Absto Industrial Supplies | KZN Future 50

Absto Industrial Supplies | KZN Future 50

Find out more about Absto Industrial Supplies, this week's KZN Future 50 featured business...

Absto Staff Image

Company Name: Absto Industrial Supplies
Number of Employees: 93
Website: www.absto.co.za

What inspired you to start your business?

The business was started as an entrepreneurial venture by individuals with extensive experience in adhesive tape. The founders have a passion for business and people, and these are the core values and principles of our business today.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome to sustain and grow your company?

The biggest challenge we have had to overcome was establishing our Altezze Brand in the market against brands that have been prominent in South Africa for more than 30 years. Customers were very reluctant to change brands, but over time we were able to gain market share across our entire product range.

How are things going today?

Things are going well. Our business sells products into most industries which gives our business a lot of diversification. Two of our biggest markets are packaging and hardware, which saw significant growth during the pandemic. Based on our research post-COVID-19, more people shopped online where parcels needed to be sealed and more people spent time renovating their homes. Now we face new challenges and we are constantly trying to find solutions to solve our customers' problems. There is no question the market is tough, but we believe the good businesses will succeed during this time.

Absto Directors

READ: More KZN Future 50 businesses

What do you want your business to look like 3-5 years from now?

We are gearing our business to become more diversified by entering into markets that have synergy with adhesive tape. When we decide to enter into these markets, we always have the intention to be one of the top players in that respective field. So in three to five years, we would like to have business units within ABSTO selling new products into new markets. This facilitates growth amongst our staff, which is very important to us.

We would look to acquire businesses doing either of the following:

  • Paper convertors and suppliers
  • Self adhesive labels

What do you need to get you there faster (customers, suppliers, investment, skills, access to new markets, assets)?

We need to upskill our existing staff as well as find the right people to fill the respective positions. We also need to find a few acquisitions that we can get over the line. The biggest strength in our business is our supply chain and the exclusive agency agreements we have with our suppliers. It is important that we protect and grow these relationships to support our growth plan.

If you got there faster, what would the benefit be for KZN economy/environment/society?

We are a converter of adhesive tape which means we do not manufacture but rather cut big rolls of raw material into customised sizes and pack it to our customers' requirements. This is a labour-intensive process which means that as our business grows, we would require more people. We run extensive learnership programmes within our business and have a passion for uplifting people.

Over the past three years since we started the learnerships, around 40 learners have moved through the programme. Even though we have offices and warehousing in each of the major cities, KZN is our home and the majority of our recruitment is done for our head office and the production facility. A lot of our competitors import fully finished rolls and do not add any value to the product in South Africa. This means that they have significantly fewer local purchases for things like paper cores, boxes, and packaging. They would obviously not need any staff, which means employment is limited. KZN has had such a difficult time over the past few years with the riots, floods, and water shortages. We are trying to do our part to get it back to where it should be.

Interesting facts

We sold approximately 1.2-billion running meters of tape last year. I would estimate in our 14 years of operation, it would be around 8- to 10-billion running meters.

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