Inside Packaging’s Jessica Paige caught up with Estal’s commercial director, Jan Garcia, to find out more about and learn how packaging companies can benefit from investing in e-commerce.

Jan Garcia, Estal, commercial director

Inside Packaging: What are your responsibilities at Estal?

Jan Garcia: I’m responsible for empowering a team of 22 in our sales team to deal with the increasing demand for our glass packaging. Our aim is to secure supply and hit customers’ expectations in both the direct and indirect sales channels we have developed.

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Talk us through the reasons for the recently-increased focus on e-commerce.

The main driver has been the new level of expectation generated by the current digital era. 
Production lead times for glass can range from two to eight months. In that time, there can be unexpected fluctuations. In an ecosystem with multiple stock locations and supply chain combinations, every order has to be managed, with information gathered by different company departments.

We found that every inquiry was taking longer to be responded to and confirmed than we would have liked. The new generation is the ‘Generation of Now’!

Our investment is to ensure our inventory is available immediately and all order information is provided instantly.

Have you seen any recent benefits from the investment and what expectations do you have for the future?

Already after just a few weeks, the e-commerce platform has generated a lot of value for us in qualified lead generation and the reduction of ‘noise’. What I mean is that previously, our customers would have to wait around a day to know a price or inventory availability.

Now, this information is available online and the customer can instantly buy samples or full pallets, to be delivered to 21 countries in a maximum timespan of two weeks.

As for the future, I’m convinced e-commerce will be a growing sales channel with greater geographical reach through our partners worldwide.

Is there a reason you haven’t launched your e-commerce site sooner?

I think we’ve launched it at the right time. A month before, Estal introduced a wide range of new bottles that we feel complete our catalogue. We’ve also recently installed some new software technology that has been key to the platform and that’s running smoothly.

The pandemic has obviously highlighted that e-commerce works at every level, including in B2B. 

Do you see benefits for the packaging industry in general from e-commerce?

Our new platform benefits every stakeholder involved in the process; our own team, our distribution network, our industry partners and, most importantly, our customers. We can now provide simple and understandable information while creating direct links with all participants and making glass more accessible, even for small, newly-created companies.