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We were there

When Lindor met HARTMANN: Growing and learning together

By snapping up the Lindor brand from Procter & Gamble, HARTMANN became the overnight leader in the market for incontinence products in Spain and Portugal. So what do the new additions to the team think of their new home?

Corporate acquisitions often bring unease for employees of the company that’s being taken over. But that’s not the case for the workforce at Lindor after HARTMANN bought the brand from Procter & Gamble. Instead, they have welcomed the change of ownership.

A portrait shot of Julia Kobets smiling
Julia Kobets
“Incontinence is a core business for HARTMANN,” says Julia Kobets, manager of the Lindor plant in Montornès near Barcelona. “It’s clear we’re at the heart of the company’s plans in Spain and Portugal. Our people believe we’re under the right ownership for business growth.”

Welcome change
Andrea Castano, a Value Stream Leader at the plant, was enthusiastic from the start. She says: “My sister works in a pharmacy and she had told me how good HARTMANN’s products are. I was very happy with the change of ownership because I had no doubt it would help us increase sales and manufacturing volumes.”

A major project is now under way to integrate Lindor with its new parent company and align processes and systems for everything from procurement to sales and finance to IT. According to Julia, this has begun well. “There were welcome events for everyone at the plant and visits by HARTMANN senior management,” she explains. “This helped build strong relationships that are the basis for the close collaboration we need during the integration.”
A group picture of HARTMANN and Lindor employees
Former Lindor and HARTMANN employees at the plant in Montornès
Two-way learning
The integration also opens up the opportunity for two-way learning.

Marc Perez, Regional Director for Western Europe, explains: “Much of Lindor’s success is based on the operational excellence of the Montornès plant. There’s a lot that our operations can learn from Lindor – especially in the use of lean manufacturing principles to reduce waste and improve productivity, quality and speed.”

Already, representatives of HARTMANN plants in Spain, France and Germany have visited Montornès to see the Lindor site in action. Julia adds: “We’re proud of our expertise in developing and producing incontinence products as well as the excellence of our processes. Our hope is that we can become a benchmark for our new colleagues across the incontinence division.”
A portrait shot of Marc Perez smiling"
Marc Perez

Proud to share
The attention from around the company has gone down well with Lindor employees. Andrea says: “It makes me feel really proud to share our experiences of lean so other sites can benefit from it.”

At the same time, the Lindor team are keen to learn from their new colleagues in the wider HARTMANN manufacturing network. They have set up ‘learning partnerships’ with their counterparts and planned a series of return visits. Julia explains: “We are excited that we can access the expertise in the wider incontinence business, especially new developments in product technology.”

Of course, much remains to be done to bring the two businesses together. But Julia argues that the integration project is in no way a distraction for Lindor. “In fact, it’s the best way for us to continue driving our own performance and to make a real contribution to HARTMANN,” she says.

Lindor at a glance
On 3 July 2017, HARTMANN completed the acquisition from Procter & Gamble of Lindor, maker of the best-selling adult incontinence products in Spain and Portugal.

Sales of Lindor products topped €75 million in 2015-16. Lindor’s 25,000m2 production plant in Montornès near Barcelona has been in operation for more than 35 years. It is home to a workforce of 165 plus a small sales force.

Demographic trends offer the opportunity to increase sales of incontinence products across the Iberian Peninsula in the years ahead. According to Spain’s National Statistics Office, by 2031 more than one in four of the population will be aged over 65.

2018 marks HARTMANN’s 200-year anniversary.

To commemorate this milestone, we have put together this series of articles. In it we show how our employees and partners contribute to advancing healthcare, as well as discussing trends and issues that affect the healthcare systems we serve.