“Many meetings in Turkey start with a traditional pastry or with the famous Turkish Delight; but every meeting starts with tea!” says Hussein Soliman, Senior Technical Services & Development (TS&D) Engineer for Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics (P&SP) for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region. “Tea means hospitality; bringing people closer together,” he adds.
In 2014, Duran Yucel, General Manager at Fitpak Ambalaj ve Kimya (“Fitpak”) called such a meeting with the local Dow team – Hussein Soliman and Dicle Gunbay, Dow P&SP Turkey Account Executive – as the company sought an innovative approach to packaging production and services specifically for the Turkish market.
Fitpak had set its sights on meeting some very specific brand owner needs and helping to solve technical issues in flexible food packaging (mostly shrink wrap films) to keep food fresh, safe, and easy to transport. And it was this growing demand in Turkey that led them to set ambitious growth targets for a more downgauged shrink wrap film solution with a better balance between performance and cost.
“The company was looking at a big growth curve as well as a big learning curve, and they were looking for the right technical partner to help them,” says Dicle Gunbay. “This was a challenge that both Fitpak and Dow were eager to take on!”
The challenge appeared straightforward but it was more than met the eye. “Downgauging works against the ease of processing and in some cases requires a change in hardware (like machinery) setup,” says Hussein Soliman. “So not only did we have to solve the overall challenge, we aimed to do so with a solution that would get the results without having to change Fitpak’s production machinery.”
The key to success was close collaboration – and lots of tea! “We already had a strong relationship with the team at Dow, having worked together over several business development initiatives. But a challenge like this is where the trust and expertise really comes in,” says Duran Yucel, General Manager, Fitpak. “Over this six-month project, we worked even more closely together, bringing all parties in – including our customers (the brand owner) – during the initial stages, followed by site visits, sample production, and evaluating prototypes and initial solution developments in Dow’s labs. We wanted a very open and transparent process so we all had the necessary insight and technical specifications to achieve a successful result very quickly.”
The Dow team was able to design, evaluate, and qualify several solutions to help Fitpak enhance the performance of the new solution offered. “Bringing its Low Density Polyethylene Resins (LDPE 555E) and the newly developed ELITE™ Enhanced Polyethylene (EPE) Resin (ELITE 5940ST) to the table, Dow developed an end result that was better than expected: improved optical and shrink properties, as well as higher shrink holds combined with downgauging,” highlights Duran Yucel.
Not only did the Dow team bring the necessary technical support, “we also backed it up with advice on how to promote the value propositions of the new solution, helping Fitpak position the solution in the best way to brand owners in Turkey,” adds Hussein Soliman. “Getting the chance to support the growth of the Turkish market – in this particular case with Fitpak, at a critical time and under special circumstances – is a great accomplishment for me personally.”
“This streamlined the process of introducing our new innovation to the market, and several of our customers are already seeing the benefits!” adds Duran Yucel.
“I’m proud of the relationships we have here in Turkey with our customers, like Fitpak,” highlights Hussein. “And the feedback we’re receiving is clear: the only way to truly drive innovation is by being a part of a collaborative process, and keeping business success and the growth of the marketplace in mind.”
A challenge like this is where the trust and expertise really comes in.