McBride is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and for the professional cleaning and hygiene market. The company, founded in 1927, employs some 3,400 people at 18 sites in 12 countries. McBride develops, manufactures, and distributes products for both private label customers in the retail sector and through Contract Manufacturing for established brands. Its range of cleaning products is divided into three divisions: liquids, unit dosing and powders.

Reliable and user-friendly customised workflow portal

At McBride’s packaging department in Estaimpuis (Belgium), the packaging of cleaning products is designed, checked and made 100% print-ready. Kevin Himpe has been working there for many years: he leads the team that creates and manages the packaging.

“My team is responsible for Benelux, France, Scandinavia and Contract Manufacturing. The other countries where McBride operates have their own packaging departments and therefore their own working methods,” explains team leader Kevin Himpe. “My department had been working with a workflow portal for a long time, albeit the only one among the various regional departments. In the beginning it functioned properly, but in time it no longer met the needs of our organisation and our increasingly complex processes. Moreover, it was not tailor-made. So we started looking for a partner for a new workflow portal.”

The platform had to enable a smooth approval flow and follow-up of the packaging. “An important requirement was that it had to include a web viewer to compare and finalise different layout versions, as well as a reliable and user-friendly database of all our digital material. Through one of our project managers, we got in touch with Conics. After an initial conversation, they immediately came up with a plan of action; this was in spring 2022. By looking at things from a different perspective, Conics encouraged us to get out of our comfort zone. That was enriching and gave us a lot of confidence. The basic package that Conics was offering, already included more functionalities than there were in our original requirements package. The fact that it was a fully customised solution was the deciding factor for us to work with Conics.”

“Originally, the intention was to provide a new workflow portal just for my team in Estaimpuis. But soon we realised that our other packaging departments needed to be involved in this project,” says Kevin Himpe. “We thought we were using more or less the same process, but as the analysis progressed, it turned out that each team had specific nuances in their operation after all.”

“The small nuances in each regional flow created additional complexity, but at the same time showed how great the need was for a customised yet scalable system.”

Group-wide benefits

The project started with a round of analysis, in which Conics mapped all the processes of McBride’s packaging departments. “Via online meetings, we checked our findings with the sites in Belgium, Spain, Italy, England and Luxembourg to make sure our analysis also matched their processes. That way, we got a detailed picture of how McBride works, what they need and what they expect from a workflow portal,” says Vincent Heughebaert, Project Manager at Conics. “The small nuances in each regional flow created extra complexity, but at the same time showed how great the need was for a customised and scalable system.”

After the analysis, it was time for the development phase. For this, McBride worked with a few Key Users per region. “Those Key Users were quite critical, but at the same time realised that the system would offer them many advantages. For this reason, and thanks to the excellent guidance from Conics, the development went very smoothly,” recalls Kevin Himpe.

“We worked with a structured whiteboard. Every fortnight we sat down with McBride’s Key Users to go over all the elements: what needs to be done and by whom, are there any problems, and what is the state of user satisfaction? Thanks to this approach, we were always able to move quickly,” Vincent Heughebaert explains.

Eventually, McBride’s five European sites switched to the new platform in January 2023.

Faster work, fewer errors, more peace of mind

The tool is called Galatea, a name that has its origins in Greek mythology. In that story, Galatea is regarded as the epitome of beauty and elegance. “We believe our Galatea will help us achieve better results, so the name is really appropriate,” smiles Kevin.

Indeed, the platform offers many benefits to the packaging teams at McBride’s various sites. They can now check designs and provide feedback much more easily, reducing the risk of errors. “For me as a team leader, the KPI tool is a big advantage. It allows me to closely monitor the performance of our employees and thus maintain control,” Kevin explains. Laura Roose, Reference Officer, also praises Galatea. “I can’t say much about it: it allows us to work faster and it’s all very user-friendly. Moreover, because fewer errors are now being made, it creates more peace of mind in our team, which is pleasant.”

it allows us to work faster and it is all very user-friendly.

The right partner for the long term

Laura is not the only one who is enthusiastic about Galatea. “All employees enjoy working with it and they even think about possible improvements. We test their suggestions and questions as much as possible with Conics. Even for very complex issues that I think are difficult to achieve, they always come up with a possible solution quickly. It is pleasant to work together like this. For now, the platform fully meets our needs, and no extensions are needed. But we know that it is possible to further optimise and refine it if necessary. It really is a very future-oriented system-on-demand. In fact, because we are so satisfied with Galatea, a second project was recently launched that will cover the entire product, from concept to production. In Conics, McBride has really found the ideal long-term partner,” concludes Kevin Himpe.