With plans to increase square footage of factory and warehousing space at its Lakes Pen and White Marl operations in St Catherine, the Wisynco Group is aiming to ramp up production to meet fast-growing local demand as well as increase revenues from export to 10 per cent.
"We're putting in additional Wata lines and eventually new production as well…We're also putting in a new dual fuel engine, [and] we're in the process of reviewing the purchase of another engine," Wisynco Group Chairman William Mahfood told Jamaica Observer on Wednesday after a tour of both the Lakes Pen and White Marl factories led by the Jamaica Manufacturing and Exporters Association.
"Over at White Marl we'll be buying a new filing line and production line for…assorted carbonated beverages. All told, in the next two to three years it's about $5 billion worth of capital investment between plant, equipment and energy generation," he added.
The construction of the new facilities will add some 200,000 square footage to the company's real estate and will take 15 months for completion.
While noting that under normal circumstances such an expansion project would last between six and nine months, Mahfood shared that the company's plans has been delayed by the novel coronavirus pandemic and associated supply chain challenges. The Wisynco chairman also informed Caribbean Business Report that the company would have already made the investment in the expansion had it not been for the pandemic.
However, with "a sort of normal reading on the economy", Mahfood said the company is now "very much committed to invest and continue to scale up".
"So we started already. We've already pulled down some debt to service the expansion and some of the building has started, equipment has already been ordered and we will start to see equipment landing here in around the first part of 2023," he disclosed.
The expansion of Wisynco's production capacity will coincide with the company's introduction of new products over the next three years, including to its Wata and Cranwata lines. Though cautious in revealing what other products will join the Wisynco portfolio, Mahfood disclosed that the company is working on innovations with its partners Worthy Park and Trade Winds.
"It's still too early to speak about because it's probably about a year and half to two years away. In addition to what I mentioned earlier, that new factory and production line is going to bring new types of products, but I don't want to disclose at this point. It will change the market for the better in the future," he told Caribbean Business Report.
Notwithstanding, he outlined the challenge of keeping pace with local demand while trying to increase the company's export from three per cent of revenue to 10 per cent. In this regard, he pointed out that the more the company increases its production capacity, "the local market just gobbles it up". As such, he said, Wisynco's growth in local market share is reflective of increased demand for its products.
Regardless, the company is resolute on increasing its allocation to export sales, "even though we could sell everything we produce to the local market.
"We still have to commit ourselves to putting aside a certain amount of products for the export market," Mahfood continued.
Along with the new products will come new packaging as the company experiments cans and Tetra Pak in bid to reduce its environmental footprint. This, Mahfood said, is consistent with the company's thrust to be more energy efficient, reduce water usage and the production of plastic.
"I mean, a big thrust for us is our partnership with Recycling Partners [of Jamaica] and we're investing," he continued.
On the matter of energy, the acquisition of the new dual fuel will result in the company supplementing its LNG supply with diesel as a risk mitigation and energy redundancy strategy.