Friedbert Klefenz, President of Bosch Packaging Technology, looks back on the Bosch anniversary year “125 years of Bosch”, refers to future challenges and why he supports the FAO’s Save Food initiative.
In 2011, the Bosch Group celebrated the 125th anniversary of the company’s establishment and the 150th birthday of its founder, Robert Bosch. This year also marked 150 years of packaging experience for Bosch Packaging Technology, starting with the foundation of the Hesser company in 1861. Today, Bosch Packaging Technology is a leading global supplier of processing and packaging technology for the pharmaceutical, food and confectionery industries.
Mr. Klefenz, you are celebrating 150 years of packaging experience. In your opinion, what is the key to the long-lasting business success?
Most pivotal to our success has been the long-term partnerships with our customers, based on our capacity for innovation, technical competence and reliability. For decades, we simply try to keep promises, as we also express with our motto “packaged as promised.” For decades we have literally been by our customers’ side due to our strong worldwide presence, not just with sales and services but with numerous production sites in more than 15 countries worldwide.
And the number of your production sites is steadily increasing. In 2011, you acquired Hüttlin and Manesty. Are there any plans for further acquisitions in 2012?
Acquisitions are part of our strategic path of diversification and internationalization. Even in the early stages, we completed our portfolio with acquisitions. For example, Hesser came to the Bosch family in the 1970s. Looking back, I suppose we had the right touch in acquiring industry-leading companies. With regard to the future, Bosch is always looking for good opportunities globally, that fit with our company. We want to further diversify both in terms of market and geographic coverage as well as fill technology gaps so we can offer total solutions and end-to-end support.
What would be your advice to new businesses in the packaging industry?
I would say focus on the customer, the technology, and the people who are responsible for it – the employees. Other words to live by are “I would rather lose money than trust”. The trust of customers and employees is vital for us. The quality of products and keeping promises must take precedence over short-term gain and profit. A more obvious point is that new businesses must anticipate future trends early enough.
Bosch Packaging Technology supports the Save Food initiative of the FAO – the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. What is your motivation to do so?
The initiative brings home the fact that hunger is still one of the most pressing issues in the world. It also reminds us that waste of food and resources needs to be reduced drastically. Packaging is key when it comes to avoiding food loss and waste. Using packaging machines can help to reduce the loss ratio and avoid the waste of valuable resources.
What will be the major challenges for the packaging industry in the next 10 years?
Around the globe, sustainability is a lasting issue. Sustainability means using less energy, avoiding losses and using easily recyclable packaging materials. In developing countries, reducing food waste will be a major issue. If we want to bring about a sustainable improvement, we all have to act together – from UN organizations to regional governments, the agricultural, packaging and food industries as well as local traders, to overcome this challenge in the future. I believe food safety regulations will also continue to evolve globally to the stringent level of pharmaceutical standards. Producers need to prepare for increased regulations in order to be competitive. Concerning our industry I am convinced that the consolidation phase is not over but will continue.
Thank you for the interview.
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