Garcia de Pou: history, innovation and high quality in the HORECA sector

The Spanish tissue manifacturer based in Ordis (Girona), from decades specialized in paper and cardboard products, is a benchmark of excellence for the HORECA chain in Southern Europe.

Garcia de Pou: history, innovation and high quality in the HORECA sector
Garcia de Pou production plant in Ortis (Girona), Spain.

Quality, efficiency, effectiveness and competitiveness: this way Garcia de Pou made its way into an increasingly demanding and globalized market. In this interview, the General Manager, Mr. Luis Garcia, tells us their story, their strategy and the historic collaboration with OMET, based on trust, performance, product quality and, above all, constant attention to technological innovation.

When was your company born? What are the stages of your growth and your most important results?

Ours is a family company with a long professional path. Born from a craft workshop of paper bags in 1884, has now become a leading company thanks to the work and committment of four generations. Although in the first decades of the last century production was dedicated to traditional printing, the touristic boom of the Seventies allowed our company to consolidate its industrial activity by focusing on the HORECA market (hotel, restaurants, catering). In 2002 we inaugurated our current plants located in Ordis (Girona) with an area of 17,000 m2 for the factory and 35,000 m2 for the warehouse: here we enjoy a privileged logistical situation to reach the main markets of Southern Europe.

Currently, we offer over 6,800 products to the national and international market, we have more than 600 employees and we generate a turnover of 70 million euros. The international market represents 50% of our sales, we are a reference company both in Spain and in Europe. To emerge, since the beginning we have taken care of the quality, efficiency, effectiveness, competitiveness and productivity, considering them the key points of our corporate brand. No less important were our constant investments in new technologies which, evidently, have benefited us over the competition. To this end, we recently inaugurated a robotic warehouse with high-tech machinery and a warehouse dedicated to raw materials. All this occurred following an investment of over 11.5 million euros. These machines are equipped with cutting-edge technological systems that allow the correct management and transmission of information both to manage the stock and to prepare orders automatically. Thanks to this investment, our customers’ orders are processed much more fluently.

How are you organized with the production? What are your main product lines?

As for our production lines, it should be emphasized that we are a 50% industrial and 50% commercial company: we supply both home-made and imported products. Although we entered the market as paper and cardboard manufacturers, we subsequently opened up to new international suppliers to distribute other products, at the time unknown in Europe, which made us one of the first European companies to import innovative materials and products.

This business strategy means that our customers can find in our catalog, among over 6,800 items, everything they need for their plant, without need to resort to different suppliers. For them it’s a convenience; for us, an opportunity. Our catalog currently offers disposable napkins, placemats and containers of all kinds and materials, kitchen utensils, cleaning and hygiene products, dishes, clothing, some furniture, furnishings, etc. Many of these items can be customized according to the image of customers.

For this purpose we have several brands or lines such as FEEL GREEN, TIMES, DOUBLE POINT, LIKE-LINEN, DRY COTON, ROLL.IT, TOUCH OF CHARM, PAROLE, BIONIC, ECO BAMBOO, ARECA, NATURA, COOL-COTTON, etc. On the other hand, as far as imported products are concerned, we are inserting new articles  made of biodegradable, sustainable, compostable, recycled and recyclable materials. To date, we have a wide range of products made with bagasse fiber, palm leaves, bamboo, wood, bioplastic products derived from corn starch, yucca, cassava or sugar cane. All these eco-sustainable materials are new in Spain and in Europe.

Focusing on new eco-sustainable, biodegradable, compostable, recycled and recyclable materials has allowed us to expand our range of products, especially for disposable containers that are more environmentally sustainable and respectful of the environment: these values are at the basis of our company policy.

From a commercial point of view, what’s your position in the market? Are you betting more on products or services?

The main purpose of our company is to constantly increase the satisfaction of our customers. To achieve this, we insist on offering excellent service and standardized quality in our articles, always respecting and applying the legal and proper requirements. We therefore aim to offer an efficient service with high quality products. This is how we became a top company in our sector.

In the Spanish market, which trends and what growth prospects do you see in the short term?

Current trends show growth especially for “Take away”, “Delivery” and “Food Truck” containers. We note that even eco-sustainable, biodegradable and environmentally friendly containers are enjoy a good diffusion in the future. Our company has focused since the beginning on the use of sustainable and biodegradable materials and has dedicated itself exclusively to the manufacturing of paper and cardboard products, regularly visiting numerous fairs abroad, to be always updated with the news in this sector. Thanks to this, we became a pioneer in Europe for the manufacture of take-away food containers and we were able, for example, to distribute our paper and cardboard products at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. To date, our philosophy has not changed: we continue to focus our production exclusively on paper and cardboard as they are sustainable materials.

Napkins are one of the main products of Garcia de Pou’s brands.

Do you export your products? If yes, with what percentages and in which markets?

50% of our sales are destined for the international market, in particular France, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Benelux, Morocco and some Caribbean countries. Our aim is to continue in this direction by opening up to new markets.

All over these years you have installed many OMET tissue machines. How many of them do you currently have in production?

All our napkins machines are made by OMET. We purchased the first one 25 years ago and since the first installation we have seen excellent performances and appreciated OMET’s corporate policy: excellence and innovation. To date, 10 OMET production lines are working in our facilities.

How did your collaboration with OMET start? Are you satisfied with the machine’s performances?

When we met OMET we were already making napkins, but we wanted to improve our products in terms of quality and productivity and we knew that for this goal we had to look for a leading manufacturer who knew the sector perfectly. That was how someone suggested us to contact OMET. 25 years have passed and nothing has changed since then. Trust, performances, product quality that we obtain with these machines and, above all, constant technological innovation and new applications has kept our collaboration with OMET intact.

For example, a few years ago OMET started the manufacturing project of a point-to-point paper machine and we decided to start it immediately in our company, becoming one of the main producers of this article in Spain and Europe. We are very satisfied with our choice.

What development prospects do you see for your company with OMET machines? What are OMET’s technological innovations that most convince you?

We are aware that paper napkins will have a lot of future in the market, being an almost essential product for people. However, technological innovation means that the product must evolve following new materials, textures, designs, etc. OMET is a pioneer in this field. Our company is at the forefront of these innovations and this is largely due to the machines that OMET has provided us since our beginnings.

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