How European manufacturing can compete with Asian manufacturing

By Zaid Bunni, founding partner and director, Swedbrand

When we founded our company in 2006, we naturally turned to the Asian region since that was where much of the world’s manufacturing was taking place. It put us close to the factories of brand customers and allowed us to take advantage of lower labor rates. That was standard practice back then. Yes, it took time to ship product to Europe if it was needed there, but overall, the time and cost dynamics worked, and we were able to establish a very successful converting business and grow it relatively quickly.

And then came the pandemic! Needless to say, it changed everything, and we are still seeing effects on the world’s supply chain. For example, just since the beginning of 2021, the cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Asia to Europe has increased by a factor of five – that is, if you can find an available container!

We also found that many of the brands we were working with – and others that we were not – had operations in Europe. We believed that we could replicate our early successes in Asia by creating a breakthrough operation right in the middle of Europe. And so, we did. And we did it with the help of a talented team, including our terrific and highly experienced operations manager, Bogdan Putko, and with a view towards both supply chain efficiency and sustainability.

Underlying all of our work, whether in Europe or Asia, is a dedication to producing the most sustainable premium packaging on the market. To that end, most of our premium rigid boxes are made of up to 95% recycled content, and most are also recyclable, or even compostable. We have implemented many things in our Gdansk plant to reduce our environmental footprint there as well. This includes the fact that we use no water industrially, and we heat the facility with natural gas and have several skylights that help us light the facility using less energy. We’re also using non-animal glues that are more sustainable than solvent-based glues and use significantly less energy to apply and cure, yet deliver the same quality. We think this is a unique application in the industry, and we think our factory is quite unique as well!

As regulations allow, we look forward to inviting customers and potential customers to see first-hand what we mean by a breakthrough factory, and to gain an in-depth understanding of how this new operation can benefit them in terms of premium rigid boxes needed in European destinations.

Until then, we’re delighted to offer a virtual factory tour – you can view a video of the factory on Swedbrand’s website, or you can contact a member of our staff for a personal virtual tour.

Our motivated team of professionals would be happy to discuss with you further – either in person or virtually. We truly believe we can revolutionize the way you think about your premium rigid boxes!