Dennis Hagens, Hagens Verpakkingen:

"We'd love to have a third location in the Netherlands"

The year 2022 was one of the extremes for the Dutch packaging company Hagens Verpakkingen. "For the first time in our history, we had to breach contracts because of the paper industry's extreme price hikes," begins Dennis Hagens. "Fortunately, we didn't have to turn any customers away and kept our volumes intact. We also didn't have to make any concessions on our delivery times. The paper price is now falling, which can only be good for our clients."

Hagens Verpakkingen turns ten this year. The company is, however, a little older than that. In 2010, LC Packaging and DS Smith jointly founded a business called OCN. Dennis Hagens, who used to cultivate mushrooms, joined that company as an assistant foreman. In 2013, Dennis took over OCN, and Hagens Verpakkingen was born. In the first year, the number of boxes it set up increased to five million.

New building
The company grew steadily, and in November 2020, it relocated to a new site in the Fresh Park business park in Venlo, the Netherlands. By then, however, Hagens had changed hands. LC Packaging gained a majority stake in January 2019. From then on, business activities were expanded to include selling cardboard (blank and boxes).

It also began selling other carton-related products like American folding boxes and punnets. "We handle LC's regional sales. The wide assortment ranging from punnets to inserts and corner laths means we can relieve customers of all their cardboard needs," says Dennis.

"LC Packaging's entry presented a great opportunity for us. That was evident last year when the paper purchase price suddenly shot up by 40%. Then it's fantastic to have a financially strong parent organization behind you. We used to have to go to the bank first; now, we could just keep ordering. Plus, LC Packaging Belgium is a direct partner, so we can draw from their two set-up locations' stock. Also, LC Packaging supports our entire back office, from accounting to ICT. That lets us focus on our core business."

Infallible stock
Hagens earns about 80% of its revenues in the fruit and vegetable sector. "That's where my heart lies, too. The cardboard market is quite competitive, so you always have to be on the ball. I find this industry's speed wonderful, and we keep up completely. Buyers just have to make that call; if transport allows, we can deliver immediately. Having stock is your best friend, and we have sufficient for every customer," Dennis continues.

"We have our own way of working. Many of our competitors work shifts in a small warehouse with fewer machines. We do it the other way around. We have a small team, but with our capacity, we can work in one shift. Filling that stock level daily creates peace of mind. We currently have about 12 permanent employees, which expands to 20 at peak times. Oh, and we're looking for new hires."

Winter used to be quieter at Hagens Verpakkingen, yet in recent years, the large volumes of their buyers' imported berries ensure a good, even work spread throughout the year. "Several Dutch customers are short of capacity and so store their stock here. We also maintain and repair the machines at our clients' premises," says Hagens.

These days, the company produces some 15 million boxes on 26 set-up machines yearly at its Venlo location. "Our buyers are in a 50 km radius. Occasionally we have one further away, but it isn't economically viable to drive any further with empty boxes."

Room to expand west
To meet rising demand, Hagens Verpakkingen took over DS Smith's set-up activities at FruitMasters in Geldermalsen, north of Venlo, on June 1, 2022. "It was great to start there with an experienced team," Dennis admits. "That new location gives us extra set-up capacity and is strategically located for the center and north of the country."

That expansion tastes like more. "Especially in the west, there are plenty of opportunities. We don't have anything in that area yet. It won't happen this year, but we'd love to have a third location in that region," Dennis concludes.

For more information:
Dennis Hagens
Hagens Verpakkingen
158 Venrayseweg
5928 RH, Venlo, NL
Tel.: +31 (0) 648 284 623

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