Sustainability Report

Innovation and
intellectual property

Innovation strategy and portfolio, process innovation with suppliers

Management approach

Vetropack pursues product, process and organisational innovations that are designed to ensure it can continue to meet customer requirements in future with innovative, environmentally sustainable and high-quality products and services, and thus safeguard the company’s long-term business success. Therefore, the topic area of “Drive Innovation” was defined as one of five strategic initiatives in Strategy 2030. To this end, Vetropack continually monitors developments relating to the circular economy, digitalisation, automation and the climate targets for 2050, as it does the changing needs and requirements of customers. As part of its innovation strategy, Vetropack also encourages the development of innovations by suppliers, customers and international research groups, for example as part of the “International Partners in Glass Research” (IPGR) industry association.

Vetropack Story: The new level of performanceVetropack Story: Returnable glass bottles on the rise

The company’s CEO supports Vetropack’s innovation strategy as an integral component of the Group’s overall strategy. The CEO is assisted here by the CTO, who focuses in particular on the development of process innovations in cooperation with suppliers as well.

In the world of digital innovation, the declared target for Vetropack is Industry 4.0. Industrial production is to be interlinked with modern information and communication technology. Intelligent, digitally networked systems provide the technical basis for this. Networking is expected to make it possible to optimise not only one production step but an entire value chain. The network is also expected to include all phases of a product’s life cycle – from the idea for a product over its development, production, use and maintenance to its being recycled. The key element of this development is the introduction of a comprehensive management execution system (MES).

To be able to meet different types of innovation, responsibilities within the Engineering and Production department were clearly separated in the year under review. Since January 2022, one of the three organisational units has been the innovation centre, established in 2020, at the Pöchlarn site in Austria. The specialists based there are solely responsible for research and development of product and process-related innovations, while any possible integration in Vetropack glass works is handled separately. External partnerships, such as with educational establishments of university level and research establishments, are also part of this clearly defined area of responsibility. In addition to tempered glass mentioned previously, key areas for Vetropack’s research include the furnace technologies of the future, where energy consumption and CO2 emissions have to be significantly reduced, allowing the company to comply with future environmental requirements.

Performance Review: Innovation and intellectual property

Cooperation with suppliers is crucial, as it allows Vetropack and its suppliers to identify ways to improve production operations and jointly develop innovative approaches for achieving such improvements. This collaborative effort focuses on the development of innovations for melting, moulding, inspection processes and products. Vetropack’s suppliers – and its customers – also play a vital role with regard to digitalisation. They are indeed the drivers but they are also needed as supporters for extensive digitalisation of the entire Vetropack value chain.

Important key figures for measuring progress on innovation are the innovation rate and customer satisfaction value. Strategic initiatives are also reviewed annually based on the market performance of the products involved and the CO2 emissions produced as a result of melting processes at the plants. Process innovation projects are evaluated on a monthly and annual basis using performance and quality indicators,