Eight years ago, Cardbox Packaging emerged from Druck- und Verlagshaus Ernst Plötz in Wolfsberg, which was restructured at the end of 2010 with a turnover of just under € 4 million. Today, the Austrian company is an international player in the packaging market with an annual turnover of around € 45 million.
Starting in Wolfsberg/Austria, then Zádveřice in the Czech Republic, in between another restructuring with the acquisition of Schachner Pack in Pinkafeld/Austria, and most recently Pittston in the USA – Cardbox Packaging is continuing to grow, both in Europe and overseas. Nine years ago, the picture was a very different one. Back then the plant in Wolfsberg had its back to the wall when the current managing directors took over the reins and tackled the restructuring – under the new name Cardbox Packaging.
The turnaround was successful for two reasons, firstly the specialization in high-end packaging and secondly the employees’ well-founded expertise and high level of motivation. Since then there has been a steady upward trajectory, with an eye on clear growth objectives. The goal is to expand the business through the addition of new sites and to give each location a sustainable orientation. Right from the beginning, the company has counted on strategic partners. “One of the main reasons for the success of our expansion strategy is that we brought the right partners on board in the form of Greiner Packaging and Heidelberg. Both are innovative and customer-oriented – and that’s how we see ourselves too,” says Roland Schöberl, Managing Director of Cardbox Packaging Holding.
The joint venture with Greiner Packaging, one of the world’s leading providers of plastic packaging with sites around the globe, paved the way into the North American market.
When another major customer, a brand owner based in Europe, indicated its intention to have its cardboard packaging produced at Cardbox Packaging in the future, the move across the Atlantic was a foregone conclusion.
The first milestone was clearly defined: getting production in Pittston, Pennsylvania, up and running as quickly as possible. However, the market in the US is very different from the European market in all regards: consumers, clients, and suppliers. Cardbox Packaging therefore intensified its collaboration with Heidelberg as a global partner.
It was a master stroke. At the same time as it was moving into the new building, Heidelberg supplied the equipment and established a lean production system with quick reaction lines and an efficient material flow. All processes were analyzed in detail and geared towards profitability, so that paper, ink, or printing plates arrive at the machines as they are needed.
“Heidelberg gave us excellent support. We had a contact partner who looked after everything and coordinated the project, from setup of the machines to initial startup to the supply of consumables. The short decision-making channels saved time and effort. At the same time, we were able to pull together a highly productive plant right out of the gate,” says Klaus Hockl, Managing Director of Cardbox Packaging Holding.
“For Cardbox Packaging, the tirelessness and excellent preparation of Florian Scharl as the main project manager and Chris Düringer as Group Purchasing Director were vital for the successful completion of this project,” confirms Roland Schöberl.
The site in Pittston is exclusively equipped with machines from Heidelberg and MK Masterwork. Around 20 employees produce packaging mainly for brand manufacturers from the confectionery, food, and cosmetic industries on a printing press and die-cutter in a two-shift operation. “We respond flexibly to our customers’ wishes and offer customized, tailored solutions. However, the price is the ultimate deciding factor,” says Klaus Hockl.
Due to the intensive competitive pressure, cost calculation is done very precisely, and the effort involved in the job change is very accurately analyzed. Particularly with short runs, every second counts. All print jobs – even non-food jobs – are therefore produced using food-safe, low-migration consumables. This shortens the changeover times and reduces the amount of makeready required. At the same time, Cardbox Packaging can reliably meet the high requirements of its food customers.
Heidelberg provides everything required for high performance and machine availability: coordinated consumables, production systems, and service. “ With the 36 Plus service agreement, we’re buying ourselves production reliability . We know from experience that it’s definitely worth it, because it helps us to avoid unscheduled downtimes,” says Roland Schöberl. The service package also includes production analyses of where and how further savings potential can be realized.
Cardbox Packaging also benefits from a streamlined supply chain and much lower complexity. “Instead of negotiating with several suppliers, we get everything from one source from Heidelberg. This makes a lot of things easier. We save process costs, and with the reduction of the workload in day-to-day business we can focus on key topics such as new offerings for our customers,” says Roland Schöberl.
For Cardbox Packaging, the growth continues. “We know that our success depends on people to a large extent. On our employees and our partners,” says Klaus Hockl with conviction. Cardbox Packaging therefore gives great importance to a modern working environment, a pleasant working climate, and continuous training. The company-wide transfer of know-how on technical and operational issues in printing plays a central role.
Cardbox Packaging regards the trusting partnership with Heidelberg as another lever for long-term success. “ Heidelberg is actively driving digital topics like big data and the Internet of Things . This gives us many opportunities to enhance our performance and grow further – without having to make new investments,” says Klaus Hockl.
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