Thursday, September 27, 2012

Henkel France in Villefranche-sur-Saône

In less than 40 years, the Villefranche-sur-Saône site in France, located right in the heart of Beaujolais, has become one of the leading sites in Europe.

Above all endowed with an ideal geographic location, thanks to its central position in Europe, the site in Villefranche-sur-Saône ensures the production of some industrial use adhesives, including notably hot melt adhesives, a type of thermoplastic adhesive. The site has industrial clients all around Europe and also several customers from Turkey, Africa, the Middle East, Canada, Australia and South America. The plant is one of Henkel’s biggest European sites manufacturing hot melts used in lighting and the assembly of vehicle parts.

Essential attributes
As well as its geographic positioning and its high production capacity, the site has a good number of other attributes. For example, its hot melt production testing unit (pilot plant) is one of them. New adhesives developed in research laboratories can only be made in maximum quantities of 1 to 5 kg in the labs. Often, customers require 15, 20 or even 200 kg of product to test the new adhesive on their machines. However, our factories only produce quantities of at least 1 tonne. The on-site pilot plant enables Henkel to scale up new products to customers’ needs but also to check, learn and optimize their future manufacturing process before making the transition to an industrial scale. This pilot facility constitutes a considerable competitive advantage as not all adhesive manufacturers dispose of such a tool.

Villefranche-sur-Saône site also benefits from having high-capacity storage warehouses, located within the site and managed internally, as well as an application laboratory dedicated to providing technical assistance for customers, regardless of the market concerned. Finally, Villefranche-sur-Saône boasts a fantastic customer services department supporting the business at some 670 clients, and benefits from the ISO 9001 version 2000 and ISO TS 1649 certifications for the automotive industry, as well as ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

Permanently evolving
Particularly dynamic, Villefranche-sur-Saône site is constantly working to improve its services: increasing productivity, new packaging line automation for certain adhesives, production procedures uploaded to the Intranet, improvement of the organization and cleanliness of the site, safety and communication, and so on. With a highly enthusiastic team, composed of more than 135 people of 13 different nationalities, the site does much to encourage multicultural enrichment and team spirit. Thanks to the pleasant working environment, it is clear to see the conviviality and personal investment of the employees of the Villefranche-sur-Saône site, as well as their close involvement in the development of the site and their clear aim to constantly improve it, both economically and in terms of relations. Understandably, the teams thus prove very successful in the development of joint actions, either for internal purposes (open day for families, safety day), aiming to develop a positive working atmosphere, or on a larger scale, like the organization of an event for the Telethon, an annual national event to collect money for medical research.

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