Kicking off a new series of interviews, we get the inside track on the markets and operations of Quadpack offices in all regions. We start with Mike Banister, business unit director of Quadpack UK, responsible for the UK, Scandinavia and Poland.
Question: Please describe your markets.
Mike Banister: Well, the UK is one of the big four European markets in terms of cosmetics packaging purchasing, with Poland and Scandinavia not far behind. Each of our markets has a balance of successful local brand owners, fillers and also multinational companies with local operations. Poland has a busy packaging manufacturing industry of its own, more so than in UK or Scandinavia. Our value propositions differ slightly for different clients. What stays the same is our policy of building good relationships, sourcing the best solutions and ensuring we have the infrastructure in place to support our clients’ needs.
Q: How has the economic crisis affected your markets?
MB: While there has been some nervousness, Quadpack UK has seen a significant increase in activities. When the crisis was at its worst, our clients went through a period of destocking while waiting to see what their clients were buying. There has been some consolidation, too. Some weaker companies did not survive, but those that rode out the storm came out the other side stronger.
Q: Have consumer buying habits changed as a result?
MB: Yes, there has been a switch from prestige to masstige products. Consumers are buying at a lower price point. They still appreciate a premium feel, so the current trend is for mass market products packaged as masstige. This is what prompted Quadpack’s push into mass market/masstige packaging at the start of last year, a move that has proved very successful so far.
Q: Have cosmetics companies’ demands changed as a result?
MB: Again, yes. In a crowded marketplace, brand owners are trying to differentiate themselves. They understand that packaging, particularly packaging innovation, is a good way of making products stand out. Fresh new products like our double-ended tube or well-pump are what will drive the market next. ACO in Scandinavia has already successfully deployed the well-pump for its Cliniderm range, for example, while Dermica in Poland has effectively used the Yonwoo Airless syringe – another prime example of masstige with a premium feel.
Q: What is it like to work at Quadpack UK?
MB: Great. It is an exciting place to work, particularly with our recent growth. It is always good to see hard work getting results. This is boosted by the fact that consumer confidence is up, and that is trickling back to us. Our work here is satisfyingly challenging and no two days are the same. Best of all, we are a close-knit team. There is a great amount of professional respect and support.
Q: How did you arrive at your current position?
MB: I joined Quadpack as operations manager in 2004, when we were just four people working in a small office above a shop. As the business grew, so did the team and we moved here to larger premises. When this position became available in mid 2009, I was offered the job, which was very exciting and daunting at first. Two years on, we have steered the company into calmer waters post-crisis, our client base is expanding and the business is growing. I feel very confident about the future.
Q: Speaking of the future, what is next for Quadpack UK?
MB: We will be focusing on introducing more packaging innovations to our clients to help them differentiate their products. We will also continue to develop close relationships with manufacturers, helping them steer their R&D to meet the emerging trends we detect in the marketplace. Furthermore, the wider Quadpack Group supplies a broad product portfolio that we that we take advantage of and introduce to clients in our territories. For example, our Spanish office has had great success with glass, using good manufacturing partners and developing strong in-house resources. In terms of market sectors, we have been very successful in skin care, but there is much growth potential in hair care and make-up. We will be focusing on these sectors next, using our existing product portfolio. The team is going to be busy!
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