Accelerate Europe reports from Advansor’s new factory in Szczecin, Poland on how the company plans to target smaller format stores with its CO2 technology.
CO2 training at Advansor's new factory.
Advansor – a major supplier of transcritical CO2 racks for supermarkets – is confident in the growth potential of CO2. This optimism led it to build a state-of-the-art 3,000m2 production facility in northwest Polish city of Szczecin, close to the Baltic Sea and the German border.
Smaller store formats, too, are a promising growth area for the Danish company. With this in mind, it launched a new product for convenience stores – the compSUPER XXS mini-booster – at the EuroShop tradeshow in Düsseldorf in March 2017.
Seeking to capitalise on the European trend towards smaller food retail stores, the new compSUPER XXS transcritical CO2 unit has a cooling capacity of 30 kW at -10°C and a freezing capacity of 4-5 kW at -30°C.
Since the product launch at EuroShop, Advansor has built 400 of these so-called ‘mini-boosters’ for Biedronka, a Polish convenience store chain that is part of the Jerónimo Martins group.
“From April 2017 to December, we produced 140,” says Advansor’s Szymon Prybyl. Prybyl manages the Szczecin plant, which opened in 2017. “50% of the mini-booster orders were produced from the factory in Poland.”
Biedronka leads from the front
Biedronka is Poland’s largest discount supermarket chain, boasting 2,823 stores in its portfolio (2017 figures).
The owner of Biedronka is Portuguese retail group Jerónimo Martins, which is also the parent company of Recheio Cash & Carry, S. A. (click here to read about Recheio’s natural refrigerants strategy).
Biedronka’s name translates as ladybird, hence its cartoon ladybird logo. One of the most popular supermarket chains in Poland, it primarily sells local (Polish) products, many of which are manufactured under the company's own label.
It also sells some Portuguese-made products. Johan Sommer Jermiin, Advansor’s director of operations in Szczecin, is pleased with the progress made at the new plant so far. “Production for Biedronka has been running really smoothly,” Jermiin says.
The factory hopes to soon be producing 20 mini-boosters per week. Indeed, the Danish manufacturer has the capacity to ramp up production significantly. “Everybody we talked to with experience of starting their own production in Poland told us: ‘think big, go big with your production, otherwise in two years’ time, you’ll run out of space,” says Jermiin. “In two years’ time, this facility will be really, really busy!”
“The factory’s capacity should be around 1,200 small racks per year."
– Morten Sminge, Advansor
Polish market ripe for growth Morten Sminge, from the product support, internal sales & projects department at Advansor, picks up the thread.
“The factory’s capacity should be around 1,200 small racks per year,” Sminge says. Plant manager Prybyl stresses the importance of providing local support. “In securing the order from Biedronka, maybe it helped that we’re local, or were about to become local,” he says.
Advansor is optimistic that its relationship with Biedronka represents the start of something special.
In a recently refurbished Biedronka convenience store, located at ulica Struga 18 on the edge of Szczecin, Robert Petryk, Advansor’s regional sales manager for Central Europe, shows Accelerate Europe how a 30 kW mini-booster is providing the medium-temperature cooling.
“I helped commission the first few Biedronka stores, but now local installers are skilled enough to take the lead,” Petryk says. “Initially we trained them in Denmark, but then we built the training centre in Poland. We’ve trained over 200 installers in this country.”
In 2017 alone, Biedronka fitted CO2 systems in 300 stores. Advansor delivered 200 of them. “Biedronka’s target is 300 stores per year,” Petryk says.
“In 2018 they expect to achieve it again. That works out at roughly one store per work day!” he adds.Click here to read the full version of this story in the spring 2018 edition of Accelerate Europe