Schubert regards North America as one of its key export markets and as playing a key role in corporate group growth strategy. Since the end of 2015, Schubert’s headquarters for North American business has been located in Charlotte, the largest city in the state of North Carolina. As well as the unique feature of modular technology as an outstanding selling point for new customer acquisition, Schubert is increasingly focussing on its well-conceived and finely tuned service concept, with more training opportunities and services.
With food multinationals such as Nestlé, chocolate bar specialist Mars Incorporation founded in 1932 or Hershey, one of the world’s largest chocolate producers with annual sales of over seven billion euros, Schubert’s list of customers in the United States reads like the ‘Who’s Who’ of the US food sector. And many medium-sized companies also rank among Schubert’s existing customers. “We achieve close to three quarters of our sales from companies in the food sector,” explains Fritz Kipfer, Managing Director of Schubert North America. “But, for example, B-Braun from the pharmaceutical sector or cosmetics producers like L‘Oréal are also among the US customers of the packaging expert from Crailsheim.” Kipfer, a Swiss national, sees further enormous growth potential in the fields of cosmetics, food, confectionery and consumer goods – especially among medium-sized companies.
Schubert has its own subsidiary in the US since 1998. As well as its new headquarters in Charlotte and a workforce of 17, the company has an office with six employees in Dallas, Texas, and a further subsidiary with ten employees in the province of Ontario in Canada.
The decision in 2015 to transfer the headquarters from Dallas to Charlotte is a key component of Schubert’s overall US strategy. “Charlotte is significantly closer to the coast of eastern America. This is where several companies which are already Schubert customers are located as well as those we intend to win over to Schubert technology in the future,” states Fritz Kipfer.
When it comes to the food sector, the profile of American consumers differs from that in Europe. “For example, US consumers are very keen on consumer-friendly ready-made portions for rapid preparation in a microwave. The portions need to be combined in appropriate containers which make it easy to keep replenishing stocks for consumption straight out of the fridge. The trend is clearly towards portion packaging,” as Fritz Kipfer describes an example of typically American consumer behaviour. This is predicated on rapid product changeovers and therefore necessitates exceptional speed and flexibility with regards to retooling the respective packaging machinery. As for primary packaging, the Flowmodul provides our customers with significant added value in terms of quality control, efficiency, space requirements and flexibility.
Short customer product cycles inevitably increase the need for new format parts and require more service. Schubert can easily score with good service: with the rapid adaptation of machines for new products or advice regarding the storage of parts subject to wear and tear or ordering spare parts and tools.
Charlotte has developed into a commercial centre with an international reputation. After New York, the city is the most important American financial centre, and home to the headquarters of the Bank of America. The metropolis is also a magnet for international companies. 986 companies from 44 nations run their US subsidiaries in Charlotte. And the largest share of companies from one country is from Germany. Besides Schubert, a further 198 German companies are represented there.
With around 809,000 inhabitants, Charlotte is the 16th largest US city. The city’s history reaches back over 350 years to 1567 when the bank of the Catawba River was first settled by Europeans, including many Germans. In 1768, the name Charlotte Town was officially registered. The town was named for Charlotte, Duchess of Mecklenburg Strelitz, wife of the English monarch King George III. Today, Charlotte is part of the area known as the Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion, the fastest growing megaregion in the US – stretching from Memphis in the state of Tennessee to Atlanta, the capital of Georgia.