The company recently celebrated 51 years of doing business in Nigeria.
Just as piracy has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigeria’s entertainment industry, Vitafoam, one of Nigeria’s oldest foam manufacturing companies in Nigeria, has said that counterfeiting and imitation of its products are the major challenges facing the organisation and the industry at large.
The company, which recently celebrated 51 years of doing business in Nigeria, said imitation of its products is a major obstacle, especially in the North and that the complaints keep coming in.
“We had to come up with a measure to check that challenge. Now, on our foam (and products) we have a panel on it which customers can scratch and send a free text of the code or number under the panel to us for confirmation, to be sure the product is genuine,”
Theresa Okhai, a branch manager disclosed.
She highlighted poor power supply as another hurdle.
“You cannot depend on power supply from the national authorities if you want to have a thriving business. Hence, we have our power plant and generators in our factories, to meet up with our manufacturing demands,” she said.
Another challenge the firm noted, was difficulty in getting customer feedback.
Ms. Okhai said this challenge was however put to rest in 2010 when the firm put up a call centre.
“It was set up to reach our customers and enable them give suggestions and lay their complaints,” she said.
A major milestone the firm has achieved, according to her, is the establishment of an online platform which enables customers place their orders online.
“The success of overcoming e-commerce has been very surprising because we thought people would not want to patronise that avenue due to the general fear of card related fraud activities,” she said. “Getting to this stage has not been easy. We would give the credit of our success so far to God. We also have a great team and wonderful distributors. Despite these, however, we do not intend to fold our arms. In the face of the challenges, we intend to do better and move further than we have at the moment.”
Over the years, the odds against manufacturers in the Nigerian foam industry have grown. The Foam Manufacturers Group (FMG), the umbrella body for the manufacturers of foam, under the Manufacturer’s Association of Nigeria (MAN) had in recent past, admitted that the foam industry has not fared so well in the last few years, with a few manufacturers having a firm grip of the market.
The chairman, Foam Manufacturers Group, and Managing Director, Current Foam, Umeugoji Godwin, however refused to speak to the press on the challenges facing the industry.
“I don’t have interest in any write-ups now, thank you,” he said.
The success of a handful of foam companies, such as Mouka, Vitafoam, Unifoam among others, however, is yet to translate to the overall growth of the foam industry where most manufacturers are finding it difficult to break even and produce at optimal level.
The challenges besetting the sub-sector range from high cost of production, rising cost of production materials, influx of fake foams, lack of good laboratories, labour unrest, and poor power supply, to lack of adequate infrastructure, regulatory challenges among others.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To place an advert here . Call Willie - +2348098788999