PHOTO: Irene Murgatroyd with the Fullimput management team, Reg Nyandeni (commercial director), Henk Visser (technical director) and Clinton Smith (sales director), at the company’s plant in Jacobs
FULLIMPUT, the Durban blow moulding business which was started as a retirement venture without too much expectation, has gone from strength to strength – to the surprise of many, including possibly even the company’s founder herself, Irene Murgatroyd.
In one of the more unusual ventures in the local plastic container manufacturing sector, Fullimput was started by Irene in 2003 after taking early retirement from PVC Compounders. She had been a financial manager at the Sasol PVC operation in Durban and opted out after the business relocated to Johannesburg, but she wasn’t ready to call it a day. Her son David, of Spec Tool & Die, also based in Jacobs, suggested she try her hand at “a bit of blow moulding” to keep her busy. Other members of Irene’s family were involved in converting too, so although she didn’t know much about blow moulding it wasn’t a completely new venture.
Getting started that year, Irene purchased a shelf company with the unusual name of Fullimput, along with a well-used second-hand blow moulder and business commenced. At that stage already, as one of the only woman company founders in the blow moulding sector, Irene may have been a bit of a novelty, but the name of the business hinted at possible successful progress.
Son David wasn’t shy to ask others in the industry to “help” his mom, but it became apparent that assistance wasn’t really required.
At first Fullimput ran just one product, and that was a prototype container. Irene’s careful management of the company’s finances helped provided a springboard for momentum. The ‘prototype’ eventually ran for seven years, during which time a small window was created for the company to grow. That led to the purchase of a 2+2 blow moulding machine for the production of five-litre containers, allowing for production to be upped significantly.
With the little momentum gained, Fullimput made some positive appointments over the past decade, with those of Reginald Nyandeni, Clinton Smith and Henk Visser being key. Ironically, neither Reg or Clinton knew much about blow moulding, Reg having come from the aluminum industry and Clinton from the pumps supply sector, but they’ve fitted in well and complimented the company’s management effectively.
That of Henk Visser may have proved key for Fullimput. A man who has spent his entire career in the blow moulding sector, having been at Greif and Mpact, Henk has extensive experience in blow moulding and has worked in the production of all sizes of containers, even up to large drums. After a fairly brief venture to New Zealand, Henk returned to South Africa and was happy to join a ‘non-corporate’ business. As production director at Fullimput he’s implemented established quality systems. Ironically, sales director Clinton now also spends a lot of time on the production floor.
“The involvement of the owners of the company with customers here has helped us build customer relations,” said Henk.
Fullimput manufactures a wide range of containers, including bottles for the automotive lubricants markets, and has increased capacity to the point where it now operates a substantial number of machines. Automation of most operations at the plant in Chamberlain Road, Jacobs, is underway too, with Henk advising that “we are aiming to reach the point where no handling of containers is required”.
Fullimput has ISO accreditation and achieved the required BEE levels, thanks to well-planned management and Irene is now able to take more of back seat and let the guys get on with it.