Plant Expansion in Czech Republic

With a population of over a 100 million and growing purchasing power, Central and Eastern Europe is an attractive market for manufacturers of branded products from all over Europe. The STI Group has, therefore, invested heavily in the expansion of its Czech production facility in Rumburk over the last few months.

STI Česko has been manufacturing displays and packaging made of finished corrugated board in the Poland-Germany-Czech Republic triangle for the last 20 years.  “We know the CEE market well”, says STI Group Managing Director Michael Apel. “With our plant located in Rumburk and our design office in Prague, we are ideally placed to serve our customers in the region, which is why we decided to expand the production facility, investing heavily in the plant in 2016. We have added about 2000 square metres of production space, establishing a basis for expansion of the STI Group’s business in Eastern Europe. “We want to grow with our customers in their target markets”, says Apel.

The addition of production space was necessary to install an additional offset printing press and an extra gluing machine. “We also streamlined production flow and improved the efficiency of the production process for packaging and displays through rigorous implementation of lean management”, says Christian Wagner, Plant Manager of the Rumburk facility, pleased with the development. With about 110 employees, the Rumburk plant produces displays for reputed manufacturers of branded goods across Europe.

Customer workshop: Insights into the retail landscape in CEE

At the invitation of the STI Group and CHEP CZ, customers from nine countries visited the plant at the end of November for a one-day workshop on POS trends and gained a deeper understanding of the capabilities of the production facility. Zdenek Skála, Research Director, Retail & Shopper at GfK Czech provided the workshop participants an overview of the evolution of the Czech retail landscape, changes in consumer behaviour, and their impact on displays. In his talk, Gerd Heyny, Marketing Director of Henkel Beauty Care CEE, underscored the importance of POS communication. The marketing expert also believes that there is huge potential to be tapped not just in hypermarkets but also in small-format stores and is working with his team to enhance the stopping power of displays.

Logistic factors matter when you consider placement of displays in retail. In CEE, many displays are delivered flat-packed to retail stores, assembled by a merchandising team and stocked with the product only after it reaches the store. From pallet displays to floor-standing displays, in the showroom and in presentations of European trends by the STI Group’s team, the workshop participants got an overview of the current trends in European retail. Practical examples showed how online and offline communication can be integrated and the role played by displays in the entire customer journey.