Craemer, one of Europe’s largest plastic pallet manufacturers, offer high performance plastic pallets and materials handling products including crates, boxes, tubs and containers which are reliable, durable and provide cost effective long life service.
A direct subsidiary of Paul Craemer GmbH, who pioneered one of the worlds first plastic pallets over 40 years ago, Craemer continue to be at the forefront of development in todays plastic pallets with a comprehensive range of pallet capabilities that can be used in conditions from -40 F°. Plastic pallets are versatile, strong and hygienic and are used in many industrial food sector and pooling applications and can be supplied with RFID technology to improve logistic traceability.
Optimising on logistic processes, Craemer plastic boxes and containers work in synergy with its plastic pallets to obtain a complete logistic system. As part of the service Craemer is prepared to supply sample pallets for evaluation using customers own products.
W&LN – What is your role and has it changed since last year?
The role changes every year as we are in a dynamic market place and I am now senior manager responsible for the materials handling division of Craemer UK in Telford.
W&LN – How was 2011 for Craemer?
2011 has been very challenging because of factors beyond our direct control, such as rising oil prices, availability of raw material supply as well as increasing energy costs. Obviously our competitors and even our customers face the same difficulties.
Although our customers appreciate these external factors, at Craemer we have been working hard to improve efficiencies without debasing product quality, in order to keep the product price acceptable to the market.
As a result of all the hard work and focused marketing, the materials handling division of Craemer UK can be quite proud of its achievement in adverse conditions.
W&LN – What is your business proposition for customers in the warehouse & logistics sector? Has that changed since last year?
Craemer offer a comprehensive range of plastic pallets and containers that can be used to provide storage and handling solutions, satisfying demands for economy, durability and hygiene. To ensure that the customer gets the right pallet to ensure long-life and safety in application, Craemer are prepared to supply sample pallets for evaluation using customers own products.
The most important factor is for customers and financial accountants to realise that the bitterness of poor durability remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. We make reliable, long life tested products that save money.
W&LN – How has the pallets & containers sector been performing in 2011? What do you see as the most important recent developments in the sector?
There is an ever growing interest in the use of plastic pallets as companies have to address hygienic demands and also avoid product contamination from wooden pallets – such as splinters, transfer of dampness, etc.
Also, as companies are looking to achieve increased efficiencies, they are looking at the cost of acquiring plastic pallets as compared to using wooden pallets. Assuming they accept the hygienic benefits of plastic pallets, the customer must take into account the cost of frequently replacing or repairing wooden pallets and also look at the longevity of the wood pallet. Craemer durable plastic pallets have a long life span of an estimated 10 years under normal working conditions.
Returnable plastic pallets are not only more durable and hygienic, they can be easily traced in transit. In order to easily identify ownership of plastic pallets and make them stand out from others, certain minimum quantities can be individually customised by colour or by including printed or embossed company logos and names that can be visually identified on inspection.
RFID technology can also be used in multiuser applications, by embedding two EPC gen 2 transponders within the pallets and these can be scanned using an UHF signal to monitor traceability.
Plastic pallets must be carefully specified to ensure that a unit meets the required handling capacity and is of a suitable quality to ensure safe handling of loads in the customers warehouse and storage environment. In our experience, there are many plastic pallets being used in industry that are failing to meet the required handling capacity – and regrettably, it often takes an accident to highlight the fact that not all plastic pallets are the same!!
W&LN – Have you moved into any new business areas during 2011?
The most significant area of development is in the ‘’bespoke’’ market, where we have invested in a special high quality welding machine. This enables us to make non-standard size pallets for all business sectors to meet customer’s specific handling and storage need.
W&LN – Has your company grown in the last 12 months or had to consolidate?
Yes Craemer has grown and invested heavily for the future. We have installed a new 650 tonne injection moulding machine at the factory in Telford and as a result, had to increase staff on the operational side.
Also, our website has been developed further and is constantly being upgraded to optimise the site, as this facility plays a vital role in our sales activity.
W&LN – Have you launched any new products or services in 2011? What are they and how are they performing?
Yes – Craemer has responded to market lead demands for new products that can be found at either ends of the pallet range.
Firstly, we have added to the TC range of Totally Closed deck, hygiene plastic pallets to include the new TC1 Euro pallet format of 1200 x 800 mm along with many new optional features including antislip surfaces to upper and lower decks. This has come about as a result of customer demands to meet specific handling requirements in many different markets, including frozen and chilled food and applications. In certain applications where moisture may be present, it has been suggested that plastic pallets can slip from the forks of trucks as a result of heavy braking or cornering at speed. To assist in providing a more positive surface grip and safety in handling, Craemer TC pallets can now be supplied anti-slip profiles on both the upper and under deck.
Secondly, Craemer has designed and developed the brand new D3 pallet as a durable, low cost industry standard product with more options than any other plastic pallet on the market. The new D pallet offers exceptional quality at an exceptional price!
W&LN – How are your existing products and services doing?
Once we have had the opportunity to discuss, demonstrate and convert potential customers into using Craemer plastic pallets, we are proud to say that we retain them.
The ever increasing number of satisfied users of Craemer products gives us a great deal of confidence in what we do. The repeat element of our business bears this out and new customers are made aware of this through referrals.
W&LN – What’s been your company’s single biggest achievement in business this year
To have maintained continuity of supply from our raw material providers in what has been an extremely volatile year for our industry, therefore ensuring constant service to our customers in the environmental and materials handling markets.
W&LN – What was your personal favourite business moment in 2011?
To see two truck loads of Craemer products being unloaded to one of our Irish customers, who had previously been buying from overseas and now has committed to acquiring products manufactured at Craemer in Telford.
W&LN – If your company had to go through 2011 again, what would you do differently?
On reflection – not a lot!
W&LN – Do you operate in any other countries besides the UK? How are you getting on there? Have you gone into any new countries in 2011?
Our group of companies with the core business activities of metal forming, tool construction and plastics processing currently employs a workforce of 600 people in four European countries. In 2010 the group achieves a total operating performance of about 160 million Euros.
The parent company is based in Herzebrock Germany and has built a new state of the art tool making facility within the heart of the business. Craemer in France has had a successful year, as has the metal division in Slovakia.
W&LN – Have you won any awards in 2011, or been accredited to any new industry standards during this time?
Results of recent practical product tests at the leading German Fraunhofer Institute confirms the premium quality claims as well as the higher handling capacity of the new Craemer ECOmax half sized pallet, as compared with the Düsseldorf wooden pallet.
Craemer has succeeded in developing the first plastic half pallet that focuses on more sustainability and added value in logistics. In contrast to the Düsseldorf wooden pallet, the ECOmax offers an environmentally friendly solution with a single material that offers a longer life and therefore reduced CO? emission. As it is 25% lighter in weight than the classical wooden pallet, transport costs are lower and there is less risk of injuries when handling the pallets.
High functionality, load capacity and process reliability on all standard conveyor systems are the hallmark of Craemer’s innovative half pallet logistics as are the use of high quality, pure recyclable materials and the universal applications of the entire supply chain.
W&LN – Which industry sectors are your customers in? What applications do people use your products/services for?
Craemer supply plastic pallets to all sections of business as it is the standard load carrier for use inside the factory and warehouse for storage, transportation purposes as well as pooling. They satisfy all demands for economy, durability and capacity to support heavy loads just as well in their use in high-bay warehouses or on automatic conveyor systems.
Whether for use in the food and pharmaceutical companies who use plastics internally primarily for hygiene, automobile or numerous other industries including all major plastic pallet pooling companies Craemer pallets are used because of their durability and long service life.
The Craemer plastic pallets program always provides an economic basis for logistics.
W&LN – Do you sell your products direct or through distributors? Has that strategy changed in the last year?
We sell mostly direct, but have a small number of reliable resale distributers within our customer base.
W&LN – How does your forward order book compare with a year ago? What about the waiting list for your (products) compared with a year ago?
We provide storage and handling solutions with Craemer plastic pallets and can confirm that there is much interest for Craemer products in the pipeline. We are currently working with several large companies to develop pallets with optional features to meet specific handling and safety requirements.
There is also much interest in the frozen and chilled food industry as BFFF reported that back in 2008, that investigations into the suitability of the use of plastic pallets within a cold store environment was questionable, as certain tested products were only suitable for temperatures as low as –20ºC. As these extreme temperatures experienced within a cold store environment are often exceeded, certain pallets were not designed or suitable for cold storage use.
Craemer UK’s high density polyethylene pallets are able to withstand temperatures as low as –40ºC providing a safe handling solution for cold store applications that also often demand products that support hygienic working conditions.
Our Telford factory is at full production at the moment and fortunately, we have the flexibility to swap tools with our German facility to take pressure off lead times that are about the same as 2010. Along with the stock held at Telford, we can continue to respond to customers and provide a good service.
W&LN – Which trade shows did you exhibit at in 2011? How were they?
We exhibited at FOODEX N.E.C, Fishing Brussels and INTERPACK. The UK exhibitions often disappoint in comparison to overseas attendance figures, but Europe is always a big success and we will continue to exhibit next year.
W&LN – As the Christmas period is traditionally the busiest time of year for the UK warehousing and logistics industry, what challenges has your company been facing?
No more that we do for 12 months of the year. As there is no pattern in our business we continually exercise flexibility in our warehousing as well as production. It’s vital for our survival.
W&LN – As a company, what are your new year’s resolutions for 2012?
As with most businesses, Craemer will be focused on growth but in a realistic and controlled way, by responding and creating what the market demands at the right price. Our manufacturing capability and flexibility to provide standard quality and bespoke plastic pallets enables us to be extremely responsive to customers needs – as a opposed to some company who adopt a relaxed approach of ‘one pallet fits all’ .
At Craemer, we will proudly continue to act with integrity and never compromise on product quality or safety at any time to secure a sale.
W&LN – What are your plans for 2012?
In 2012 we will create more market awareness toward this end, and will have an open house policy within our factory, so that customers and potential buyers can see what we do and have a better understanding of what they are buying.
W&LN – Where do you see your company in three years’ time?
I would like to see us being the market leader in the sales and production of quality plastic pallets as well as environmental and special materials handling products.
W&LN – And finally, what would you like Father Christmas to bring your company in 2012?!
To bring some stardust and elixir for all our employees at the Telford facility, who have individually contributed to the success of Craemer in 2011, in what has been a very tough year in business.
It is they who have enabled us to build on the success in 2011 and to provide a solid foundation for the future and success for the years to come.
CRAEMER UK LTD
TEL: 01952 6078-00