Diego Gagete, Production Manager CONTENUR Group provides a personal analysis of the company’s decision to enter the UK market with the opening of a new plant.
During the interview, he talks about the difficulties faced when starting up and commissioning one of the largest production centres in Europe, and about the importance of investing in state-of-the-art technology to be able to manufacture products using the highest quality standards.
INTERVIEWER: Although the new plant in Knowsley (Liverpool) was only opened two years ago, CONTENUR has been operating in the British market since the end of the 1990s. Can you explain to us in greater detail how it became necessary to open a production centre in the UK? What does the United Kingdom market mean to CONTENUR?
Diego Gagete: CONTENUR has played a major role in the British market since the late 1990s. In fact, because of its size and characteristics, this market has been one of the most important when it comes to CONTENUR’s growth strategy. We have been able to grow and become UK market leaders in commercial and clinical waste collection. Over the last 24 years, we have been able to secure a broad customer base with a very loyal following. The clients appreciate the quality of CONTENUR’s product range, our flexibility when it comes to developing specific solutions for our clients’ requirements and the class leading levels of service. Furthermore, the fact that we are working in such a demanding market, has allowed us to broaden our range of accessories and solutions, and also to export to other markets.
We realised eventually that if we wanted to hold onto our privileged market position we would have to go one step beyond and produce locally, which would enable us to improve lead times and the quality of service for our customers. We also needed to improve our competitiveness in the Council market, where our presence had traditionally enjoyed a lower profile, yet where there is significant growth potential.
INTERVIEWER: Constructing a production centre from scratch cannot be an easy task. So, can you tell us a bit about the difficulties you have had to face while setting up this production centre and putting it into operation and how these problems have been overcome.
DG: Exactly, taking on the task of creating a production centre from scratch was not at all simple. All the processes, from selecting the site until we manufactured the first unit were fraught with difficulties, including the construction of the building, obtaining permits and the arrival and installation of the machinery, not to mention a Global Pandemic! . These problems were solved thanks to a professional approach, superb teamwork, tenacity and the tireless efforts of all involved.
The fact that we were ready to manufacture did not mean to say the problems dissipated, because we had to adapt to machinery that was completely new, headhunt local talent and train those personnel to enable them to live up to the production demands and quality standards that are required at CONTENUR.
It has been a long process and we are still improving, but we are very proud of the results we have achieved so far and look forward to continuing to develop our customer offer.
INTERVIEWER: CONTENUR also has two major production centres in Poland and Spain, but what does this new plant offer the European market and, specifically, the UK market, and what makes it different from the other two?
DG: The Knowsley Plant is the largest production centre, covering a surface area of over 25,000 m2 when compared to the Getafe Plant, 18,500 m2 or the Mielec Plant 23,400 m2. Furthermore, it has a bigger storage area than the rest of the production centres, which enables CONTENUR to better manage our customers’ supply requirements.
We can also rely on a highly qualified logistics team that is able to secure highly efficient transport provision and is in constant touch with other internal functions to ensure a seamless delivery service to our customers.
“The Knowsley Plant is the largest production centre in the group”
INTERVIEWER: What advantages does having a new manufacturing facility in the UK offer commercially?
DG: The most important aspects are providing customers with further choice and improving lead times. The proximity and immediate response time is a very important factor for our customers and manufacturing in the UK is vital in this sense when compared to other offers made by European manufacturers.
Manufacturing in the UK also gives us an opportunity to consolidate a very competitive offer for our customers in terms of environmental sustainability with a greatly reduced energy consumption when it comes to manufacturing our products, plus a location that minimises the carbon footprint when transporting to our customers. We believe firmly in maximising the sustainability of our facility and our products should be and are in an excellent situation to promote the circularity of our system thanks to our offer of collecting End of Life (EOL) containers, processing and 100% recycling/re-using the old materials to make new containers.
INTERVIEWER: And to conclude… Why do you think that this project in the UK is going to make a difference to the market?
DG: Setting in motion the industrial activity in the UK enables CONTENUR to make a very complete offer in terms of the quality of the product, competitiveness, convenience and environmental sustainability, and one which is difficult for our competitors to match. All of this comes with the guarantee of CONTENUR’s approximately 40 years of industrial experience and extensive history on the UK market.
CONTENUR currently operates in more than 53 countries, has 14 subsidiaries around the world, 4 production plants, 3 in Europe and 1 in Latin America, and 1 underground container assembly centre.