Tissue manufacturing is one of the evergreen businesses in Nigeria, reason being that tissue fall under Fast Moving Consumer Goods which are always in demand and sell very fast. If you would like to start your own tissue manufacturing company, this article will show you how.
Almost every family uses tissue rolls daily and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This is why the profitability of the business is never in question. A few months ago, we published an interview with an entrepreneur who runs a tissue manufacturing company. You will find the interview very revealing, so take a moment and catch up on it.
One thing you will have to deal with in tissue manufacturing business, apart from the infrastructure challenge in Nigeria, is the stiff competition. There are so many tissue making companies in Nigeria, it is almost impossible to count. Your marketing strategy will play a crucial role in your overall success.
That said, don’t let the competition frighten you. You can stay ahead of the competition every time. Besides, competition is a good thing because it shows the business is profitable. If it wasn’t, you would be the only fish in that ocean. If you are determined to make it, success is sure.
How to start a tissue manufacturing company in Nigeria
One of the first things you want to do is to register a business name. This gives you a brand name to work with. To succeed as a production company you need a strong brand, something people can identify with.
Most consumers who buy GoodDay tissue do so because they know and trust the brand. When you register your company you become a brand, so most of your efforts will be spent on building that brand and making it strong. Once you have a strong brand, that is when you start enjoying life as an entrepreneur. This article will show you how to register a business name in Nigeria.
Find a production site
You will need to find a production site. It doesn’t have to be fancy but you need a spacious environment where you can keep machines, assemble and package tissue paper, and keep your company running till you can afford to build a more befitting complex for your business.
You should locate your site very close to market. Everything runs on electricity so keep this in mind when you choose a site. You can get a power generating machine but the cost of running the machine could be crippling for a beginner. So find a place that has passable power supply. Also, your site needs access to good road so that big vehicles can deliver jumbo rolls without problems.
The type of machines you buy, or whether you buy machines at all, depends on the amount of money you have. You can start tissue manufacturing without machines, depending on your scale of production. For medium or large-scale production, you will need machines. Some of the machines are made locally by fabricators while the more efficient machines are produced by big engineering companies and usually very expensive.
Buy Jumbo rolls
A jumbo is a very big roll of tissue from which different tissue sizes are made. It is the most vital component of tissue production. Jumbo rolls are manufactured by paper recycling companies. In Nigeria, you will find different paper recycling companies in Lagos. Tissue manufacturing basically entails cutting up jumbo rolls into smaller sizes for home use. You can start your own paper recycling company and produce your own jumbo rolls but we will discuss this at another time.
There are three ways you can start tissue production: small-scale, medium-scale and large-scale. I will briefly explain each of them below and tell you what challenges each one could pose.
To start small-scale tissue production you don’t need machines. What you need is to have an arrangement with bigger production companies where you buy jumbo rolls and they (the company) use their machines to cut the jumbo into different sizes of tissue depending on your requirements. After cutting the tissue, you slap your brand on the package and you are good to go.
This is the cheapest way to start tissue production. The only problem with this model is you would basically be sharing your already small profit with the company.
Another drawback with this is, the quality of your products is not directly under your control. Other people produce for you and they could make costly mistakes sometimes which would mean your product is less than perfect. Some of them would want to frustrate you because you are at their mercy.
The bigger companies who thrive on efficiency and best practice are busy building their own brands. They would not have the time to produce for a beginner. Even if they had time, quality is everything. So you would have a hard time finding someone who would produce for you to your quality specification without giving you headache or making shakara for you.
However, this model is perfect to understand the tissue production business, and with diligence and hard work, you can scale up and own a bigger facility where you do everything yourself and enjoy maximum benefits.
When you go medium-scale, you do everything yourself. You have the machines, you have your own brand, your own production site, everything. But because you cannot afford big, expensive machines yet, you use locally fabricated, manual machines. Now the difference between manual and automatic machines is like the difference between manual and automatic cars.
Manual machines are more stressful to run. They break down often, consume more power and are more expensive to keep up. Many beginners start with manual machines until they can afford better automated machines.
The advantage is, you still have your company and you do things the way you want them. You enjoy maximum profits and you are focused on building your brand and penetrating the market as quick as you can.
The drawback is you have to deal with machines that break down for no reason and without warning. Power consumption and machine maintenance could cripple your company before it has time to fly.
Still, it’s better than not doing anything at all.
Large-scale is by far the best way but also the most expensive. Most beginners cannot afford the machines especially given the present FOREX crisis. The machines are imported and very efficient. You will find many of the machine manufacturers on alibaba.com.
As a beginner, it makes sense to start your tissue manufacturing on a small or medium scale especially when you have no experience in the business.
Just like any other business, tissue production carries its own challenges, all of which you can work around. When we interviewed Chijioke Eze, we asked him what challenges he faced when he started and how he overcame them. I think it’s best if you hear from him directly.
Our challenges were much. We started business at a time when Nigeria was labelled as one of the worst places to start a business in the world. For example, registering a business name should not take more than 24 hours but in Nigeria it could take up to 1 month at times. We dealt with all that. Access to loan facility could take up to a year. In organized countries, it should not take more than a month because time is money.
Our major challenge was electricity. At times we would not get up to 4 hours of electricity in a day. But because power always came on at night, we introduced night shifts. My team was exceptional. Night shifts! And none of them said a word. We worked with locally fabricated machines and they always broke down. You could have electricity but the machines would adamantly refuse to work. (Read full interview)
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