Solar Plastic SA de CV, which claims to be the largest supplier of polypropylene hosiery hangers in Mexico, has withstood competition from China and Korea for a decade and is now recovering some of its lost business.
It's not been easy, said manager Javier Solar, recalling the occasions the family-owned company has sought and been given bank loans to help it survive.
Based in heavily industrialized Puebla, the company will celebrate 40 years of existence in March and is hoping to move back into full profit soon.
Our profits have been reduced to almost zero because of imports from China and Korea, Solar said. But we've countered this by offering quality and service, without which we would have gone out of business.
Today, Solar Plastic produces 150 million pieces a year for about 60 clients, including five to 10 described by Solar as large. We lost a lot of clients after about 2000, when imports from Asia started flooding the market, he said. But some clients, not all, are returning, while others don't worry about the quality we offer, only the price.
In Solar's opinion, the same problem that is hurting Asian exporters' growth in Mexico logistics has put a brake on the company's export potential.
The problem is the high cost of transportation. Our product is very cheap and the cost of transportation is high. We've approached companies in many countries, particularly in the Americas, but have not been able to achieve anything, other than a single contract in Costa Rica, which the company has been honoring since 2004.
The company was started by Solar's late grandfather, Agustín Solar Ramirez, who passed on the business to his son, José.
José is Javier's father and the company's managing director.
Solar Plastic employs eight.
It has five injection molding machines, including two Sandrettos and a Boy. In addition to the hangers, it also manufactures label fasteners for clothes manufacturers in general and wall plugs for the hardware sector.
Apart from PP, it also uses polyethylene resins.