“What do I remember about that long day way back in 2010? I remember being tired – tired and disappointed.” Briton John Toomey, the co-founder of Yu! Fruit Snacks, can laugh about it today. “We wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for Vetipak.”
Kraft Heinz, AG Logistics, and Vetipak: a Dream Team
Picture: Medina Osmanovic - Supervisor External Vetipak
and Arie Thomassen - Owner AG Logistics
Since last fall, the sauces, breakfast cereals, and beverages manufactured by Kraft Heinz have been making their way from AG Logistics’ brand-new distribution center in Ede to retailers across the entire Benelux region. Right before departure, they might make a stopover at Vetipak’s contract packing facility, where we have been repackaging bulk products into consumer-size units based on special requests. We look back on Q1 from the perspective of each of the three partners.
Vetipak: on the wish list
“We’re proud to have the opportunity to work for such a major player,” says our Business Development Manager, Joergen Pleijte. “To be honest, Kraft Heinz had been on our wish list for some time. Although our client is officially our trusted partner AG Logistics, on an everyday basis most of our communications are with Kraft Heinz. How is that working out? It feels good that both parties listen to the advice we give them.”
Partners Kraft Heinz and AG Logistics were looking for professionalism, knowledge, and flexibility, and that happens to be exactly what we can deliver. Joergen: “If, say, a grocery store wants to quickly set up a promotional campaign, that’s no problem because our people are trained to work in multiple locations, which allows us to level up our capabilities. At our Ede site, this involves reducing the size of units and grouping units together, re-casing and labeling products, and producing displays. And since we always think in terms of processes, we can produce efficiently, both complying with food safety standards and fulfilling the customer’s requirements.”
“Vetipak measures its performance on an
ongoing basis, and in pinpoint detail too”
Thanos Papakonstantinou (Kraft Heinz)
Picture: Joergen Pleijte - Business Development Manager Vetipak
and Thanos Papakonstantinou - Logistics Excellence Manager Kraft Heinz
Kraft Heinz: increased customization
Kraft Heinz operates two production facilities in the Netherlands: one in Utrecht and one in Elst. The town of Ede is smack in the middle of those two places, as well as offering a perfect central location for supplying all distribution centers of grocery chains across the Benelux region – which is where the contract packing partner comes in. Thanos Papakonstantinou, Logistics Excellence Manager Continental Europe at Kraft Heinz: “We’re seeing a growing demand for repackaging services, as this enables retailers to add value for their customers.”
So far, so good, is how Thanos sums up the partnership between the companies over the past few months. He is satisfied with the flexibility, quality, and speed of Vetipak’s services: “Vetipak measures its performance on an ongoing basis – and in pinpoint detail, too – which makes everything very transparent. The numbers have been excellent so far, which is important when it comes to creating trust. If that were to change at any point in the future, I’m confident they’ll find a proactive solution. Finally, communication between us has always been smooth and easy, both with Joergen and with Medina Osmanovic, who’s the floor supervisor. That’s really the key to being able to deliver just in time.”
“We teamed up with Vetipak as a
contract packing partner, because they
happen to be specialists in this area”
Arie Thomassen (AG Logistics)
AG Logistics: focus on bulk packaging
AG Logistics has been working with Kraft Heinz for some time, managing exports to Scandinavia, the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere from its Oosterhout site. The food giant’s bulk warehouse is also located in Oosterhout. “Kraft Heinz asked us to build a new distribution center in Ede, a large section of which would be used for their operations,” says AG Logistics owner Arie Thomassen. “So we ended up saying ‘yes.’” One unique feature of the new facility is a layer picker, a fully automated system designed to de-palletize pallets into single cases from 64 locations.”
“We teamed up with Vetipak as a contract packing partner, because they happen to be specialists in this area,” Arie continues. “Not only do they know their stuff like no other, it also allows us to focus on the bulk transport and on balancing out the new system. For example, we need to design algorithms in order to be able to customize our services, and that happens to be time-consuming. But give us another six months or so, and we’ll be ready for the future.”
Confidence and understanding
If it were up to Arie, that future will involve continuing to work with Kraft Heinz as a key customer and Vetipak as a partner. “We trust and understand each other, which is an excellent basis for building a strong relationship.” Thanos, adding in conclusion: “There are several ideas discussed with Vetipak in the pipeline regarding production capabilities, so we may even enlarge our repack portfolio in the near future. In any case, we’ve already built a solid foundation!”
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