"We are the partner for the challenges!"

Interview with Mike Noldus, Managing Partner of Akarton B.V.

Akarton Look into the production
State-of-the-art: Look into the production

No simple task? With pleasure! Technically sophisticated implementation? Bring it on! Akarton B.V. loves challenges. And the more demanding a packaging is, the more the Dutch company, based near the border in Venlo, likes to show its skills and possibilities. The experts have specialized in shipping packaging as well as in commercial packaging that is placed on the retail shelves, which are also of interest to German customers.

"08/15 can be done by anyone," says Mike Noldus, Managing Partner of Akarton B.V. "We are the partner for challenges. Even our competitors come to us for production when it gets too difficult. Moreover, we design the entire process from the idea to logistics, and we maintain a personal relationship with our customers."

The packaging is developed in our own PackLab, which implements the customers' concepts and also creates its own ideas. "Pack & Collab is our product line for shipping packaging," explains Mike Noldus. "Here, factors such as the shortest possible packaging process, the weight of the packaging, and the protection of the product play an important role."

The range includes everything from tiny to huge packaging. Pack & Play is the second product line. "Here, we see our task in making commercial packaging as attractive as possible because they are placed on the sales shelves of our customers," the managing director clarifies. "In doing so, we do not produce displays but focus on shelf packaging."

As an eyecatcher on the shelf or counter, this type of packaging plays a crucial role in sales promotion. The portfolio is rounded off by taking over the complete logistics, which is handled by a service provider exclusively working for Akarton.

Akarton Company Premises near the border in Venlo
Plenty of space: Company premises near the border in Venlo

Management Buyout

The company known today as Akarton B.V. was founded in 1988 as a wholesale business for cardboard packaging. Four years later, the then young company started producing its own cartons. In 1998, Mike Noldus joined the company as an Account Manager, and in 2007, he took over the continuously growing operation as part of a management buyout.

With investments in the machinery in 2010, there was also an end to the wholesale business for cardboard packaging. Another milestone was moving to Venlo, where significantly more space was available. Other milestones included the collaboration with trade agencies in Germany and Iceland in 2017, the implementation of Industry 4.0 in 2019, and the introduction of robots in manufacturing in 2021.

Today, Akarton employs between 65 and 70 people, including individuals with disabilities. The company, owned two-thirds by Mike Noldus and one-third by an investor, has a turnover of 15.5 million EUR.

Cardboard Various Shipping Packaging
Everything is possible: Various shipping packages
Akarton Commercial Packaging
Sales-promoting: Attractive commercial packaging

New ERP System

Most clients come from industries such as electronics, food, mechanical engineering, plastics, and medicine. In addition to the Netherlands, North Rhine-Westphalia, Belgian Flanders, and to a lesser extent Iceland, are the relevant markets. Many new customers come to Akarton through recommendations. Furthermore, the company also actively seeks out new clients. Mike Noldus: "We are known for being able to deliver very complicated packaging in all material strengths. This of course also facilitates the acquisition of new customers."

In addition, important trade fairs of interesting industries are visited, and Akarton is also represented on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. "We have just introduced a new, industry-specific ERP system from Germany," the managing director describes the state of digitization. "All machines are integrated and there are also interfaces to our suppliers. Moreover, our customers can order automatically."

Regarding sustainability, Akarton aims to produce completely CO2-neutral by 2030 and will soon receive the Gold status of the EcoVadis eco-certification. For Mike Noldus, the satisfaction of employees as well as a culture of open doors and trust is also a part of social responsibility. In the coming years, he plans to focus on doubling Akarton's production capacities - also through new customers from Germany within a 100 km radius around Venlo, who are looking for a flexible and reliable packaging partner.