Performance Review

Production and

Continuous quality improvement along the value chain

For Vetropack, the quality of products is the top priority. This applies to all locations in accordance with the “One brand, one quality” motto. However, the understanding of quality goes beyond this and includes optimising all processes along the value chain. This is necessary both to satisfy customers’ more stringent demands and to improve efficiency. Quality improvements also have a positive impact on occupational safety and environmental pollution. Under the heading “Leader in quality”, this ambition is being pursued as a strategic direction of the new Strategy 2030.

In 2020, Vetropack invested in improving quality as part of various projects, most notably a major furnace renovation project at the Croatian glassworks in Straža. There, Vetropack installed state-of-the-art production facilities and testing sets, thus achieving comprehensive improvements to product quality and energy efficiency. The melting capacity was also expanded, allowing Vetropack to serve the markets in Southern and Eastern Europe even more effectively in future. Thanks to the larger production building, workplace conditions could also be optimised for the staff.

Performance Review: Occupational health and safety Performance Review: Environment

The “Quality Assurance” specialist group drove the standardisation and harmonisation of quality assurance processes throughout Vetropack Group. In 2020, the complaints processes were harmonised in order to incorporate findings from complaints at the individual locations into Group-wide improvement measures even more effectively. Vetropack also carried out an audit of the inspection machines at the various plants. The results will be used in future investment planning. A further focus to improve quality was training production staff at the group training centre at the Pöchlarn glassworks.

Performance Review: Learning organisation

Vetropack also began the rollout of the “Vetropack Production System” (VPPS) project in the reporting year. This project’s aim is to reduce wastage of all kinds systematically in the sense of “lean production”. These include overproduction, defects, waiting times, unnecessary movements and transports as well as inefficient processes and inventories that are not needed, for example. All these are deemed to reduce value for the company under VPPS and are therefore to be minimised as much as possible. “Lean engineers” were already appointed in various plants in 2020. The company plans to introduce VPPS in all sites gradually over the next few years. The exchange of experiences at Group level is also to be progressed further.

Vetropack measures the number of complaints per glass container sold and critical defects identified internally as the main key figures for quality improvement.

Digitalisation and automation

At Vetropack, digitalisation and automation initiatives are key to sustainable business development. The company is using the range of new technologies to develop its processes and endeavours to improve efficiency through automation solutions. As part of the strategy process, digitalisation and automation were defined as one of five strategic directions that will shape the company’s further development in the next ten years.

At Vetropack, digitalisation is taking place in all divisions, whether in the simplification of administration processes or in production. Vetropack therefore developed a digitalisation roadmap back in 2019 and implemented the first few measures. In the reporting year, Vetropack migrated its SAP system to the latest technology (SAP4Hana). With the new system, Vetropack can make business information available to the relevant employees even more quickly. For example, a pilot project for a fully digitalised purchasing process (Order to Pay) has been successfully implemented on the same system. Digitalised purchasing is being rolled out across the Group in 2021.

The production planning tool was also migrated to the new SAP system in 2020, which further increases the efficiency and adaptability of production planning. In 2021, production planning will be combined to form a single, Group-wide process in a second stage, which should make it possible to utilise production capacity even more efficiently and flexibly. The plan to coordinate all production plants so that they follow a single production process is a considerable challenge, as a large number of data interfaces need to be harmonised and mapped in a single control loop.

In the year under review, Vetropack also made use of the opportunities offered by digitalisation to keep communication going with customers, suppliers and employees under difficult circumstances. Previous investments in mobile working arrangements and a Group-wide conferencing infrastructure paid off during the lockdown due to the pandemic in particular. Vetropack also launched an app for internal communication and published the @vetropack staff magazine online for the first time.

Performance Review: Employees

Key areas of Strategy 2030 in which digitalisation and automation play an important role include “Drive innovation and digitalisation”, “Leader in quality” and “Operational excellence”. Digitalisation is a prerequisite for optimising various sales processes, while automation is mainly used in the production process. Vetropack has therefore defined the customer complaint rate, customer satisfaction value, production losses, internal critical defects and the occupational accident rate as relevant performance indicators.

Customer-specific products

Vetropack implements ideas in products and, in doing so, guarantees a high standard of service and quality. The Group is therefore well equipped to supply high-quality and innovative glass packaging that is tailored to customers’ needs. Short communication channels between the production teams and customers allow Vetropack to react to customers’ requirements at any time and develop new products within a short period. To further harmonise the Group-wide product development process, Vetropack introduced a new workflow tool in 2020. It establishes clear requirements for customer approval and thus ensures that customers are involved in the product development process systematically. The enhancements planned for 2021 also support the realignment of the whole supply chain with the objective of bringing innovations to market.

In 2020, Vetropack introduced a large number of new products and packaging variants to help its customers in a year that was challenging for product launches. Over 150 new products had been introduced as of the end of the year. Particular emphasis was placed on developing multi-trip glass bottles for sale in Austria, including bottles for carbonated soft drinks, water and milk. Vetropack worked with Bergland Milch in the dairy segment. Following the success of re-introducing milk in glass bottles, Bergland Milch took the decision to invest in a reusable glass offer with Vetropack. The new bottle went into market during 2020 and meets consumers’ expectations of sustainable and affordable packaging.

Vetropack Story: Smart packaging award New designs

The Group also concentrated on further developing its VIP Glass technology with the objective of improving product performance. The ongoing collaboration with Austrian brewery Mohrenbrauerei is a win-win situation in this respect. Vetropack helped the brewery to switch all its multi-trip bottles to VIP technology and received valuable feedback for further improving its performance. In 2021, Vetropack aims to develop a go-to-market strategy for VIP Glass based on its improved understanding of VIP technology and excellent knowledge of local markets.

Vetropack Story: VIP Glass

As part of Strategy 2030, Vetropack defined the innovation rate and customer satisfaction as key indicators for measuring progress. The innovation rate is calculated by dividing the number of new glass containers (based on shape, process technology, size and colour) by the total number of units sold. The objective is to increase the innovation rate over time. In 2020, the innovation rate was lower than expected due to the global pandemic and a few delayed product launches.

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