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Packaging & design

Cosmetic packaging and pumps at the heart of Albéa’s beauty 4.0. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Guillaume de Demandolx celebrated his fourth anniversary as part of the Albéa Group. Initially in charge of the Cosmetic Rigid Packaging (CRP) unit, he is now also heading the Dispensing Systems unit. These two business units currently account for nearly 55% of the Group’s turnover and employ more than 11,000 people worldwide. The key strong points concerning the Group’s industrial and commercial strategy, a strong will for automation and flexibility that enables the Group to react with agility and consistently meet the challenge of the sacrosanct Time to Market. “To support our customers through this market transformation, we invest nearly 15 million every year in automation,” says Guillaume de Demandolx. But our efforts do not end there! Explanations...

Guillaume de Demandolx

Guillaume de Demandolx

Premium Beauty News -With CRP and now Dispensing, you now have a foothold in all the niches of the “Beauty” sector in terms of packaging!

Guillaume de Demandolx -  That’s right! We chose to combine these two activities because they have many customers in common and because we want to create a common in-house dynamic. In particular, like in Brazil or China where we have been offering complete solutions for a long time, we can now roll out the same programme in the U.S. and Europe where we are capable of producing complete containers, like for example the pump and the cap of a perfume bottle or a complete airless packaging.

Premium Beauty News - The challenges imposed by Time to Market are the same. What are the Group’s industrial priorities?

Guillaume de Demandolx - Our strategy rests on many pillars. We invest heavily in automation to improve the flexibility and efficiency of our equipment. The motivation of our teams is such that in some of our sites, they have even developed their own in house robotic solutions!

To help our clients accelerate their launches we even innovate in processes, like for example with our new modular mould technology, My Flash, engineered with the help of our integrated mould workshop in Shanghai and which will be presented at LuxePack Monaco. We also focus on products innovation, to enrich ever more our consistent range of standard packs, which was renamed “Packaging Playground”, to encourage future brand designers to come and create their packagings in collaboration with our teams.

We are also rethinking our industrial flows to offer production lead-times of less than 4 weeks for perfume and lotion pumps in our expertise centre of Le Tréport, France. We strive to simplify and accelerate our internal processes to improve customer experience, among many other things! In other words, in a fast changing market, we want to help each of our clients by providing them with the industrial and product solution the best suited to their specific needs. Tailor-made combinations!

Premium Beauty News - Speaking of strong points, what are they by market and/or product line segments?

Guillaume de Demandolx - Speaking of the perfume activity we recently decided to extend by more than 2,000 m², our French factory in Parigné-L’Evêque, which is specialized in the production of caps. This extension will lead to an increase in the production capacity of more than 20%. Because even though the perfume sector has currently a low overall growth rate, we are convinced that our clients appreciate the added value of our “made in France” expertise for the development of complex parts. Many of these caps are truly technically bluffing! And undoubtedly the synergies with our offering in perfume pumps also represents a strong asset.

If we now take a look at the skincare market, it is indeed also not experiencing strong growth, but on the other hand it is much more stable than the ever changing make-up market! This allows us to build our investment plan properly. Hence, our French site in Simandre, specialized in caps, skincare jars and metallization, has equipped itself with new cutting edge, fully automated lines, which are, believe me, quite impressive. And this site is only a few kilometres from our Lacrost site, which has developed an expertise in pumps and airless systems. We can offer for example a whole line of containers, perfectly transparent packs – to highlight the innovative formulas they contain, mini-packs in line with the travel trend, a lot of different sizes and intermediate options and finally a complete service with matching closures!

Premium Beauty News - Speaking again of stable segments, make-up is clearly on the opposite trend: unstable but fortunately strong growing. Hence a segment not easy to deal with for an industrial player like you?

Guillaume de Demandolx - You are right! Ultra-dynamic, fast-moving, and therefore terribly exciting! Make-up accounts for more than half of the CRP-Dispensing activity. Because we have operations in a lot of countries, we can serve both so-called “legacy” and “indie” brands, which are experiencing absolutely staggering growth rates in some areas. The United States are up sharply, Europe is doing well, like Southeast Asia and particularly Indonesia and India. 2017 therefore promises to be quite a good year, even if we keep a low profile during each of our launches and every new turn of the market. New brands are emerging in the world, everywhere and constantly, it is fascinating but what a challenge industrially speaking! Simply imagine that you have to be able to produce small and medium batches, be flexible and all this with no or little visibility!

Premium Beauty News - Regarding make-up, each product has its own specificities!

Guillaume de Demandolx - What is essential in this niche is to have a capacity for innovation, operational discipline and responsiveness.

Precisely, to be more reactive in the mascara segment where our customers recognize our leadership, we recently opened a Tips Studio in the United States. Located in our plant in Morristown, Tennessee, it is modelled after the Tips Studio of our site in Bottanuco, Italy. The Tips Studio gathers the Group’s expertise in applicators: mascaras brushes (fibres and plastic), lip-gloss tips, eye-liners, eyebrows, etc. Innovative and efficient applicators, mass or prestige, standards or custom developed, based for some of them on patented proprietary technologies.

As far as make-up cases are concerned, the only thing I can tell you is that we are working on new gestures. But we will showcase at LuxePack the latest addition to our Onyx family, the “Onyx Two Way Cake”, a new standard compact with two-compartments. And I would like to stress on the fact that Onyx benefits from our digital printing system which allows printing on a case, to the unit, a picture taken a few minutes before. Resulting in an amazing effect!

Premium Beauty News - This “product overview” would not be complete without speaking of another “flagship” product, lipstick!

Guillaume de Demandolx - Indeed, lipstick is one of our featured products! The market is growing strongly at the moment. We produce hundreds of millions of them each year, which makes us one of the world leaders. But above all, we do everything to maintain that leading edge! To this end, we invested heavily in automated equipment in China last year, to increase performance and speed. The same was done in our French site of Plouhinec, now specialized in lipstick and who will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. The plant is home to new equipment, ultra-fast robots, a new production line for our eco-designed and high-performance lipstick mechanism, Maestro... We produce lipstick tubes everywhere in the world, in Brazil, the United States, Europe, Indonesia. At LuxePack we will introduce new products with innovative designs and gestures, such as the very girly “Bubble Kiss”...

Premium Beauty News - You combine news, history and modernity!

Guillaume de Demandolx - That’s right! Many of our industrial sites are currently celebrating their 30, 40 or 50 years of existence. It is a source of pride, it is a duty to our territories and our communities, it is the sign of a long-standing expertise and know-how. An every day adaptation to the evolutions of our markets and customers. Today, fostered by the digital trend, driven by consumers, the Time to market trend is also disturbing our entire industry. We are investing heavily in technologies, skills, training and products. Because we must look ahead, beyond this turmoil, to build the future. And always, always, best serve each of our customers.

Interview by Jean-Yves Bourgeois

© 2017 - Premium Beauty News -
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