In this “Over the Skype” we talked to José Luis Bezaury, Managing Director of Litoplas, who tells us about the wide portfolio of solutions he offers in labels and packaging, as well as what has been the success factor of his company in 25 years of experience.
En este “Over the Skype” entrevistamos a José Luis Bezaury, director general de Litoplas, quien nos habla acerca del amplio portafolio de soluciones que ofrece en etiquetas y empaques, así como cuál ha sido el factor de éxito de su empresa en 25 años de trayectoria.
Hello, good afternoon to all who are watching from El Impresor magazine.
Well, today we have the pleasure and the great pleasure of being with José Luis Bezaury, Litoplas general manager.
Thank you for this invitation.
Thank you for participating in this space.
And so I’m going to tell you a little bit about the company, about its beginnings, about how they have achieved success after perhaps many adversities.
Well José Luis, thank you very much for being in this space.
Claudia, on the contrary, thank you very much and of course, many greetings to its founder and all the great team of El Impresor.
How nice of you.
Well, what do you think if we start and you tell us a little bit about the beginnings of Litoplas, how were they?
All right, so Litoplas, 25 years ago.
In May was the first 25 years.
This one we started, I think like everybody else in this, in this industry, when we were very young.
We start with two little machines, a four color and a one color machine.
Sorry two of four and two of one color.
This company that the founder was Don Enrique Hernandez Pons, the founder of Herdez.
This had the purpose of producing labels for Herdez.
With my arrival that I am very restless and with the invitation that Don Enrique made me.
Part of the plan was not to be part of Herdez, that is, not to dedicate ourselves to Herdez anymore, but to grow in the industry, to develop ourselves and not to implement the company.
This is how it was born 25 years ago.
This has been a precious journey in my life.
Full of satisfactions.
Full of confidence on the part of the group’s directors.
And, because today it is a company with a certain level of importance in the industry.
I imagine that they have also faced many challenges as time goes by, as this pandemic is happening right now, unfortunately they have faced challenges and many achievements as well.
Claudia, I don’t think there is any business or any life that doesn’t have daily challenges.
I think our job is precisely to get up in the morning to fix or fix or prevent challenges from happening and deal with them on a daily basis, right?
That’s, that should be the spirit that an entrepreneur should have in order to move forward with any venture, whether it’s called a company or a project.
And of course, the challenges today the pandemic has been very tough.
Very tough mainly on the emotional side.
It has been very difficult to see how colleagues, family and friends have been infected.
And in the company we have been able to get around fortunately very well.
We have a very robust internal health and safety system that we’ve had in place for a couple of years now fortunately.
And we complied with all the official regulations and being a company dedicated to the production of labels for food, wine, liquor.
Fortunately, we have been imposing many management systems and certifications in order to have a hygienic environment and so that our collaborators will be able to wear caps, masks, and so on.
And well, that has helped us a lot.
And I repeat, we also had the internal doctor of the plant who helped us a lot, he continues to help us in this management, everything that is safety, hygiene, we have been able to control this horror, to control it to the maximum, to segregate people when they have had contact with someone infected.
Unfortunately our numbers are not very encouraging because people uh… well the mobility doesn’t help in this city, it’s from… we were doing very well in 2020.
We were doing very well, very controlled.
We were uncovered on the 21st, unfortunately because of the Christmas holidays, which as we all saw on TV, nobody respected for Three Kings Day.
And then, to top it all off, comes the breakdown of the subway.
Two trains, people traveling across town and across town to get to our facility.
And unfortunately they were being pushed like sardines on trucks.
Well, all that has helped me this one.
Fortunately we are under control.
It’s already started to drop again.
I’m waiting for yesterday’s tamales.
No, I haven’t raised the house meetings again and all that.
And let’s get back to having a little bit more peace and quiet and less daily scares and let’s get the… the vaccines and start circulating.
No, let it no longer be a political promise.
How did we work?
Well, we’ve been running with…
Finding out how to do it with less resources.
What does it mean?
We have a lot of people.
We are 500 employees within the company and we have approximately 50 vulnerable people.
I am among them, and all of them have been sent home, not because of the comorbidities they have, including age, some of them and this one and we have not counted on them.
Talking from 10 percent of your workforce is very high.
Because it’s not discretionary, it could be the master of a machine or it could be a general helper going through everybody, or it could be a manager, or it could be a supervisor, right, of all you’ve had.
And then everything, all the people that we have to segregate because somebody came in and we found them with vitals and we did all the, we do all the traceability and you send and send and send and send people.
Sure, they all come back.
He says goodbye to them and knock on wood this one.
But well, learn to work and without cutting supply chains for your customers.
That’s the most important thing, to give security.
That’s the point I wanted to get to.
Let people know that Litoplas is still working for you, it’s still 100, despite all that.
We are still working, we are still at 100, we were one of the first ones when the… What is it called?
In the first round there was a request from the Secretary of Health of the Federal District, together with the Mexico City, excuse me, together with the Secretary of Labor that you had to discharge your world, I’ll give it to you.
He was scared.
We as we comply with all the regulations.
We immediately discharged ourselves.
We continued to work.
We were never prevented and we didn’t even have revisions, probably because we had all the documentation duly accredited.
And this one and in that sense so to.
No, not only us, all our suppliers.
And our company.
And I know that many colleagues in the area did not cut the supply chain, which was very important and is still very important, especially those of us who are dedicated, whether it’s food products, beverages, cleaning products, pharmaceuticals.
All of them are essential.
Then we became essential.
If it was right now we are seeing that this label market is booming, right.
Because of all this.
Of course. And you are also essential.
Communication is still essential.
Industry as such should be classified as essential.
Sure, that’s teamwork.
And talking a little bit about going into the National Award topic that we were just talking about.
In spite of the adversities and all this, they win the National Award.
What does it mean for you and for Litoplas? With what work? How was it?
Look, Claudia, this… to talk about the National Graphic Arts Award, except that it touches my heart very hard, because obviously we have been participating in the Union for many years.
We like the award, I think the award, and I’m going to talk about many, yes?
Not to brag about having them, but.
But if we talk about the tampax and we talk about the uilmac.
If we talk about the AME which is the Mexican Association of packaging.
If you are talking about the Premier Awards of the PIA.
If you talk to Latingrafica or others, if you talk about any of them it is exceptional.
That the development that those, those events cause.
And why is that?
Because you strive, you strive every day, try to do things better and in particular the National Graphic Arts Award that you asked me about.
I tell you, it makes my heart skip a beat because it is something that I have been very fond of for a thousand years, its founder Eduardo Veraza.
Since when do you participate in the National Award?
Oh, my God!
Then I’ll tell you my age, which many years ago is many years.
I don’t think I can tell you – 35.
Wow, a lot of years.
With what jobs?
Fortunately, with jobs from all customers, all customers.
Different customers, but not all customers.
Different customers have won in different contests.
It’s from… The greatest pride is not to win awards, the greatest pride is to keep your customers.
Of course it is.
That’s what’s most important.
The award becomes a part of recognition of the quality of your work and personal ego.
But the important thing is to keep the customers, keep the customers happy.
And this one, like every day.
Sorry, sorry. How is the evolution of the National Prize seen?
I’ll tell you one thing.
No evolution of the National Prize.
Has evolution of the works participating in the award.
Well, you’re going backwards.
Backwards really, you see, if they used to say, “Well, why don’t you print overseas?”
I should now why don’t you print in Mexico?
We do amazing, amazing, amazing things.
We are ready to compete in any country in the world, and with great satisfaction I tell you that.
The Mexican industry has developed tremendously this year.
There are impressive, incredible jobs, aren’t they.
A lot of specialties have opened up that previously didn’t exist and these have allowed for greater development of the industry.
How do I see the jobs?
I go backwards every time I see them.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. They print very well in Mexico.
And in that sense in Litoplas… Could you tell us a little bit about the type of machinery that you use, and what is it?
Claudia, we are a very diverse company, we have a wide portfolio of products.
We are offset printers, we are flexographic printers, both narrow web, medium web and wide web.
So we do from the conventional label, corrugated web, self-adhesive label, folding cartons, flexible packaging…
a very interesting line of premium packaging machinery, which is lined cardboard boxes, lined tubes with high finishes, sticky and transparent packaging…
So if I talk about machinery, I divide a lot.
In printing machinery we have offset, in the offset part we have Heidelbergs and we have Cabreras for very different applications, recluso for extended papers, and Cabreras I use for cartons this one.
We have in flexo Peters we have this one.
We’re just recently debuting a machine that you’re going to say, “These crazy people, how do they buy machines this late in the game?”
No, but how cool.
Well, we order it from Spain in 2019 and in September or October 2019 and it will be delivered in December 2020.
Already committed to (indistinct name of a printing press).
It is an eight-color, wide web press.
This one, we have a Bonardi machine.
We have this finishing machine, this finishing machine, this forging machine, this ultraviolet varnishing machine, and this registration machine.
We have a lot of minor machinery for everything that are the work and cartons lined, because there is a lot of machinery …
It’s a very broad portfolio that you have.
A very large, very broad portfolio.
What we want is to give added value to our products.
No, no, not just keep the extended label and try to evolve according to market requirements in terms of packaging labeling.
And in that sense, let’s say how often do you plan and I mean do an evaluation of your machines and how often do you, I don’t know, change, renew?
Look, there’s no, there’s no set time from when you say hey, this machine came and I change it in two, three years.
This one we renew constantly.
Graphic arts is very active in investments.
The printer, as you know, never sees his penny until he sells and retires.
You always owe more machines.
We’re, we’re very conceited and all it takes is one DRUPA and you go crazy, don’t you, you want to start changing.
This and basically you do it because of machine burnout or because the machine is no longer producing what it was producing or with the quality that this one does.
It’s very investment intensive.
I would tell you we’re going to one major machine or two major machines per year.
Call it renewal or call it growth.
This one I think is growth.
I think it’s very dynamic, isn’t it, because you also sell other machines already more tired, more and new minds.
And finally the productivity is what determines when you have to change a machine, isn’t it, the productivity, the quality and the inkjet requirements.
But you never stop.
And speaking of this industry that you say is so dynamic.
How do you visualize this year, this 2021, how do you see it?
Look, I think we all have to reinvent ourselves and that’s what I tell everybody in the company.
I think we live, we all went into a comfort zone for many years.
The comfort zone is that you were growing up, sorry.
No, no, go ahead.
You were growing organically because your clients were growing, so you were having impressive double-digit annual growth, this was constantly growing at 15 to 20 percent per year, because of course, you brought in some new accounts, but your clients were growing, so it was very comfortable.
How 20, 21, I see it full of challenges, I don’t see what we have to change to.
All of us have to psyche ourselves up for this one.
In addition to being entrepreneurs, we have to be learners.
We have to learn many new things.
We have to learn about communication, we have to learn about social networks, we have to learn how to promote them.
How to make our products more accessible to our customers.
I see it as full of challenges.
I am a very optimistic person and I believe that the future is drawn by you more than the future takes you.
I believe that.
Wow, what good words!
And then something, something else to finish, any comments you want to make to the people who see us as your clients?
Well, the comment would be, you have to believe in the team.
You asked me a question you about what equipment or what machinery I have, but what machinery he has.
I would tell you and there, there I have a conflict sometimes with the or the managers themselves tell me: How do you let everybody in?
Because I have a beautiful auditorium there I lend it to give courses to the competition and everything.
I tell them to see, there are better machines at an expo.
The real value of our company is in its people and in what you know and how you work those irons, not in the irons themselves.
I would say give a value to our people, let’s trust them.
They are the ones who will make you great.
And let us train ourselves.
We have a great force of human wealth in this country, don’t we?
That’s what I would tell you more importantly, we have good printers.
We’re no longer good, we have great printers.
We have very skilled people.
To work, I am very proud that my team in general and even at the management level is 45 percent women today.
That is very important!
I think women are awesome to work with.
They’re amazing at everything.
And this one. We’re very diverse in age.
This one is enriching.
What else can I tell you?
Bravo for my team, my team is worth gold.
Yes, of course, of course.
And that they are all united, they know how to work as a team too.
We know how to work as a team.
People are very grateful.
One thing I would tell you very important is an honor for Litoplas, we have not laid off a single person since the crisis started.
And if there have been months or seasons, that “ai ai ai ai” these aisles were full before and all the work stations (inconclusive what he says here).
But what you have to give people is confidence, you have to give them security in their future.
We always say this is your home.
Well, let it really be your home, right?
And we protect everybody nowadays.
The human factor is paramount.
That’s right, Claudia.
It is essential.
And really, thank you very much.
Thank you for this time.
Thank you for these very valuable words that give us advice, give us tips to become as successful as you are.
Thank you very much Claudia.
Greetings to everyone in the editorial and at home.
May you all be well and please take care of yourselves.
Likewise, likewise to all the Litoplas family.
Thank you Claudia. See you later.
Thank you, Claudia.