Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie SAS – The Beauty of Glass
Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie SAS, the renowned French glass factory, has turned the challenge of the global pandemic into an opportunity to upgrade and expand its production facility.
Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie SAS, formerly known as Verreries de Masnières, the manufacturer of glass containers for the perfume and cosmetics segment, boasts an impressive history going back to 1818.
In 2013, the glassworks as well as the nearby decoration company joined Stoelzle Glass Group and became Stoelzle Masnières SAS and Stoelzle Masnières Décoration SAS. In May 2015 the corporate forms of the two French sites were changed to Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie SAS and Stoelzle Manières Parfumerie Décoration SAS.
Joining the Stoelzle Glass Group, which has its Headquarters in Austria, was a key step towards success. Stoelzle is a global player with a glassmaking tradition exceeding 200 years and has been known for its excellence in the manufacturing of high-end packaging glass for the pharmaceutical, spirits, food, perfumery and cosmetic industries in a huge variety of different designs and sizes.
“The acquisition by Stoelzle was a significant milestone and the start of a period of extensive investment in the factory. Over the last five years, more than €15 million have been invested in the plant’s modernisation,” affirms CEO Etienne Gruyez.
The Stoelzle Masnières facility runs one furnace with four lines and produces over 90 million units per year, i.e. flacons, cosmetic jars and miniatures. The decoration site offers automatic and semi-automatic silkscreen printing with ceramics and a broad range of organic colours as well as spraying and hot foil stamping. Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie is the sole glass producer worldwide to offer IPET treatment, a method to achieve fancy reflections on the bottle surface.
Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie’s production is intended for the international high-end perfumery and cosmetics market, and most of the products are designed and manufactured specifically for global luxury brands such as Givenchy, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and many more. The fact that the company is not only a glass manufacturer but offers a complete package from design to decoration is a clear competitive advantage.
Mr Gruyez explains that despite seeing a reduction in demand due to the 2020 pandemic, the company has committed to an investment of €20m in facility modernisation and expansion, showing clear confidence in the future. Since the furnace had come to an end, it was completely refurbished and modernized at the end of 2020 in order to restart production in early January 2021 after a brief shutdown of only 8 weeks.
“A lot of companies have stopped investments given the market uncertainty caused by Covid-19 but we have gone the other way. We believe that to remain successful, we cannot stand still, we need to move on. The new extended furnace will enable us to maintain our position as a centre of excellence for the manufacturing of high-end flacons and jars for the international perfume and cosmetics industries.”
In addition to rebuilding its furnace, a fifth production line was installed, increasing the overall production capability by over 30%. The investment will also further improve the company’s environmentally-friendly profile, says Mr Gruyez. “The new furnace will be 25% more energy-efficient and reduce its environmental footprint with 20% fewer emissions. The investment has also been the perfect platform for installing the latest technology designed to be more ecological and efficient.”
However, sustainability is not a new topic for Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie, a holder of Ecovadis 2020 Gold. Made from glass, a permanent material, and 100% recyclable without any loss of quality, the products already fit in the circular economy. Moreover, the company has developed novel decoration techniques such as the Quali Glass Coat that saves 77% of CO2 compared to liquid painting.
“For each new product, which is developed for our customers, we can offer environmentally friendly alternatives,” says Mr Gruyez, adding that the factory uses 100% green electricity from a French hydro station. Besides, the whole glass manufacturing process, from the raw material to processing and shipment, is alway carefully considered from the environmental footprint perspective.
Fast and flexible
The company has not become a trusted partner of global brands by chance – its impressive track record is combined with unique characteristics. Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie is a dedicated centre of excellence, offering high flexibility in design but, most importantly, keeping pace with current market requirements, says Mr Cruyez.
“Speed to market has become a key factor and we have created processes and tools to achieve a product development time of 4 weeks, as opposed to the 12 weeks offered by competitors. Stoelzle’s mantra is ‘flexible, agile, reactive’, and following this philosophy, we remain competitive although we are not the cheapest.”
Stoelzle Masnières Parfumerie’s products are used for famous perfumes such as Mademoiselle Rochas, Pure XS, and – most recently – the feted L’Interdit by Givenchy. “The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of the success of any new launch. Therefore, flexibility and adaptability are very important, something that we can afford as a relatively small manufacturer.”
As for most companies, Covid-19 presented another challenge in 2020, one that the company has handled well. During the first lockdown, the company was handing out glass bottles to be filled with sanitizer to the local community. Later on, reduced production was used to fully focus on facility modernisation, to be ready to face rapidly evolving demand.
“Perfume is a purchase of pleasure. It has been around for thousands of years and it will always be. But customers’ preferences are changing, also with regard to sustainability and bottle re-fills, so being adaptive will be crucial. The old normal will not return. The only way is to move forward and adapt to change,” Mr Gruyez affirms.
He explains that as there are no more schools for glass making in France, the company has a special role in sustaining the trade, and is a recognised training centre. “The most important aspect of our industry is a human skill. Know-how is something you cannot buy. Glass manufacturing may not be perceived by young people as interesting, but the latest, advanced technologies make it truly fascinating. This is an old industry that uses the latest technology – a perfect example of adaptation.”