Plastic straws have been in use since time immemorial and are used for sucking beverages out of a container. They were first made with grass and hence the name but soon paper and plastic started being used to make straws. Also, previously they were handmade and needed a lot of manual labour but since plastic straws came into the picture, technological developments have taken place and many have taken the business commercially. Therefore, this has turned into a business opportunity to look out for. As long as beverages are in the picture, the demand for straws will keep on rising and more plastic straw manufacturers will get into the picture.
Now based on the usage, material and utility many types of straws are available in the market. Some of them are basic drinking straws, glass straws, spoon straws, candy straws, cereal straws, flavour straws etc.
Let’s dive into how you can start a plastic straw pipe manufacturing business on your own:
1. Get to Know the Market
It is important to understand what type of product is in demand if you want to be a plastic straw manufacturer. Shopkeepers and local distributors will be able to tell you about the demand for the same and what kind of products are the customers looking out for. You can also conduct market research, gain insights from that and design your business plan accordingly. Also since this is a low-priced market, you have to look for opportunities that can help you charge a premium.
2. Make Your Business Plan
Now that you have completed your market research, you know what kind of products you want to deal in and you should also have a rough business model in mind. Your business plan should define the value chain correctly, your cost structure, your workflow, your expected growth rate and your plan for turning in profits. The business plan is essentially a standard operating procedure for your business. The business plan should also contain details about the vision, mission and policies of your company.
3. Register Your Business
It is important to decide on the name of your business. If you are directly reaching out to your customer then your name should be catchy. Register your business as an MSME, get a GST registration, obtain a trade license and comply with the state guidelines to establish your company.
4. Decide On A Location
Choosing the right location is an important part of your business. Based on the logistics, location of distributors and location of suppliers you will need to decide whether you should set up in an urban locality or you should set up in the outskirts. Initially setting up in the outskirts is a better proposition to reduce costs. Then depending on the demand and business environment, one may also opt to have an office space within the city. Also, you should consider how you will get basic resources for operating such as water and power. At the early stage of your business, you want to save as many costs as possible and invest in projects that will generate a positive return on capital.
Read More: Step by Step Guide to Start a Soft Drink Business In India
5. Set Up Your Manufacturing Unit
The basic machinery that you will be requiring for your unit is a plastic straw-making machine, plastic beads, cutting machine, colourants and straw packing machine. Straw-making machines can be manual, fully automatic or semi-automatic and based on the labour force that you want to employ or the costs that you want to put in machinery, you have to choose among the alternatives. Most of the machinery or equipment that you will be requiring for your manufacturing unit will be available in local markets or can also be acquired from dealers over online channels. Judgment has to be made based on costs, logistics, warranty, brand and reliability.
6. Hire Manpower and Train
What you can’t or don’t want to do using machinery, you have to substitute using manpower. Plastic straw pipes can also be made equally effectively using human labour but as your factory ages, you want to become more technologically dependent. All-encompassing, you should hire personnel that are adequately skilled and trained to carry out their work. Workshops could be organised from time to time to keep them updated with the latest change in technology in the factory or keep a check on their competency.
7. Set Up Your Supply Chain
Now to ensure that your product reaches the clients/customers you also have to plan out your logistics and delivery network. The manufacturing unit should serve all the stakeholders involved in the value chain equally. You may want to outsource your delivery or want to control your fleet. Since age is not a concern as far as plastic straw pipe is concerned, there will be very few additional costs involved in the process of delivery other than transportation and personnel. Also, as the product is lightweight, a large number of units can be transferred at a single point in time.
8. Decide on Your Sales Channel
There are a lot of ways that you can use to reach your customers. Plastic straws are mainly sold in offline channels, local Kirana stores, mom and pop stores, grocery stores and so on. However, several entities have also started to sell plastic straws online. You could have your online store but that will only be beneficial once you have earned a name for yourself in the market and you have acquired some repeating customers. Also, you can directly reach out to small Kirana stores in the initial stages and tell them to showcase your products. This will save you on some costs required to engage middle managers like distributors, agents, brokers and so on.
9. Start Advertising
You can take inspiration from already operating plastic straw manufacturers to research what type of advertising and promotion can work best for the business. Though online platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are now the go-to destination for advertising and promoting, marketing plastic drinking straws on these platforms may not exactly reap the results that you would want. Therefore, you may need to physically market your product one on one with your dealers in the initial stages. Also, as part of client onboarding, you can look to offer bulk discounts to customers to retain them in the longer run. The number of customers that you retain will help you to maintain your bottom line in the upcoming years. The existing clients can also do word-of-mouth marketing for your brand which can increase your customer base.
The straw market is currently valued at US$ 18 billion and with a CAGR growth rate of 6% to reach US $ 27 billion by 2029. With the increase in the players in the food service industry, the demand for straws will keep on rising. However, one factor that you need to consider is that businesses are moving on to eco-friendly and sustainable resources, therefore in the near future, it is advisable to include paper straws in the product portfolio as well. Therefore, in the near future, the demand for paper straws will be more than that for plastic straws. Plastic straw manufacturers are seriously considering this for future expansion.
There is also a high demand for disposable straws in the international market, especially in US and European nations and therefore with expansion in business, exporting is something that can be considered a viable option. Before that, it is important to consider the current market and identify the consumers you will be reaching out to. The target audience in the straw market will include suppliers, institutes, food joints, Kirana stores, individuals, event managers and so on.
To conclude, the plastic straw industry offers up an attractive business opportunity that can be leveraged for capturing long-run growth provided you have a sound business plan with you and the right people doing the job. However, your business plan should consider the risks and make contingency plans accordingly to tackle the risks. A business protected against risk is sure to find success in the long run.
FAQs: Plastic Straw
Q. Why is plastic straw demand surging right now?
Ans. After the covid pandemic, when businesses opened up, the supply was limited to meet the demand. Therefore, all manufacturers had to operate at full capacity to meet the demand. However, more and more requirements increased and therefore the sudden rise in demand was met only when new players entered the business.
Q. Can you reuse a plastic straw?
Ans. Yes, plastic straws can be reused but it is better if not used a second time, especially for food and drinks. However, after several uses, the plastic may start to wear off and then it is normally advisable to not use the straw again.
Q. Who are some of the plastic straw manufacturers in India?
Ans. Some of the leading straw manufacturers in India are Track Mark International, Riddhi Industries, Jindal Plastic, Bhavani Plastic, Uma Plast, and Pandey International.
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