Nolato Cerbo

All change for Cerbo

During Cerbo AB’s 60 year history in the plastic injection moulding sector, there can have been few years as eventful as 2007.

A change of owner, the appointment of a new managing director, and the divesting of the company’s non-plastic (secondary packaging) operations to Stralfors AB, have all occurred in the last 12 months and clearly had a major impact on the business.

The changes began last March when – following a decade of venture capitalist ownership – Cerbo was acquired by Nolato, a leading developer and manufacturer of polymer components and systems for customers in a range of industry sectors. Integration into the Nolato Group followed over the remainder of the year, with a change of company name to Nolato Cerbo AB in December completing the process.

Earlier during the year, the business underwent further changes when the former group management left the company and in November Glenn Svedberg was appointed as managing director. Formerly MD of Polimoon Lidköping AB (now Promens), Glenn has experience in the plastics packaging industry, but was impressed by what he found upon his arrival at Nolato Cerbo: “It is a very well run company with an experienced, committed, flexible and stable workforce with a specific mindset for quality. We have a substantial market share in the Nordic region and are ready to continue to grow our business primarily through a geographical expansion in Europe.”

Supporting Glenn’s comments, a remarkable 60 per cent of all pharmaceutical containers in Scandinavia come from Nolato Cerbo’s production site in Trollhattan, near Gothenburg. The business specialises in the development and manufacture of plastic packaging for pharmaceuticals, vitamins, minerals and supplements. The company offers a complete standard range of both caps and containers, and can also manufacture unique products to match its customers’ specific needs.

Nolato Cerbo possesses particular expertise within injection blow moulding and injection moulding technologies. By combining this knowledge with dedication and creativity, it strives to develop and produce innovative and intelligent packaging solutions that are one step ahead of the competition.

Even before the acquisition the company’s longterm goal was to build upon its domestic dominance and become a leading player in the sector across Europe. The backing of the Nolato Group is accelerating this process and providing the resources necessary for greater internationalisation. It is also serving to enhance Cerbo’s product offering, with Nolato able to offer a wide range of solutions in various polymer materials and silicon for bespoke medical devices.

Despite the integration into the group, Glenn feels that the day-to-day operation of the company will remain relatively unchanged: “Nolato is a very decentralised group, where each company is responsible for running and developing its own business. We already have, and will maintain, our ability as a complete company in the development, manufacturing and sales of pharmaceutical primary packaging materials.”

Although its new-found position within the Nolato Group provides Cerbo with obvious benefits, the company cannot afford to rest on its laurels and must continue to look at ways to stay at the forefront of the industry. One way of doing this is through continual research and development into new products – an area that has traditionally been hugely important for the company.

Glenn agrees: “R&D is vital for us and we develop new product lines depending on general market requirements, various standards, input from customer interviews, and so on. We also engage in customer specific development projects where we design concepts, make samples, conduct validation tests and scale up for serial production.”

One successful result of this emphasis on innovation came in 2006 when Cerbo launched its SnapSafe range of closures (incorporating just one component with a membrane).

In addition to R&D, efficiency within the manufacturing process is also extremely important to Nolato Cerbo, as Glenn explains: “Efficiency is a crucial parameter for us to be – and stay – competitive in the face of today’s global competition. We focus on overall equipment efficiency for our production, built upon three key areas; availability (the machine is in operation when it’s planned to run), performance (the stipulated cycle time is kept) and quality (the products we produce meets the quality specification.”

This commitment is supported by the utilisation of lean principles, and the company is already making use of 5S and TPM (Total Preventative Maintenance) programmes. “We will certainly expand our lean efforts in 2008, as it is one of our top five objectives this year,” adds Glenn.

Nolato Cerbo’s strategy for the future appears clear – to build on its strong position as part of the Nolato organisation and to significantly grow its overseas markets. Glenn is confident that this can be achieved but also mindful of the challenges ahead: “For the industry as a whole escalating material costs are an issue,” he comments. “This drives a need for us to reduce material consumption through weight reductions, and this goes hand-in-hand with our attempts to reduce our impact on the environment.”

Concluding, Glenn outlines the core strengths within the Nolato Cerbo organisation that will help it to overcome challenges like these: “Our success has been possible because of our high quality products, reliability both in deliveries and in all we do, and a flexible and committed approach to our customers where we value long term relations.”

Nolato Cerbo

Products: Pharmaceutical Plastic packaging
Sites: Trollhattan, Sweden
Employees: 115 in total