By Bimbola Oyesola
Are you considering what business you can do at this period of economic recession and still smile to the banks? Then you can consider going into mini manufacturing of tissue paper, also known as toilet paper. The toilet paper manufacturing business has been rated one of the fastest growing manufacturing industries in Africa today.
Toilet paper is a soft tissue paper used for cleaning and sanitary reasons in homes, restaurants, social gatherings, offices, hotels, restaurants, shops, maternity homes, hospitals, educational institutions, churches and clubs, among many others. The use of tissue papers/serviettes just cannot be over-emphasised. It can also be used for other purposes such as absorbing spillage and decorative purposes. The product differs in texture from other tissue papers and is formulated to decompose in septic tanks, whereas some other bathroom and facial tissues do not.
Tissue paper production is one of those sectors that have long got the backing of the Federal Government in its quest to encourage local production and create the much needed employment.
Since 2004, the Federal Government banned the importation of finished toilet rolls, serviettes and face tissues. Investigation, however, revealed that though local production has long commenced, the demand is still very high.
About 800 million units of the product are required annually by Nigerians out of which local production can only meet about 105 million units. This wide margin in supply provides investment opportunity for discerning investors to exploit.
Opportunities also exist for the exportation of the local finished product to other neighbouring countries now that government is serious about diversifying the economy and export of non-oil products is considered paramount.
Besides, another avenue of making money in the sector is through recycling waste paper into jumbo reels used as raw material for the production of toilet rolls.
The following also set tissue paper production apart as good investments: Simple manufacturing process; easy administration (very few product lines and variations); high demand for product and easy to market.
Normally, two to five people are required for a start-up tissue paper manufacturing business. Give them adequate training to operate the machinery. There are certain agencies that provide free training when you purchase machinery and install the machinery through them.
The following guidelines may, however, serve as good roadmaps or important guidelines you will have to adhere to while starting tissue paper production:
Get to know the experts
You can learn the rope by interacting with the other business owners. They will provide the necessary best information. You can get to know those in the industry through the local chamber of commerce. When you intend to become a business owner you need to acquire sufficient business and technical skills about your product in a better way.
Getting proper information on any venture is usually the best to avoid loss. So it is better to have a good market research always before going into this line of business. You should have necessary and adequate information about tissue paper making business. You can make good use of similar business owners, internet, national libraries and contacts.
It is essential to have sufficient practical training in this business. Though you might not have studied this skill and technology in the university, experts in this field can provide training for a fee. Arrange for a visit in factories and see how things are run. Make a detailed note of the processes involved.
Register your business
It is also important to register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) before commencing production. Failure to register may pitch you with the authority and that may not augur well for your business. Hence, you must ensure that the business is properly documented and your license issued to you before you are able to operate.
Business plan must come before starting the business as it serves as a guide for you and the other employees. It helps you to track whether you have derailed from the quality and specifications of your product. An expert can help you to draw a perfect business plan for a small fee.
After drawing the business plan, the next thing is getting a perfect location for the tissue paper plant. You have to select a good environment. A realtor can provide sufficient information to you in this regard. They are experts and can provide sufficient information about the properties available for sale or lease. You may have to locate your plant in a non-residential area as noisy machines normally disturb peace in the locality. Besides, you may also be able to take advantage of the industrial cluster in relation to power efficiency. Apart from that, there are certain rules and regulations in every country, which prevents manufacturing companies from locating in residential areas.
Acquiring the right machinery and other essential equipment is next on the block. Some of the important machines needed to get started include the core making devices, band saw cutter, rewinding machine, the embossing unit, perforating unit and other raw materials. This machinery and the raw materials are readily available locally at affordable prices.
Hire experienced workers for the unit
Just as in any other business, the quality of experienced workers cannot be underestimated in this business also. Hiring experienced workers who have worked in similar businesses will be of great help to you. Involving experienced workers in the business makes your product stand up in the market. Hiring inexperienced people could compromise your quality and result in deterioration in the level of the productivity of the business.
This is very important as the ultimate in any business is to get it to the final consumer. So you must devise best ways to distribute your products. Since your brand is a new one, you will have to do rigorous marketing to make the brand known among prospective buyers. You can seek the help of an advertisement consultant to get effective strategies to market the product in a better way in your locality and other parts of the country.
The tissue paper industry can be classified into two different categories. They are consumer tissues and tissues for commercial purposes. Consumer tissues are mainly used for domestic purposes whereas away-from-home tissues include those used for commercial and industrial purposes.
You can market the away-from-home tissues mainly in hotels, restaurants, hospitals and institutions. They include paper towels, napkins, toilet paper and facial tissues.
Many properties decide the quality of good tissue paper including absorption, porosity, coarseness, etc.
•Online presence: In this age of global communication, it will be inconceivable to have a company or a product without online presence. You can get more of your products to the end user through the social media. Hence, you need to create a website or get a web designer to help you build a suitable site.
Also, contact several search engines like google.com and Wikipedia and submit your website to them so that the name of your site will come up on the first or second pages of their search engine anytime customers search for products in your sector.