Rotterdam Talks Food: Euro Caps investing in employer branding

By: Amelia Oei 25 Oct, 2017

Euro Caps develops Nespresso and Dolce Gusto-compatible coffee capsules in two plants in Rotterdam. These capsules are sold in almost 40 countries worldwide. In only five years, the company has grown from 6 to over 450 employees and its ambition is to sustain this growth. In addition to hiring extra staff, partnerships and innovation are important company pillars. “I believe we can develop coffee capsules for a great many more single-serve systems” Nils Clement, co-founder and CEO of Euro Caps, says.

Innovate by merging best practices
With an R&D department of about 25 members of staff, innovation is high on the Euro Caps business agenda. CEO Nils Clement tells us: “We attend many innovative trade fairs, including Anuga, ISM and Host. We also participate in capsule conferences, where grinding technology, packaging technology and coffee expertise come together. We work extensively with suppliers of machines and materials. We learn from other companies by looking at how they set up their organisation and what production methods and packaging materials they use. The best practices from other industries are welded into new ideas.” The company is always open to original lines of approach. “Several packaging industries are already using biodegradable material. For example, you can now find lettuce in a crisp foil bag at the shop. That crisp foil is made of PLA. If you can make foil from this material, you can also make a capsule,” Clement says. We are also closely monitoring when the soda industry is ready to switch to concentrated syrup capsules, with the consumer only having to add water, resulting in great savings on packaging and shipping costs for companies.

Encouraging employee growth
Due to its explosive growth, Euro Caps is regularly on the lookout for new employees at a wide range of levels, including MBO-3 and MBO-4 operators, team leaders at MBO-4 level and higher, shift managers, manager of technical services, sales staff and information, process and product engineers. The company has already hired some 120 new members of staff in 2017. All age groups between 20 and 60 are represented in the organisation and the director is on a first-name basis with a large number of the employees. Clement feels that it is important to get to know his staff and to encourage them to grow within the company. “We invest a lot in training people. Currently, 20 employees are enrolled, in-house, in an MBO-3 training course. Continued personal development is sometimes simply necessary in order to master a certain level, say, if you want to become an all-round operator or team leader. We also offer courses in the fields of quality, new technologies and health & safety. We have introduced a ‘coffee championship’ within the organisation, in which we bring everyone’s knowledge of coffee up to par; this also has a fun competition element. Anyone who wants to keep learning while working for our organisation is given the opportunity to do so. We certainly encourage this.”

"Because we are still a relatively young organisation, we always feel that we can do better. If you want to work in a fast-growing organisation with many opportunities for growth, Euro Caps allows you to fulfil your ambition."

Nils Clement CEO Euro Caps

Business philosophy: Entrepreneurial, Partnership, Self-willed, Now
Euro Caps works according to the triangle concept. According to Nils Clement, this means: “We work closely with suppliers of materials, machine suppliers and our own employees. Traditional companies often work together with a subcontractor to develop a nice product on the drawing board – which the machine supplier turns out to be unable to actually create. We solve this by having all parties consult with each other from the beginning, thus creating a beautiful and working product. This allows us to work faster than other companies can. Our philosophy is OPEN: Entrepreneurial, Partnership, Self-willed and Now Partnership to us means that we believe it is important to invest in our partners; they think and grow along with us.”
Euro Caps fabriek

Upgrading coffee remains to new products
Euro Caps is also seeking local collaboration wherever possible, for example with Rotterzwam. Nils Clement looks at this as an opportunity to recycle used coffee grounds. “We separate our waste, such as plastic, cardboard and aluminium. However, coffee is not yet being recycled. If Rotterzwam can do something with the used coffee grounds and there is an economic advantage for both of us, this is, of course, ideal.” There are also possibilities beyond growing fungi on a fertile base of coffee grounds. As Nils Clement excitedly produces a planter pot made of used coffee pods, he continues: “A plant pot is not very different from a capsule, right? Or take this, a pot scrub made of coffee dregs, which is also an option. We have even ordered booklets the cover of which was made of coffee extract. As yet, all this is taking up a lot of time, but these kinds of initiatives are appearing more and more often.”

Moving to the forefront
In order to attract staff, Euro Caps has recently started to come into the public eye somewhat more. “As a private label producer, we have always stayed in the background – because that is how it is done. Moreover, clients do not always want to be identified by name, and I understand that. But the result is that almost nobody knows Euro Caps, because it’s not a true brand. We are now working on improving our communication with the outside world. For instance, we are improving our website and started attending events like World Food Day Rotterdam. We are doing interviews with, among others, Ondernemen010 and the AD newspaper, in addition to activating our online channels. We are fortunately also attracting many new candidates directly through our own employees, reinforcing our believe that our staff is happy here.”

Promotion and recruitment on World Food Day Rdam
On 15 October, Euro Caps participated in World Food Day Rdam. “We thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this event. We could see from the faces of the visitors that they were not only enjoying the wonderful weather but also our delicious coffees. Our duos of baristas managed to prepare hundreds of cups of espresso and cappuccino in a few hours’ time. The visitors were not only impressed with the quality of the coffee, but also proud of the fact that such a beautiful growth company is situation in their own town of Rotterdam. In addition to handing out coffee, many people also visited our plants. Some of them have since been talking to our HR Department about taking the next step in their career. To Euro Caps, this was an excellent example of how to partner up with the Municipality of Rotterdam.”