“Swiss made” sells well. That fact is not lost on Temmentec AG, a company that manufactures cosmetic products in the Emmental region. It exports Swiss quality beyond Switzerland’s borders – not under its own name, but as an outsourcing partner.
Every day, we use personal care products, such as skin creams, shower gel, and lip balm. But do we really know where they are produced? Few people read the fine print on the back of the package, where, in addition to a list of ingredients, there is information about where the products were made. Swiss quality has become increasingly popular over the past several years, and not only in Switzerland. “Consumers want to know where their products come from. And Swiss-made products sell well,” says Adrian Meyer, COO of the Induchem Group. If it says “Made in Switzerland” on the back of the package, the product may well have been manufactured by Temmentec AG. The company manufactures, fills, and packages personal care products in Sumiswald, but as a contract manufacturer, or outsourcing partner that produces goods for other companies, its name is not prominently displayed on the products.
10,000 Square Meters of Production Space
Temmentec AG currently employs 130 full-time workers. The company, located in a village of 5,000 residents, employs chemists, pharmacists, and administrative staff, as well as production and packaging specialists. Its conference room offers a view of the village church and town hall – rather than looking out over an industrial area, as one might expect. It is not until you actually walk through the plant that you fully grasp the size of the production facilities: 10,000 square meters. Without a guide, one could easily get lost. Our tour begins at the staff entrance, continues on to the area where raw materials are unloaded, and ends where the finished products have been put into boxes. Visitors can observe the production process from beginning to end. Since the manufacturing of cosmetic products is subject to strict hygiene regulations, visitors are required to don a smock, hair net, shoe coverings, and protective goggles before taking a tour.
Mixing Oil and Water
After passing by the staff area, we arrive at the loading dock where raw materials are received. The materials are delivered in large drums or small plastic containers, depending on whether the active ingredients are needed in tiny amounts or, like moisturizing oils, in larger quantities. Skin-care products are emulsions of water and oil, with the addition of small amounts of active ingredients. To ensure high quality, materials are sampled and tested upon delivery. After inspection, the various materials and active substances are weighed and measured, then mixed together into the desired cosmetic product.
Large mixing units in several bulk manufacturing areas allow for the production of up to ten metric tons of a liquid product at a time. Modern technology has made the process highly efficient, so that production can shift quickly from one product to the next. Leaving the production area, we move on to the halls where the work of filling and packaging containers is in full swing. Machines automatically fill tubes, jars, and bottles, which are then sealed, labeled, and coded. Other products are packed by hand; ten workers, for example, assemble boxes one by one, carefully inserting the appropriate product, and adding any necessary accessories. Employees wear gloves to avoid leaving marks on the high-quality materials. Before finishing our tour, we make one more stop to look at the company’s laboratory. Temmentec AG not only produces and packages products; it also carries out development work and devises new formulas for its customers.
Specializing in Premium Cosmetics
Temmentec has not always been a contract manufacturer and specialist in personal care products. The company’s history dates back to 1914, when pharmacist Peter Müller began to make and sell cosmetic products in Sumiswald. It has changed owners four times, and in 1991 it was renamed Temmentec AG. The company became part of the Induchem Group in 2004, when it began to focus on the production of premium personal care products. “We wanted to maintain our site in Sumiswald. Since our foreign competitors are able to produce mass-market cosmetics at a lower cost, we had to find another niche. Recognizing that high-quality service is one of our strengths, we decided to specialize in high-end cosmetics,” says Adrian Meyer, COO of the Induchem Group. A key step en route to finding its place in the market was to expand an existing partnership with a well-known cosmetics company. In addition to manufacturing the product, filling and packaging is now also handled by Temmentec AG In order to meet the customer’s needs to the highest degree possible, a number of modifications had to be made to Temmentec’s production facilities. The company therefore applied for funding from Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. “We used this investment to finance the new contract,” says Adrian Meyer, gazing out at the Sumiswald village church.