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Companies & industry

Alkos aims for industrial excellence with freshly inaugurated plant in France

There was an important event taking place on the 14th of June in Angers, France, with the inauguration of the new factory of Inter Cosmétiques. An investment of twelve million euros, which includes: a 17,000 m2 factory on a single location spanning over a total area of 46,000 m2 (three times the size of the previous site), R&D laboratories (covering 800 m²) and administrative premises 900 m²). Overview with Philippe Pavageau, Alkos Group CEO.

The Alkos Group inaugurated the new factory of Inter Cosmétiques, on on the June 14, in Angers, France.

The Alkos Group inaugurated the new factory of Inter Cosmétiques, on on the June 14, in Angers, France.

Premium Beauty News - You have just achieved a major project!

Philippe Pavageau - Indeed! The challenge was to reposition Inter Cosmétiques as a major and unavoidable industrial player in the sector of personal care and make-up contract manufacturing, by providing the Company with an industrial tool that would allow producing in optimum conditions the innovative formulas devised by our Marketing teams and developed by our R&D teams.

Led by Franck Dechatre, the site Director, the complete project spanned over two years (2016/2017). The logistics activity moved first in December 2017 and the complete transfer of our two sites in Angers (UP1 and UP2) to the new facility was completed by the end of March 2018.

The new site has a bigger manufacturing capacity (1,400 m²) and a very large surface area dedicated to the packaging workshop (3,000 m²). Brand new equipment was also installed, including a new Atex 6 ton-tank for the cold processing of liquids, a next-generation lipstick filling machine equipped with metal and silicone pans with automatic feeding (labelling, mechanical nominal output of 60 pcs / min on average).

These new investments enable Inter Cosmétiques to increase its production and manufacturing capacity by about 40%. This also allowed the Group to have a manufacturing workshop with the highest international standards, to gain competitiveness and consolidate the quality of the service offered to customers.

Premium Beauty News - An awesome result that helps to see the future with optimism?

Philippe Pavageau - We are of course, like our staff, whose working conditions have improved considerably, very satisfied with the result and I want to take this opportunity to once again thank Franck and his teams for the tremendous work accomplished in ensuring the continuity of operations including during the transfer of activities from the former site to the new one.

However, a modern industrial site is not a sufficient condition for achieving the industrial excellence we are targeting, but it is a necessary condition, which we fulfil today. Our task is not completed and we are now tackling the huge challenge of industrial excellence.

It is important to underline that we are also committed to a very active corporate social responsibility policy, which is part of our values and meets the expectations of all our key accounts. As such, we are proud to have recently been granted the Ecovadis Gold certification for the Inter Cosmétiques and Alkos sites.

We are forging on with our existential goal: the satisfaction of our clients, because it is with their trust and their new projects that we can progress and support their development. Our investment programme in terms of industrial tools will provide us with the necessary levers to carry out this mission.

A new milestone in the development of the Alkos Group

The Company has gone a long way since December 1986 when Jean Pierre Sandrin created the Laboratoires Inter Cosmétiques and started operating in the suburbs of Angers, in the West of France.

At the time, lipstick was manually or semi-manually poured into 40-cavity metal moulds. The bulk was heated in vessels or in a saucepan, the temperature of moulds was controlled by simply passing the hand over them, then the bulk was cooled in the fridge and after the required time, moulds were opened and one by one the grapes were hand-picked and placed in the mechanisms.

After having extended its activity to filling and manual decoration, in the early 1990s Mr Sandrin pioneered the development of the first airless filling machine in cooperation with the Valois Company, a major innovation which attracted new customers.

Because of this success, the historical site became too small and the Company had to move in October 1992 in the UP1 factory, at 8 rue de la Claie with a staff of about 80 people; a location where the company will stay for 25 years until the end of 2017.

In the meantime, with the development of activities a second site in Beaucouzé, called UP2 opened in July 1999 in parallel with the acquisition of SAGAL to the Guerlain/Dior/Chanel EIG (Economic Interest Grouping), a Company based near Chartres, specialized in the manufacture of high end soaps and scented deodorants.

The activity will continue to flourish in the 1990s with the outsourcing of logistics and storage operations to an operator in the neighbouring industrial zone

In 2008, Gérard Gieux bought the Inter Cosmetiques and SAGAL companies to create the Alkos Group, which was then gathering Cosmogen, a supplier of cosmetic accessories and packaging, and Alkos Cosmétiques, a French-based manufacturer of cosmetic pencils.

After the severe economic crisis in the late 2000s, and under the leadership of Dominique Vautier, its President, the activity took a new boost with the arrival of Florence Lefeuvre to head the Sales and Marketing.

An industrial master plan will quickly demonstrate, early 2014, that the two UP1 and UP2 sites would no longer be able to sustain the expected growth.

Several options were therefore considered:

  • An expansion on the existing UP1 site.
  • The transfer of the make-up activity on the site of Alkos Cosmétiques in Boulogne sur Mer.
  • The construction of a new site or the rehabilitation of an existing industrial site available for sale.

Two sites were available in the suburbs of Angers and the one previously occupied by Valéo was eventually selected. The new plant project was definitively adopted in September 2015, with the financial support of local administrations.

Interview by Jean-Yves Bourgeois

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