When many packaging suppliers on the cosmetic and perfumery segment currently show drops in turnover, sometimes close to -20 %, or even -30 %, OEKAMETALL’s activity is growing by 15% compared to the same period last year. This result has nothing to do with chance, explains Gerald Oehlhorn, who head the German company specialised in the production of mascaras, lipgloss and lipstick tubes.

OEKAMETALL’s assets holds in five points: speed in decision making, flexibility, automation, complete industrial offer and constantly improved productivity to offer the best product at the best price. Another item could be added to this list, the importance of innovative offers.

Creation of OEKAbeauty and OEKAtech

By the way, one must not say OEKAMETALL anymore but OEKAbeauty for the cosmetic activity and OEKAtech for the “technical parts” business.

Luckily enough we are doing well in the cosmetic market”, admits Gerald Oehlhorn, “because our activity in the automotive sector, for the same period, has dropped by 30 %!” Actually, this sector still accounts for 1/3 of the company’s activity.

As far as OEKABeauty is concerned, it seems obvious that the German company is reaping the benefits of an industrial strategy carefully planned during the last ten years. “When a number of our colleagues chose to offshore part of their production, in Asia, we opted on the contrary, for full automation of our production workshops and integrating as much as possible the manufacturing sequences (injection, finishes, metallisation, fitting…, not to mention manufacturing of brushes for mascaras),” explains Gerald Oelhorn. “We have also worked hard on improving our productivity at every level of production by suppressing downtime and resumption, as much as possible, in optimising our stocks and reducing or even suppressing production scraps,” he adds.

The outcome is that in the injection and air-blown injection workshop, the German company has improved the number of "good" parts by 20% in just one year!

Of course the pressure on prices is constant, but these gains in points of productivity allow us to sustain the challenge”, confirms Gerald Oehlhorn.

Youth training

Another asset is the company’s policy for training and integrating the young people. “Each year, we integrate from five to ten young people to attend technical and/or commercial apprenticeship. For seven years now, we have been training young engineers in cooperation with the Heidenheim University (cooperative education) This is greate to create competitiveness in workshops and offices. This also gives us a chance to built up a very solid skills base,” says Gerald Oehlhorn.

Production in "islets"

Even at a run, visiting the Bamberg plant, is very informative. And one understands quickly why the company is performing better today. The plastic injection workshop has 42 machines, a number of them coming from the latest generation in electric presses (annual capacity, 300 millions parts), the whole of it very automated. The workshop assembling the different parts used for the production of mascaras, lipgloss and lipstick tubes is organised by autonomous islets where each line of product is assembled and decorated at once (capacity of 120 Mio pcs).

Again, very few employees. The lacquering and metalizing workshop has doubled with the adjunction of a brand new and completely automated unit (12 employees) a hundred kilometres far from Bamberg, CCO, capable of processing large orders (this unit also manufactures the flocks for lipgloss).

Finally managers from OEKAMETALL display with some pride the different standards passed successfully like the ISO 9001, the ISO TS 16949 (automotive industry), the ISO 14001 (protection of the environment) and the BS OHSAS 18001 (labour safety).

Concerning the new products issued from the Bamberg factory, there are a number of them, with as a high point the industrialisation of the famous vibrating mascara for Lancôme with a production rate that does not seem to want to slow down, on the contrary. Not to mention the latest lipgloss “Laque Fever” for Lancôme, the mascara “Volume Collagène” for L’Oréal Paris, the two mascaras “Extreme Resist” and the lipstick for Nivea, the lipgloss “Stay Glossy” for Rimmel, the mascara “Volume Diva” for Astor or the lipsticks and gloss “Wild Rose” for Lumene.