As early as in the late 18th century, Birmingham was acclaimed as the “first manufacturing town in the world”. And it was in fact the birthplace of the steam engine, the Mini Cooper and the Land Rover, as well as many of the world’s most iconic food brands, such as Cadburys Chocolate, Birds Custard, HP Sauce and Typhoo tea. Today, Birmingham is the second largest city in Britain and a major commercial centre which has grown into a more service-focussed city. Birmingham has become a significant cultural centre and is also the youngest city in Europe with the age group 25 and under accounting for than 40% of the population, due mainly to the fact that there are five universities in the city.
It is no wonder that Schubert opted for Birmingham as home to its UK subsidiary when the company established itself in the market back in 2002 after a number of years of operation in the territory via an agent. With its international airport, international rail network, soon to be High Speed rail hub (HS2), and key arterial motorways, Birmingham is an ideal location for access to the various transport networks.
The 14-person team at the Schubert UK offices currently comprises Sales, Customer Service, Technical Support and Administration – and boasts a combined 100 plus years of employment with Schubert. “The stability of the UK team is testimony to the Schubert Group’s ethos that employees are part of the family,” confirms Mark Stepney, Managing Director at Schubert UK Limited.
The British packaging sector isn’t all that different from that of other major European markets. “Flexibility, performance, Caron efficiency and a good business case still represent the cornerstones of all investment,” says Mark Stepney. “In recent times, however, the business case is considered with differing parameters in the UK. An investment is looked at as a long-term venture and many of our customers are now considering payback periods greater than they would have in the past. This makes investment more affordable for customers, enabling them to purchase higher-quality and more efficient equipment – like the systems and machines from Schubert.”
“In the past, several small- to medium-sized customers had a perception that Schubert machines were too expensive. Many have since recognised that this perspective was somewhat misplaced,” says Mark Stepney. “Nowadays, all of the Schubert benefits still hold true. However, due to the flexibility of the modular system, the perceived costs are now more widely understood, and the real cost of owning and running a Schubert line is seen as a good long-term investment,” he adds.
The modularity, which Schubert has consistently pursued, delivers extremely flexible functions which can be configured to a customised solution. This proven principle ensures high performance and efficiency as well as optimised production performance for the customer.
Schubert has already installed packaging machines in numerous companies in the food, confectionery, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. These include producers such as Mondelez, Müller, KP Foods, Walkers Crisps, Fox’s Confectionery, Weetabix and Premier Foods. Mark Stepney has worked in the packaging machine field for over 25 years, for the most part managing UK subsidiaries of European packaging machine manufacturers. An engineer by profession, his career began in service management, moving into operations, finance and then into strategic business management. Mark joined Schubert UK in 2009 as Operations Director remodelling businesses processes before taking on the overall responsibility as Managing Director in 2012.