WHEN Reuben Glenny joined REM Speciality Papers in 2016 – having previously been an integral part of management teams at Afripack and Uniprint – he and founding member, Mike McHarry, agreed to a timeframe to which Reuben would acquire a majority share in the business. This goal has now been achieved, resulting in Mike’s retirement in October and the company’s fresh new structure. 

As a result, long-term business administrator, Tanya Reddy – a valued employee for the last 16 years – is now a shareholder and also represents a stabilising force. As Reuben underscores, she has already helped guide the ownership transition, providing confidence in terms of customer service and operational continuity.  

‘Success at REM has always been based firmly on the strength of our partnerships. The business could not have evolved so successfully without the support of long-term suppliers, customers and principals,’ comments Reuben. ‘We’ll continue nurturing these partnerships and marketing further opportunities through the establishment of additional international supplier relationships during 2019,’ he adds.

As part of the ownership transition process, REM recently relocated from Cowies Hill to a modern office park in Old Main Road, Kloof. ‘This gives us a central location, with easy access, and a professional meeting environment. There’s also room for expansion, with plans to bring on an additional person early next year,’ Reuben remarks. 

Branding revamp 

At the same time REM’s branding has been modernised with an orange origami logo. ‘The principles of origami are used in packaging’, comments Reuben, ‘which  encapsulates our core – with a strong foundation in speciality papers still the mainstay of our business, whilst exploring  endless possibilities in packaging’.

‘Additionally, the design communicates our broader sustainably-focused offering, including compostable and recyclable packaging films,’ Reuben explains. ‘Feedback from customers to this fresh look has been very positive,’ he reports. 

Growing interest is being shown in biodegradable and compostable packaging substrates. ‘There are two schools of thought around these specialised, high-value materials,’ he points out. ‘The first is that packaging materials should be completely compostable; the second is that they should be recyclable – including multi layer laminations. Retailers and brand owners are favouring the latter as a step in the right direction as it’s the more economical option for now,’ Reuben says.

Reuben and Tanya’s vision for 2019 includes continuing REM’s growth strategy in terms of market share and geographic footprint; with a sustained focus on high-quality specialised paper, PE coated papers, Aluminium foil, filmic and multi layer laminated products. ‘We’ve seen pleasing uptake in surrounding countries such as Zimbabwe, as we continue to expand our sub-Saharan African customer footprint during 2019,’ Reuben concludes.