Heinz Glas whose work with several major brands has often been awarded, in particular during the 2008 DuftStars (the German FiFi Awards), has recently seen the work achieved throughout development and production of the last Lacoste line, publicly honored by his client, Procter & Gamble. A even more prestigious award when you know that the German glassmaker not only produced the bottle but also mastered the whole project.
Good news in a rough context
As good news never comes alone, the glassmaker confides that many orders placed by clients for big upcoming launches should settle the group as one of the leaders among high-end global glassmakers. The German glassmaker is confident that end of 2009 and beginning of 2010 will just be “amazing”.
It took more than ten years to get there. Karl August Heinz, boss and owner can be proud of what was achieved. As can be Dr Ulrich Nebe, CEO of the group who has also worked hard to place the industrial tool to the highest level. He will, undoubtedly remain as one of the major actors in the industrial growth of Heinz Glas in the last decade.
“Of course we are suffering like everyone else but we are holding on and we will hold on!” For Thomas Kneitz, Heinz Glas International’s newly appointed General Sales Director. “Crisis is hitting hard, very hard , but the Heinz group is resisting quite well, maybe better than some of our colleagues.” There are many reasons for this competitive advantage. But the main one is all the industrial innovations carried out in recent years that rendered the glass factory more flexible and competitive. “Focusing on organization and innovation also pays off every day. We have become a reliable glassmaker who always meets its commitments and proves every day that innovation and mastery are part of our culture.” And as he underlines, “Our triple positioning in perfumes, mass-market/medium range/high-end also helps.”
Main industrial investment in 2009: the complete renovation of the 120 ton oven at Pisau’s glass factory. “The timing for this renovation was appropriate,” explains Thomas Kneitz, “because of decline in demand. This will give us a chance to restart precisely along with the first tremors of the recovery”.
But when will the market start turning around again? That’s a very good question. “Very difficult to say”, admits Rudolph Wurm, Perfumes Sales Director.
Nonetheless the German glassmaker is all set with a strike force of 9 ovens: four of them in Germany, two of them in Poland, two of them in Peru and one in China, and with a production capacity of 468 tons of glass per day. Of course, because of the crisis, the managers had to temporarily stop the brand new oven of 50 tons inaugurated in 2007in Kleintettau, But it means even more available output when the day comes ...!
Industrial efforts have been constant since 2003, with investments ranging between 24 million and 36 million Euros annually. The peak was reached in 2007 with a figure of nearly 37 million. Investments both in ovens, bottle producing machines but also and especially in workshops dedicated to finishing.
“This is where we have really changed our approach,” explains Thomas Kneitz. “We had to become highly efficient in all finishing techniques. And I mean all of them. This forced us to invest massively in state-of-the-art lines for metallization and finishing but also automated lines for pad printing. We are capable of doing everything or almost, from glass etching to metallization, lacquering, pad-printing, pasting, labelling, hot stamping, and even laser etching. And our customers keep asking!” The upcoming launches will be indicative of this trend.
Eventually, a very important element in the scientific device to control products manufacturing, a brand new testing laboratory established in Kleintettau last year with four full-time employees.
Another strong asset on which, these last years, managers at Heinz Glas’ have relied on, internationalization. After Poland, China, came Peru. The latest “master stroke” to date, because the potential of development in South America, Brazil as a leader, is confirmed every day. Of course admit managers at Heinz Glas’, “it is not always easy to manage a technical team several thousand kilometers away, but with perseverance, we get by!”. As for China (1000 employees out of Heinz group’s 3000 employees!), the upgrading is almost completed.