By – Michelle Newman; Marketing manager and sales support, Kliklok International, Bosch Packaging Technology
In November 2015, Bosch Packaging Technology acquired the packaging equipment provider Kliklok-Woodman Corporation. With manufacturing facilities in Decatur, Georgia, U.S. and Bristol, UK, the Kliklok brand specializes in developing and supplying secondary packaging machinery for the food and drink industry and the Woodman brand producing vertical form, fill and seal machines. Kliklok International (Kliklok) has over 80 employees in Bristol, UK, and a network of affiliated sales partners throughout Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and Australasia, while the U.S., Canada, South America and parts of Asia are served by Kliklok-Woodman in Georgia, U.S. To find out more about the integration of Kliklok into Bosch Packaging Technology and what this means for the market, we spoke with Martin Tanner, director product management and marketing, business unit Food, Bosch Packaging Technology and Neil Fowell, general manager, Kliklok International Ltd.
What were the incentives behind the acquisition for both parties? Why did Bosch decide to acquire the Kliklok-Woodman Corporation? What specific strengths of Kliklok led you to pursue the acquisition?
Tanner: The acquisition of the Kliklok-Woodman Corporation is very much in line with Bosch Packaging Technology’s strategy of diversifying our packaging offerings and increased focus on being the single-source solutions supplier on the market. Secondary packaging is a key segment for Bosch – the acquisition complements our portfolio of processing and packaging machines and has enhanced our system capabilities. We now offer our customers a complete range of primary, secondary and end-of-line equipment or, in other words, complete system solutions.
Fowell: Bosch has now incorporated our range of secondary packaging machinery, including endload and topload cartoning, sleeving and product handling, which fully complements its portfolio for the food and confectionery industry. With Kliklok’s machinery situated perfectly in the middle of primary and tertiary packaging, Bosch now offers customers complete solutions from feeding, filling and flow wrapping to case packing with Kliklok’s cartoning and product handling in between.
- How has Kliklok International benefitted from the transaction so far?
Fowell: Kliklok’s integration within Bosch provides the company with the benefit of local expertise and vast engineering capabilities to prepare and adapt Kliklok machines to new markets across the globe.
To continue to grow operations and move the company forward, Bosch is the ideal partner – with a footprint in all corners of the world, we now have access to Bosch’s world-class armory of knowledge and full-range capabilities, as well as the very highest quality service entrenched in local cultures and languages, enabling us to work closely with our customers on a daily basis.
The very essence of Kliklok is the continued focus on producing equipment of the highest possible quality to meet customer demands. And, as a truly global company, our mindset mirrors that of Bosch, where innovation is at the heart of what we do.
- What are the market trends that you are seeing from both consumers and manufacturers? How will the acquisition help both parties to meet these market trends?
Fowell: Due to changing lifestyles, consumers are increasingly looking for convenience in the foods they purchase. Global demand for prepared foods is growing – a whole host of ready meals, food on-the-go, plus a huge variety of snack products are now available for consumers and the trend looks set to continue. According to Nielsen, the prepared foods market is forecasted to grow at an annual pace of 4.5 percent through 2019.
As a company, we are actively capitalizing on these market trends and strive to meet growing demand for efficient and reliable packaging system solutions. Our portfolio further enhances the food producer’s ability to offer consumers a diverse range of products in different sizes, shapes and pack styles. Product diversification is critical to meet ever-changing consumer demands and stay ahead of the competition. Choosing the right packaging is a vital step in the development of any product, and the food and confectionery industry in particular is continuing to develop new, innovative and attractive ideas for packaging their products. A huge variety of different pack shapes with clever design, eye-catching graphics, easy open features and shelf-ready capability are now on offer to tempt the consumer even more – and to help brands stand out on shelf. We are working constantly to anticipate these trends and can now supply a range of machinery to suit the growing demands of our customers.
- What other important benefits does Kliklok equipment provide for Bosch customers?
Fowell: As suppliers of cartoning equipment, Kliklok understands that reduction of environmental impact is high on the agenda of consumers, food manufacturers and packaging equipment suppliers. Using wood from managed forests as the natural raw material, combined with the ability to recover and recycle, carton board offers the most effective all-round sustainable option for food packaging. This means we use less packaging as well as recycled material from sustainable sources to produce lighter carton board.
Take, for example, the ready meal market – which typically uses 400 micron / 250 gram per square meter (gsm) carton board for packaging. Kliklok’s cartoning equipment, however, can comfortably and efficiently handle a lightweight 250 micron / 200 gsm board at speeds of up to 150 cartons per minute. Being able to automatically and efficiently run lighter board delivers the benefits of automated packaging without the negative environmental impacts associated with using traditional heavier carton board. This not only offers improved sustainability credentials, but also lowers board cost for the food producer.
- What’s next for Kliklok and Bosch?
Fowell: The next big joint venture will be the Interpack 2017 trade show in Duesseldorf, where Kliklok will be showcasing its expertise in endload and topload cartoning as part of a full system from Bosch. This will be an exciting experience for all of us, and will be a culmination of eighteen months working together to develop and demonstrate our ability to offer complete packaging solutions to the market.
Tanner: Interpack 2017 is the ideal opportunity to present our full packaging equipment capability for the food and confectionery sectors. We look forward to presenting the expansion of the Bosch business and the systematic changes that the acquisition has brought to the company. Innovation and collaboration are the cornerstones of how we operate and by offering our customers system capabilities as a single-source solutions supplier, we will continue to drive the industry forward, and to produce the very highest quality of packaging product to the market.
About Bosch Packaging Technology
Based in Waiblingen near Stuttgart, Germany, and employing 6,200 associates, the Bosch Packaging Technology division is one of the leading suppliers of process and packaging technology. At over 30 locations in more than 15 countries worldwide, a highly-qualified workforce develops and produces complete solutions for the pharmaceuticals, food, and confectionery industries. These solutions are complemented by a comprehensive after-sales service portfolio. A global service and sales network provides customers with local points of contact.