Business on a roll for this entrepreneur

4 / 21 / 2017

MANILA, Philippines – When Renato Sio decided to set up his own business 18 years ago, he never had to look far and wide. Already working in paper manufacturing at the time, the visionary saw the industry’s potential and market. “After more than 20 years of working for paper companies, I saw the opportunity to create and sell paper-related products in the Philippine market,” he recalls.

Armed with industry experience and a strong desire to offer quality and innovative hygiene products, Sio started a small tissue manufacturing business. In October 1996, he set up Sanitary Care Products Asia Inc. (SCPA) with only three office staff, a paper converting machine, and 11 operators. Sio’s determination to penetrate the market dominated by multinationals was just too strong. He was not one to back off.

Today, SCPA is known to be one of the pioneers of the use of more hygienic raw materials in its paper products—materials that do not contain harmful chemicals and bleaches.

“Our products are made from 100 percent virgin pulp, which endures durability. Compared with recycled wastepaper, virgin pulp makes finer and well-bonded sheet that produces less dust and lint,” explains Sio. “SCPA products are also free from artificial whiteners and chlorine, unlike those made from recycled wastepaper.”

With Sio’s entrepreneurial acumen, vast knowledge of the business, and remarkable people management skills, the small tissue business has since grown and expanded into seven branches across the Philippines (Dagupan, Naga, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao), with 13 satellite offices. From only a few employees, SCPA is now providing employment to about 250 Filipinos.

“The most fulfilling thing about having this business is the local employment that it is generating. We see lives improve. Experienced operators are easily hired overseas for much higher pay,” says Sio. “We value our employees who help us grow. We provide them with trainings both here and abroad for them to develop the necessary skills they need to promote our brands.”

As with any enterprise story, SCPA also experienced ups and downs through the years. Yet Sio has always chosen to look at the brighter side of things. In fact, he considers the Asian financial crisis in 1997 as one of the milestones of the company. “We survived it through recapitalization. We requested price adjustments from customers as a result of the higher cost of imports,” he recounts. “Majority agreed and gave us breathing space. A local tissue paper producer likewise continued to supply us jumbo rolls on credit allowing us to gain cash flow.”

Another milestone for his company, he says, was the acquisition of a laminated toilet line designed in Spain that produces top quality toilet rolls. “We were the first, and so far, the only tissue converter with such a modern rewinder line. It placed our products ahead of competition in quality and uniformity,” proudly claims Sio, a chemical engineering magna cum laude from Adamson University.

Committed to offering innovative hygiene solutions, SCPA carries brands that are all of high quality and with price tags affordable to the Pinoy masa. Its flagship brand Sanicare has bathroom tissue, facial tissue, paper towels, kitchen towels, and cottons. Other brands that SCPA produces include Sanicare EcoLayers, Tisyu, Femme, Cheers, Jade, and Naturale.

“SCPA is not only a manufacturer.  We strive to create more innovations that would benefit Filipino consumers. For example, our Tisyu brand. When we introduced it to the market, it became a hit because it’s coreless and purse-friendly. We were very happy with the results but then we thought that since most consumers conveniently put Tisyu in their bags and bring it anywhere they want, it becomes unhygienic. So we thought of creating a dispenser that would store the Tisyu and so the Tisyu To Go was invented. We were the first one to create this kind of product in the country,” shares Sio.

SCPA is also very serious about leaving a social footprint. Earlier this year, SCPA forged a partnership with Haribon Foundation for tree planting activities and management of these trees for the next three years. The company also adopted a forest at the Mt. Makiling-San Cristobal Protected Landscape (MBSCPL). Efforts to help take care of the environment extend to its raw materials as the company only deals with suppliers that have sustainable resources.

Asked on the secret to his success, Sio quips: “It is plain hard work, and the desire to make good quality products affordable. We invest in the latest technology to improve product quality and availability. We look for ways to innovate by sending people overseas in trade fairs and plant visits.”

Judging by the success of his business, Sio’s strategy is effective. In fact, Filipino company SCPA has already set its sights on markets in Hawaii, Guam, and Micronesia this year. Renato Sio, entrepreneur and survivor, is undoubtedly on a roll these days.

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