very fragmented industry. “What we see happening now is the industry shifting as some of the smaller players are falling out, and bigger players are acquiring companies as the woven BOPP market is taking shape,” he said. “It
takes a while for companies to get their equipment together, and the industry has a lot of problems with the supply chain—it’s riddled with complexity from Asia suppliers. We present a nice alternative. We have a two-year strategy and we’ve done everything we said we’d do. Not only can we deliver bags in 45 days or less, but our customers can get bags in which almost 50% of the materials are from U.S. suppliers.”
With the amount of consolidation happening in the BOPP space, Datelle added that he’s gotten a lot more interest from the venture capital market. “When the VCs start taking interest, something’s happening,” he said.
Anduro has grown 10-15% over the past year, but Datelle still sees a tremendous amount of opportunity in BOPP bags. Many companies are switching from paper bags to BOPP due to the strength of BOPP. “There are a lot of paper bags still out there but inside of five years, you won’t see many paper bags in certain applications,” said Datelle. “There will still be some paper but there will be a drastic shift in utilization of BOPP in packaging.”
Datelle noted that recently a big-box retailer discontinued the sale of a product because it wanted BOPP bags to resolve product loss due to broken bags. “Bag breakage is a big problem and with products such as dog food and charcoal, there can be a lot of loss. I see a lot of opportunity. We’re re-engineering this company—getting centralized and integrated, then working on the execution and marketing, identifying customers and filling the need—that’s where our focus in now.” —Clare Goldsberry