COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns resulted in many challenges for printers and converters around the world. In this context, ME Printer asks Abdelkarim Hamdaoui, General Manager of Tunisia based PACKTEC on how this institution helps printers and converters to ride the Covid storm.
When was the Packaging and Packing Technical Center (PACKTEC) established in Tunisia?
PACKTEC was established in 1996 and is a public institution under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry.
PACKTEC provides support and assistance to all those involved in the packaging and printing industry and its related services, especially industrialists and exporters. PACKTEC is also working on ways to control the technical and commercial aspects of companies in the packaging and printing industry.
What are the main tasks of PACKTEC relating to the packaging industry?
The center continuously develops its services, taking into account the requirements of the sector, which are especially important for safety, logistical requirements, and sustainable development. It relies on its facilities to carry out analyzes and experiments on various packaging materials from cartons, plastics, crystals, and metals, by adopting international methods and specifications.
In addition to these facilities, PACKTEC has a logistics center whose role is to test the ability of shipping packages to withstand transportation risks. Accordingly, the center grants a certificate of conformity for the packaging of hazardous materials. The center also works through its various laboratories to protect the product from losses and damage and to ensure that it reaches the consumer in the best conditions and at the lowest costs.
Does PACKTEC work to provide effective and efficient support to companies operating in the packaging sector?
Yes, the center has an important role in informing the packaging and printing companies, as it helps them to establish quality systems, to control production methods and manufacturing costs. The center also provides technical assistance to companies encouraging best practices in the supply chain in order to develop their product and control the cost of production. In addition, assistance is also provided to establish mechanisms to improve quality management, occupational safety, and health preservation. The center also encourages and supports them to obtain international quality control certificates.
It should be noted that the analysis and experiments carried out by the center are internationally recognized, considering that it has obtained an accreditation certificate from the National Accreditation Council and the German Accreditation Structure. Thus, the center works in accordance with international standards by adopting highly qualified human resources, which enables it to play the role of an active partner in supporting the export of Tunisian products.
What is the contribution of the packaging sector to the Tunisian economy?
There are more than 400 printing and packaging companies in (the printing sector is 130), most of which are medium and small. These companies provide around 25,000 jobs, while their turnover is estimated at 2,000 million dinars. This sector also contributes 4% to GNP.
How did coronavirus epidemic affect the packaging industry in Tunisia?
As is the case all over the world, Tunisian companies active in the field of packaging and printing face several challenges in direct and indirect relation to the global health crisis. Most institutions are seeking to overcome this crisis and work to reduce as much as possible the economic damage resulting from the spread of the virus and the contraction of almost all economic activities.
How did the packaging industry stand up to the global COVID-19 pandemic?
Many Tunisian institutions have developed different working methods in order to reduce the negative repercussions of the pandemic. Digitization, remote working, and active e-commerce platforms have become distinctive features of the new global economic scene, taking advantage of the consumers staying in their homes during successive waves of the epidemic. All Tunisian companies have provided their services remotely and contributed to the advancement of e-commerce by developing packaging and printing methods in line with the requirements of this type of e-commerce, such as the manufacture of cartons, corrugated board, shipping packages.
Due to the crisis faced by the sector, PACKTEC provides its services remotely, and through video conferences, briefs and educates institutions, while holding virtual meetings to help communicate with their customers. In addition, the center participated in many virtual exhibitions, which provide great opportunities to enhance partnerships and fruitful business links. Despite the global health conditions, such initiatives have played a huge part in improving the image of Tunisian products.
What are the most important plans and investments that the center is presently working on and intends to do for the near future?
The printing sector now includes more than 130 companies and these companies use different printing technologies (offset, flexo, gravure, screen printing, letterpress, digital) on different printing media (paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, textile, etc.).
The sector faces many challenges such as improving the competitiveness of companies to face imports, ensuring fair competition in the local market, promoting exports, integrating new production technologies, controlling the availability and prices of production inputs, and improving the skill sets of employees.