If the global makeup market was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, nothing better describes the German group’s reactivity and flexibility than their impressive capacity to adjust during this period. When consumers turned their backs on lipsticks, the group started to produce their very first protective masks.
“The R&D Division of Weckerle Machines quickly developed fully automated processes to produce masks,” explains Franz Gilg, COO of Weckerle Holding. First implemented in China, the concept is now operational in Germany. Today, Weckerle Machines provides machines, while Weckerle Cosmetics produces masks for their customers. The whole group very quickly got familiar with a field which does not have much to do with their historic business.
A “global local production”
Reactivity is probably the group’s key strength: they managed to build up a unique network based on local presence, with plants on four continents (Europe, Asia, North America, and South America) and a 360-degree expertise: machine manufacturing, full-service offering, packaging design and manufacturing, but also product formulation and filling.
“One of our customers’ main expectations is a fast time-to-market. And to reduce delivery lead times, one needs short supply chains. If it all comes from China, it’s unmanageable.” This is what Thomas Weckerle, CEO of Weckerle Companies, told Premium Beauty News last year. And his words were visionary: neo-localism is getting increasingly popular. In 2018, the group inaugurated a site in Torrace, California, and in 2019, two new production sites were opened in Ranipur, India, and in Huamantla, Mexico. At the peak of the crisis, the group was able to rely on this “global local production” strategy.
“Today, the situation varies a lot from one region to another. In China, demand is growing again. In South America, after a sudden slowdown, direct-selling local players reacted very quickly and the market soon recovered. To better meet each market’s specific needs, we decided to give our subsidiaries even more autonomy,” explains Franz Gilg.
With a production capacity of 25 million units per year, the new French plant, which was completely rebuilt after a fire destroyed the previous site in 2018, was designed to meet all brands’ needs.
The group’s reactivity is also based on their capacity to innovate. In this field, vertical integration is a significant strength. Over the past two years, the Californian, Mexican, and German sites were equipped with Multi Stick 3 (MS3), the latest generation of casting, moulding, and filling machines, which are more efficient, faster, and more resource-efficient.
As for products, after unveiling Myconic, a 100% single-material lipstick tube entirely made of recycled plastic, at the beginning of the year, Weckerle is now launching Click’N Break, a mini single-use lipstick tube (0.04 ml) designed for consumers to test products in optimum hygiene and sensorial conditions. The single-material pack can be made of recycled PET or biosourced PP, and a biodegradable solution is also under study. The tube is fitted with a both easy and safe cap for perfect hygiene.
These launches are in line with the group’s strategy to adopt circular economy principles: they aim to offer 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025.