A&R leads the way in meeting Europe’s
folding carton needs with its advanced,
“The Packaging Suite controls and tracks production across plants, and the amount of data we receive allows us to streamline production with a series of continuous improvements.”Dmitry Kochegarov ERP Manager, Graphic Packaging International (GPI)
About the company
A&R Carton was founded in 1929 in Sweden by Erik Åkerlund and Ruben Rausing, the inventors of the Tetra Pak. In 2000, the carton businesses of Åkerlund & Rausing merged with the FrancoGerman carton business FCP Group to form A&R Carton. In 2011, A&R Carton became a member of AR Packaging, a corporation that also includes Flextrus, a flexible packaging company.
AR Packaging/A&R Carton’s latest acquisition took place in 2015, when it acquired MeadWestvaco Corporation’s European tobacco, chocolate confectionary and general packaging operations, which include folding carton plants in Austria, Poland, and Russia. Following that acquisition, AR Packaging became one of the top three folding carton converters in Europe. Today, A&R Carton has 1,900 employees, with 14 facilities in nine countries.
Annual turnover for A&R Carton is 450 million euros. A&R Carton is not a typical folding carton converter. The firm is the exclusive developer and supplier of Cekacan® packaging, a unique packaging
system offering high consumer convenience and outstanding product protection; it prevents infestation problems common in nutritional supplements, mueslis, cereals, powders, and flakes.
Customers have also chosen the A&R Carton Cekacan® system as a preferred packaging solution for sugar, coffee and cacao products. In addition to the Cekacan packaging itself, A&R Carton develops and sells Cekacan folding, sealing, and filling machinery, a total solution that's the result of continuous R&D with comprehensive, installation, verification, and on-site service and support.
The pedigree of A&R Carton goes back to the beginning of the past century, when Åkerlund and Rausing, the inventors of the Tetra Pak, founded the Swedish company in 1929. Nearly a century and several buyouts/acquisitions later, AR Packaging — A&R Carton’s owner — earned a place as one of the top 3 European folding carton converters.
Some of that success is due to a robust business and production workflow solution, the productivity Software Packaging Suite, with Radius® ERP software at its core. A&R Carton decided to adopt an advanced, packaging specific workflow system in 2001 to manage production. General manufacturing ERP systems were quickly ruled out as candidates due to the specialist nature of the business.
Initially, one of the plants in Finland installed the core Radius ERP system for production, estimating and scheduling. A&R Carton subsequently installed Radius in its remaining plants. A&R Carton uses its ERP system – which has since been upgraded to an eProductivity Software Packaging Suite – to get realtime access to production data.
The system allows the company to make better decisions, produce higher quality products, reduce waste and inefficiencies and increase on-time delivery of jobs. With many of its customers, A&R Carton works from a service level agreement describing the requirements of the finished carton products, together with delivery timing expectations.
The company then provides pre-order planning and logistic support. In some cases, A&R Carton also provides its clients with machinery needed to assemble the final packaging — e.g. barrier packaging — integrating the equipment with the clients’ filling production lines.
Given the various complexities of what A&R Carton offers, the eProductivity Software Packaging Suite can be crucial to ensuring that the company’s service level agreements are met.
The business and production workflow in use at A&R Carton has evolved from the company’s initial implementation of the solution’s standard features. Over time, the company has worked closely with eProductivity Software to add additional enhancements to tailor-fit the system to A&R’s unique process requirements. Because the Packaging Suite is designed specifically for the packaging industry, it fits what we do out-of-the-box. But with the enhancements eProductivity Software has developed over the years, our system is a true hand-inglove solution,” says Jonas Kretz, Group IT Manager at AR Packaging, the group that owns A&R Carton.
A&R Carton needed the system to be scalable and the eProductivity Software Packaging Suite proved to be a perfect fit in this area as well. When a new plant is added as a result of an acquisition, the work A&R Carton has to do to bring the plant online is mostly just comprised of setting up a new database. Like the majority of packaging enterprises, A&R Carton requires a system that can enable the company to manage stocks in such a way that just-in-time deliveries can be supported, while keeping overhead costs as low as possible. Being able to accurately forecast raw material stock requirements was an additional requirement.
To that effect, A&R Carton actually counts every sheet that's processed through the plant. The data collection system feeds this information back to other areas of the Packaging Suite, allowing the company to schedule and plan the plant’s work. This shared information proactively provides warnings about possible processing problems, bottlenecks, etc., and allows scheduling staff to test different scenarios to finetune the plant’s processing for optimum results.
A&R Carton’s growth strategy, being partly built on buying out and acquiring interesting companies within its market, makes it important to standardise new acquisitions on the company’s core Packaging Suite. Controlling all of A&R Carton’s production plants with the same system, with consistent business and production processes used across the business, makes it easier for A&R Carton to discover new opportunities for increasing efficiencies and lowering costs.
Robust business and production workflows
Elimination of printed inventories through efficient print-on-demand fulfillment.
Specialist ERP system
Better decision making, produce higher-quality products, reducing waste and inefficiencies and increase on-time delivery of jobs.
Initially, core Radius ERP was installed at a single plant - and subsequently installed at remaining plants.
Additional enhancements have been made over time to tailer-fit A&R's unique process requirements.
Technology backed by packaging industry know-how
The biggest reason, according to Kretz, that A&R Carton has not even considered another ERP system after all these years, is that eProductivity Software specialists make a point of knowing their users’ businesses inside out.
“They know exactly what you do, and how you do it. They understand the machines you work with and what you need to improve your workflow and efficiency,” adds Dmitry Kochegarov, A&R Carton’s ERP manager.
“The Packaging Suite controls and tracks production across plants, and the amount of data we receive allows us to streamline production with a series of continuous improvements.”
“Because the Packaging Suite is designed specifically for the packaging industry, its workflows fit our industry out-of-the-box”
Group IT Manager, AR Packaging