Bickel cited the shift in the product mix towards specialty films as a key reason for this positive financial development, with a stable sales volume of around 155,000 tonnes. In 2015, the share of specialty films grew to almost 70% of total sales volume, reaching 72% in the first quarter of 2016. Treofan Americas was responsible for the biggest individual increase, growing its specialties share by more than 12% points.
In the Packaging & Labels Business Unit, specialty products now make up 66% of sales volume. In Treofan’s tobacco packaging business, this figure is 90%, while the company’s technical films department only produces specialties. One of these, being launched this year, is Treopore. First commercial orders of this innovative nanostructured, microporous separator film are currently being delivered. Having successfully passed an exhaustive series of tests for use in lithium-ion batteries from leading manufacturers, Treofan is expecting Treopore to reach an order volume of around five million sq meters in 2016.
Further organizational initiatives towards leaner processes and improved cost structures contributed to the positive result, as well. As one example, the CEO named the recent streamlining of the European management structure.
From film manufacturer
to specialist in surface solutions
Treofan is continuing to organically develop its successful premium positioning. “We increasingly see ourselves as a provider of BOPP film surface technologies,” says Bickel. “Being the only BOPP manufacturer to cover all application areas, we can tailor film parameters such as thickness, barrier effect and porosity, adhesive properties and processing speed to all kinds of different uses. This ability, combined with our direct access to major brand owners and our network of partners at every stage of the value chain, strongly differentiates us on the market.”
Bickel thus views the current financial year with much optimism, with profitability set to continue rising. In addition to the ongoing expansion of Treofan’s specialty product share, initiatives to make the organization even more customer-oriented play a role in growing profitability, as do continued investments, such as the new coater at the Battipaglia site in Italy.
Comprehensive packaging solutions
In the Packaging & Labels Business Unit in particular, taking a strategic approach to joint development has led to a whole series of new solutions. Carolyn Wagner, Head of Packaging & Labels, lists examples including the EPT special film for thermoforming IML, the HybraPack hybrid material that combines paper and BOPP film, and the development of a barrier film to prevent mineral oil migration, as well as custom packaging solutions tailored to the demands of individual brand owners.
“At Treofan, ‘innovation’ used to mean developing a new film formulation, whereas today it means comprehensive packaging ideas,” believes Wagner. “Brand owners need smart solutions that are suitable for global use, convenient, economical, and that differentiate them from competitors. We aspire to give each of our customers precisely the solution that their situation calls for.”
Powerhouse for perfect customer orientation
To give this approach better organizational underpinning, Treofan has bundled all of its expertise pertaining to customer-oriented solution development into a “tech powerhouse”. This new organization, headed by Dr. Marco Holst and Dr. Yvonne Düpre, reports to the CEO and consists of two areas: “Service & Solutions” and “Know-How & Competences."
Service & Solutions includes Technical Service, where requirements are defined in collaboration with the customer, as well as Business Development & Product Management, which handles coordination with production. Know-How & Competences includes Technology, where material properties are defined, and Quality Management, which ensures maximum reliability and also handles issues of approval, for instance.
A steering committee comprising representatives from all three Business Units – Packaging & Labels, Tobacco & Technical Films, and Treopore – ensures the unit takes a holistic approach. “The customer is always at the center of our collaboration,” explains Dr. Marco Holst, Director Business Development & Technical Service. “Thanks to this dynamic powerhouse, we can now meet their requirements even faster, more flexibly and more reliably.”