Brand protection curbs counterfeiting like no other thing - Analysis of Financial Statements

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Highlights - Corporate News

Ultracoat Pakistan is Pakistan s first brand protection providing company and the pioneer in UV technology. Following are the edited transcripts of an interview with Iqbal Hussain Jafri, Cheif Executive, Ultracoat Pakistan.

Business Recorder: Tell us something about your company and how did you venture into this business?

Iqbal Jafri: We came into this industry in 1963 and started from the grass root level. There was not much advancement going around on the technology and innovation front. We took the imitative to introduce all the new technologies related to brand security and protection in Pakistan to safeguard our business community.

Back in 1988, when Ultracoat Pakistan introduced UV technology in Pakistan, no one even had an idea what this technology is all about. There was not even a duty structure or SROs in place for the machinery that we brought in, we had to work ourselves for all that. We proudly take the honour of being the pioneers of UV technology in Pakistan.

The UV technology has grown so much that today it is being used in atleast 85 percent of the packaging industry in Pakistan. Almost all industries are using the technology. This is a great achievement in a relatively small span of time.

BR: What were the shortcomings of not having this technology?

IJ: The lamination film process takes a lot of time and it does not cater bulk volume jobs. Moreover, it involves more labour and hence more work hours since the technical limitations demand more time devotion. Another drawback of the conventional lamination technology is that the scrap which is usually as high

as 20 percent goes unsold, which is a

big loss.

BR: What are the benefits of the UV technology?

IJ: The biggest benefit of UV technology is the size of the job order - you can process as much as 50000 sheets on a daily basis depending on the size of the machine. This high volume is unthinkable in the traditional lamination process.

Moreover, UV technology makes possible the printing of badge number and expiry dates on different packages. It was not possible before we introduced the technology in Pakistan. Furthermore, the waste material resulting from UV process has a market value unlike the conventional lamination process.

BR: How heavily do you invest in your business and how strong is your clientele?

IJ: We invest a lot in bringing new technologies and have spent heavily in research and development. We have shown the spine to take risk and enter the untested territory. The benefits of our initial steps have been reaped by all the market players and the industry has flourished.

We have a very strong business and are a very reputable clientele. We have clients like Chevron (Caltex), Capri, Shan and major pharma industry players working with us - that gives us the strength to continue to look for excellence and keep investing in research to offer better solutions with time.

Ultracoat Pakistan is the king of UV technology. We know about the intricacies of the business, we deal with the technology in a more sophisticated manner and more skilfully than any of our peers. This has been possible because of our devotion, commitment and our continued investment in improvisation.

BR: What enticed you to go for new technologies and take risk?

IJ: It was the passion that drove us. We wanted to do it for the betterment of the industry and the country - it was not as easy thing to do as it was an unknown zone in Pakistan but the passion and zeal to achieve the goal prevailed and we managed to successfully launch the UV technology.

BR: Does the company have any associations with foreign players?

IJ: Absolutely, Ultracoat Pakistan has very cordial relation and association with world s largest UV technology companies. World s premier UV companies are our business coalition partners - this is an aspect that we pride ourselves on.

BR: How did you move from UV technology to the brand protection?

IJ: When the UV technology was fully introduced and operational in the country with almost all major players actively participating, we thought of testing our luck in other territories too and brand security was the thing that struck our mind. Security was one thing that was not there in Pakistan before we got into it. We are Pakistan s firs t brand protection providing company.

We try our utmost to make it almost impossible for the brand to be counterfeited through the use of our technology and striving to make it as tough as we can. Groups like Chevron and Total have faith in us, which is why they are working with us - theirs is a business which has a high rate of counterfeiting. The fact that they have put trust in us speaks of our credibility and capability.

BR: How effective is this protection mechanism? Is there any quantifiable measure?

IJ: It is very effective but first you have to see what counterfeiting is. The counterfeiter would mostly venture into drugs that sell at an expensive rate instead of for example, a Panadol. What we do is that we make it so difficult for the packaging to be copied by using such security outlets and such material which others do not have access to.

As for the success measure, I would give you an example that I have been working with Getz Pharma for years and on one of their drug we now receive ten times more orders what we used to get three years back. So that is a huge success, which shows that the brand has done good and the client is satisfied with the results in the market.

We have to keep one thing in mind that counterfeiting is not a problem of third world countries alone. It is human nature. We will continue doing our job by applying barriers and the counterfeiters will continue breaking them. So our job is to keep improving and keep making it difficult for the counterfeiters to copy.

BR: How do you see the future of this industry?

IJ: We want to take Ultracoat Pakistan amongst the leading protection providing companies of the world and we are working every possible inch to achieve that. We have a huge potential market which is yet to be tapped. Awareness will undoubtedly increase with the passage of time which makes us believe stronger in our business viability.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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