Returnable packaging specialist PLS has expanded its European footprint after securing a significant five-year contract in Poland with global beverage can manufacturer Can-Pack S.A. The deal covers the supply of all of the company’s plastic layer pad requirements on a fully managed rental basis. Valued at €5 million, it represents the company’s largest operation outside of the UK to-date and provides the ideal platform for further expansion.


PLS, which is part of the Bibby Distribution Group of companies, secured the new contract based upon the quality of its service delivery for Can-Pack in the UK, which began in 2009. An integral part of the Group, PLS allows Bibby to offer bespoke returnable transit packaging solutions to its customers.

The company has invested more than €1.5 million in establishing the new venture which is based in Katowice, southern Poland, where staff work a two-shift system, five days per week, managing more than 3 million plastic layer pad movements a year.

Robert Skoropad, Group Planning and Procurement Manager at Can-Pack’s worldwide headquarters in Krakow, says: “PLS continues to impress our UK colleagues, so the next logical step was to invite them to service two of our main operations here in Poland. Together, we’re working to implement new systems to improve packaging traceability and further increase the efficiency of our business.”

Over the coming years, PLS will work with Can-Pack on the conversion of its entire packaging requirements from cardboard and wood to plastic. This will enable the delivery of a more robust product, as well as improving hygiene standards and plant performance.

Jon Graves, General Manager of PLS, says: “Can-Pack recognises the benefits of using plastic packaging to ensure a more robust delivery platform goes into the supply chain; our remit is to help them drive these improvements forward. They were an important customer to win in the UK four years ago and we are extremely proud to be extending our responsibilities into Can-Pack’s home market.”

Commenting on PLS’ growth aspirations, he adds: “We see significant opportunities to take our packaging expertise into new European markets spanning the food manufacturing, beverage, retail and automotive sectors. At the same time we are working to increase the product offering to include plastic pallets, crates and IBC’s – as well as supplying a range of returnable packaging solutions to the automotive industry.The Can-Pack deal has enabled us to establish a solid foundation in Poland; it gives us the scope we need to achieve further growth.”

Supporting the overseas operation is an advanced new IT system which is also being rolled out into the UK. It delivers enhanced traceability of packaging materials throughout the supply chain by utilising RFID technology; enabling customers to check balances, monitor stock movements, place orders and request collections at the click of a button.

Formed in 1994, Can-Pack is one of the world’s largest suppliers of aluminium two-piece cans, glass bottles, three-piece tin plate cans and bottle closures for the drinks industry. In addition to its operations in Poland and the UK, Can-Pack is present in Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Spain, Egypt, Romania, Dubai, Morocco and India, as well as a joint venture in the Philippines.


Bibby Distribution

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