Albéa reaps the rewards of WebCenter

Leading cosmetics packaging manufacturer, Albéa, has optimized efficiency and improved customer collaboration after embracing digitalization with Esko WebCenter.

French company, Albéa, is the world’s leading cosmetic packaging wholesaler, manufacturing packaging and beauty solutions from tubes and lipsticks to mascara, applicators and more. With 31 manufacturing sites across 13 countries, it serves both established, leading brands as well as those companies emerging into the market at national and international levels.

Ever changing demands of the consumer, coupled with the competitiveness of the sector has led to increasing requests for smaller order sizes and shorter lead times.

Valérie Lebelt, New Product Launch Director with Albéa, said: “To address these increasing demands, Albéa is revolutionizing the development process for our leading products, embracing digital technology as a part of the solution to deliver increased flexibility.

“We recognized if we were to continue to meet our customers’ requests for agility, responsiveness, innovation and reliability, digital technology was the answer. Digitalization of our processes would make it possible to speed up certain technical stages while at the same time making them more reliable. It would also enable us to manage projects in a more collaborative way, and to ensure end-to-end transparency throughout the lifecycle of a project.

“Digitalization makes it possible to rapidly increase production at various sites in different countries, and in some cases to make supplies more flexible and secure,” added Valérie. “On a technical level, digital printing delivers many advantages in terms of speed of execution, agility and personalization, which is all very attractive. But we know that in practice, buying a digital press is not enough. The result can only be reliable if the upstream process is mastered, and that’s where working with Esko became so important.”

Albéa worked closely with Esko to develop prepress tools as well as a collaborative platform to manage projects within its industrial facilities, across its various sites and directly with its customers and their design agencies.

Valérie added: “Esko WebCenter delivered the ability to not only effectively manage our project portfolio, but to also deliver higher levels of efficiency, easier and constant prioritization and therefore optimal responsiveness to our customers.”

WebCenter is a powerful packaging management and collaboration platform that allows for companies of all sizes to digitize their processes and meet today’s challenges head on. The secure, web-based software has been tailored to help packaging converters meet the demands of a rapidly changing business environment.

Managing all aspects of preproduction specification, approval and project lifecycle to remove the most common bottlenecks in the packaging design to production process, WebCenter is the only solution on the market specifically developed for the packaging industry.

“The time to market factor is becoming increasingly important to our sector,” said Valérie. “Only a few years ago, the acceptable expectation was that the process could take around three months for a new product, but today the expectation is that we can deliver in just four-to-six weeks. With WebCenter, we are able to reduce our time to market while fully controlling the quality of execution of the project.”

The company has reaped the benefits of WebCenter, particularly during the past 18 months.

Valérie said: “The flexibility WebCenter delivers in terms of prioritization and responsiveness has been a critical asset throughout the global pandemic,” said Valérie. “It meant that as a business we would not be immobilized by the disruption of a particular supplier or a given country. Instead, we had the flexibility to adapt quickly to any sudden changes in the market; the ability to switch production across sites in line with supply chain constraints and opportunities.

“Our customers always receive a real sample, and the ability to maintain that process has been particularly important throughout the pandemic,” said Valérie. “Obviously, the various restrictions we’ve all been subject to have restricted travel and the ability to meet face to face, so being able to achieve speedy approval has helped bring us significant savings,” she said. “Whereas a traditional color proof, made on site with an industrial line, can take anywhere from four to six weeks and use 300 kgs of plastic materials, with WebCenter at the heart of the proofing stage it now only takes a few days and uses just 150g of resins. This is two thousand times less material, which generates significant savings as well as reducing the impact on the environment.”

Valérie said Esko had become a true partner in the digital transformation of Albéa’s printed packaging development process and that the deployment of WebCenter would continue across the business, proving particularly useful in the new product development process.